I hadn’t planned on writing a post about myself or why I felt the need to start this blog, as I had intended the Home page Vision and Menu sections to do the explaining for me. I’d intended to stay behind the scenes to better highlight the contributing artists and their work. But, as I thought about it, I felt something was missing. When I prayed about what that could be, I concluded that for a blog named after its hostess, you should know at least a little about me.
So, who is Delia Talent and why the need to create a blog for Christian Creatives?
A better question would be: Why does God sometimes take us the long way around in order to bring us exactly where He wants us to be? To answer that, I’ll have to share my story.
To begin with, I’ll answer the first question really quickly. My real name is Dyane Forde. I’m a social worker by profession and by God’s grace, fulfilled my childhood dream of becoming a writer and author. I’ve self-published 3 adult fantasy novels, a trilogy called Rise of the Papilion, have written a slew of short stories, poems, flash-fiction, some of which appear in various print and online publications, and manage a writing blog. I also like to garden, cook, and bake—basically, I’m happy as long as I have a project to fiddle with.
So, what about that ‘better question’? Well, you might want to pull up a chair and get comfortable…
As a kid, I loved books and the one thing I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’ was write one. I carried books with me pretty much where ever I went. I guess you could say it was an addiction. Reading led to writing, and I wrote (and journaled) all the way through school. I even gained some recognition for it, too. When adulthood came around, things changed. Life became busier and I cut back on writing until I wasn’t writing much at all. I kept up my journal, though, and that became my lifeline for many years.
As anyone who is married with children knows, those are amazing milestones but they often bring complications. Through our particular challenges, my faith was severely tried, but I learned a ton about God and myself. The desire to write about these life lessons grew strong, but Life didn’t slow down and chances to write were non-existent. Not to mention I struggled to believe that anyone would care about what I had to say. But the desire kept building until I thought I’d explode.
The writing drought lasted roughly 10 years.
One day out of the blue, God dropped a story into my mind. I was at the park with my children, and while I was watching them I was also watching a novel unfold in my head. It was insane! But I could see and hear it—the words, characters, the tone, everything. I went home that day and started to write. Granted, it wasn’t very good. Not because the story was bad but because I was out of practice and I had no idea how to write a novel. But I got it down, all 25K of it, and sat back utterly amazed.
That marked the beginning of my journey as a novelist, writer, and blogger. At the time, I had limited skill, no resources, no experience, no network—just a conviction that I should write and a burning desire to do it.
It was just me and God. I had a desire in my heart but no clue how to accomplish it. So, I prayed for help, submitted my dreams to God, and threw myself into the whirlwind.
I stumbled upon two resources that helped hone my craft: writing.com, and the defunct Harper Collins Authonomy site, where I practiced short story writing and critiquing and later built to novel writing. I eventually joined a local writing group and the Quebec Writers' Federation, launched a writing blog, wrote anything and everything whenever I could, and self-published two books. It was amazing and exhilarating. And it was also exhausting.
In about 5 years, I had accomplished more than I had ever dreamed possible, but writing and the quest for success had taken over my life. I believed that I had to keep producing in order to stay relevant, to keep my readers happy, and to keep my skills sharp. So, I kept pushing, kept working, kept writing. But, though I might have found success in one area of my life, I was failing at home. The day my daughter had a meltdown and shouted, ‘I hate your writing!’ I knew something had to change.
Also, I was lonely. As busy as I was, and as many people as I encountered every day online and in groups, I never felt at home in the Christian or secular worlds. I kept reaching out but nothing ‘took.’ Another problem was that I felt like no one understood the confusion that came from believing God had called me to something only to ‘change His mind’ halfway through. To have my vision suddenly cut—even for extremely important reasons—hurt, and there was no one to talk to about it.
Just before I quit writing, I was sitting in a chocolate shop with my sisters and told them about my dream to create a blog for Christian Creatives to address the problems I had encountered. I figured I couldn’t be the only one who felt called to create while also feeling lost, discouraged, overwhelmed, and alone. I wanted to set up a place where others like me could congregate, learn from one another, support and encourage one another, and promote our work, while pursuing the Creative spiritual call that God put on us. I even had the name picked out—Delia Talent was another idea that dropped into my head one day— and had started a sample blog on Wix, mission statement and all.
That dream stayed on the back-burner for the 2 years it took to me ‘handle my business’. My third book remained incomplete and my writing blog went nowhere. Seeing everything I had built dissolve before my eyes, I eventually accepted that my writing dreams were dead. And oddly, I was at peace with that. I chose to focus on what God had put in front of me—my family and my job—and did that to the best of my ability.
And this is where we come full-circle. A few months back, God nudged open the gates and set me back on the road I had left. Bit by bit, things fell into place and, within months, book three was published and my writing blog resurrected. Then, 3 weeks ago, almost on a whim, I went back to the old Delia Talent website, scrapped it, started over, and launched it.
I started this blog because I’ve come to realize that one of my life purposes is to communicate, and writing is a tool which facilitates the realization of that purpose. In novels, I can translate my thoughts and feelings into characters and a story. On a blog, I can express them directly as well as interact with readers.
I know it’s challenging out there: developing a craft; finding our way while trying to hear God’s voice; juggling work and family; trying to stick to our principals when the world tells us to do otherwise to be successful…
By the way, what is success anyway? Earning piles of money, selling out our warehouses? Or being where God wants us, doing what He wants us to do, and touching people’s lives using the Talents He gave us in the first place? That doesn’t mean preaching through our works necessarily. But when we serve the Lord with our gifts, He can use them however He wants, including touching people’s hearts. Isn’t that what we are here for, anyway?
My hope is that this blog allows us to have fun getting to know each other through our work and interactions, while allowing God to show us that, in His hands, our creations can become so much more than ‘products’.
I’d love to know your thoughts, a little about your own experiences or creative journey, and where you are in that journey.
Thank you for joining me on this incredible ride.