Tuesday, May 13, 2014
by Amy Gaasrud
“I had a heart-to-heart with my supervising teacher and he asked me, ‘What do you really want to do?’”
“I answered, ‘I want to write.’”
Michelle Medlock Adams knew she would be a writer since first grade. She attended Asbury University as a creative writing student before transferring to Indiana University to pursue a journalism degree. She then began her career reporting for a newspaper. From there, Michelle’s life took an unexpected turn.
“I thought I would forever write hard news and be in the news trenches, digging for the real story,” Michelle says. “I never dreamed I’d write and publish children’s books.” But writing children’s books is exactly what she ended up doing. Since 2002, Michelle has published more than 35 books for children, ranging from silly books such as My Funny Valentine . . . Poems to books with a serious message, such as Why I Trust You, God.
The ideas for Michelle’s books come from a variety of places. When she is writing on assignment, she simply follows the publisher’s directions. Other times an article or movie line will spark an idea. As a cheerleading coach and former cheerleader, Michelle also uses her athletic experiences to reach a unique audience by writing articles for cheer magazines and, more recently, by writing a devotional book specifically designed for cheerleaders called Get Your Spirit On.
Besides working in journalism and children’s writing, Michelle has also spoken at writers conferences, taught two seminars at Taylor University, and written inspirational nonfiction for adults. She has even tried her hand at ghostwriting, something she didn’t even know existed when she graduated from college. Michelle loves to help others share their stories, but she admits ghostwriting was a challenge at first.
“In journalism school, we were told over and over again, ‘Find your voice.’ I worked hard at finding my voice, and then once I found it, I was hired as a ghostwriter and had to lose my voice and find someone else’s. That was something I never dreamed I’d do.”
After seeing how her writing has grown and changed from when she first graduated college, Michelle encourages other writers to “write where you’ve never written before. . . . Don’t put yourself in a box.” According to Michelle, writing is a journey that should be enjoyed, no matter what the present circumstances. “You have to get to a place where you still love writing no matter whether you sell another book that day or receive six rejection letters in the mail.”
For Michelle, writing is not just a job; it’s what she loves and who she is. Perhaps even more importantly, writing is the medium through which Michelle feels God using her. Her faith impacts the way she works, lives, and writes. She has many stories of people coming up to her at conferences and saying, “Your devotional book for mothers was given to me at just the right time. It made a real difference in my life.”
Another moment in which Michelle felt God’s hand in her writing occurred when she was preparing to undertake an important book. A man prayed over Michelle, and after the prayer he whispered to her, “I saw you at your computer, and I saw the Lord hugging you from behind with His hands on top of your hands as you typed. You don’t have to worry about this book; God is with you, guiding your hands.” Through getting stuck on manuscripts, facing rejection letters, and teaching seminars, Michelle has kept this image in her head.
“Writing is a calling . . . for me,” she says, “I know I am not in this alone.”