“She’s still just a small town girl.”
That’s the sentence that won me the State Championship in U.I.L. Featurewriting my senior (don’t ask what year!). Ironically, it fits me as well as it did the person I was writing about at the time. The whole world could know my name, and I would still be just a small town girl.
Let me introduce myself. I’m Staci Stallings. I write for and own Spirit Light Publishing.
Someone told me that others might want to get to know me a little more, so…
Here are the three questions I get asked the most, and if you want to ask more, send me a message on my Contact Page. I’ll try to get it answered.
How did you get started? How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in second grade, I wrote a little story about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. My teacher, who I absolutely adored, wrote: “You’re a great writer” at the top of the page. Now I’m sure there was some natural talent there. In fact, there’s the infamous story of the time I told my grandpa I was “anticipating” getting a ring the next time I went to town when I was FOUR! But that note solidified it for me. I was going to be a writer. She said so, and she knew everything!
What is your favorite book that you’ve written?
Well, right now I’ve written 30 full-length novels (not counting Bible Studies, etc.), and asking me to choose is like saying, “Which of your children is your favorite?” The truth is they are ALL my favorites and here’s why…
Every story I have written has taught me something (and most of the time MANY SOMETHINGS!). They teach me about God and His great love for us. They teach me to trust God and His timing because His way works, mine doesn’t!
For example, “Lucky” taught me that even when I don’t know where this is going or how we’re going to get there, God knows. If I will just keep taking the steps He’s asking me to take when He asks me to take them, He will absolutely do exceedingly, abundantly, more than I can ever ask or imagine. Those are not just words to me anymore. They are as real as the grass on the lawn or the birds in the air. Why? Because I’ve lived them through the process of writing this book. When I first started the book, I would write things that made no sense. “What does that even mean, Holy Spirit?” “Just write.” “But I don’t know what it means or how it ties in.” “Just write.” Over and over we had that conversation. It wasn’t until the very end when pieces I never saw coming dropped into place that I finally understood. He was right. It did make sense. But I wasn’t the one who got it there!
“The Price of Silence” is another example. In that one, God was putting pieces in my life before I even knew I would write anything. I was teaching and a gun was brought to my classroom without me knowing about it. The student who saw the gun and went to the administration to alert them eventually had to leave school because she was being harassed. I began to ask myself how many other kids were being harassed and bullied that we never even knew about. The only reason I knew about her was because we had become rather close in our time at the school together. I wanted to do something to help her, but what could I do? So, this story was written for the kids, but more for the parents and teachers and administrators to WAKE UP and start giving our kids ways to tell us what’s going on in ways that won’t make them targets of other students.
Finally, the entire “Faith Series” showed me that God absolutely will hold my hand every step of the way. “A Work in Progress” took 7 years to write. I would write a little and then get side-tracked. It frustrated me at the time because everyone says you have to be “focused.” Well, that book felt about as unfocused as a broken telescope. But I kept writing a little at a time. Ten pages. Five pages. Sometimes 20 or 30. Then something else would come up. However, when I got to the end, I realized that I could not have written that ending when I first started the book. Over those 7 years, I had grown not just as a writer but as a believer. The insights at the end simply were not in my personal experience in the beginning. THAT’S why He had me wait! (God is so smart!)
What advice would you give other writers?
Get very good at listening to your heart and being brave enough to write what you hear there. I think too often, as writers, we put the cart before the horse. We try to figure out what the market wants us to write and then write that. And if your dominant goal is to make money, maybe that’s okay. For me, however, it just doesn’t work. My “brand” is me–flaws and all. I’m not trying to impress anybody with my writing. I’m not trying to be a “success” (anymore… I let go of that one when God showed me there are many ways to define “success” and my way of defining it was making me miserable and frustrated).
Now I write what God puts on my heart to write… whether that makes sense or not to the world. I write Young Adult novels, Adult novels, Bible studies, articles, God help! books (for when self-help just isn’t working!). I figure if God wants me to write it, there must be a reason. I put the process and the outcome in His very capable hands and let Him do with the stories whatever He wants to!
Any last thoughts?
First, last, and all in between… God is amazing! The more I simply rest in His grace, mercy, love, and wisdom, the more everything just works out. I highly recommend it for anyone who’s lost, hurting, angry, sad, miserable, or just wondering what to do next. Rest in God. Learn to trust Him. He is faithful even when you don’t have the strength to be.
Breathe! God’s here. He loves you, and He will get you where you’re supposed to be if you will take this step He’s asking you to take.
Funny, I thought the other day, “I used to believe that. Now I just know it. I know He’s going to come through. I know His way works and mine doesn’t. I know He loves me no matter what ‘right now’ looks like.” What a fun, wonderful way to live!
Have a blessed day!