Does it ever seem that the Lord has to give you a push before you participate in some writing event, conference, or opportunity before you actually show up, skid marks scrapping the floor where you just dragged your feet? It was like that when my sweet and gentle blogging friend, Joanne, invited me to participate in this Blog Hop that has been taking Blogland by storm. I hesitated evaluating my tight schedule and wondering what I could possibly say. As always, I came sliding into the party at the last minute, hoping there was still room on Joanne’s list for me.
I met Joanne as we commented on several of the same blog hops. Her genuine spirit displayed through her love for the Lord and her devoted time in His Word drew me like a magnet. Not only that, I learned through a mutual friend how much she valued Joanne’s walk with the Lord. Joanne is an encourager, a compassionate listener, someone who will always pray for you, and the one who never forgets to check back and make sure you are doing better. Sort of like an angelic creature.
On this Blog Hop, I will answer four questions about my writing (what am I doing?). Then I will introduce three of my blogging friends whom I know you will find as amazing and interesting as I have.
1. What am I writing or working on?
I’m working on making a regular schedule for my blog posts. I would like to post three times a week featuring an inspirational story about where I see the Lord working in my life or about some hidden treasure He has just revealed to me. My hope is to turn some of these posts into devotional articles for publication.
Much to my surprise, the Lord recently wove one of my reluctant conference attendances into an opportunity to write for a Christian community serving in our town. When a pastor affiliated with this community spoke to our congregation, his talk was riveting and his call for volunteers had me scurrying out to the patio table to register. Only one problem. Hubby decided to sign us up for their Media Arts sector while I wanted to work in social service and education. I looked at hubby cross-eyed, and said, “Do we have some hidden Hollywood talent? Why are you signing us up for Media Arts?”
Guess which sector called? Yes, Media Arts. I bumbled through the conversation, apologizing for hubby’s error and making numerous excuses for why we didn’t fit in that area. Then she asked me that one pointed question to end all questions. Straight to the heart. Sort of like the Lord. “Well, what is your background?” she asked. “And what did you major in?” My response: Journalism and Public Relations. “Great,” she said. “We have a writers’ group that you would fit into perfectly.”
The Lord really has a sense of humor. I jumped in with both feet and my first assignments included a piece from the social service sector on adoption and foster care–a topic close to my heart. We have two grown adopted sons. In my second assignment, I covered an event for the education division. In one publication, God had covered the desires of my heart and used me in His way according to my husband’s promptings.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
As each of us is uniquely created by God, I believe our stories are unique as well. We all have experiences with the Lord and how His Word applies uniquely to each of us in our particular season of life. This colors our stories. While some of us may be in a season of strong encouragement, others may be wading through the swamplands of trials and suffering. A certain word from one writer may resonate with a reader because of where that person is in her journey with the Lord. To someone else, she may not find the food she is seeking for her soul.
In addition, our individual personalities and the way we express our experiences will just meld with another’s. We form connections from this in much the same way we form friendships in real life away from this page and the computer screen. I think that is called “Voice” in the writing field. I’m still looking for mine. If you find it, please let me know where I left it.
3. Why do I write what I do?
When I began writing a blog in 2010, I didn’t even know what a blog was. I had just quit a job that I had hoped would lead to writing Christian articles and devotionals for the company. The job was a dead end. In talking to a friend who was in marketing, she told me about blogging and, of course, about Ann Voskamp and her blog, “A Holy Experience.” She also cautioned me not to set my goals that high. Just the music on her blog sets a reverent tone.
My heart’s desire was to write devotional and inspirational Christian pieces that would touch lives. Somehow I learned of a blogging workshop being offered by Our Church, The High Calling, and ProBlogger. Thus began my introduction into an exciting world of stringing my words across a page and actually having them “published” when I hit that little button. Through this workshop, I met some amazing writers, one in particular with whom I still keep in touch–Jennifer A. Janes. She has helped me navigate this technological world when I’ve lost my way on several occasions.
The people I’ve met online through blogging, the inspiration I have gained, the solace I’ve discovered as I’ve written through life’s trials, and most importantly, the chance to touch another’s life keep me returning to these pages. I’ve been blessed to meet two people “In Real Life” as incourage calls it, and they have impacted my life both spiritually and professionally: Sharon Kirby and Janis Cox. God has definitely led me here for however long He deems to keep me here.
4. How does my writing process look?
Remember when I mentioned that I usually arrived at writing events with skid marks across the floor? It’s the same when I begin to write. I find myself procrastinating. Looking at my email, checking Facebook, munching on some snacky food, responding to people’s comments on my blog. I like Joanne’s idea of jotting a thought down on a post-it note whenever it comes to her and tacking them up around the computer or on a bulletin board for when she has time to write. This is an area where I really need to grow. To put down some roots, discipline, and structure. I’ve been to two writing workshops recently and they both emphasized the importance of writing each day at the same time for 15 minutes at least. Maybe a half hour at the longest stretch for any period of time. Then come back to it later, add more, rewrite, edit, tighten. Let it go.
When I’m writing for our Christian community publication, I do follow a loose structure. One I think will benefit me in blogging as well. First, I review my notes from an interview. Second, I highlight the significant thoughts and quotes I want to use. Third, I organize the sections into a loose outline of how I see the story flowing. Fourth, I picture the story or event in my head to create a mood. Finally, I write. Often I edit as I write. And I am still always over the word count. I return to my piece and see where I can cut. Then I call for my logical, engineering hubby to come over and take out the unnecessary parts.
Now for the fun part of this post: Introducing you to my three blogging friends who so graciously agreed to participate in this Blog Hop. Janelle N from “The Smudge Curve,” Meg Villanueva from “Pebbles Along the Path,” and Wanda W from “The Watered Soul” will be telling you a little bit about themselves to pique your interest in their writings. So please hop over and visit my friends as well.
I met Janelle through a comment I left on her blog while participating in a blog hop. Her writing approach is fresh and genuine. She loves the Lord’s redeeming work in her life and in looking back, she sees how God has orchestrated her every step. She knows God has a plan for each life He has created.
Janelle describes herself as “a wife, first-time stay-at-home mom, homemaker, and former substitute teacher. But the most important thing I could tell you about myself is that I am a sinner saved by grace through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.” You can find Janelle blogging about her motherhood journey at www.thesmudgecurve.com.
I met Meg at my first Tucson Christian Writers Group meeting. She greeted me and made me feel at home right away. Meg is outgoing, compassionate, tenderhearted, and has a heart to share the Lord’s work in her life.
Meg writes about herself, ““After living with abuse and then losing my father, my son, and my husband in the space of three years, I was left an empty shell. I was told to journal, but every time I tried, I would hear a voice inside my head saying, ‘You can’t write! What are you thinking!’” You can hear how Meg overcame those thoughts and published two books: Biblical Portraits and El cochino blanco. She blogs at “Pebbles Along the Path.”
It seems like I’ve known Wanda almost from my early days of blogging. I met her originally through the Internet Cafe’s blog hop, “Word-Filled Wednesday” which is now exclusively a devotional. I’ve also grown spiritually from Wanda’s deep insight into the Lord’s Word that she has shared on her blog. Most recently, I’ve enjoyed “The Friday Five” where Wanda highlights five other posts from around Blogland.
Wanda describes herself, “as a single southern girl, who often refers to herself as a recovering perfectionist. She loves spending her free time lost in a great a book, blogging, or digging through CSS and HTML. She enjoys a glass of cold coke, although she has found that nothing truly satisfies her thirst quite like Jesus. Discovering the promise of Isaiah 55:11 during a spiritual desert period blossomed into the birth of her blog,
From My Heart To Yours,