Today I am celebrating two years of writing! Well, ok, I have been writing off and on for the last twelve years- but this is the day, two years ago, I decided to take my writing seriously.
That’s a big decision, you know. Maybe you write some, too. Perhaps in a journal? Or maybe on your own blog. But do you take it seriously? Would you like to?
In the past twelve years, I have had five blogs. Yup- five. But only one has stuck. What made the difference? I decided to make writing a priority. That meant investing some time and money into learning my craft and developing my voice. It was a daunting commitment, but I knew if I never tried, it would never happen.
So, with a two-month-old strapped to my chest and a two-year-old clinging to my legs, I started blogging. And two years later, I’m still tapping out my thoughts in my own small corner of the internet.
I can’t brag about growing a huge following in that time, because I haven’t. I haven’t written a book or launched a speaking career either. But I have found my voice. And I have identified my reader. And once I got a clear vision of her face, I knew exactly what I wanted to say to her. I knew how I would encourage her if we were sitting face-to-face, rather than screen-to-screen.
She has a few needs I feel I can speak to and it is my joy to use my words to build her up. Perhaps that reader is you! If so, I’d like to take a moment and say thank you for reading along! Thank you for sending me your thoughts and prayer requests, for letting me walk beside you as you grow in your faith.
That’s what this dream of mine is all about. Connecting with other women who long to know the Lord better but aren’t sure what that looks like in day-to-day life.
In the two years I have been blogging, I have learned a few things and I thought I would share them with you today. I hope that they encourage you in your own writing career or whatever it is your heart is burning to do.
Speak It Out Loud
The scariest part of launching a new dream is speaking it out loud. It is also the most powerful! It’s what opens the door of possibility and allows you to move forward. When I first began writing, I felt like an imposter (I still struggle with that from time to time). But I soon realized that being a writer doesn’t mean I have to write a book or have a huge platform. It only means I write down the words that are filling my mind. Sometimes these words are meant to be shared but sometimes they are meant just for me. Either way- they are written, expressed through keys or pen and paper, and that makes me a writer.
Don’t Despise Small Beginnings
Soon after I started my blog, I came across Zechariah 4:10. I quickly scribbled it out and displayed it on my desk. It says,
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” (NLT).
My beginning was small but the work has begun and that is to be celebrated! Small beginnings give you space to make mistakes and to find yourself. It gives you the grace to grow and mature in your craft. It’s a sacred time of learning to trust the Lord with your dreams and how to follow His lead, not your wild hares. So don’t wish away this season of small beginnings and don’t compare it to someone else’s middle.
Don’t Go It Alone
Last January, I saw an advertisement for an online writing community called Hope*Writers. I had been listening to Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, The Next Right Thing for nearly a year at that point and had heard her mention this community a number of times (she co-founded it!). I finally decided to give it a one-week trial and see what they had to offer. Needless to say, that one week turned into one year.
Hope*Writers gave me a road map for writing. Not only that, but they showed me where I was on the map, where I was heading, and what my next step should be. They keep me moving forward. The founders provide weekly teachings that consistently blow my mind and get me dreaming. They also host a Facebook group that is worth its weight in gold. It’s a daily stream of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and encouragement. I have made several real-life friends from this group. These women have blessed me beyond measure, championing my writing in ways I never knew to ask for.
Being in a community where I learn from others and am encouraged has helped me accomplish in one year what would have taken me five to do on my own.
Study Your Craft
If you read my piece, “So, You Have a Dream”, you know I am a HUGE advocate of mentoring relationships. And while an in-person mentoring relationship is lovely (and maybe even ideal) in my writing life, I have found a few podcasts that have stood in that gap. The two writing podcasts I consistently listen to are Communicator Academy and Anne Kroeker, Writing Coach.
Communicator Academy is hosted by Kathi Lipp and Michele Cushatt, both longtime writers/speakers. These two are crazy and funny and W-I-S-E. I have learned so much by listening to them. Most of their tips are for people light years ahead of me in their writing and speaking careers. Still, I have listened and learned, and now I know how to position myself and what habits to practice to one day have a flourishing writing career as an author. With years of experience between them, they pack each episode with next steps and game plans.
Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach is much more low-key. She’s your gentle, kind friend who shares wisdom through stories and anecdotes and gently prods you along when you’re feeling stuck. She also shares wisdom by the bucketful and I always leave her podcast feeling excited to take on my next writing task.
Offer Your Work With Hope
Aside from comparison, chasing metrics is the quickest way to take the fun out of writing. Don’t get me wrong, I monitor my statistics and I do what I think will get my work in the hands of my reader; but, I learned early on I could not write for joy and worry about my numbers. I chose to write for joy. True influence (aka, a platform) comes from a well-honed message and compelling writing and those things take time and intention to develop. Rather than trying to “play the game”, I’ve chosen to hone my craft. With each published piece, I offer my work to my reader with the hope that it might help her grow in her faith. I focus on the parts I can control (my message and writing) and I leave the rest (the influence and impact) to God.
Now, Go Make Some Art
There are a hundred more things I have learned throughout this journey, but I am already way over my word limit! So if you would like to chat sometime, send me an e-mail or DM me through Instagram or Facebook. I would love to connect with you and encourage you in your dreams.
Now, go out there and share what’s in your heart!
PS- Hope*Writers is only open a few time a year, and this week they are OPEN! If you are interested in learning more about this fantastic community of writers, click this affiliate link, here.
PPS- Remember that road map I was telling you about? You can find your place too, by taking the Hope*Writer’s (free) Writing Stage Quiz