Admittedly, I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the internet these days, and lately I've really been trying to steward my feelings well. Sometimes, that means immediately blocking a social networking post that I find offensive, instead of reading it repeatedly and stewing on it. Sometimes, it means that I deliberately avoid articles on certain controversial topics, even if I happen to find them interesting. I've thought a lot recently about the company I keep and what kind of material I allow to engage my thoughts and feelings. Lindsey is not just online company I'm proud to keep, but she's actually my down-the-street neighbor in real life! Her voice is so authentic, and she has greatly encouraged me as I do life as a young adult and discover my passions and what the Lord has called me to. And today, she's asked me to chime in with my thoughts on writing: What are you writing or working on now?
Right now, in the few quiet moments that my life allows, I'm working on a short e-book for my subscribers. It is brimming with scripture and things that the Lord has used to grow and challenge me over the past few years, and I hope that maybe those things can translate in a meaningful way for someone else.
I have also written a couple of guest posts for a new website called Hashtag Hope. Its a community that really emphasizes the power of our stories, and that no matter what kind of background we come from, we have something valuable to bring to the table. My newest post for them will be published on July 29, I believe.
How does your work differ from other writers of your genre?
This is a really interesting question. My answer may seem cliche, but I believe that everyone has a story, and even though sometimes our stories may overlap, each of us has a unique voice to convey those things. I think that it is important to keep that in mind, especially for the days when you feel like you don't measure up, or that all of the words have already been said. The world needs people who are willing to be brave in sharing their story.
That being said, I have a community of amazing bloggers who challenge me daily, and I'm so thankful for them. Some of my other influences include Ann Voskamp, Flannery O'Connor, and Donald Miller. And seriously, I catch my breath every time I read the opening pages of Eliot Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity.
Why do you write what you do?
This blog is essentially my journal. If I had a leather bound diary on my nightstand, it would probably have the same words. Like Lindsey, I write mostly to build altars. When I go back into the archives of my blog and read posts from a year, three years, five years ago, it really resonates with me how tangible the Lord's presence has been in my life and how much He has grown me in and through writing. Basically, I write here to preach to myself. I need the reminders to slow down in the middle of this crazy life and spend time with God, and for as long as I can remember, words have been my way to do that.
I don't write here to suggest to anyone that I have it all together. I try to paint a really accurate picture of my life and what it means to me to follow Christ. I think the world already has too many people who try to look like they have it all together, and that mentality can be so damaging, not only to other people, but also to the individual. Honestly, I've tried to live my life that way, and I only end up pushing other's away and isolating myself. Not only is having it all together a lie, but its really lonely.
What does the writing process look like for you?
It is usually a long, drawn out process. What you see posted here is almost never the first draft of something. I edit a lot while I'm writing, so I'll type out a paragraph to begin with, and what comes out in the end might be something totally different. I read a lot of scripture as I write, and usually have music playing in the background. I don't really have a specific time of day that I have to write in, but most of the words typically come out in the later afternoon and evening hours (right now, I'm writing this in a couple quiet minutes at my office). Sometimes I'll have an idea or a verse hanging out in my head for a few days before I really sit down to write about it, but for the most part, I have to try and write something down right away so I don't forget it, and it will sit in my drafts folder until I'm ready to come back to it. Also, I have an ongoing love affair with all things literary, so I'm constantly checking the dictionary and thesaurus and thinking about devices to use in my writing.