I continue to think over this whole concept of defining myself, and I’m realizing how much it paralyzed me in the past. I mean, at the end of the day, nailing down who I am and what I write about is what kept me from bringing a proposal to Mount Hermon last year. I didn’t know where to start.
But I am no longer content to wallow in my indecision (and fear, I guess). I’m ready to get out there and really pursue writing (thanks in large part to my writer’s group!) to see where it takes me, but to do that I need to buckle down and find my voice and my passion. As I considered that today, it dawned on me that I need to find my voice and passion, not a voice and passion. In this big world of writing, we can easily get caught up in being “marketable” and making ourselves differentiated from other authors that we take on any voice or passion that will get us published.* God gives us each our own voice and passion, though, and what I’m realizing is that I need to be quiet enough to hear what He is saying to me and listening to what He wants to say through me. It all comes back to the one thing: to glorify God and make Him known.
After reading my previous post, a friend emailed me some really encouraging words. She affirmed that I will not write about anything new (some wise guy said “there’s nothing new under the sun”. . .). She went on to say “But not to be discouraged because the point of God giving you the gift, motivation, and time to write is that He has a specific in mind. . . So whatever you write – even if some well know author has written on it many times – you may be the one who writes it for that specific person in China or California in a way that when they read it, it changes their life. It brings them closer to Christ or even brings them to Salvation. Your writing will affect someone in a way that someone else’s writing has never affected them.”
Oh, that brought me such encouragement! I can find my voice if I listen to Him who gives it to me, and I don’t need to worry about what others have said about the same topics. He has a plan for my writing. Thank goodness! Here I was worried about defining myself, and He had the design already in His hands, waiting to give it to me.
Lord, I lay my desire to write at your feet and ask that you do with it what you will. Apart from you, I can do nothing – not even find my own voice. Thank you for giving me my voice and my passion. Help me to seek Your glory alone, not mine. Teach me how to be still and listen to You. Your Word tells me that I can find my identity in You, Father. Thank you for defining me.
*Note: Now, I don’t disagree that as authors we must find ways to differentiate and market ourselves. But worry about that AFTER you’ve discovered your own voice and passion. Your marketing plan is not the starting point. Finding balance between writing your heart and being marketable is discussed and debated in every writer’s circle. It’s a tough balance, indeed. Somehow, though, we have to find it. I don’t think we can have one without the other.