I opened the email and skimmed it over and the first two thoughts that honestly entered my mind were, "She must have been trying to send this to someone else..." followed by, "I don't even know the answers to these questions!"
My sweet friend Jessica Hoover, over at Hand Me Down Grace, invited me to join this Blog Hop where we are asked 4 questions about Writing, and then we get to introduce 3 of our fellow Bloggy/Writer friends to keep the whole thing - well, hopping along! (I know... I'm sorry!) I can't even remember when I 'found' Jessica's blog or how we connected exactly because it feels like we have been friends forever. I had the blessing of meeting in her person at Allume last year and knew immediately that I could listen to her talk for days! Somehow she convinced me that I qualify for this Blog Hop and the email was not send on accident, so let's see what we all learn about me here! (I can't wait to find out my answers!)
Well - herein lies the Irony:
I am on a semi-Bloggy Break.
Normally I post between 3-4 times per week, but that is a Bossy Schedule that I put on myself and I am finding that I can choose to write out of my head or my heart. I can write out of ritual, or out of relationship. (I prefer the latter!) In all my busyness and trying to find my voice, to build a platform (and blah blah blah!) I was losing sight of why I write in the first place and... well, we'll get to that with Question #3. But in order to get back to the WHY I write, I needed to allow myself more freedom NOT to write. More time to keep my words to myself. To share them only with Him, before I tap them out and share them with all of you!
I reluctantly admit that I am much more comfortable just sticking with a routine... however, He is calling me to set aside a bit more 'unscheduled' time to simply be with Him... to lean in and not just push through! I am entering uncharted territory and while my comfort zone may be to just keep on keepin' on, He is calling me to slow down and wait!
In taking that time to slow down, to sit back, unplug, and refresh - I am working on some art. I haven't really talked about this here in this space, but I wrote a Children's Book a couple of years ago and so wanted the Lord to let me hire an Illustrator, but alas - He is the Boss of me and He will not have it. So I am dabbling in watercolor and attempting to sketch the illustrations that I 'see'. (Baby steps and Grace, ya'll!) I believe I have a few other Children's Books in me, still. Taking the time to wait is giving me the opportunity to see what He will do with this! (Plus... I get to play with paints and such!)
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Does it? Oh I hope so! (I guess? Maybe.)
Here's the thing... I do All. The. Things. wrong.
Honestly - I have tried. I have read (some of) the books and I know some of the things that I really 'should be' doing but when I get caught up in the Business side of Blogging, it drains me dry and chews me up. I think maybe it's simply because that is not where I'm at or why I'm called to do this thing. I am not in any way saying it is wrong or not necessary, even. I am saying that for now, for me... I can't get caught up in it.
So I am not even sure what my 'genre' is... I am a Christian, but I'd like to think that non-Christians would feel welcomed here too... soooo I'm not sure that 'Christian Blogger' is my niche, although I do talk about my every day life here, and He is a part of that.
I've been a Stay At Home Mom - but we had an Only and she is now
So even all these years (and years) after high school, I find myself not wanting to belong to just one group... to be locked in to one 'type'. I love to mingle with all sorts of people and blogs and while many of them speak my heart, they say it in a way that is all theirs and really, I suppose that is what I hope for in this space: That I can share my story in a way that anyone can relate to, but no one can deny that it is my words and my life sprawled out across the interwebs...
The answer to "How does my work differ from others of it's genre" is simply this... oh how I hope it does!
My life message is simple and clear... it is what I am called to do, not just in this little corner online but in every little corner and in wide open spaces of my life both techy and in the flesh... I (we) are called to:
I pray that is what comes forth whenever you stop by and visit here!
3. Why do I write what I do?
Again with the Irony... I began this blog way before most (even me) really knew what a Blog was! I did it because I felt God ask me to give Him a year of Tuesdays. I met with a prayer group in the mornings, and would come home and write out what I saw or felt or heard... hit publish, and be done! Once a week... (mostly!)... for a year - but then I didn't want to quit, so I kept at it. Then my meeting stopped, uh... meeting, and I took a break from blogging. It wasn't until 2012 that I felt a real renewed call to come back here and the challenge then was to learn to stay consistent.
So that is what I have been establishing over the past couple of years. Consistent content... building Community... creating a space and atmosphere that offers authenticity and hope. I write about my real life. My every day, non-glamorous life where I hope He shines through.
I write because I can't not write... so I just let it flow, trusting God will bring who He wants to speak to here, as I scoot over and make some room.
4. How does my writing process work?
When I began blogging, it would simply stem out of a time of prayer and I would write out what unfolded during our meeting and I would not think of it again until the following Tuesday afternoon. However, with the challenge to come back to blogging consistently, I searched out Community! After all, it had been years and it turns out this whole Bloggy thing sort of took off on the world wide webisphere and I was thrilled to find such connection.
But whether I am scribbling in my own in my journal, blogging a post for this space or a guest post, or simply jotting down word pairings, or sentences that stroll through my mind and bring fresh perspective or cause me to catch my breath... I am always writing.
Sometimes I write with a specific topic or message in mind. Other times I sit here at this keyboard and I wait... and pray... and wait a bit longer. Truth be told, I will quite possibly get side tracked by all kinds of Bossy Social Media and then remember that I am supposed to be writing so I get right back to the waiting... until that first thought begins to form and my fingers fly. I tend to enjoy a little background noise while I write...music, TV, family chatter... and always, of course... there must be coffee!
I'm not so much a planner when it comes to prewriting and scheduling posts, although I am learning the art and value of that for sure! I am also getting better at not hitting Publish quite so fast, but for better or worse, I enjoy flaunting my rule-breaker tendencies and type the way I speak... so it's like you know me! (Yeah. I'm an editors' dream like that!)
In this slowing down, I think He is teaching me the value of hearing again. He's reminding me of the privilege of offering time to listen, to sit with Him and let His heart and His words to me sink in, to digest it a bit before passing it on.
That was fun, but this is the best part!
I get to introduce you to three of my favorite bloggers! These are writers that I just LOVE to read! Maybe you already know them and if so - well then, you get it!
But oh if you don't know them yet, you are in for a real treat, my friends!
Meet Marcy Hanson...
Marcy Hanson is a grace loving nurse,wife, mamma and a coffee addict. (And don't forget the chocolate on the side) She writes for the other women in this world and hopes that they find some hope and encouragement in her words. Marcy is also advocate for adoption and infertility awareness and has two books that tackle both of these issues. She would love it if you stopped by the blog for some coffee, tweeted with her over on Twitter (@MarcyNellHanson) and joined the community on Facebook.
I believe it was through the Five Minute Friday Community over at Lisa-Jo Bakers blog where I first 'met' Marcy... her honesty and vulnerability in sharing her story bonded me to her immediately! In March, I attended the Faith and Culture Writers Convention (FCWC) in Portland, OR and we had the chance to sit together and chat over meals and in between sessions. She is a treasure and you will love her! Visit her over at her blog to read her heart, and to learn more about her new book!
Meet Lori Harris...
Hello there. I'm Lori, a Southern born, Texas missing girl who is wife to Thad and mama to six little people. I live in the hood in small town North Carolina where my yard is a hot mess and my porch swing gets more miles on it than my car. I'm a reader of books, a writer of stories, a starter of stuff, and a student of poverty, white privilege,and the Church. I take pictures of my place and my people and I serve alongside the Man in our church plant. Music is the art that speaks to my soul, but writing is the art my soul makes and I love to make art that tells the story of Jesus in my place.
I have yet to 'meet' Lori in real life, but we are kindred and sisters nonetheless! She blesses me with each post - how she is brave and bold and honest! Her words and how she lives her life both encourage and challenge me and there is just nothing better than having that kind of friend! Visit her over on her blog and enjoy... (You're welcome!)
Meet Deidra Riggs...
Deidra Riggs, writer and speaker, claims an undying devotion to disco music, the Motor City, and long bike rides under a big, blue sky. She is managing editor at The High Calling, and a monthly contributor to (in)courage. As founder of JumpingTandem Deidra inspires individuals to pursue the dream(s) God has uniquely designed for them. In addition, she encourages churches and church leaders to increase their understanding of different races, cultures, and ethnicities.
Deidra and her husband live in Lincoln, Nebraska They are the proud parents of two adult children, and the happy inhabitants of an empty nest.
How fun is this? Check out my friends above and be sure to go to their blogs next week to read their answers to the same questions!
...and as always, let's purpose to:
(And now back to my regularly scheduled bloggy break... at least until, you know, tomorrow!)