Sunday, June 10, 2012

Moving on...

Howdy!  Just a quick note to my compadres who read this blog.  I've decided to move it over to a new site, so if you want to keep up with my blog, head over to

As always, feel free to comment on posts, share, and let me know what you think in general.  I just switched over today, so there isn't much there yet, but I'll be doing a lot of tweaking over the next few days, and hopefully updating the blog much more regularly than I did with this one.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Finding My Voice

Another day, another blog post.  ;)  

I hope you don't mind that I'm indulging myself, at least briefly, in an experiment here.  I'm learning a lot as I work on this writer's challenge I'm doing.  (See yesterday's post if you have no idea what I'm talking about.)  I'm actually hoping to do a guest post for another blogger soon, and perhaps even host someone else on this blog to liven things up a bit.

One term that I've seen and heard used off and on since I did the School of Writing last year is the term "writer's voice."  What is this?  Basically, it is an individual writer's style and way of writing.  I think everyone has at least some gut-level sense of this starting out, but it doesn't really mature until you start doing the work for yourself and writing regularly.  Some writers have a more distinctive "voice" than others, because they have been doing it longer, or because they've thought about it more.  

I'm still figuring this out for myself, and I'm really not sure what my "voice" sounds like yet, in writing terms.  I'm just getting out here and thinking with my fingers, then putting it up for people to see.  Writing like crazy when I get the time, taking a break, coming back and polishing.  This is the process for me at the moment.  

What does any of this writing stuff have to do with missions though?  This is, after all, supposed to be a blog about my experiences as a missionary.  Believe it or not, it's actually having a real impact on me, and helping to shape how I do things here, including areas outside of the writing arena.

I can't say enough good things about my experience at the School of Writing last year.  I learned so much, and am realizing more and more how broadly it can be applied.

My position with School of the Bible sometimes involves teaching on different subjects.  Honing my "voice" will help me communicate the bible more clearly to my students.  Thinking things through in writing terms has already helped my teaching some.  Who is my "audience"?  My students, of course.  It has changed the way I prepare my teachings as I think more consciously about not just what I will be teaching, but who I will be teaching it to, and how to best say what needs saying.  I really think what I've learned about writing has made me a better teacher this year.

I have also been managing the school's social media for over a year now.  (You can check it out at and follow us on Twitter at @YWAMTylerSOTB)  Doing social media has its own unique challenges.  Trying to keep things concise enough for Twitter's 140 character limit while still communicating the essential information can be tough, and I don't always succeed at it.  Facebook is a bit more forgiving, thankfully.  I love the opportunity to get the word out about what is going on at the school though, and hope to see a wider audience learn about it.  There is so much of value to be learned by digging in to God's word, and each year I staff I just learn more.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I'm also somewhat of a journal junkie.  I've been journaling for twelve years now, including all of my time spent in missions.  I'm currently working on a brief rundown of my missions experience, but it's hard to summarize.  Eventually I'd like to write something a bit more full-length about my experience in missions, lessons I've learned, and hopefully some stuff that will encourage others.

So I'm processing a lot right now with all of this.  And, being who I am, the best way to think is on paper (or a laptop, as the case may be.)  Trying to figure out how all of the different pieces fit, and praying for God to guide me on how to use my love of writing for Him.  I would love to find a way to effectively fuse my love for God with my love for the people around me and my love for writing.  I'm not sure what form that will take yet, but I will keep people posted on here, I guess, as the story continues to unfold.  Baby steps.

So, to those who are reading and following this latest adventure, thanks for hanging with me as I "find my voice" as a writer.  There are many ups and downs in missions life, and it's certainly not glamorous, but I love what I do.  It's an honor and a privilege.    Thank you to everyone out there who has prayed for me, encouraged me, given to me financially, or just been a true friend.  I am one lucky woman.

And now...your turn!  To all of my readers: what are you up to these days?  What are you trying to master, or exploring?  I'd love to hear some comments and find out what's up in the wider world of my readers.  :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Writer's Challenge

It's time for the apparently more or less annual reboot of my blog.  A rather quaint and quiet corner of the internet most of the time.  

Let me start by saying I've been journaling for years.  I quite literally have a suitcase full of old journals, and I have no idea where I'm going to put them, since I sure as heck am not throwing away the memories inscribed in this random collection of assorted notebooks.  Twelve years and counting.

But it was really only in the last year or two that I have started being challenged by others that writing is more than just something I do in my free time, just for the heck of it.  Some dear friends who I trust and respect actually took the time to point out that writing is something that I'm actually good at, that it is one of my giftings.  

On the advice of one of these friends, I took the School of Writing at YWAM Woodcrest ( last year.  It was a wonderful, hard, stretching, amazing three months, and I am so thankful that I did it.  I (hopefully!) learned a few things along the way, including what some of my strong and weak points are as a writer.  I went into the school thinking I could never, ever write fiction.  And here I am, chipping away gradually at a novel.  I have no idea yet when it will see the light of day, but you have to start somewhere, right?

My main focus is teaching and doing other things with the School of the Bible, which I am firmly convinced is one of the best jobs in the world.  But I've never really stopped writing, even if it was just journaling my thoughts at the end of the day.  I started doing some other crazy things like reading blogs about writing better, and stumbled upon one by Jeff Goins (, a missionary and writer who issued a rather direct challenge on his blog.  "You are a writer, you just need to write."

Jeff issued a 15 day writer's challenge a few days ago, which I've decided to take up.  Apparently several hundred other writers are doing the same thing.  And that was the first part of the challenge-simply to acknowledge the fact that I am a writer.  I am other things also, and do other things of course.  But I am a writer-it is part of how I'm wired, and something that I will probably do in one form or another until the day I die, whether I ever make a dime off of it or not, whether I am ever acknowledged for it or forever remain anonymous.

It really has been an interesting challenge so far, and we're only 3 days in.  The challenge today was to get up extra early and simply write.  I honestly tried...but I'm not exactly coherent in the morning.  Hence the reason why I am writing this at 9:30 p.m.  The point is not the time of day or night though.  The challenge is simply, as Jeff puts it, to show up.  To put in the time to improve our craft as writers.

I'm not sure what else will be involved as this challenge progresses over the remainder of these two weeks, but I know I'm really enjoying it so far, even though it is extra work squeezed in around everyday life.  Yes, writing is legitimate work, believe it or not.  It has also been encouraging reading comments from other writers on Jeff's blog, seeing that I'm not alone in my thoughts and experiences here, and maybe picking up a few tips from other writers along the way as well.

All that to say, I am using this writer's challenge to officially reboot this blog.  I'm sure the blog will continue to evolve as I grow as a writer, and hopefully a few people will be encouraged by what they read here.  I'm a writer.  It's time for me to write.