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 http://www.facebook.com/pages/School-of-the-Bible/59697764870 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. :)