During 2013, dozens of talented writers are joining me to cheer you on in your storytelling. These guest-writers will share a few helpful words with you right here every Tuesday night, to encourage you as you #TellHisStory. (Come back after midnight to link up your story by clicking here.) And now, I’m delighted to introduce you to one very talented and funny friend Amanda Hill.
When I think of writing, credibility matters. Well-tuned sentences and proper grammar means people can take you seriously as a writer, and if you lack that foundation you can’t begin to take liberties. The writers that I love have a mastery over the language, so that at times they can be free and whimsical, ignoring rules and running on to highlight a mood or describe a scene. But foundation is key. We all produce good fruit by being grafted into the vine, so writing well and being creative means quite a bit of work on the forefront regarding fundamentals and vocabulary.
I still find it difficult to call myself a writer, even though in my heart I realize that I am. Mostly, I just try to dig into places where people go but don’t talk about and let the ribbons of words that flow through my head like a curse fall out like a blessing. And it is a blessing, my dear friends, whatever it might be that God has placed inside of you to share. I meet people often that struggle with “being a writer” instead of just relishing in the joy or reading or writing their story for the sheer pleasure of the telling. We all have our own unique gifts to share.
For me, I’ve found that humor resonates, and I tend to make light of bad situations because I’ve found that it’s just a better way to live. And my brain’s broken, so sarcasm comes pouring out like ranch dressing and there’s not much I can really do to stop it. Some people are naturally funny and others aren’t. Some authors weave words like glistening spider webs and others plunk down neat little bricks of truth. Stay true to the voice that naturally flows and don’t try to be someone different. If you have been blessed with the knowledge of how to write well, let go. Focus less on the audience and allow your gut to guide you. Allow words that are resting in the back of your mind to come forward. Allow freedom to infiltrate your hands and guide your thoughts, and never ever edit as you go along.
And lastly, believe in your talent, even if others don’t. If you are called to sing, then sing. If you are called to lead, lead. But if you are called to write, don’t stop because a few people tell you it’s unpolished or doesn’t sound right. Trust yourself. And trust that inner urge that God places for you to use the gifts He has placed within you. We are called to be a light unto the world, and it takes all forms of art for humanity to shine. Even if it does just plop out on the page at times like ranch dressing. We can’t win them all.
Amanda Hill is an attorney, cancer survivor, lover of funny things, and the mother of two very active and spirited children. She writes over at www.hillpen.com and was selected by BlogHer as a “Voice of the Year” in 2012.