Thought full Thursday: To be… Or Not to be…

photo credit: faeryn / flickr

photo credit: faeryn / flickr

Reading is one of my favorite things.  Reading the written word can be life changing – especially when crafted by wordsmiths such as Max Lucado, Emilie Barnes, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beth Moore…  The written word is so powerful and enriching – on a different level than the spoken word.

Writing is another of my favorite things.

In fact, I think it must have evolved from my love of reading. I have enjoyed writing since I picked up a pencil and wrote my first word.

I enjoy reading it.  I enjoy writing.  I enjoy words in general.  Communication is such a powerful tool in the human arsenal and can be done in so many ways.

I have heard a lot of people say, Oh, I’m not a writer!” – even after being complimented on something they’ve written.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it is often just an underestimation of their ability and an overestimation of what writing actually is.

Some people are born with the natural ability to write effectively.  Other people have the ability, but like so many other things in life, they just need some guidance and practice.

Writing, like art, is often subjective – its quality is often determined by the “eye of the beholder.”  When we critique our own work, we are often far more critical on some points, and not objective enough on others.  Having our work critiqued can leave us feeling vulnerable and overexposed – and who wants to feel that way?

But, I’m Really Not a Writer!

Okay, so you think you can’t write.  You think your writing skills are not fantastic.  Not worth reading.

Maybe instead you just need some guidance.  And maybe your writing skills just need a little work.

Do you have a desire to write?  Do you dream of writing a book, a novel, a series?  Blogging? Writing articles for church or business? Being published?  If not, you can stop reading here.  The rest will probably bore you. =)

If you do dream of those things – What are you doing about it?

I had a conversation this month with the leader of our women’s ministry at church.  We were talking about writing and speaking.  I’m fairly comfortable with both writing or speaking.  I get butterflies right at the moment of getting up in front of people, but once I get rolling, I’m pretty comfortable in my shoes.

I said to her, “I believe if you can speak, you can write.”  She respectfully disagreed – and much like my own mom – feels more comfortable speaking in front of a group, than in writing.

I made that statement because I see the process for speaking and writing as very similar. The significant difference is in the delivery of the message.

Bridging the Gap

Good writing often begins with an outline.  Good speeches often begin with an outline.  Knowing how to formulate your thoughts, put them into order, and translate them into words that people want to read or hear basically takes the same skills.

Many authors and speakers work from an outline.  The delivery of this speech is just an extension of the writing.  Many writers find a comfortable format by expressing their thoughts, their feelings – themselves – through writing, but shudder at the thought of speaking in front of others.

Not every good speaker is a great writer.  Not every good writer is a great speaker.

However, with a little practice, the strengths of the one can be used to build up what’s lacking in the other.

Whether you feel you are good at writing OR speaking, or whether you wonder about your ability to do either – it really just takes practice.

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If you’re nervous about being critiqued for your lack of spelling or grammar abilities – use your spell checker and grammar tools in your word processing program to help.  Note that these tools have some loopholes, but it will help you practice and improve your skills.

Take a creative writing course or program at a local community college.  This can be a lot of fun, as well as a great help to improving your writing ability.

Join a writers group – either locally or online – and begin writing with the purpose of having others review your work.  Be open to the advice and critique of other experienced writers.  (Remember, even writers like Max Lucado and Beth Moore have an editor for their work.) Try some writing projects at these groups for the fun and experience of expanding your knowledge of writing.

Begin journaling every day.  Privately.  Online.  In a blog.  Share your thoughts.

Practice writing!  You just might discover a deep passion for writing – which can be a very fulfilling hobby – or even your next source of income.

In the meantime – here’s a poll just for fun!

Feel free to leave additional comments below!!!


One Response to “Thought full Thursday: To be… Or Not to be…”

  1. slamdunk Says:

    Wonderful suggestions–I think becoming comfortable with writing requires a plan, dedication, and practice.

    Good point as well in that sometimes we don’t like something until we try it.

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