In the aftermath of the Great Realm Makers Conference, writers across the nation(s) are applying their newfound wisdom and writing techniques to their manuscripts, polishing things up, and sending them out into the world.
One of the main benefits of a conference like this is the opportunity to talk to professionals in the industry and get feedback.
I got some good feedback from someone who really knows the business. But, as with all feedback, it’s also very painful. It is heartbreaking to hear that your work isn’t good enough, no matter how encouraging or useful the information. And let’s be honest, there’s always room for improvement, so there’s always going to be a reason for someone to give constructive criticism or feedback.
And, no matter how willing or teachable you are, sometimes the worst part is figuring out how to apply what you’ve learned.
At least, that’s the case for me. I understand the what and the why, but the how is more elusive.
Especially in this particular case.
The person who gave me feedback, after reading samples of three manuscripts, commented that they’re all very different and she had a hard time hearing my voice. There wasn’t a sense of continuity or anything that gave her an idea that they were all mine. She asked, “Who are you as a writer?”
So, I’ve spent the last several days struggling with that question. And not just who am I as a writer, but who am I in general? I could tell you lots of things that are “me” and lots of things that I like and so on, but I didn’t really know how to incorporate that into my voice as a writer.
And of course, one of the hard things about voice is that it’s not really something that can be taught, it can only be found.
So, I’ve been wrestling with this idea, praying and thinking and asking counsel. Who am I? What is my purpose? Why did God give me a passion for writing if I don’t have a voice? What am I supposed to do, what message am I supposed to convey with my words?
There were a couple things I found, and a couple ways I found confirmation in what I was thinking.
And I have come to the conclusion more that it’s not so much how I say it but what I say. The more I write, the more my unique voice will appear, but my goal, my purpose, is to show the love of God in a unique way. To show human nature, not in the mires of sin, but with the beauty of being created in the image of a perfect God and to show that no matter how dark things get, there is always Hope.
That’s who I am.
As a person, and as a writer.