Find Your Voice: What if I’m not a writer? {day 1}

31 Days to Find Your Voice - Becoming a Freer, Better WriterWelcome to the first day of Find Your Voice! I’m excited for the journey ahead, but first let’s clear the proverbial air. Some of you may be asking,

What if I’m not a writer?

“I don’t feel like I’m a writer.” “I’ve never told anyone I want to write.” “I’m really not a writer…I just like talking.”

You say you’re not, but do you try? Do you crave this expression? Do you hope to spread your words across pages and screens? Do you have something inside you that needs to get out? Can you not keep your words quiet?

I’ve struggled with this…can we all be amazing writers? Can we all be wordsmiths worth drooling over?

Honestly? I don’t know. There are those who have the natural gift of the word and those that struggle to put two sentences together expressing themselves. Can writing be learned? I think so. Deep down everyone has a longing for art and beauty, and when we hit that somewhere place an artist is born. We all have a voice.

We all have something to say, something we want to say…and, perhaps even more importantly, we all have a voice that needs to be heard.

What if I'm not a writer?Even if you say, “I’m no writer. I just have a blog where I write about food or motherhood or running” or “I just have an idea.” You have something. You have something to say. It may not be as eloquent as a New York Times bestseller, but it is something. And it is worth hearing.

My advice to you? Get over the I can’t.You can.

It’s not rocket science. It’s words. There’s nothing to demystify. No matter how many books we thumb through in hopes of discovering the magical secret–the way to write is to sit down and do it.

Don’t stop before you’ve tried.


31 Days to Find Your Voice - Day 1

Today, if you’re thinking of joining the journey–to write every day for 21 days–then take today to get your tools, weaponry, pretties together (really whatever you want to call them) and come back tomorrow for another spoonful of writing.


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Find Your Voice {#31Days}

Among the crazy and not-so-crazy bloggers, October is affectionately known as #31Days. That time of year hundreds of bloggers hunker down to scribble daily on the same topic and share it every day. The last two years I’ve written on the battle for significance and sojourning.

So what will it be this year?

31 Days to Find Your Voice  - 31 Days to Becoming a Freer, Better Writer

Yay! Not only is writing one of my favorite things to do, but it’s also one of my favorite things to talk about. And there’s really no end to how much or how many tangents you can take when it comes to talking about writing.

Here’s to being superfluous!

October 1st is just a few days away, so what can you expect from Find Your Voice?

  • Tidbits and inspiration that will (hopefully) provoke, encouragement, and unravel the writer in
  • daily writing prompts
  • my favorite books on writing
  • awesome quotes from writers big and small
  • a weekly flash fiction (or flash non-fiction) prompt

We’ll tackle the internal editor, the urge to publish every word we write (should we?), and challenge ourselves to commit to writing for at least 21 days in a row. (Don’t fret at the thought of writing every day for 21 days! There’s no limit or requirement to how much you write.) 

Oh, fear. He’s a stellar enemy. Don’t let him hold you down. We’ll kick fear in the face over and over and over until he gets the message.

Got it? Good.

It’s time to break through the fear (we all have it) and excuses (we all have those too), dust off those dreams and stories and that turn of phrase you’ve been holding for safekeeping and put it all on paper!

Join me? It’ll be an adventure.

31 Days to Find Your Voice - Becoming a freer, better writer

Day 1 – What if I’m not a writer?

Day 2 – Breaking Through Fear

Day 3 – The ‘Why’ of Write

Day 4 – Flash Fiction Friday!

Day 5 – The Best Books for Writers

Day 6 – Freeing the Internal Editor

Day 7 – The Problem with Writing in a Publishing World

Day 8 – When the Muse Doesn’t Come

Day 9 – Am I Really a Writer? 

Day 10 – Flash Fiction Friday!

Day 11 – What Harry Potter Taught Me About Writing

Day 12 – The Risk of Failure 

Day 13 – The Allure of the Success Formula

Day 14 –  Don’t Fear the Edits

Day 15 – What If It’s Not Good?

Day 16 – Flash Fiction Friday!

Day 17 – Authors, Agents, & Writers to Follow

Day 18 –  Be Yourself. Seriously.

Day 19 – Everything is Writable

Day 20 – Three Words

Day 21 – Filling Out Your 3 Words

Day 22 – Flash Fiction Friday!

Day 23 – What My Children Taught Me About Writing

Day 24 – The Faulty Lie of “Arrived”

Day 25 – Tell a Story. Yours.

Day 26 – The Many Seasons of Writing

Day 27 – Welcome to the Journey.


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Where I’m From

Golden Birthday Collage1I am from pan-fried cornbread, fried bologna sandwiches after church, and spitting watermelon seeds off the back of Pawpaw’s red pick-up. I’m from Cheerwine (if you pronounced it right you’ve said it wrong) and humidity so thick it’ll make you humble.

I’m from stoic military housing and the wild forest behind Mawmaw’s. I’m from the taste of the ocean breeze and the land of the rising sun. I’m from the branches of dogwoods, the bustling blooms of azaleas, and the delicate sakura.

I am from the halls of Montezuma and the shores of Tripoli. I’m from the caretakers of the Lost Colony–the one’s who drove the KKK straight out of town. I’m from the Missouri Pugh’s and Dudley’s, pioneers who predecess America.

Golden Birthday Collage3

I am from honor, courage, and commitment. I’m from “get ‘er done” and “bless your heart.” I’m from “sign your name like you mean it” and “can’t never could do anything.” I’m from family secrets and dark journals.

I am from the sweet by and by and chariots swinging low. I’m from a one-room church and pews as old as revolution.

I’m from PCSing and TLF’s. I’m from wild, weather forecasting hair and beef stroganoff for dinner. I’m from cookie dough straight out of the bowl and fireflies at night. I’m from Forced Family Entertainment and a right-hand drive.

Golden Birthday Collage4I’m from adapt and overcome and stars in the sky. I’m from the people with no country to call their own, from walking in dark to see the light.

I am from lost and now found, from chained to set free, from harassed and helpless to whole and loved.

* * * * * *

I love seeing the Where I’m From posts that sprout up every now and then. Right now, SheLoves Magazine is hosting a Where I’m From synchroblog. Some start with this template if you need a jumping point.

So where are you from?


Control & Contentment in Pursuit of Beauty

I think when it comes down to it, seeing and savoring our lives as beautiful, is less of discovering hazy lit corners of our day to Instagram and more of a quiet contentedness.

{I’m still thinking this all through and noticing the 101 tangents that could be taken, so bear with me.}

But when I am frustrated by how my day is going, like this morning when my two-year-old woke up the sleeping baby who’d hardly slept the night before. I wasn’t the happiest of mommas. I could feel the tailspin.

I even told my husband as he was leaving for work that today was going to be a horrible day. Soon after he left, and before my lid boiled off, I remembered something I say regularly to my kids,

“Your brother isn’t making you angry,

you are choosing to be angry.”

My situation wasn’t ideal, a sleep-deprived momma and baby never is. My two-year-old knows it’s against house rules to open the door to his baby sister’s room (closed door = sleeping). But those two ingredients do not force me to act and speak in bitter, angry frustration.

I am in charge of how I respond. No matter the outside stimuli I can still control my reaction. It’s not always easy. (Seriously, it’s rarely easy.)

But withholding love, respect, and grace never brought anyone closer to Christ. Even if my children disobey or someone cuts me off, even if someone degrades my character or inconveniences me I can control my response. (Whether or not I will is another thing.) We know because of Jesus we can be tempted to sin, yet still refrain. Sin is always a choice.

[Just an aside: It is good to feel emotions. To be sad, happy, frustrated, angry, depressed, etc. I think we all too often err when we too quickly brush past our emotions. They are more often than not indicators of something deeper. It’s good to question why we’re feeling the way we are and to let ourselves feel–mourn, rejoice, be melancholy. But our emotions are not license to sin. I see them as a way to examine ourselves and dig deeper into who we are and how we need Jesus.]

Okay. Back on track…

How do these less than ideal circumstances and raging emotions connect to beauty?

There’s two places my mind goes:

1. Contentment. (I’ll come back to this later.)

2. I’m the boss of me.

I'm  the boss of me. How I react to things out side of my control says much of what I believe. If I preach grace and say Jesus’ kindness leads us to repent, but blast my kids (or anyone else for that matter) when they don’t live up to my spoken (or unspoken) expectations, I’m sending them two separate messages:

1. God is loving and gracious and desires to show us mercy.

2. If you do wrong in my house or to me there is no grace. The standard is perfection every time.

I may not mean that but how I respond with my words and actions can easily convey that message. I’m wrong but wish to God I was right, so I’m going to belittle your position. Or you have a different opinion, so I’m going to tell you how mine is “biblical.” If you don’t serve me or others to my standard I’m going to call you selfish and lazy…at least in my head. And on and on…

{we can be such a bunch of ugly sinners, can’t we? thanks be to Jesus for freely giving us grace!}

You know what I notice in all these responses? They take all the responsibility of my response off of me and place it on my “offender.” Which brings me back to #1.


When I choose to respond

I am trusting that God’s ways are better. That I have been forgiven much and will extend the same forgiveness God showed me. I am walking in faith when I choose to walk on the truth of the Scriptures, I am effectually saying,

  • I consider another better than myself
  • I aim to walk in a manner of humility, gentleness, and patience “bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2)
  • I am letting go of all bitterness (Eph. 4:31)
  • I will choose to be tenderhearted and forgiving as God has forgiven me (Eph. 4:32)
  • I will respond without grumbling (Php. 2:14)
  • I desire to seek the interests of Christ (Php. 2:21)
  • I desire my speech to always be gracious (Col. 4:6).

When I do this I am letting go of the reins, letting go of my assumptions and false impression of control and choosing to walk the path of light and life with Jesus. This is what it is to be content.

And it’s here in this contentment where we can really trust Jesus that our lives open up to the endless possibilities of beauty.

Is this the secret Paul spoke of to be content? Releasing control?

May it so be with us.

What do you think? What’s contentment mean to you?

Do you see control as the antithesis to contentment?


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Red. {five minute friday}

Joining in at Five Minute Friday. The prompt? Red.

Five Minute Friday


They forgot the “i” on his birth certificate. His parents didn’t notice until they were weeks home from the hospital and by then they didn’t care to fix it. They laughed about it. Oh, with all the joy of a baby the mistake rolled off their laughter like water on a duck. But not to him.

It stuck and stained hard under his skin. His clammy hands would rub the collar of his neck as he turned all shades of crimson when the teacher read off his name. And there was that time he was pulled over for speeding through a stoplight and when he handed over his license and registration the cop laughed, “What’d kinda hippie parents did you have?” And then there was the time at camp when the counselors didn’t know if the name on the list meant boy or girl and he showed up on the wrong side of camp turning every shade of blush.

Sure. They all laughed. A simple mistake, just a dropped vowel. It could be a line in a Johnny Cash song, they’d say. But he was no boy named Sue. No, just a Reid named Red.