I was perched near the top of a tall building, under the Tower of Babel sign, trying to address the crowd. The problem was, only a few of my listeners understood what I was saying. The rest were raising a ruckus trying to find someone who spoke their language, making it impossible for anyone to hear me. My nightmare turned out just as it did in the Bible, my audience parting a hundred different ways.
I’m glad it was only a dream.
Is writing for you?
The need to communicate with others is a basic need, but how do you know if writing is the best outlet for you?
The first thing I would ask, if you wonder about calling yourself a writer, is how important is it to you?
I have been writing consistently for more than forty years. Writing helps me think, or understand, my world. It helps me communicate better when I speak, because I’ve pre-processed my thoughts. I consider a tablet and pen two of the bare essentials of my existence, so I carry them with me always.
I would give up meals to write.
My husband Jerry is not devoted to writing. He likes to put his hunting and outdoor stories on paper once in a while, but he finds satisfaction when he is working in his shop crafting knives. Writing doesn’t feed his soul like it does mine. He’s happy to miss a meal when he has an almost-finished knife in his hands.
Ready to commit long-term?
Writing is hard work, but I make it a labor of love.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:25-29 NIV).
Do you think you can stick with it? Will you listen to wisdom and work on your skills to keep improving them? When storms or disappointments come, will you learn from your mistakes and correct them, even if it means digging up a poor foundation and starting over with a wiser game plan? Adversity isn’t fun, but it can help us become better communicators.
Keep building, keep writing, keep crafting
Jerry improves his craft by learning from successful knife makers and experimenting with new concepts as he works. When he lists his knives for sale online or displays them at knife shows, he keeps aware of the responses he receives so he can incorporate new ideas into his designs (see Jerry Davis Knives.com).
It’s much the same with my writing. I ask seasoned writers for tips on improving my craft, and use the feedback I receive from readers for the same purpose. I’ve found that attending Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) conferences, where I have opportunities to rub elbows with all kinds of writers, mentors, editors and agents, to be invaluable.
If you’re interested in exploring this further, join us at the OCW spring conference in May (one day), or the four-day summer coaching conference in August. This link will take you to the website where you will find more information.
How am I doing? I welcome any feedback on my growing communication skills.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis