When You Know Who You Are, You Know What to Write

public domain; pixabay.com

public domain; pixabay.com

As writers and communicators, we’ve probably all heard the saying, “Communicate with the listener in mind.” I keep this statement on my desk to be reminded often that I need to be intentional in my writing – intentional to focus on clearly articulating the topic at hand with you – the reader – in mind. When I prepare a live presentation, the same practice applies. Like John Maxwell said in his book by the same title, “Everyone communicates, but few connect.”

If we only write or talk to have something to say, it does little good to anyone. And in a day when seemingly everyone has a platform of some kind, it matters even more that our words count.

Beware getting lost in the practice of communicating with your listeners/readers in mind, though.

In the private practice (counseling, coaching and consulting) my husband and I have, and in my teaching and writing, one of the main focuses of all I do is to affirm and re-affirm to clients, audience members, and readers that everything we do reflects what we believe about our identity. Like Joyce Meyer has often said, “Your DO is not Your WHO.” In other words, you aren’t what you do – either in daily behavior nor in vocation – for better or worse. That reality is hard to remember sometimes, isn’t it?

I have a couple of heroes in my life about whom, over the years, I’ve thought or even said aloud, “I wish I could write like him/her,” or “I wish I could be as funny/articulate/bold/etc as ________________ is.” While learning from others and even emulating others we admire can be a really positive experience in personal growth, we need to be careful that we avoid trying to become another person in our attempts to find success.

No one will bring to the world what you’ve been placed here to offer.

Discovering my identity and then practicing the position of my identity is key to experiencing success (i.e. “the abundant life” Jesus spoke of in John 10:10).

“Your DO is not Your WHO.” – Joyce Meyer

In my book, Why Can’t We Just Get Along?, the main point throughout is that “When you know who you are, you know what to do.” Since this is true in everyday life and relationships, we can trust that it is also true in our vocation. For the purpose of this blog, I’m speaking specifically to writers. If we never discover,  or if we fail to remember who we are, we will lose our unique voices in our writing as we attempt to ‘communicate with the listener(s) in mind’. The pull to be who others want us to be, even well-meaning friends and colleagues, will be too strong to avoid. We may (no guarantees here!) become extremely popular or even write a bestseller, but if it isn’t our voice the readers hear, is it really worth it?

This is a question only you can answer for yourself. For me, it just isn’t worth it.

Readers connect with different writers for as many reasons as there are writers and readers! I love it when I can “hear” the sound of different writers’ voices. Your readers love it when they can hear you distinct voice as well. So, as you’re working diligently on having solid content to share, avoid the pull to share it in someone else’s voice.

“My voice is never much louder than a ripple, but even small voices sound loud when you talk about things that matter.”
Natalie Lloyd, The Key to Extraordinary

 

 

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This entry was posted in Encouragement, Writer's Life, Writing and tagged , by shelleyhendrix. Bookmark the permalink.

About shelleyhendrix

Shelley is an author and speaker who hosted Atlanta Live!-A Christian Talk Show on Atlanta’s WATC TV 57 for 6 years. She has been a featured guest on radio programs around the nation. Shelley speaks at various events nationally and internationally, and was also a contributing writer to “Secrets of Confidence”- a devotional book for women published by Barbour Publishing. Shelley’s first published book is entitled “On Purpose For A Purpose," which can be used for individual or group study and is based from the Book of Esther. Also available is her 31-day devotional guide called "Wisdom: A Girl's Best Friend," based on the Proverbs. Her most recent book is "Why Can't We Just Get Along?!" published by Harvest House Publishers.. Additionally, Shelley is also a freelance writer and editor, and has been published with Randall House Publishing and various other publications and blogs. She currently writes for Gary Chapman's StartMarriageRight.com, C4C's Blog, and TeamRedeemed.org. She is also the co-founder of Heart Smart - Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting with her husband, Stephen D. Hendrix, LAPC, CADC II in beautiful St. Simons Island, Georgia.

2 thoughts on “When You Know Who You Are, You Know What to Write

  1. Thanks…needed to hear that. “No one will bring to the world what you’ve been placed here to offer.” So easy to think my voice gets lost in the multitudes, but it’s no less needed than those who rise above the crowds.

  2. I just came across this blog for the first time today as I was searching again for tips on writing a Bible Study book. It scares(terrifies) me but it’s a dream I continue to pursue because it doesn’t go away. Just want to thank you so much for sharing your insights. I think the biggest setback for me in moving forward is falling into the comparison trap, seeing how others are better equipped and educated, better with words, etc… But you’re absolutely right, we all have a distinct voice that needs to be heard. Anyway, I just want to thank you for sharing and encouraging me today. ❤️

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