Good Writing Comes From a Healthy Soul

Maybe God wants to use my story to help someone else? Perhaps that’s the purpose for the painful life experiences I’ve walked through.

We women feel the need to share story, don’t we? To offer insight and hope, to let others know they are not alone, to debate God’s redeeming hand with Oprah (okay, maybe that’s just me on the last one).

It’s true, though. The sound of story resonates from the caves of ancient culture into the modern storytelling centers of today. Since we could speak, we’ve used our personal experiences to influence, educate, and encourage.

The need for story is primal. It’s part of a selfishly Divine design. God created us for community; we are designed to serve vulnerable slices of our lives, heartrending wedges of emotional pain garnished with sweet slabs of healing. As we do, we nurture the raw places nestled inside of every woman. As others witness God’s transformation in our lives, they want to know more about the Transformer.

Early on I uncovered the need to weave my tale, tragic as it was. Like countless others my back-story is steeped in dysfunction, but it’s also a hope-filled story where God’s grace and mercy run deep. I felt compelled to share that hope and encouragement on a wide scale.

Problem was, as a soul-wounded woman I didn’t have a voice. My own language. I simply regurgitated the style of others, imitating what I imagined my voice should sound like on the other side of emotional wholeness.  Marry that writing style with a need to purge bubbling anger and my early readers cleaned a lot of (emotional) vomit from their computer screens.

Sometimes God calls us to write for publication; other times He simply calls us to write. I had confused the two—telling my story, and selling my story hailed from two different worlds.

I sought the validation of publication while what I desperately needed instead was voice lessons. As a novice writer, I heard much about the importance of voice. My. Own. Unique. Voice. Yet my voice was shadowed by the influence of others; my perspective skewed, buried in pain and not mature enough to be out on its own yet.

But God, in His grace, led me to write through that pain. Sort through the fallout of hurtful life experiences. Cut through the hard stuff. As I wrote I discovered His truth and redeeming principles, while uncovering my voice—my authentic personality. The raw journaling from that journey may never meet publication, but the voice that emerged has since been published nationally and internationally.

Our stories need to be dialogued, written out. An emotionally-expensive tutor, their words often light the path to a whole new perspective of Jesus. One wall of my office holds a well-worn sign to daily remind me, “Good writing comes from a healthy soul.”

What do you want to write about? What story is so important that you must share it?

 

 

Jo Ann Fore is an author, speaker, book-freak, and fun friend. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of women. Most noted for her authentic vulnerability, Jo Ann captivates her audience with faith-filled messages caramelized with a powerful promise of hope. Visit Jo Ann at Write Where It Hurtsa virtual community where women gather for support, encouragement, and practical tools to live a joyful, purpose-filled life. 

How Bad Do We Want It?

For years, I harbored a secret.

I wanted to be a writer. I longed to see my words in print. But persistent doubts and fear of failure often sidetracked me.

Desire and talent were two different threads. I wondered, “Am I truly capable of crafting words people will want to read?”

As a mostly self-taught writer, it was time. Time to learn. Time to network. And time to confess my secret.

Where to turn?

Three and a half years ago, feeling a bit Alice in Wonderland-esque, I fell into my first writer’s conference. Upon my arrival, I discovered a very weird yet indelibly native wonderland.

The mountains were filled with beginner, intermediate, and widely-read authors. And the land overflowed with editors, publishers, and agents. Finally, a sense of genuine community—these people understood. We spoke the same language, shared similar idiosyncrasies, and dreamed the same dreams.

But dare I fantasize they would help me—that they could help me—figure out which way to go from here?

Like water for a flower, the serendipitous environment seduced me to voice my dream. I whispered my idea into attentive ears. It was all I had—a simple, naïve, and undeveloped concept.

The faculty was incredibly helpful. Come-at-able (within respective boundaries). Attainable. These worldwide publishers, award-winning authors, national editors, and stellar agents were simply real people. And they didn’t bite! They wanted to help, and expressed a genuine interest in my success.

Words of encouragement and strong support overtook me. Transformed me. A newfound confidence wafted through the mountain air. I really can do this.

I packed my bags for home with a new resolve. I would return to next year’s conference with something tangible—my book proposal and sample chapters.

However, dark storms quickly absorbed this new perfume of confidence. I returned, instead, to the lie of the daily routine. Life as a mom, wife, and entrepreneur consumed my days. Not to mention various health issues that cropped up at the most inopportune times. I quickly learned inspiration alone doesn’t write a book.

Eight months passed. A fluorescent note on my Daytimer reminded me of the upcoming conference, only a few months away. The date pierced my heart. How bad do I want this?

I had found the courage to voice my dream. Now, would I really do what I needed to do? It was time to be intentional, time to register for the next conference. And time to start writing.

A couple months later, I returned to my writer wonderland. Determined now to find my way, I hemmed up my fears and laid out my work before eagle eyes. I coveted honest insight and constructive critique. The faculty didn’t disappoint; the feedback was invaluable and the support overwhelming.

In the end, I completed my first book. I also gained multiple offers of agent representation, found a fantastic editor/writing coach, and secured potential endorsements. That first writer’s conference was the gentle kick I needed.

 

Desire and talent may well be different threads but woven together they have the potential for a beautiful tapestry.

 

How about you? As a writer, do you ever feel isolated? Lack motivation or confidence? How do you stay on track? Have you struggled to marry your desire with your talent? (I would love to hear from you; we’re all here to learn from each other’s experiences.)