Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writing as a Calling-Taryn Hutchison

Most writers write for sheer love of the craft. They love writing enough to offset the setbacks, the rejections, the delays. As believers, we have another reason, a bigger reason, to write: because God calls us. Writing can be a ministry.

When I returned to the States, God rekindled my childhood dream of writing. I knew I had much to say about all I had seen God do in Eastern Europe. But I had to defer my dream once more while I went through my season of transition, already large with culture shock and magnified by getting married and leaving my mission organization. I found work as an administrative assistant, a routine job where I wasn’t recognized for what I could offer. (Can you relate? Any moms reading this?) After 21 years of discipling many people, I was only able to influence a few, and only informally. God still tugged at my heart to write, but I just couldn’t sit at a computer at night after doing that all day long. That’s when my dear husband suggested we rearrange things so I could follow God’s call. I cut my hours at work, giving me one day each week set aside for writing.

Through writing, God increased my circle of influence to include people all over the world, people I’ve never met, people like you. I still miss the face-to-face time, but I’m able to quietly write at home and encourage others through life experiences God’s given me. I no longer feel marginalized. When I read comments from people who’ve been touched by my words, my joy and fulfillment overflow. I’m doing what God wants me to do and what He put on my heart when I was a child. It’s a dream come true!

I started seriously writing during a time of change, and I’ve been writing this blog during another transition. By the time this is posted, my husband and I will have said good-bye to our life in California, and started our cross-country road trip to greet the next chapter in North Carolina. This blog has helped me cope because I have hope that my words are helping you.

Writing is about the reader. It’s not about you. The ministry of writing is about God using your words to touch other peoples’ lives. You have to constantly ask yourself what the reader will take away, what the universal is and how it will help them. Sometimes the benefit is simply that it makes them laugh or it provides a diversion by letting them enter into someone else’s life and story for a short while. Sometimes it’s more inspirational and profound.

Consider Frederick Buechner’s advice about discerning God’s call: “What can we do that makes us the gladdest, what can we do that leaves us with the strongest sense of sailing true north and of peace, which is much of what gladness is? Is it making things with our hands out of wood or stone or paint or canvas? Or is it making something we hope like truth out of words? Or is it making people laugh or weep in a way that cleanses their spirit? I believe that if it is a thing that makes us truly glad, then it is a good thing and it is our thing and it is the calling voice that we were made to answer with our lives . . . . . The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!! I do hope you are able to find your turkeys and re-create our distinctly American holiday in your new home with your new friends.

What About You?
Is God calling you to write and why? What steps will you take to make that dream a reality?

How’s it going with choosing a story from your life? This week, trim your story. Think of it as a turkey and hack away the fat. Make it more concise. Write it as you would for your newsletter.

A Contest:

Since this is such a busy time of year, we’re extending the deadline to submit your stories to WOTH ! You now have until December 8-14 to send a 300-500 word story to editor@womenoftheharvest.com . Cindy Blomquist (WOTH Editor) and I will read them and declare the first literary winner from the WOTH Writer’s Blog. The prize will be a $20 iTunes gift card (just in time for Christmas) and a spot in the March/April issue of the WOTH onlineMagazine!

2 comments:

Sharon said...

Hi,

I just wanted to respond to your questions: "Is He calling you to writing and why? What steps will you take to make that dream a reality?"

I remember taking journalism in high school and writing my one and only published article. The article was something about high school being like a roller coaster ride... (It had to do with emotions). I didn't enjoy the technical part of journalism but somehow my main responsibility was to edit the editorial page.

In college, I really wanted to pursue a journalism or communications major but opted for studying the book and CE. I wasn't brave enough to follow my own desires and interests. I thought it was something to suppress because how would I know if it was from him or not? What if it was just my own selfish desires?

Four years ago, I went back to school to get my MA in TESOL (teaching English to speaker of other languages). I really enjoyed writing again. My favorite assignments were reflective essays on learning a foreign language. (The focus was writing about the affective filter in learning languages, ie. emotions). I also got good grades because of my writing abilities which reminded me that I like to write and others seemed to enjoy my writing style too-- although academic writing is different from other writing forms.

About two years ago, I met with a friend and shared with her that I had an overwhelming passion within me to explore speaking and writing. She told me that she believed in me and that my dreams were not crazily selfish but from him. I felt a tremendous release to name and pursue my deepest longings.

All that to say: "Yes, writing is a part of his calling at this time in my life." Why? Because I have been privileged to have walked with him along life's journey. He has given me many life experiences that have drawn me to know him more and more over the years. "Silver and gold have I none but what I have I give to you... Him." What I have learned and am still learning of him is what I have to give to others.

One of the first steps towards pursuing my dream of writing that I have taken is to read this blog. I am also committed to writing my own blog for the next year of 2010. I also hope to attend a writers' conference in the spring of 2011. Those are the steps that I have so far...

Thanks for letting me process!
Sharon

Taryn said...

Bravo to Sharon and the rest of you who are brave enough to step out there and pursue a new, or old, dream! May the One who gives you these dreams and life experiences be glorified.

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