They say to be a good writer you have to be a good reader. I've never been really great at reading until I wanted to become a better writer.
I remember the days of 8th grade when Mrs. Volz was my reading teacher. Back in ancient school times, it was required to learn to read well and fast. I've must of flunked that class. I still remember the intimidating and archaic machine that projected lines of words on a white screen at the front of the classroom, ticking off words line by line. I remember the blur of words that I peered so hard to read fast and furious from the back of the class, sitting on my knees just to see the screen. I didn't learn to read that well and was just mesmerized by the black block that was keeping pace with the metronome set at hyper speed. It seemed to float fast across the front of the room.
This was my reading world, class assignments, that I failed daily at and it was a process that failed me. I wasn't one of those students that got it. I just wanted to shout at that 80-year-old teacher for her teaching technique that left me out and feeling inferior to the rest of the class.
I gave up reading at that point in my life, believing that if I couldn't read fast there was no point in reading at all. I still had a fascination for books however and over time I practiced just reading at my own pace, very slow on a good day, and I taught myself how to read and absorb what I was reading.
By reading, I have improved my writing. There's a fancy blogger I like to read that has taught me about reading, writing, and all things fancy. He's been one of the best teachers in this process, and has really read me like a book. The funny thing is that we have never met, but through his influence in words, and through my growth in reading, he has made me believe that I can do this writing thing.
He believes in me without having met me.
He's taught me how to own my story, how to own how to spill my story and how to be a good writer. In teaching me how to be a better writer, and he is coaching me in a way that has benefited well for him. I might have been wrong about the importance of reading well. But because I have stayed the course, I am earning my right to write better.
One of the things that Jeff Goins, Michael Hyatt and John Maxwell have all taught me is the same, that if you want to learn about a topic you need to read about it for 5 years. I've been blogging for going on my seventh year now, and I can tell you that I am getting better at this.
They have all taught me it's okay to admit you were wrong about something.
I was wrong about where my confidence in writing was coming from. I have been wrong about why I am doing this. The other day, God again refreshed my purpose, thus the resurgence of this blog. I was wrong about why this needed new energy. I'll admit I was distracted and defeated in writing.
But God...reminded me that He wasn't done with this little fancy thing just yet, through the words of one fancy writer. What Jeff is doing right now is a 21-day challenge for blogging, with the purpose of being intentional with what and why we are writing.
Can you handle one more "I was wrong" statement?
I've been wrong about this blogging process too. Jeff reminded me that blogging is just practice at writing and at reading, and if you want to get better you have to do both. Oh how I need to find balance in this process, because I was relying on my own strength to revive this effort, versus God's strength that He has equipped me with.
I don't know about you but there are days when I want to do this writing thing all by myself. I think I'm strong enough to compose a few fancy words, string them together to make sense, and then pray that it will make a difference in someone's life.
What I was wrong about was the fact that I could do something without the work of the Holy Spirit to do what He is asking me to do. I was really wrong and I thought I was prepared to do it already. This blog is an evolving practice of my daily dependence on what God can do through me and is doing in me.
I was also wrong about what I was afraid of. I'm not afraid that you aren't reading this stuff. I'm afraid you are rejecting what I'm writing about. So this might be a wrong question, but do you tire of my spiritual stories?
Have you ever had to admit that you can't do something on your own? Have you been wrong about how you are to practice what God's has passionately placed within you to develop? Do you lack confidence in striking out on your own? This process of blogging helps me practice what I call spiritual inventory, dealing with conflicts, which brings spiritual healing and wellness, and brings balance to my life. I tend to hide behind my servant's apron to serve you some fancy words but in all reality it's the transparency and the struggles in which you connect the best.
One of the most fancy writer dudes has taught me the most about writing, that would be Paul, the New Testament writer.
Paul must have known something about the writer's struggle too. I read his struggles with the people around him, his ministry, his identity in Christ and finding his place in the writer's world, But yet, it's in those struggles that I am inspired to be a better writer. Think about how his simple words of encouragement still inspire millions today.
Talk about one fancy blogger. Yup, Paul would definitely fit that bill.
So friends, I am encouraged by this blogging process, and I am encouraged by this practice of writing, and I'm encouraged that I can read, read slowly and let the words that I do read, impact my writing, but mostly I am encouraged by the courage of one fancy blogger who was a great reader, writer and teacher. He has shown me because of my identity in Christ, I have the confidence in the craft that God has planted deep inside of me. I'm inspired to make a difference with the gift that God has placed within me. A fancy place indeed, in which I can string words of truth together to make a difference.
I haven't been wrong about life change that this process has brought. I know of one person who has been changed by what I have written about.
Me. There's nothing wrong with that.