If you have followed my writing here you know I have two primary loves I have promoted through this portal. The first and always primary love I have is for Jesus Christ. It has and always will be the predominant focus in my life as I cannot do anything else without that consideration as a filter. The second is to write. To me to write is to live. What some people find tedious and archaic, i find to be a great joy.
For years I wrote in anonymity, first of all with pencils and paper, and eventually pens, even though that was way too permanent for someone just learning the craft and needing to go back to edit my fiction writings as the plot morphed from one direction to another. The hours I spent loving my gift were not always understood by others. It seemed I was wasting my efforts just scribbling on a page.
In truth the effort was somewhat just the first half of an equation. You see the greatest reward for a writer is having someone read their work and comment on it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and entered some of my novels in a local creative writing contest three different years. On each occasion I received some kind of validation for my work, two times in the form of an Honorable Mention and the last years with a second place award. These were gratifying moments in my writing life, but just a step on the way to fulfillment as an author.
With the advent of online writing communities there was nother way for me to offer my work for the masses. I wrote articles on two sites and received some kind feedback, which again helped to convince me I needed to go further. It was not until I joined WordPress late last year, however that I found a supportive community of others who have the same desire I do, to become published and considered a successful author.
I have been unable to find the particular post that changed the direction of my writing, but it was a pivot like nothing i have ever made in my long writing history. The person who posted said this:”If you are not getting rejected, you are not trying!” That was a stark statement that sounds so contradictory to what we as writers want to hear that you might dismiss it straight away, but I did not. Rejection is not anything a writer desires to see, but in those words i realized I was living on the fringes of the real writer’s community.
Since that day I have changed my focus to finding opportunities and outlets to submit my work for critical examination. I know I can write, I have proven that. The next step is to find my place in the legion of authors in this world. So far in 2013, I have submitted about a dozen pieces to various web sited devoted to publishing works from unpublished authors. Have I seen rejection replies? YES! Am I unhappy? NO! Because now I know I am truly part of the process.
So if you read the title you are wondering what does all this have to do with “Choosing Your Voice?” As I said at the top, I first and foremost want to honor God in all I do. That goes from raising my family, to writing to whatever I do. Choosing my voice means I want to write in a way that glorifies God and leads others to see what He can do for them. Just yesterday I received a message from a good friend about how something I posted in my Facebook status made them think about the way their life had changed recently. I was only repeating something shared by my pastor at church, but the important part was that I used my platform of communication to honor God. The blessing I received was like an answer to a prayer I have had over the last weeks.
In my excitement of finding this new place to showcase my writing, I decided I needed to write about everything I could. As I reflected on the overarching desire I have to add only things that will help me with my primary goal I see that those two ideas are contradictory. With that in mind, I decided to back away from my pledge to add a post every day. Most of what i was posting was from a creative writing prompt geared to stretch the fiction writer’s range by providing a prompt in varying genres. There is a time and place for that, but I do not want this to be it.
Don’t worry, if you have read some of the fiction posted here, I am not totally abandoning it. As a matter of fact, I crashed through a huge barrier on Sunday and completed an entry into The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I entered a full length fiction novel called The Family Secrets. It is something I began about eighteen months ago on another writing site, but left unfinished because it seemed no one noticed. My mistake was adding this to a site geared to a different taste. With the ABNA, my novel will get the look i desire and who knows, perhaps it will be my first published work.
In the meantime I have started a non fiction book about my experience as the only cancer survivor of my original core family of four. The memoir will focus on the sixteen year period where I lost eight family members or close friends to cancer. I will share how my faith, the love of my wife and children and remaining family members and hope of knowing where my eternity is helped me survive.
As people and writers we “Choose Our Voice” every day. We choose to be loving, kind, happy, sad, encouraging or the kind of person people want to avoid. If you come back to read more of what I write you can expect to read uplifting posts that will share my faith experience as well as the continuing journey being a husband, father and most of all, man of God. Oh there is one other topic you may find covered here: gardening. You see I feel that is another way I can connect with God, by enjoying his creation in the garden and dealing with nature.