The reason for the silence at my blog over the last week is that I was at the InterVarsity Writing Workshop in Madison, WI. Prior to the workshop, I had to submit three projects that I would work on, along with a rough draft of one of them. I chose to spend my time working on a few articles that I plan to pitch to web publications as well as a ministry resource for Greek InterVarsity. It was an amazing experience and I want to share a few highlights:
1. Identity & Confidence
I signed up for the workshop several months ago. Who am I to be at a writing workshop? I’m not really a writer. These were the voices in my head, sometimes barely whispering, other times projecting through a megaphone. I am grateful for two resources I read before the class: Jeff Goins’ e-book You Are a Writer and Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. Both books emphasized the simple fact that because you write, you are a writer.
During the beginning of the week, I was struggling with several insecurities: I was one of the youngest writers in our group, I hadn’t been writing for very long, and it seemed like others were much further along in the process. Through the support of our community that formed during the week, as well as my assigned writing coach, I grew in confidence and I felt affirmed to step into the calling God has for me as a writer.
2. Encouragement & Feedback
Each of us were assigned to a writing coach- one of the three instructors for our workshop. I was given the gift of meeting with Lisa, editor of the InterVarsity National Blog, every day throughout the week-long workshop. I had worked with Lisa before, contributing to the IV national blog a few times a semester. It was so nice to meet with someone already familiar with my style and voice. She gave me such valuable insight- brilliant edits, troubleshooting for structure, and affirmation for my pieces.
We also had the opportunity to read two of our pieces aloud to the group. It was so neat to hear the projects others were working on. I got to listen to book chapters, articles for blogs, and Bible study materials. I love how diverse our group’s interests were and how unique everyone’s perspectives and voices were. It was nerve racking when I shared for the first time- a vulnerable act not for the faint of heart- but the feedback was invaluable. I became a better writer because of my classmates and their honest thoughts.
3. Inspiration & Purpose
Each day, we had over 6 hours of time built into our schedule just to write. It was AMAZING. I found a local coffee shop and holed myself away. It was a joy to get lost in my writing. It felt good to put the words to paper that I had been meditating on for months. Sometimes it was hard to focus but for the most part, I was able to relax and enjoy the unstructured space to commune with God through writing.
I also feel encouraged as I begin new projects and continue to write here at my blog. The closing benediction, read by our instructor Marcia, perfectly describes the calling to be a communicator. She altered it slightly, replacing “work” in the original with “write”:
Go, then, to write for the God Who loves you; write for the Savior Who bled for you; write for the world, that, sinking into its doom, needs men and women who have tasted of the Lord’s mercies and found that they are good.
From “My Sons and Daughters In Christ”
Martin Luther Koehneke (1916-1995) (Addressing the graduates of Concordia Teachers College in 1955)
Printed in “For All the Saints, A Prayer Book for and by the Church,” Vol. IV, p 74