May 12th, 2015
You guys. The last week and a half has been unreal in my little writing world. First, one of the articles I wrote for Shattered Magazine went semi-viral, with, as of now, 5,000+ shares on Facebook and 50,000 page views. FIFTY THOUSAND PAGE VIEWS. Holy Hannah. One time I wrote a post that got 1,000 views and I thought I was in the big leagues. Not so much. But CLEARLY, now, I'm well on my way to being the next Jen Hatmaker. (Maybe? Please? No? Okay, cool.) I wrote this Sadie Robertson vs. Kylie Jenner article at the tail end of a six week writers training put on by Shattered and taught by my talented friend, Jason. A training that I was so very fortunate enough to go through for FREE. Y'all know how I love free. #teamdaveramsey I knew the training I was getting was valuable, but had no idea how it would shape my writing until I put all the things I learned into action (and had my article revised by one of our editors with mad skills #teamwork) and saw the results. Of course I know that a huge part of this article taking off the way that it did had so much to do with who it was written about. So the real question now is - can I write ALL my articles about Sadie and Kylie?
The real fun experience came later though, on Tuesday of last week when I had the chance to hear my author idol speak and teach. If you don't know who Jen Hatmaker is, I need you to drop all the things you're doing this very second and get your life together. Jen Hatmaker is one of the funniest, most well versed writers I've ever had the chance to read. She knows how to paint a picture of the gospel in a way that doesn't make you feel like you're sitting in Sunday school, but in a way that is relatable and real and raw. And while she's driving you home to the point of her message, she's making you laugh until you weep and it's just the most enjoyable experience to read her words. So, obviously, I just want to be Jen Hatmaker.
At this event where I heard Jen Hatmaker speak, there was an opportunity to ask her a question via Twitter. Naturally I jumped on that chance fast (Hello, do you know me and my love for social media?) and when the time came for the Q&A, my question was the first one up. I got all giggly and excited, and thankfully had the good sense to snap a picture, because HOW FUN, she was answering MY question! (Maybe you know, and maybe you don't, that I have dreams of turning my story into a book. Maybe you don't know that I have had a hard time making this a reality. I go through spurts where I will crank out several pages only to turn around and not write again for months. I try to be patient with myself but get anxious when I think about it.)
Jen Hatmaker looked out into the audience, and spoke to us as a crowd, not knowing where each individual question was coming from. But, really, I felt as if I was the only person in the room (well, minus my friend Sarah that elbowed me and giggled with me). Jen Hatmaker's advice went something like this (I wish I'd had the good sense to record her, too.):
I remember, as a young writer, thinking that anything I had to say had already been written by someone else. And probably written better than I could write it. But I want to tell you that we are not living in a world of scarcity and what you have to say is important and different because it's YOUR story and no one else's story is YOUR story. I want you to know that there is room for you here. There is room for you at the table. So if you have something to say write it (or sing it or draw it).
It took me a few days to really process the magnitude of what happened. It's not every day that you receive advice from one of your famous role models. It was surreal, and amazing, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am so grateful for.
I read books by others and think, Surely I can do this, too, but the words don't always come as easily as I would like and life's distractions get in the way, or things get heavy and I have to stop. But slowly, bit by bit, I know it will come together. I constantly pray for encouragement, motivation, and guidance to keep writing out my story. And now, thanks to Sadie Robertson, Kylie Jenner, and Jen Hatmaker, encouragement has settled back into place and I'm ready to hit the pages again.