My friend Bronwyn Lea invited me to do a Writers’ Blog Hop with her. A what? Well, I’ll explain that in a minute, but first allow me to introduce Bronwyn. You may have met her here before, actually. Exactly a year ago, I re-posted a moving piece of hers called A Letter to a Hurting Friend. Then last October, I convinced her to be a sucker for punishment with me, as we both embarked on our first 31 Days series with The Nester. Around Day 17, we had both hit a wall, and somehow mutually came up with the ingenious plan to swap blogs for a day. So we did. Her guest post on my blog was called Where the Heart Is, and I later had the privilege of guest posting on her blog with some thoughts on Rolling Up the Stairs.
Bronwyn and I met each other when we both lived in Cape Town, were single and childless, and attended the same church. Providentially, we both live in the U.S. now and each have three kids. I have always known Bronwyn to be a fantastic communicator and teacher, and it has been such a blessing to see her writing take off in the past year. Hers is a blog I frequent each week, and I’m never disappointed. If you’re looking for an insightful, thought-provoking read, go check it out!
So, the Blog Hop. Basically, I agreed to answer four questions about my writing, and in exchange, I get to introduce you to three bloggers whom I admire. Without further ado, here we go ..
1) What am I writing or working on?
Well, I wasn’t planning on spilling the beans just yet, but here goes. I’m working on a book. Okay, two, actually. But then again, with many of the bloggers I frequent, who isn’t? So it’s kind of a big deal to me, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that big of a deal at all.
The first book was a finished (first draft) manuscript, until a week or two later I realized it tasted like dry crackers. So .. I’ve decided to go back to the kitchen and stir together some fresh ingredients in hopes that this time it will come out of the oven smelling of moist, S’African scones laden with jam and whipped cream. I hope.
The other book is a middle grade chapter book about two girls from South Africa. My hope is that it will give white South Africans (and others) a glimpse into black South African culture. Or more specifically, rural Tswana culture.
I also contribute regularly to iBelieve and Ungrind Webzine, and submit articles periodically to various other publications. This year, I’ve started reviewing Christian books from a number of publishers. A full list of the books I’ve reviewed so far can be found here.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The baking powder in the first manuscript I mentioned above is causing my book to take the shape of a memoir. So in that case, my story differs because it’s my own. It hasn’t been written yet by anyone else. But on a broader scale, I desire for my writing to fall into the pool of creative non-fiction as opposed to just plain non-fiction. I want my readers to see the strokes of the paintbrush in the pictures I create for them. I want my words to be works of art, to flow off the canvas and make them feel like their fingers are smeared with watercolor. I also strive to paint Christ as the backdrop to all of my work. I start my writing with Him as the foundational wash, and I let it dry there before the details get painted on top.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write for myself, to process and to see God in the mundane. I write for others, to help them see Christ in the midst of chaos, to build them up in the faith, and to challenge them to choose life.
4) How does my writing process work?
The words, they come at the most inopportune times, most often pouring from my mind as the shower water drips from my hair, or otherwise just as I’ve tucked myself in for the night. Granted, this is probably because as a homeschooler, those are the only two times of the day when I don’t have three voices airing curious questions and rampant requests within earshot. I can’t tell you the number of times (like now, even) that I’ve curled up and closed my eyes, only to sigh deep in frustration at the words that insist on coming out. So I get up and I catch them on scraps of paper and the backs of math worksheets and sometimes, on good days, in my journal. And I lay them down gently and tuck them in so we can all rest in peace.
Having said that, I do try to set aside time a few evenings a week to get some productive writing done. Some people are firm believers in writing everyday, and I admire that. For me, though .. if it’s not there, it’s not there. I’m not gonna try to force water out of a dry tap. There’s a quote making the rounds that says, “The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you did not write.” I don’t know .. I’m just not sure if I agree with that. I kind of feel like if you don’t have anything, just let it be. If I’m inspired, I’ll write. If not, I don’t stress about it. I just wait. For me, writing is meant to be therapeutic and enjoyable. If I start pressuring myself to produce, it defeats the purpose. But maybe that’s just me …
But now, on to the fun part. It is my great honor and privilege to introduce you to three ladies I have come to know and admire online, and I’m thrilled that they’ve agreed to take part in this same blog hop on their own blogs next week. In the meantime, here is a brief snapshot to whet your appetite while you stay tuned for their writing answers in a few days …
I first “met” Angie online when I joined an (in)courage community group, and she was one of the co-leaders. The group was called (in)couraging Writers Seeking Publication, and she and our other leader, Michelle, were a tremendous source of insight and encouragement. Angie has proven to be such a kind heart, and I’m so grateful to have connected with her. I later learned that we have mutual friends in the Redbud Writers Guild, of which she is a member. I’ve also recently started linking up with Angie on her blog, for her weekly Inspire Me Monday link-ups.
Angie has been described as the “fun sister next door.” And like a real sister, she will make you laugh as well as encourage you to drink deeper from the well of God’s grace. Her book Clutter Free Simplicity encourages women to clear the clutter in their hearts and homes by focusing on what is really important — their daily walk with Jesus. She loves to connect with other women about mothering, marriage, and faith on her blog! Angie’s most important ministries includes being a wife to her childhood sweetheart and mama to one princess and three princes. They enjoy family movie nights, long road trips, and acting out the TV show Chopped.
Like Angie, I “met” Alia online when she became my (in)courage community group leader for a fabulous group called (in)couraging writers. To say I’ve been inspired by Alia’s writing would be a gross understatement. The words just flow out of her in the most musical of ways, and I am left slack-jawed every time I visit her blog.
The most recent post I adored was her last Five-Minute Friday entry on the word “Nothing.” If you’re a mom, you’ll want to read this:
Alia Joy is a storyteller, speaker, and homeschooling mother of three. She shares her life with readers of her blog – Narrow Paths to Higher Places – a tribute to the beauty woven throughout even the most broken of stories. Her personal tale touches on so many of the hurts of today’s women- depression and abuse, race and culture, body image and the hard work of seeing God’s glory in the mess. She is also a regular contributor to the Allume and (in)courage blogs and can be found on twitter hashtagging all the things, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and making goo goo eyes at her husband.
I first learned about Vivian’s story through a book review and giveaway on my friend Bronwyn’s blog. Vivian is also a member of the Redbud Writers’ Guild (like Bronwyn and Angie, above), and I happened to win a copy of her first book, Warrior in Pink. Those who follow this blog might remember my review, which can be found here. Vivian has been so gracious in our interactions online, and it’s clear that the Lord is doing a mighty work in her life. I connected with Vivian’s story on so many levels, and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
Vivian Mabuni joined staff with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) 25 years ago and has served on the UC Berkeley and UCLA campuses and on the Epic National Executive Team (Epic is the Asian American ministry of Cru). Vivian enjoys teaching and training college students at conferences and retreats and speaking at women’s events. She is the author of “Warrior in Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community and the God Who Comforts” (Discovery House Publishers). She has been married 22 years to her husband, Darrin, and is mom to three wonderful kids, Jonathan (20), Michael (17), and Julia (12). They live in Mission Viejo, California, along with their German Shepherd, Koa. Connect with her at the following places:
That’s it! Happy blog hopping!