The written word can be erased…not so with the spoken word. -Anonymous
This is going to sound morbid…at least that’s everyone’s response when I tell them why I decided to take my blog “next level” (yes, I’m laughing at MYSELF as I type that!) I wanted to make sure that my kiddos knew the stories behind our Christmas traditions and, narcissistically, I wanted to make sure they heard them in my voice…FOR ALL TIME. I mean, that’s the kind of loving mother that I am after all.
Readers who know me, often say that they can “hear” my sense of humor when they read my posts. My close friends laugh at the snide little inside jokes and hints that I drop in my writing. My family likes to point out that I can’t hide my snark (that’s up for debate as far as I’m concerned.) Still, as a former broadcaster, I know that tone and inflection add that something extra to a story. A simple pause, deliberate whisper, or a mere lilt goes a long way. In this age of text messaging and Twitter, the spoken word’s value goes up tenfold. Thus, the podcast.
I’m a big believer in the podcast. I have several favorites. Everything from news, politics and pop culture to social media theory and all things NPR. It’s storytelling magic and I’m always surprised (sometimes pleasantly and other times not so much) to put a voice with a name. According to Forbes magazine, at least 112 million Americans have listened to podcasts…and that number continues to grow. A constantly connected culture, we can listen in our homes, cars, at the gym and beyond!
Let’s be real. Truly excellent and iconic writers…we’re talking the BIG NAMES, let their words speak for themselves, but some of us (like me) could use a little help sometimes. Connecting with an audience is a core principle of writing…and thanks to the podcast, it’s never been easier to solidify that relationship. Besides, even Shakespeare would have jumped at the opportunity to create a podcast. Writers are so vain.
Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all. –Charles Bukowski
Ugggghh. In case you haven’t noticed, things have been a little quiet. Not by choice, but basically because of choices. Kind of like no one gains 50 pounds by avoiding potato chips. (Does that even make sense? I’m pretty sure that’s not even a real saying.) All foolishness aside, I’ve definitely hit a season of writer’s block. It actually came on in the summer. I could feel it (barreling at me like a big truck,) but I didn’t know what to do about it. I figured if I ignored it, it might just go away. (It could happen!) It didn’t.
The experts say look for every opportunity to write. Create goals for yourself. Write, even if you have nothing to write about. My solution to the whole problem was to create a blog series and force myself to write every day. Every. Single. Day. I can laugh about it now. What started out as a “Countdown TO Summer” became a “Countdown THROUGH Summer.” Still, it was writing and they say some writing is better than nothing. Ugggghhh. (What do they know? I wonder if they ever had writer’s block? They think they know everything.)
It seemed like every time I sat down to write, nothing new or interesting was happening. In reality, everything uninteresting was happening. Time was marching on. Life was moving fast. And Food Network just kept calling my name…and you know that I am absolutely not a foodie. So what gives? I wasn’t watching to improve my cooking skills or to discover cutting edge cuisine. I wasn’t watching because of some celebrity chef crush. I wasn’t watching for the original programming (ha–that made me laugh!) It turns out that nothing new or interesting was happening on the Food Network, either. Maybe this is where misery just loves company.
Ok, it hasn’t been all that bad. I found joy in painting. (Painting furniture. Painting my daughter’s bedroom. Painting wall décor.) I fed that creative drive with baking. I took on a new project at church. I watched (and continue to watch) a lot of baseball, softball and soccer. I helped my son learn to drive. I have racked up hundreds of hours listening to (and learning from) podcasts. Still, it’s a strange season that I’m in. One where I long to hear the clickety-clak of the keyboard, but wonder if I have anything truly worthwhile to say.
Every writer knows that writer’s block is unavoidable. I don’t want to call it a necessary evil, but it is a reality…especially now. Perhaps, just maybe, this is how a writers knows he/she has arrived…yeah, I’m just going to go with that. Clickety-clak, clickety-clak!
To give an appropriate answer is a joy; how good is a word at the right time! Proverbs 15:23
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak. Epictetus, Greek Philosopher
Not that anyone has ever asked, but I thought that maybe I should explain (just in case the thought ever crossed your mind)…why hymningandhaing? If it sounds familiar and looks horribly misspelled, then you’re right on both accounts. The title is my take on the familiar idiom “hem and haw.”
When I began writing this blog in 2011, I planned to share bits and pieces of my faith along with my everyday life and I wanted a title that would reflect that theme (go with me on this one, the road is a little twisted here….) To hem and haw means to dither, refuse to give a definitive answer and to keep one’s options open (according to The Word Detective at least.) So while the more familiar version of hemming and hawing connotes a level of indecisiveness, uncertainty and fence-sitting, my interpretation is a little more personal. The “hymning” part is a playful way of suggesting that while I’m a pastor’s wife, I am also the least literate hymn person in the congregation! I didn’t grow up in church so for the most part the hymnal is full of dozens of songs I’ve never, EVER heard of. Not exactly what you’d expect from the so-called “first lady of the church,” (a title that makes me giggle every time!) While this might seem like a sad state of affairs, the “haing” part of the title (pronounced ha-ing…like ha, ha, ha) suggests that I try to take all this in stride and accept the fact that no matter what role I find myself in (wife, mother, sister, friend, etc.) I always try to find the lighter side of things and not take myself too seriously. Afterall, NONE of this was my plan. I am just grateful that God’s plans are so much bigger than anything I could have imagined for myself! And that’s where the original hemming and hawing meets my variation. I don’t know where all this is going or how it will all play out. For the most part, I try to stay open to the possibilities, be thoughtful in all situations and just wait and see…realizing that I don’t have all the answers (if any at all.)
So that’s it. It’s definitely not an earth shattering revelation. Just a little insight. Although I will admit that it makes me belly laugh every time someone mispronounces the blog title! My favorite to date is when someone asked me why I call it hymning-and-HAYing…is it because I live on a farm? (No, I don’t.) 🙂
I would like to say THANK YOU to those who have been following my blog, hymningandhaing.com. As I enter my fourth year of blog writing, I am proud of the 65 posts I have penned thus far and the positive feedback that I have received—it continues to fuel my desire to write more! I am grateful for the fun comments, insights and encouraging words that you have offered throughout my blogging endeavor and I look forward to 2015 and the writing opportunities it will bring!
Happy blog-iversary, hymningandhaing.com!!!