What Does It Feel Like to Be a Writer: With Christina Patterson and Cheri Gregory
We’re continuing our series, asking writers to give us feedback about this:
What does it feel like to be a writer?
Two gifted writers, Christina Patterson and Cheri Gregory, share their answers today.
What did it feel like to be a writer when you first began writing?
When I first began writing, I didn’t feel like much of a writer. I was blogging short devotions inspired by my quiet time with the Lord. As the time, I didn’t really think much of it until a friend told me I could put my writings together to make a book. At that point, I started to become more aware of my skill and call to write.
I began writing when I was 2 years old. I dictated a story to my mother who wrote it down for me and “published” it as a little book. I wrote copiously as a child, pre-teen, and teen — I still have the shelves of journals and stacks of stories.
Writing felt like breathing — normal, effortless, something I could NOT not do. Writing is how I “pray-cess” my thoughts, experiences, questions, emotions. It’s how the Holy Spirit speaks to me.
How have your feelings or thoughts evolved over time?
Over time I have become much more confident as a writer. Although I have become better when it comes to the skill of writing, my confidence comes from a deeper relationship with God and understanding of the call He has placed on my life. I have learned to trust God to give me the words for my writing, and I’ve taken the pressure off myself of feeling like I have to create this perfectly incredible masterpiece on my own. When it comes to my writing, I am not alone. In fact, I feel the closest to God when I am writing.
During my 20s, I submitted articles to magazines and had a number of them published. Getting a check in the mail for writing felt amazing. Collecting rejection slips wasn’t fun, but I learned to work the odds — I put my ideas out there enough that I was able to guesstimate how many “no” responses I’d get before I received a “yes.” It became a game, a challenge. And seeing my writing in print made it all worthwhile.
When I started blogging 11 years ago, I was in for a total shock: my readers (who I’d never thought about except in the most abstract terms) were real people who showed up in my comments and in my email box, responding to what I’d written — sometimes mere moments after I’d hit publish. It was unnerving. I spent years torn between needing to put my writing “out there” while simultaneously wanting to hide from my reader
What would you like other writers to know now about what it feels like to be a writer.
I would want other writers to know that the process of writing should be enjoyed from beginning to end. Many only enjoy the finished product, the completed book, article, or blog post. There is much adventure in the first draft and excitement in the editing process. It’s a lot of work, but the process has many surprises along the way that you many miss if you don’t take time to enjoy the entire journey.
One of my graduate school professors helped me understand my role a few years ago when he said, “Cheri, you lead through your writing. You are a thought leader.” This was (and still is) a huge paradigm shift for me. It helps me quit wondering, “How can I make my readers like me?” and ask myself, “How can I best serve my readers?”
Being a writer now feels like a sacred honor and responsibility. I’m so grateful to be a writer in this era of interconnectedness. It feels so rewarding to hear how God is using “my” words to work in the lives of my readers. And their stories minister to me and inspire more writing. Reciprocal blessings abound!
Thank you both so much, Christina and Cheri! Hearing how you’ve both grown in your writing and through it is inspirational for all of us.
Christina Patterson is an author, Bible teacher, and YouTuber passionate about empowering women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. Through sound biblical teaching and a true passion for the hearts of God’s daughters, Christina is compelling women to find freedom, wholeness, and satisfaction in Jesus Christ. Christina holds a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Liberty University and is the author of several books and Bible Studies as well as a contributor for iBeieive and the Proverbs 31 First 5 app. She is the founder of Beloved Women, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved.
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. She speaks and writes from the conviction that “how-to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”
Cheri has contributed to or coauthored a dozen books, including her latest, Exhale with Amy Carroll, and Sensitive and Strong with Denise Hughes.
Cheri has a BA in English, an MA in Leadership, and is pursuing her PhD in Leadership. She is researching the organic growth and practice of “bestowed leadership” — the kind of influence that naturally develops as Christian women write and speak with authenticity and vulnerability.