Happy Friday! Today our guest is Joy Bennett. She’s a writer who is passionate about supporting others. She’s got a great story for us, let’s check it out.
Why are you passionate about writing?
I’ve been writing since the 2nd grade when I wrote and illustrated my first book. So I guess you could say that writing is part of who I am. It’s also how I work out what happens in my life. There’s something therapeutic about taking the chaos and putting it into words written left to right, top to bottom, ideas spelled out one at a time in a way that makes a little sense. If I can’t write (and there have been seasons when I had neither the energy nor the time for it), I grow restless.
What got you started with writing and being creative as a hobby/business?
I was an undeclared major my freshman year of college, wanting to write but convinced that the only kind of writing was creative and that authors pretty much starve. I tried a bunch of other things but didn’t find the right fit. Then I received an email about a professional writing program and immediately made an appointment to speak with the professor. When I learned that I could actually make a good living writing for businesses, I was sold. I graduated with a technical and professional communication degree, and started life in the working world as a technical writer for a computer company. This degree is very flexible, giving me the skills to pick up freelance and part-time work as an editor, designer, journalist, ghost-writer for technical journals, and instructor. I’m freelancing now, partly because I have young children and cannot manage a regular 9-to-5 job and partly because I don’t WANT to work in a 9-to-5 job.
Do you have some favorite things you’ve written?
I really enjoy writing that matters — that celebrates people and teamwork and making the most of the cards you’re dealt. In the last nine months I’ve written several things for our local children’s hospital — web copy, bios for an award they give for promoting an approach to health care delivery called “patient- and family-centered care”, and a newsletter article highlighting the volunteer work of nurses. I also have a personal blog, where over the past three years or so I’ve delved into the murky waters of faith and doubt, depression, and grieving (our oldest daughter died at age 8 in the fall of 2008). People are hurting and desperate for a shoulder to cry on and an arm to lean on, but it’s tough to find a safe person with whom you can share your deepest fears and doubts, pain, and sorrow. Writing about my experience, and corresponding with those who have contacted me to share their stories, has been incredibly healing for me — to see God use the most difficult experiences of my life through the medium of writing to help others is humbling and awe-inspiring. I also write for the blog Deeper Story. I would say my favorite posts are the following: Hiding – on the challenges of true intimacy in marriage,
I Want In– on faith and doubt and judgy people, Depression Is a Bad Boyfriend, and Unbreakable– on breaking my promises.
What exciting future plans do you have for your work?
I have countless dreams and ideas, but very little in the way of plans. I think this is partly because of my current season of life — my first priority is to my three young children and my husband, and they need most of my time and energy right now. In the next couple of years, however, all of the kids will be in school and my daytime routine will be wide open. I’ll be able to take more paid writing work at that time (my schedule fills up very quickly now because I have limited hours), but I will also finally have time to develop my personal writing. I will find a writing group, maybe take some classes or participate in workshops, and finally start writing my daughter’s story.
Do you have any tips/thoughts you would like to share?
I will just reiterate what countless writers have said before — write! Your writing will only get better with practice. You also need to be open to critique — find some people who know good writing and ask them to help you improve yours. Take a writing class, or work through a book on good writing — my very first college writing class worked through the book “Style: Ten Lessons on Clarity and Grace” and it transformed my writing. Last, challenge yourself. Identify your weaknesses and work on them. I’ve been working on story-telling and illustrating ideas with my own analogies instead of using the worn-out cliches that everyone knows. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s been very good practice for me.
Thank you Joy! I am so touched by your story and can’t wait to see your words in businesses and touching lives around the world.
If you have encouragement for Joy, you can share it below.