Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Phone Me Vs: Blog Me

I’ve had the pleasure of talking with some of you. Just last night I was speaking with a critique partner, who is also a fellow blogger and after I hung up I drowned in a flood of thoughts. Am I consistent? Does how I act in my blog posts align with how I act on the phone and in person, for that matter? That is my goal…alignment. I understand there is a time and place for everything, for splices of humor, for me to crank my professionalism up a notch, etc. But I’m talking about impressions. Do I evoke the same confidence, love of laughter, trust in God and openness verbally and through my writing? Same question, flipped, do I leak my insecurities through both means? I’ve always been more comfortable with writing, but I love all forms of interaction/communication. I’m curious if this is apparent.

Why does this even matter? I believe we don’t just exude our “voice” in our writing. Our voice is part of us. We sleep with it, grieve with it and worship with it. If we are in relationship with God, our voice is an extension of His Spirit.

Here’s my example of the day: Take an old phone (you know, one with a cord still attached.) I’m the receiver, able to talk and listen. The Holy Spirit is everything else on the phone, the digits, the wires inside that I couldn’t even begin to assemble, and most importantly for this example, He’s the cord and the connecting wire to the outlet (God). I can’t do anything worth anything without being connected. My voice has little impact. No one will hear it and what I hear will count for nothing. That connection is imperative.


So why do I care if I’m consistent whether on the phone with you, standing in front of you or while I’m commenting on your blog? Because this voice is the only one I have and I feel compelled to keep it connected to the source that makes it work. Also, one of my favorite aspects of writing is experimenting with voice, celebrating and smiling in the discovery that every single one of my characters reveals a part of me. Finally, I care because authenticity and transparency are things I feel called to. I’m a weak, broken individual, who by the grace of God is empowered to live a merciful, passionate and compassionate life. There are few things you take with you everywhere. Voice matters.

Have you given much thought to the impression you leave and if it’s consistent? How would you define “voice”?

*photos by flickr
**I’m over at
Exemplify today sharing about God’s Voice.

21 comments:

  1. Oh Wendy, I know how you feel! I kept thinking about how I admire your blog and how encouraging and uplifting and REAL it is, then wondered if any of that really came across on mine. Further than that, I woke up this morning with serious doubt about what I write. Have I picked the right genre? Is it allowing me to get across what God will have me say? Is it who I really am? Ah...it's all a little overwhelming.

    Wendy, I think you're so genuine and sweet and trust me--it definitely came across on the phone :) I think you have an amazing passion for God and I love that you're so enthusiastic about sharing it. Thank you!

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  2. Hi, Wendy!

    I'd like to think that my voice is consistent. Now that you've brought it up, I'm going to try to unintentionally listen in on my conversations (now there's a paradox) and see. :0)

    By the way, I love the orange flower. I stared at it for a while. So beautiful!

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  3. Your voice on your blog is beautiful, descriptive and brings glory to God. That is a rare treasure and delight. Your voice is encouraging and thought provoking. I would like to say that my voice in reality is the same on my blog. Oh, please Lord, let it be so! That is why I started my blog pointing to Him alone. There is no other direction I want my voice to carry than to Him alone, for His glory alone.

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  4. I do try to keep my blog consistent with who I am or what I would chat about on the phone to a friend. It probably shows I'm a very silly person but that's pretty much consistent with what I write. :)

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  5. I've thought a lot about this. I hope I am consistent with my voice. Some days, I'm a little off, though, so I might not be as cheerful as others.

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  6. I don't know if I am. I felt a little worried when people said they were excited to meet me because I'm not sure I'm the same person in reality. The thing is, I'm a quiet person when I'm not excited. I'm not really exciting or funny or even that silly. Unless I'm in the mood. Hmmmm. LOL I'm beginning to think I'm very inconsistent.
    I do hope that I'm kind consistently though, and that I bear those lovely fruits of the spirit.
    Good stuff to think about, esp. since I'm not sure what my voice is.
    But I like reading your blog. I like the questions you ask and the posts about spiritual things. :-)

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  7. Can I say that my voice is at some times "louder" than it is at others? I guess my true voice is that of a sinner...and boy, does that come through loud and clear. But then, when I'm really trying (which is MOST of the time) I can hear the voice God intended me to have...HIS. And, it's glorious.

    Wonderful post, Wendy. Truly, you are such an encouragement.

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  8. I think that I try to be real with my blog posts. I don't want to pretend to be someone that I'm not. But I think it's harder with comments to have the time and energy to think deeply with my answers. So I'm afraid they don't always truly reflect me. I strive for them to. But I know that when I'm down or having a bad parent day or whatever, it's much easier to keep that to myself in the blogosphere, but harder with real life friends. Ya know what I mean? Thanks for your insights and for always being so real!

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  9. You have a wonderful way of tying everything together into an integrated whole. :) For me, voice is a person's fingerprint. Not just how a person talks about something, but also what they talk about, and what sort of words they use.

    Honestly, I do see inconsistencies with myself. I'm a lot shyer in person than I am through the written word. Come to think of it, I'm probably a lot nerdier too. But the sort of words I use, as well as the types of things I'm apt to talk about, those are the same.

    I try to think about the impression I'm making every time I use words. I think that I have to think about it more when I'm only using words (blogging/email), because words alone make it much harder to convey humor and intent than when one is aided by their facial expressions and body language. On the flip side, not having to worry about facial expressions and body language is what makes it easier for me to be less shy.

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  10. Our voice is our testimony...it is our reflection of who God is to US...do we believe His words or don't we? I can struggle so much inside as I work thru all that He lays before me...all that He challenges me to be...but my words are what betray my true thoughts on it. My tone, my words, my attitude...and I DO struggle at times, wondering if my words match up to the "blog me". That girls who writes seems so articulate and wise...and the girl who has to live it out seems so unsure and searching...but luckily we have a Spirit within us that helps to meld the wisdom of His heartbeat to our footsteps...to bring us to the place that radiates His picture to others.

    As always...you made me think and for THAT, I send you much hugs today!
    Bina

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  11. This is an important thing to consider--especially with blogs and other social networks. There are editors and agents who have passed on manuscripts because of something a writer posted.

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  12. What a phenomenal post, Wendy. I struggle with the same thing. With every cut and paste and edit, I'm shaping words to project a certain image. I, too, want to convey truth and honesty, but before I hit "Publish Post" I ask myself these same questions. Every time.

    Lyla over at www.adifferentstory.net put it this way in a blog post last week:

    "If you blog, you might notice we oft find ourselves as the Wizard of Oz, hidden in the control booth of Blogger or Word Press throwing switches and levers to project whatever image suits our fancy. Even when we do let down our guard and expose our shortcomings, we do so in a controlled environment, putting our best foot forward. Our words are measured, thoughts processed, outbursts edited.

    If folks start to see our true faults, we might be quick to turn up the volume and pour out more smoke. Like the frail wizard, we shout into the microphone, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

    ... Food for thought, I think.

    And for what it's worth, Wendy, as one who reads your blog regularly AND has spoken with you by phone, ... I'd say you're the Real Deal. Love ya...

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  13. ...God used you today. Pop over for today's post if you get a minute, dearie :)
    Another hug,
    Bina

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  14. I think this is something we all struggle with, Wendy. So know you are not alone, girl!Being real is important to me too.

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  15. I loved reading this post.I loved that you spoke with Cindy:) I'd be a nervous wreck and I also thought you came across as shy--so I was surprised to hear you did that!
    I try to write like who I am--all the time --and it is a mixture cause that's who I am. Some days obnoxious and a pain--other days insecure and quiet.

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  16. Cindy, I know one thing came across for sure...I was sooooo tired! :D Your words meant a lot to me. So many times we don't know how we are being perceived. It's always fun to hear the voices behind the writing. Thanks for the chat.

    Kristen, that flower jumped out at me too. Whenever I've heard myself on a tape it makes me feel squirmy inside. I don't have a weird voice, but it's just there is something vulnerable about listening to yourself speak.

    Inkstillwet, what a noble reason to blog!!! And your compliments went deep. I took them in. Thank you!

    Jennifer, I'm all about the silly so I love your blog and yes, I sense consistency.

    Lazy Writer, I figure most days I'm off, but I'm going on a limb to say that goes for the majority.

    Jessica, thank you for the feedback about my blog. I completely hear you. I've declared myself both introverted and extroverted. Like you, if I'm excited...look out, I might just oh, climb a tree or something. :D But when I'm reflective, it's me and my music or my writing and I'm in lock down mode. I'm not sure that counts for inconsistent as much as emotionally vast (better to write that than moody.)

    Beth, I love to encourage. I'd agree, I am a sinner too and by God's grace write the things I do with the gusto that backs it up. Him and Him alone.

    Jody, I do know what you mean. Our moods aren't always reflected on here. I think for me that's okay b/c I generally am feeling about 100 things at once so I can easily tap into writing mode when I'm feeling sad or peeved with the kids. However, I liked your point about sometimes not being able to respond with great depth...something I need to think about more. Good point. I appreciate that though you wrote that you always come across as being very real.

    Danyelle, I want to read your response over and over. I think there's some gold in there and I need to read it again to mine it. I like how you mentioned *what* people choose to talk about is part of their voice...thanks for the uplifting words and thoughts.

    Bina, I do so enjoy causing others to think! I appreciated reading your thoughts about voice and thank you for the link to my blog on your post. Wonderful insights. I love Oswald's My Utmost...

    Tara, interesting. I imagine this has happened.

    Jennifer, THANK YOU. I think of our conversation from time to time and I smile. I smile because of you! And I followed Lyla today...that was just too good!

    Katie, that is obvious. You come across as very authentic. After all, we're sisters, aren't we...or our husbands are brothers...or now this might just be getting weird...:D

    Terri, Cindy is a sweet woman. I'm confused, ME shy??? What? Or Cindy? Did what? Talked to Cindy...still confused, can you tell?
    Mixture is good and...well, REAL. My maiden name was Paine, so I'm pretty sure the first half of my life + I came across as one. Ha Ha...the second grade joke I most dreaded just thrown on myself.

    Okay, mind is getting fuzzy. Seems to be a pattern this time of night. Good thing my writing is done for the day. Thanks for passing around the dialogue on this one. I appreciate knowing that others think about stuff like this too. Sometimes I really do feel like Robin Williams. Not with humor, but with the non-stop thinking. Shut the mind down, shut the mind down.

    Or just let it freeze for a bit. Ah, I need a Slurpee.

    Night Night.
    ~ Wendy

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  17. i think im the same on both - dont know if that a good thing or bad thing though :)

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  18. Hummmm, on the phone I seem to laugh alot more. I tend to have a gentle tough side, so I hope that comes across on whatever medium. Oh, with a slice of "funny."

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  19. Great thoughts, Wendy. To some extent I do feel that commenting on blogs can be "flat", rather two dimensional. That's why I loved being at the conference this weekend; it gave me a more round vision of my blogging friends.

    That said, writers can be introverted, and blogging voices are much superior to no voices whatsoever (other than those in our heads, of course. :) I love that blogging puts us in contact with one another, even if that contact is not as rich as "real life" interaction.

    As for consistency in speaking/blogging/writing voices--IMO, we are complex creatures who use different words for different circumstances. Our Savior did the same thing, tailoring His words for His audience while always, always speaking Truth. That's what I long for. I can't speak to my students the same way I speak to my husband and children, but I hope to always speak in love and truth.

    God bless you today.

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  20. I think I show a different person than who I am or maybe I show the real person than who I think I am. People see me as outgoing, fun to be with etc. but inside I feel not good enough, fearful and a pain.

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  21. Emotionally Vast... I love it!!! LOL Can I steal that description? Heehee

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