Monday, May 12, 2014

The Joy of Writing and Weaving Words Ruth Smith Meyer

Sometimes when a topic is brought to our minds, it grabs our attention and lurks in our thoughts for an extended period. Since last month’s blog topic of Who we are and what we write, I have been thinking about how much satisfaction I reap from writing and which of my writing is the most rewarding for me. Is it the articles or books that I write?  Is it the short stories I fashion for my writers’ group? Is it the devotions I create?  All these are deeply satisfying—especially if I hear from readers that what I have written has been helpful to them in their daily living.
Today as I designed personalized birthday cards for the family and friends who will be celebrating another milestone in the next two months, it became abundantly clear. Let me take you back to when I first started on this path.
One Christmas, when my husband’s family decided to give each other handmade gifts, I struggled as to what I could give my fifteen year-old nephew whose name I had drawn.  His self-esteem, like many young teen-agers, wasn’t exactly at an all-time high.  How could I encourage him with my gift?  
At a craft store, I saw on the bargain table a wood-burning kit, and on impulse bought it. I thought perhaps I could use it to make something for him. With an addition to their home, my nephew had just acquired a room of his own to decorate as he desired. 
Finally I asked my husband to fashion a large wooden plaque on which I burned a picture and an encouraging quote.  When I was finished, I still had the longing to personalize it to a greater extent.  I practiced on paper writing and rewriting a note to burn on the back, telling him why I had chosen that quote for him and letting him know the gifts I saw in him.  I studied each word to examine whether it fully expressed my sentiment. When my words didn’t quite articulate what I wanted to convey, I got out my thesaurus and searched until I felt a reassuring “Yes! That’s it!” When I was satisfied, I seared it on the back of the plaque, finished the whole plaque with varnish and wrapped it.
When that special young man opened his gift and read the messages, front and back, I could tell by his eyes that I had hit the mark. I was hooked!  After that initial plaque, I must have made almost a hundred as gifts—always with the personalized message on the back.  Once I was asked to bring my plaques to a craft sale.  I took perhaps fifteen and went.  I sold quite a few of them, but that was the last craft sale for me.  There wasn’t half the satisfaction in selling them, as there was when I made it with the recipient in mind and therefore could individualize it.
I started to put the same kind of care into wording cards of thanks, random notes of encouragement and then birthday or anniversary cards that I fashion by hand or computer. The act of finding the exact right words to convey my thoughts and appreciation helps me to discover how much I value the person to whom I am writing and increases the delight and pleasure I take in my friendship or connection with that individual.  It has become a very enriching and fulfilling exercise—probably my favorite kind of writing.   
After I sent such a missive to one friend, I got a note back.  “What a wonderful weaver of words you are, and what encouragement your bring to many through your gift,” it said.  That was great affirmation and just stirred me to keep on giving people a lift whenever I can.  Yes, indeed, it has become my favorite kind of writing—writing that will never be published in a book, but on hearts that will feel lighter, more valued and confident to face their days.

Why not let that encouraging activity be a tool for improving your writing too?  You’ll find it good exercise that will pay liberal dividends. 


Tracy Krauss said...

How encouraging - to know that your words have mening - and to be called a 'weaver of words' is just what we all aspire to be. Well done

Peter Black said...

Wonderful, Ruth!
Since I'm a grateful recipient of one of your encouraging card creations I have a sense of the generous, gentle spirit out of which you write and create. May your creativity continue to abound and your joy continue to increase! ~~+~~

Glynis said...

And yes, you are a weaver of some pretty amazing words, Ruth. Not to mention you have a very generous spirit. I am sure many of the books you sent to Zeal for Teal have already touched hearts. A lovely post reminding us how important it is to write for a particular audience - and a personal audience is sometimes the best kind. Well done.

sasha concepcion said...

I agree with what you said, and i must say too that you are a very good writer. Thanks for sharing a wonderful post.

Have a blessed day!

Christian Christmas Card Wording Ideas

Meow Opre said...

Been spending time searching for the best Christmas greetings messages and card samples, or maybe gift ideas as early as now. Would like to express my love for those who've supported me the whole year round. Thanks for some ideas here!. :)

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