Sunday, November 20, 2022

A Writing Secret

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

In many ways, as writers we live visible public lives. Our work gets published with our name on it in magazines and books. We speak to groups about our books or teach our particular topic. Yet not everything we do has to be visible to others. In this article, I want to tell you a writing secret and then give you a challenge.
Im comfortable writing about this author and his writing secret because hes no longer living yet his story continues to be an example in my own life and work. Jamie Buckingham was a remarkable writer, bestselling author and contributing editor at Guideposts, which is one of the top 20 circulation magazines. If you want to read the fascinating story of how Jamie got started in the publishing world, I encourage you to get a copy of Another Chance, How God Overrides Our Big Mistakes by Dean Merrill. Jamies story is one of the chapters.
I want to tell is a different story about Jamie.  Early in my writing life, I lived in Southern California and worked at the Wycliffe Bible Translators office. Many people have forgotten but I spent 17 years with Wycliffe (10 years in linguistics and seven writing). My kids were young and often on a Sunday afternoon I would go over to the office and write--when the office was dark and no one there. One time, I noticed the lights on in the directors office so I walked past and found Jamie Buckingham sitting at a keyboard. He told me, Today Im a jungle pilot, Terry. No one knew but twice a year Jamie would come from his home in Florida to our offices in California. Then Jamie would write all of the print pieces that our director needed--his column for the magazine, his column in a member publication and finally his letter to the Wycliffe donors. My supporters would tell me they gave to many organizations and didnt read the donor letter--but they always read the one from Wycliffe. What these readers didnt know is in secret those words were crafted from Jamie Buckingham. He did this work without credit or payment. I knew about Jamies writing because of my editorial work at Wycliffe. It was a great example to me about Jamies remarkable writing life and his servant leadership. 
What can you do with your writing talent which is in secret? Possibly you edit your church newsletter or write for a publication without your name or you write for someone else and your name is not included. There are endless possibilities and opportunties. Or possibly you mentor or teach someone (maybe your own child or grandchild). No one pays you or knows about this investment into another life.
While the public may not know about your writing in secret, God watches and records our every action and step. Im certain there is celebration in heaven because of Jamie Buckinghams unheralded writing work. Its a huge example in my own life and now hopefully will be so in yours.
Not all of our writing has to be done in public. Is some of your writing secret? Let me know what you can in the comments below.

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