Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Listen to Understand-Be a Contributor Not Just a User





“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand: They listen with the intent to reply”


I’ve seen this meme a number of times in my social media, and I have tried to keep this piece of wisdom in mind during conversations. I admit, I often sit in a position of anticipation, waiting for the opportunity to jump into the conversation and wow everybody with my quick thinking, deep wisdom or cracking wit. However, good listening is a genuine gift of compassion. It is when we seek to understand what others are trying to say, how they are feeling or why they are hurting. 

While most of us would press ‘like’ on a quote such as this one the moment it appears on our wall, I wonder if I could expand the thought to the realms of our Christian Writing networks. Australasian Christian Writers is only one writer’s network for writers Down Under. I’ve been thinking about these networks of late as I’ve been chatting to leaders from Omega Christian Writers, and it has struck me that perhaps those of us who use these fellowship/network groups may be taking the services offered for granted.

As I analyse my own attitude, if I am honest, I see these groups as an opportunity to promote myself as a writer. When put like that, it seems a little self-serving—okay, a lot self-serving. Of course I want other readers in these groups to click on my blog, and reply with encouragement. I want other readers to go to my website and eagerly read what I’ve put there. I want these readers to order not one, but several of my books, and to post reviews and glowing reports. It’s all about ME!!
Well, that is if I’m honest. I guess if you’re honest, you probably want those things too. Is that bad? It can’t be all bad, because that is the idea of marketing and promoting. How else will people know about what we do?

But there has to be more. I consider the likes of Annie Hamilton, Rochelle Manners, Susan Barnes, Simon Kennedy, Heather Monro, Amanda Deed, Judy Rogers, and Jenny Glazebrook. Perhaps you don’t know who these people are. They are some of the prime movers who have either in the past or recently organised our writer’s conference, the CALEB prize and Omega Christian Writers. There are Iola Goulton, Jenny Blake and Narelle Atkins who facilitate this blog. These folks work for little love and no pay and make it possible for others of us to be visible, to connect and to promote.

As I was thinking about these leaders, and others in the various Down Under Christian writing fellowships, I began to realise that the days of using these networks simply for my own self-serving purposes has to end. I know that these networks don’t mind promotion and marketing, in fact they encourage it. But each group needs input and encouragement, and sometimes financial commitment to keep it functioning. 

Australasian Christian Writers and other Christian writing networks can also be an opportunity for me to understand, encourage, support and learn. I encourage all readers here today: make sure you don’t take the leaders for granted, and if you can help in any way, be eager to do so, just as if you put a post up, you’d hope that other folks would ‘listen’ to you, and appreciate what it is that you are offering.

Meredith Resce has a website: www.meredithresce.com – prepare to be amazed!


7 comments:

  1. Well said, Meredith. And it can start by more of us commenting on blog posts. I have a view that if I read a post, I comment, even if it's a simple, "thanks". So easy to encourage others with such little actions.

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    1. Ian, I agree. A one-liner blog comment can mean the world to writers who appreciate hearing encouragement and support from blog readers.

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  2. Thanks for this challenge, Meredith. I recently wrote a personal blog on a similar theme to what you have written, after a time when I caught myself not listening to the person speaking in a group because I was too busy thinking about the scintillating thing I would say next! And of all things, it was at an Omega Writers' group meeting! And I agree with Ian's comment above too, re commenting on blogs, even if only briefly.

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  3. I actually hadn't seen the meme (believe it or not!), but I like it!

    Thanks for this post, and for the acknowledgement of the work that goes on behind the scenes in any group blog.

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  4. Hi Meredith,
    Thanks for this good reminder that we're all connected, and for the shout out to people who deserve it. It reminds me that in this industry, we could develop the attitude that a celebration for one of us is a celebration for all. It's easy to forget that when we're working on something behind our own computers.

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  5. Thanks Meredith.

    A couple of other shout outs: Raewyn Elsegood has come on board this year looking after our workshops presenters on the conference committee and been a great asset. Anne Brown has been working behind the scenes making name tags etc.

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  6. Hi Meredith, Thanks for acknowledging the volunteer work that takes place in our writing world. There are seasons when writers will contribute more or less, depending on their circumstances and resources. We have many writing friends with servant hearts who are seeking to give back to the writing community and pay it forward. It's important that we remember and appreciate their work and willingness to serve. Thank you for your kind words :)

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