I’m No Longer a Wannabe

I'm No Longer a Wannabe

“I’m no Ann Voskamp.”

The words spilled off my tongue last week as I was trying to explain my writing style to a company who wanted to possibly have me do some projects with them.

After I got off the phone, I realized what a big deal it was that I said those words. And, more importantly, that I said them with courage and confidence.

You see, for years, I wanted to be able to write poetically, beautifully, and poignantly. I wanted to be a wordsmith and an artist as a writer.

I’d read books by these writers. I’d study their writing style. I’d convince myself that I could write like that. And then I’d try… and the final result would come up short.

But I kept trying, because I thought that a writer had to write in beautiful phrases and word pictures. Otherwise, you weren’t a writer; you were a wannabe.

Slowly, ever so slowly, these past few years, I’ve stopped trying to be who I thought I was “supposed” to be and started embracing who God has made me to be. I stopped wishing I had her gifts or her talents, and started owning the gifts and talents God had given me.

And you know what? There’s been immense freedom and fulfillment in that.

I won’t ever be as poetic as Ann or as picturesque as Angie or as deep as Brene, and that’s 100% okay. My gift is to take big-picture concepts and break them down into bite-sized pieces. My writing style is practical and actionable. My voice is conversational.

That’s who God has created me to be as a writer… and I’m completely content with it.

Yes, I want to grow as a writer. Yes, I want to improve. Yes, I hope that I continue to stretch and challenge myself so I don’t stay in the safe zone as a writer.

But I’ve stopped wishing I were someone else and started owning my own voice. Because it’s the one I’ve been given.

I have a message that others need to hear. I have a way of sharing things that will be different than Ann, or Angie, or Brene. Because I’m the best version of me that exists.

I’m no longer a wannabe. I’m a writer.

Will you join me in this journey of seeking to embrace who God has called us to be? You are the best version of YOU. Believe it, own it, and live it!

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for this post, Crystal. I too am guilty of thinking I can’t do things as well as some accomplished person can, so maybe I shouldn’t even try. You have reminded me however, no one can do things exactly the way that I can! We all have our special gifts to bring to the world. Merry Christmas to you.

  2. Beth says

    Crystal, It has been a long hard day, and I spent my commute home pondering whether I’m on the right path in life and if I really have what it takes to make it in my field.

    Thank you for the encouragement– it was a message that I really needed to hear today. I don’t need to be the best or do it the way others do it– I simply need to be the best version of me and do a good job.

    Thanks again for some much needed encouragement!

    • says

      {hugs!} So sorry you had a hard day.

      And I love what you said: “I don’t need to be the best or do it the way others do it– I simply need to be the best version of me and do a good job.”

      Spot on!

  3. Jen says

    I love YOUR writing style! …. And this concept spills over into so many other areas. I too am making strides in letting go of comparisons, they only hurt.

    • says

      Isn’t it amazing how much we stifle and hurt ourselves when we get hung up on comparison? I know I’ve missed out on a lot in life because of it.

  4. says

    So very true! The funny thing is that I’ve found myself thinking {and maybe saying}, “I’m no Crystal Paine” when it comes to blogging. It’s certainly a journey of discovery as we learn more about who God has made each of us to be! :-)

    • says

      The world only has space for one Crystal Paine… so be Sarah E. because you’ve got a lot of wonderful qualities and gifts that I don’t have and we need you to exercise those gifts!

  5. Diane says

    I love Ann’s writing and yours, too and I agree you write different messages and that’s how God is using you both. Blessings to you and your family!

  6. says

    I love reading your books. Your writing style is “everyday mom” (ya, just made that up) so, as an everyday mom myself, it is so easy to read. Just finished SGSM last night, btw.

    I would love to write with the wisdom of Sally Clarkson or the wit of Jen Hatmaker but I can’t because I’m me. Sure, their work (along with yours) are influential but at the end of the day I have to write like me.

  7. says

    I can’t tell you how much this post spoke to me. I have struggled with feeling that the only things that really stand out about my writing are that it’s practical, clear, and grammatically correct. That sounds so boring, so I’ve gone through phases of trying out different voices, but it feels so forced. This encourages me.

  8. Rebecca S. says

    Yours writing style speaks to me. In fact, I’ve noticed more and more contributing writers on your site and I hope that you will not step back from writing here. I can relate to you. I feel like I’m listening to my friend give me advice. I trust you. You’re right. God does use each of us in different ways for different purposes. Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit direct you!

    • says

      We’ve been bringing in some new voices because I love to provide a variety of perspectives here — especially since the audience has become so diverse. However, one thing my team and I have been working hard on behind the scenes the past few months is to streamline my responsibilities so I can focus quality time on writing content posts in 2014. That’s where my heart is and that’s one of the things about running this blog that I love the most! So know that I don’t plan to be stepping back from that at all… if anything, I’m hoping to have *more* time to devote to writing here.

      Thanks so much for your input and your kind encouragement!

  9. Sharon says

    Ah Crystal, I like your style! I’m glad you are at peace with it. I know what its like to compare myself, my decorating style, etc with others.

    I LOVE how practical you are. THANK YOU for the helpful posts you share! I don’t read near all of them but the ones that I need most I really enjoy! God bless!

  10. jennifer N says

    Thank you for this! Comparison and falling short is such a struggle- but not God’s plan for us. Your honesty and openness encouraged me- I have a different calling, a different role. We need to praise God for our uniqueness!

  11. Cate R. says

    Love this. How much of God’s hand tailored gifts are wasted as we try to be someone else? Being ourselves seems surprisingly harder than it should be, but this is a good reminder.

  12. Joanne Peterson says

    We all need the unique writing styles for different reasons. I read various bloggers because they each have a particular message that I use in my daily life. I’m grateful each of you choose to use your talents. Crystal, I would not want the other woman’s writing/communication style for the things you write. Your writing style is clearly understandable written for the message you are giving for your audience.

  13. Mylynda says

    Way to own it, Crystal! Thanks for sharing what God has put inside you and all that you have learned along the way. You are a very inspirational person. Keep up the great writing.

    • says

      God has put some amazing people and books in my life in the last few years that are really challenging me to be all He has called me to be. It’s a journey… and I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for His grace and the encouragement of so many people.

      Thank you for your sweet comment!

  14. says

    I’ve been a reader of your blog for the past six years and love the way you write!

    I also want to say that I am so happy that you have become so successful. You bring a lot of light to many people’s lives : )

  15. says

    I thoroughly appreciate this. Thank you for writing out your fresh mindset. How freeing to realize you can shake off another’s (albeit beautiful) cloak, and just wear your own God-given skin. Hooray! And Merry Christmas to you.

  16. Sarah Wesgate says

    Crystal,

    This post was beautifully written! What I have loved about your writing style since the day I started reading (2 years ago) was that I knew you were a mom with the same challenges, hopes, wishes, fears, and dreams as the rest of us. Your writing makes you relatable, your words are practical, and because I am reading YOUR words, I know what you write is possible in my life too. You make what looks impossible seem possible. You give me and moms everywhere hope for a more streamlined, less stressful, more values centered life. That could not be happening quite so well without your writing style. I love it… Keep up the awesome, life changing work!

    Sarah

  17. Leanne says

    this is where I’ve gotten with my running…
    I’ve run for over 1/2 my life!, but I always thought “I’m not fast enough, I’m not skinny enough, I don’t do enough races”….and it sucked the joy right out, especially when I’m 43 and speed, skinniness, and time to train gets more and more elusive!….
    but then, I realized, hey, I’ve done this for nearly 25 years… I think we’ve moved past running as a hobby…I sometimes have to take a few weeks off, and I’ve slowed way down, and I really hate racing, but I’m a runner…. and that’s a great thing!
    I LOVE your style of writing. I admire Ann Voskamp…but, I don’t always understand her… I’m not very “eloquent” in that way!
    Keep up what you do! you do it so well!!

  18. says

    It took me a long time before I could call myself a writer, and it’s such a remarkable thing when it finally happens. I have found that when I turn my writing over to God, I write exactly what He wants, and that’s better than emulating any other author. Thanks for sharing! :-)

    • says

      “I have found that when I turn my writing over to God, I write exactly what He wants, and that’s better than emulating any other author.”

      Such a great comment!

  19. jamie says

    THIS is so well written! Thank you for sharing! Congratulations for … being YOU!
    I LOVE this statement!!!
    “Slowly, ever so slowly, these past few years, I’ve stopped trying to be who I thought I was “supposed” to be and started embracing who God has made me to be.”

    You are awesome!

    • Anita says

      Your post is so good! Just want you to know that some of us need writers like you because sometimes the more poetic are just not what we understand and get, even though we try. Confession time! Different kind of brains, I guess.

  20. says

    I just have to say that I personally prefer your writing style! That’s the beauty of it–there are different writing styles, just like there are different tastes. Some people prefer abstract, vague, poetic. And others prefer practical, and to the point. I’m so glad you aren’t trying to be anyone else, because a lot of us need YOU and your style :)

  21. Tara says

    Crystal,

    I’ve been a reader for years, and this is my favorite post to date. It resonates with me, as I spend too much time comparing myself to others. I appreciate your vulnerability (learning much about that through my Daring Greatly read – by Brene!). I’m proud of you – that you’ve realized you are a gift – exactly as God created you.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  22. Ann Marie Curatolo says

    Crystal….just so you know that was written poetically, beautifully, and poignantly. Mission accomplished. :)

  23. Sara K. says

    Take comfort that there are as many different kinds of readers as there are writers! Your writing style is reaching people in just the way they need!

  24. says

    I often have close friends tell me that they can “hear” me when they read my blog posts. I take that as a huge compliment! It means I am not trying to write like somebody else.
    I will say though, I have often been concerned that my posts are too long. No 300 word posts for me. More like 800-1100 word posts. But you know what?
    That’s how I think and process stuff, and my readers who know me seem to like it! So I am getting my new blog ready with confidence that I don’t need to change my writing style!

  25. Sara says

    You’re EXTREMELY gifted at writing toward people like me. So no, you’re no wannabe. God’s gifted you to be a just-as-accomplished teacher. And that makes me very happy.

  26. Jen says

    Beautifully said Crystal! I’ve spent many years envying the talents of others and not being content with the way God gifted me. I’m so glad that you have embraced being who God made you to be as you have made such a difference in the lives of so many with the gifts God has given you. I have followed you blog since 2008 and you have been such an encouragement to me. First I followed your blog for the coupon and deal info (which helped our family get out of debt), but now I look forward to reading your posts on goal setting and how to break large concepts into small pieces (NOT my strength!). Thanks for using your gifts to inspire so many of us!

  27. says

    Thank you for the encouragement! I too have struggled with comparing myself to others – in nearly every way, but mostly with my photography and with my writing – my two passions. You reminded me that my voice is unique and that’s what’s important – after all, if we all wrote the same stuff, we’d be limited in who would want to reach it or who we could reach! Thanks again :)

  28. says

    Bravo!! This made me smile!! I’m very proud of you and your bravery to embrace YOU and put yourself out there to make a difference in this world!

  29. says

    Such a good reminder. Not just in writing, but in all things-to strive to be your most excellent self and no one else. After all, no one can replace YOU.

  30. says

    I love this post so much. I get so caught up in thinking that I wish I was a better writer and it makes me forget who God created me to be. I think we loose our own unique voice, when we get too focused on someone else’s gift. And sometimes it’s hard to remember who God created us to be, especially if we read lots of great blogs (like I do).

  31. says

    Such a great reminder, Crystal! I, too, have a conversational writing style. And you know what? I’m OK with that! I have pre-ordered your new book (so need it!!), and I can’t wait to dig in!! Congrats on it!!! :)

  32. CLR says

    As one writer to another, I hear you – but please know that you are a very eloquent writer! As a previous journalist I was once lamenting to one of my readers about not being as “good” as another writer on staff. I was told, “but your stuff is so easy to understand – I trust what you tell me.” Understandable and trustworthy – works for me!
    Next time you doubt your writing style or your gifts, come back to this posting of yours and remember just how influential and uplifting you are to all these readers! Thank you for being real!

  33. says

    Your “style” or rather you are so motivating to me! I am thankful that I have found and followed your blog for the time that I have. Although I enjoy Ann, and she does inspire but in different ways. Your actionable steps have helped me way more than any other blog I follow! For that I am forever grateful…. SO thank you for being YOU!