Monday, 24 August 2015

Try something new

by Charis Joy Jackson

All my life I've enjoyed writing, but I've never considered myself a comment writer. Preferring the relative safety of fiction.

That way, if someone gets upset about something, I can always blame it on one of the characters.

This year I started writing for PSI, a volunteer comment section of Christian Today. It's been a fun challenge to find things to write about. To find topics where I feel like I have something to say.

I'm still wet behind the ears but over the last eight months I've learned a lot and grown heaps. In a nutshell, not only have I learned I have a voice and something worth sharing, but I've also learned I do have opinions on more things than I thought. The biggest area of growth, surprisingly enough, is that I've learned I actually have an opinion in politics.

Anyone who knows me, will tell you how I mentally shut down when people bring up politics, but over the last few months, I've started to listen and not just that, but share my own opinions too.

Earlier this month I was invited to attend the annual PSI conference being held in Sydney.

During the award section of the conference I sat with the rest of my hopeful peers, never dreaming I'd win anything. After all, I'm still new to comment writing.

Then my name was called and I found myself walking to the front as my peers clapped. I took home the international "Most Outstanding" young writer award.

I was speechless.

But more than any award to be won, I'm glad I took the risk to write comment pieces.

It's pushed me past my comfort zone, helped me define my voice as an author and taught me the valuable lesson that my words do have power and all those jumbled thoughts that run through my mind can actually form coherent sentences on important topics.

Which leads me to my challenge to you.

If you write, try writing in another genre. If you write fiction, try writing non-fiction. If you write romance, try writing a crime thriller.

You may just find yourself being pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Charis Joy Jackson is working as a missionary with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) a non-profit organization & is part of The Initiative Production Company. She loves creating stories & is currently writing a novel, which she hopes to create into a seven part series. 

Here's to a life lived in awe & wonder. 
Welcome to the adventure.


  1. Congratulations on your award Charis. That's fantastic, and what a great encouragement to you in your new writing endeavour. I sometimes shy away from sharing my opinion on issues, especially those that I know won't be popular with everyone (e.g. refugees, gay marriage, the best Dr Who-it's David Tennant of course!). But it's often when we take those risks that we touch people and can have an impact for the Kingdom. As long as we're writing the truth in love, then we can leave others' reactions in God's hands (though not easy to do in practice).

    And I fully agree how writing in a different genre can help you grow as a writer. My brain is much more geared to nonfiction and poetry. But when I was doing my Creative Writing Grad Dip, I took a prose course that had three short stories in different genres as the assessment. I hadn't written a story since high school and wasn't expecting to do well in that one. But I surprised myself and got a high distinction. Now I'm over 100 000 words into the debut novel. Eek! What was I thinking? So you just never know what you can do until you step out of your comfort zone and try. I also have a bit of a bandwagon that fiction writers should try their hand at poetry, as it really helps you develop abilities in imagery, word choice, concise writing etc that are invaluable for other types of writing.

    Thanks for sharing Charis.

  2. Wow Charis - what a great encouragement to spread your wings. Congratulations on the award - and some great advice. My English teacher had to encourage me to write non-fiction essays as I had, up until that point, turned every question into a story - these days I love writing both fiction and non-fiction - and yes, Nola, poetry as well. I have so many ideas bubbling away - stories, opinion pieces. theology, family history, poetry. Hmmm maybe I could start writing chirldren's books or script writing - but I might wait until I get a few of my other projects finished lol. Great post.

  3. Congratulations Charis. That's an outstanding achievement. What a thrill. And well done for stepping outside your comfort zone. Yes, I agree that it's a good call to keep trying our hands at different genres - I have felt God nudging me to try a little this and try a little that as my writing career emerged. It's great that there is such a variety of writing for us to dabble in - which makes the journey all the more worthwhile. Thanks for your interesting thoughts.

  4. That's great encouragement, Charis. Comment writing sounds very challenging and rewarding, not to mention mind-broadening. I've considered myself a fiction author for several years, and it's all I wanted to be since my school days, but over the last few years, I've enjoyed writing reviews and blog posts equally as much.