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ACW

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Wearing different hats by Claire Musters


The last few months have seen me wearing the two distinctive hats of writer and editor. While I’m co-writing a book and writing my usual columns I’m also juggling the editorship of Families First for three issues.

As a freelance writer and editor, I do regularly take on both types of jobs, but the experience of having such finely delineated roles for an extended period of time has been quite fraught at times.

I’ve been deep into making editorial decisions and endlessly chasing up text and pictures while all the time longing to get my teeth back into the chapters piled up on my desk. At other moments I’ve been sluggishly working through amendments on the manuscript, longing to get back to the easier, and quicker, checklist of jobs to do on the magazine.

The overall process has made me reflect afresh on how one area of my working life (and indeed wider life) can inform the other. Lessons on making headlines snappy can make me look at extended writing in a more critical way, not settling for sloppy sentences for example.

I know many of you write in your spare time and so I wonder how your ‘day job’ informs your writing. So much of what I do (as a mother, church leader, musician etc) is reflected in my writing as I feel every element works together to make me who I am – and I’m not good at compartmentalising!

We’ve also had discussions about what being a Christian writer means – writers who happen to be Christians or writers of distinctly Christian material? Even if you are purposefully trying to engage with the secular rather than Christian market, how does being a Christian inform what you do? Surely our faith should never be another ‘hat’ that we take off when we are writing?

Then again, I am reminded of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9: ‘I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel’ (v22–23). I find that really challenging as it forces me to ask: do I ever actually make a distinct effort to wear a different hat in order to reach people with the gospel?

One of my passions is encouraging people to be who they are truly are – but have I ever subconsciously used that as an excuse not to step out of my comfort zone to engage with people who aren’t like me?

I am so glad that God sometimes gives us opportunities out of the blue. Most of my writing is aimed specifically at Christians and, while I do feel called to be doing what I am doing, at times I am frustrated that I rarely reach non-believers through my work. But last week I felt I had to write a piece about the struggles I was having with my daughter – not something I do often. The response was overwhelming – and 90% from those who would say they do not have a faith. I was so taken aback – and encouraged.


While I may be juggling different ‘hats’, and feeling like they don’t give me much opportunity to engage with those without a faith, last week was a good reminder that God can always use our small offerings to further His plans…

Claire is a freelance writer and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include David: A man after God's own heartTaking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Guide: Managing Conflict and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today as well as Bible study notes and is currently standing in as editor for Families First magazine. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.

8 comments:

  1. I identify with everything you are saying here. It can often be difficult to juggle different things and so many different aspects of our life

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    1. It really is isn't it? But also a privilege to do what we do. Thanks for commenting :)

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  2. Oh Claire, that's just what I need today, thank you! Those verses from 1 Cor 9 just leapt out at me. I'm going to read them again now. Yes, that's what I'm called to do - 'be all things to all people' yet somehow being just me. Bless you in your hat juggling today.

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    1. Ah you Fiona! So glad it resonated - and enjoy being you today :)

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  3. Yes, I very much identify with wearing different hats, both because of the various different kinds of writing I do, and because of what I do in the rest of my life. I call myself a "writer, storyteller and ventriloquist", but occasionally rearrange the three titles depending on which happens to be taking up the most of my time!

    By the way, I used to blog regularly for Families First and as a MU member, am an avid reader of the magazine. One of my ambitions is to get an article actually in the paper magazine and not just online. Just sayin'...*beats a hastily embarrassed exit*

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    1. Thanks for commenting :) And lovely to hear you read FF - I've got one issue left as acting editor but do email the FF office if you have any specific ideas for an article (or contact me via my website www.clairemusters.com) as we are always looking for fresh content, particularly involving MU work :)

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  4. My day job definitely informs my writing. Unfortunately, it also stops me from doing much of it!!

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  5. Like Fran, I tend to find that my work gets in the way of my writing. I'd love to be the sort of person who can unravel plot twists in their head while going about their daily life, but unfortunately I find I write best when I shut myself away from the world. I just need to save up for a desert island...

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