Jen Jeffrey Billington: My Voice is Changing

Thursday, January 13, 2022 - by Jen Jeffrey Billington

Transformation is a process (whether negative or positive), and processing brings growth. Looking forward, we envision the goal before us, and then we slowly become what it is we want to achieve. I have loved writing ever since my Mama placed a pencil in my hand. The world opened up for me right then, and I thought I could do anything. I was the youngest of my siblings and never felt competitive with them, even when the one closest to my age would try to entice me in swim races or a game of HORSE. My desire was not to run faster or be the best anything I could; I desired to enlighten others. 

When I realized what I could do with words, the world became a vast, open space that I wanted to fill with ideas, stories and color. I learned what I could do with the rhythm and timing of words and rhyming. I learned to invite people into my imagination – my playground. I learned to encourage someone who might feel sad, confused, or need uplifting - this was a process up through my teen years. 

When I married and had children, the days got busy, and writing was for my eyes only – journaling and processing life as it came. Heartaches, hard knocks and lessons learned seemed to take me on a journey away from my purpose. But now I realize that it did not – everything in my life led me to this time.

When the second half of my life had been handed to me, as empty as that vast, open space filled with potential I envisioned in my youth, I began writing again. 

God led me in the direction I would go, and He provided the platforms. People were reading what I wrote. I had a voice. Writing for a news publication and a few magazines honed my skills. My writer’s voice spoke in a journalistic fashion, which I love. 

And today, my dream of writing books is coming to fruition, but I have noticed a change in my voice. After writing my first book to completion and then researching what to do to get it published, I have learned writing books is very different from writing articles or using AP Style. Though I continue to write articles, it is necessary to process this new transformation.

My mind had to transition from writing to a large audience to one person. A person who is curled up in a chair, possibly stroking the fur of their pet and sipping their coffee, and I invite them to join me on a personal walk. I think how a preacher gives a message to a large audience. There is a purpose and a need. God uses their voice on that platform. Then there are the intimate moments after the sermon when someone goes to the altar for prayer or sees the pastor in his office for something more profound. Maybe that is how this transition in my writing voice will be. I do know it is a process. 

Everything that happened in my life before this moment was a part of the process. The role of my life working as a busy single mom and gaining wisdom from the Lord fashioned me for many areas of life I am to write. 

I want to try fiction writing in the future, but right now, God is guiding my pen in the direction of encouragement and inspiration. It’s needed. I have compassion for many who are hurting, and I know I did not run the gauntlet for naught. God uses my experiences, pain, and the positive keys I learned to help guide others with His truths.

As I learned new formatting and refreshed on grammar principles, I completed editing and polishing my manuscript and recently sent a query to an agent in Nashville - and now I wait. 

That part of the process may be nerve-racking to some writers, but I have placed this in God’s hands, and already He is moving me onto writing my next book. He will open the right doors at the right time, and meanwhile I am embracing each part of the process. 

My grandson is now 15, but when he went through the physical ‘changing voice’ process, he sounded like a man and no longer a boy. Though I enjoy watching videos and hearing that sweet little boy’s voice, I also love seeing how much he has grown. 

I pray that as my writing voice changes, God continues to set me on the platforms and open doors, and His voice is heard in all He places on my heart to write.

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Friends Of Hixson Announces Community Impact Award Recipients

Kiwanis Club Of Chattanooga Honors Dr. Edna Varner With 2021 Distinguished Service Award

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The Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga will honor Dr. Edna Varner with the 2021 Distinguished Service Award on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at The Westin Chattanooga with an award ceremony and lunch. The event is ... (click for more)


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Here is the weekly road construction report for District 29: BRADLEY COUNTY SR-60 widening from the 4-lane north of I-75 (LM 17.2) to SR-306 (LM19.9): During this reporting period, the contractor will be mobilizing equipment to the project site and will being clearing operations and installation of erosion control measures. Crews will also be working on foundations for a new ... (click for more)

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The Friends of Hixson honored this year’s Community Impact Award recipients, Mayor Jim Coppinger and Front Runner Athletics Owner Chad Varga. Community Impact Awards are given to individuals and businesses each year that have exhibited outstanding services and leadership in the Hixson Community. The Friends of Hixson’s Community Coffee Meetings are on the third Wednesday ... (click for more)

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