Since last summer, I've been crazy over a worship song "Great Are You Lord."
Originally sung by All Sons and Daughters, I'd never heard of the song until I happened upon Amanda Cook singing it for a live set.
I listened to it none stop.
Brought it to my worship team at church. Ten months later, it's still a monthly favorite.
I'd pull the song set every week if I didn't want to wear everyone out.
Just recently however, I learned another favorite worship leader of mine, Jeremy Riddle, also lead the song in a worship set a few years ago.
In fact, I'd listened to that live set several times. Jeremy sang "Great Are You Lord," the bridge "All the earth will shout Your praise..." with energy and sincerity.
But the song never stood out to me. Didn't make an impact. Until I heard Amanda Cook sing it.
Why is that? What is that?
Same song, different singer, and one deeply impacted me while the other did not.
Was it a time in my life? Was it a season? Was it the unseen of one worship leader over another?
I don't know because I admire them both.
But there is something in Amanda Cook's voice, in her worship, that resonates with me in the deep. I'm moved by her voice, her songwriting, inspired to love Jesus more.
Voice is a critical part of life. Of writing.
It's more than the tone, than inflection, than a string of words put together.
It's the vibration of one's heart that makes Voice reverberate with the masses.
Sometimes the "it" factor causes one voice to stand out above others.
We see this a lot in politics. And in pulpits.
As writers, our voice is critical.
How you phrase things, how you tell the story, how you emote onto the page will draw or repel readers.
If we challenged two writers to write a story on the same issue/topic, invariably one would be more successful than the other.
Let's say they are both great writers. Both have superior editing and cover design. Both work social media and are very personable.
Nothing on the outside makes a difference. But yet one book will do better than the other.
A sound that comes from the heart of the author that touches something we can't distinguish in tangible terms. Soul? Spirit? Unseen?
Who knows but an author's voice is so key to success.
I remember meeting Karen Kingsbury in 2002 at the first ACFW onference. I'd not read any of her books but everyone at the conference loved her.
After I heard her speak for the first time I knew why. Voice! Karen is a great, emotional story teller.
I'm not such a great emotional story teller, so I find what works for me. I find my voice. And I have to fine tune, train my own writing voice.
If I could boil it down to this, I'd say voice is about passion. Emotion. About conviction. About being real, being "you" on the page.
Sometimes writers are so focused on craft they leave voice behind. Or a writer can get lost in trying to write the "next great novel" that they leave out their own heart and soul.
Books overly manufactured can read excellent, but lack "feel."
Let's not leave the feel out of our novels.
Sometimes our books have all the right feel and emotion, passion, but it just doesn't resonate with readers.
But trust it will in time. Trust the Creator in doing what's right concerning your writing and career.
Maybe you're like me and you have to take a step back and just write what you love. Forget about market or competition and just be passionate about all you're writing.
Maybe you need to shut up the voices of doubt and indecision rattling around in your head, and believe God is working in and through you.
We all know success does not indicate the best. Or that God loves one person more than another.
At the end of the day, you must be true to Him, and true to yourself, and the person God has made you to be.
And lift your Voice! Whether one or a million hear you, be a voice. Not an echo.
Rachel Hauck is an award winning, best selling novelist.
She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery pets.
She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.