- “What are the things that keep you up at night?”
- “When crafting first pieces—get tense (important to feel), palms sweaty, really calm stillness—deeper level.”
- “Did your body speak to you when working/responding? If not responding, then ask, ‘How engaged am I?’”
- “Where was God in it?”
- “Let your life speak.”
I have no record of who was speaking or what conference I was attending. I don’t know where these thoughts came from; only that I found them worthy of saving all this time.
What are the things that keep you up at night?
I have no idea what the speaker said about this, but I know that when I take on a project—whether as short and quick as a blog post or as all-consuming as a book—I need to care about it. I’ll be living with it, thinking about it, researching, reading, talking and writing about it at length—probably dedicating every spare moment to developing it.My topic should hold my attention. If it revs me up or concerns me deeply, I’ll stay the course and write with more energy and interest. The things that keep me up at night will hold my attention; and if they hold my attention, they’ll likely hold the attention of my readers.”What keeps me up at night?” That’s not a bad place to start when looking for ideas.
When crafting first pieces, it’s important to feel at a deeper level.
Do I care about my topic? Does my story engage me so much that I have a physical reaction?I remember feeling compelled to open the window to a deep and painful time of my life just a crack. My snippet of a story was buried in a comment at a blog. Though no longer than a short paragraph, I felt the prick of adrenaline as I typed. I needed to reveal that tiny snapshot. When I was done? Peace.
Did your body speak to you when working/responding? If not, ask, ‘How engaged am I?’
This is similar to the previous note, but it’s worth exploring further.Am I bored as I write?Might as well stop and move on (or wait) until something grabs me. After all, if I’m bored while writing, my reader will likely be bored while reading. Why waste our time?
Where was God in it?
I love stories that don’t have to say something like “And God protected me” because the story was honest and real enough to show that God protected me. A great story will reflect real life, and if God was there in real life, then it should be possible to reveal that through story.”Where was God in it?” is also a good way to select a story to tell. When I know where God was working in my life, I can find the turning point or focus of the story I want to tell.
Let your life speak.
Story. My life best speaks to others by means of story, though I do like to share thoughts, as well, as I’m doing right now.Instead of always instructing or describing, I am trying to learn to tell that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable from my life. Even if those elements are embedded in an unresolved struggle I’m dealing with, they will be easiest to process (and most memorable) when told in story form.In a stroke of irony, however, I realized that this very post fails to do any of the enumerated points.I’m simply talking.No story.No adrenaline prick.Just a few thoughts flowing in response to a piece of paper torn from a spiral notebook.I guess not everything can be pulsing with power.Sometimes we just get together and share what we’ve learned.