Simplify your message and people will listen
This is a Creative tip for writers:
“Part of being a good writer is being spiritually and emotionally healthy.”
Maybe for others, who write to non-humans, it doesn’t matter. But for me, And others who desire to keep writing about the deep things of life to an audience of humans, it’s the first thing that matters. More than what how-to-write books, manuals on grammar or textbooks of Elements of style can do.
Many years ago, when I started writing, I was only concerned about crafting beautiful words that cause readers to ask for more and also wonder how great the author behind the words is. Thank God, I didn’t churn out any major work with that mindset.
Now, I realize for any meaningful and eternally significant writing, you need to acknowledge your humanity.
What do I mean?
No writer has a smooth sail in life. There are triumphs and trials. Bad habits. Virtues. Struggles. Strengths. Weaknesses.
I’m beginning to discover that writers are also human beings who may be shy, Or extroverted. They may have intra-family feuds, fell pain, and joy. Both encouragement and disappointments happen to them. They make poor choices at times. They experience both the good and bad.
Yet, they are called to write. And write, they know they must.
Either way, you aren’t detached from your writing. It reflects you-emotionally and spiritually.
And because of this, God doesn’t leave writers clueless. He shows up each day we invite him to work. He is the muse. He infuses the writer with life, empowers him or her to live the life for the work to pulsate with life.
And the work will reflect what response a writer has to the Muse. Live and write = impact. Any other benefit may be added later.
So much for my babbling… but… Isaiah 50:4-5 says it in clearer terms.
Still I see writing as bleeding onto a blank page.
Will your blood be worth it?
My earliest writing was a story whose title was “one good turn deserves another.” Incidentally, that was the first thing I typed in Microsoft Word (I used comic sans font, of course!), after learning how to use a computer during the post- JSS 1 long vacation. Quite cheesy story, I know but it was a good start for me.
Since then, I have written published and unpublished stories, articles, and half-done manuscripts, many of which lie fallow in a notebook under my bed (in my parent’s house), or a folder somewhere in my hard-drive, and yes, oscillating within my subconscious. I thought I will be a sole fiction author and was actually working on a fiction title when “Donut” happened (check it out, it’s free!). I’m glad it did. I like to see Donut as a manifesto and harbinger of greater things.
There’s one fiction title I have been working on painfully for years. The theme is solid and I see a potential series springing forth, but the characters, plot, and setting have not quite elicited exhilaration from my editors and beta readers. I’ve tried to edit, rephrase dialogue, restructure scenes, change characters but nothing has worked. And I have learned that, like some buildings, maybe the structure has a faulty bedrock, and if I do not tear down, it will keep falling apart. So I’m REWRITING, and changing the title… and reading story structure books. If my work turns out great, this might be my first fiction title.
Here is today’s first lesson – sometimes, it’s just best to REWRITE. If nothing else works, try rewriting.
And – an excerpt from the old draft. Enjoy and tell me what you think about it. Cheers!
As I walked through the door out of the class, I almost collided into a girl, carrying a large canvas towards the art room.
I remember how we met. It was my second finals at the state fine-art and creativity expo. She took second place after me in the painting contest. When we returned to school the next term, she resumed with us. Her family had relocated to the city and her parents suggested they find a nearby school. Few weeks after she joined the school, at break, she asked me to teach her how to paint with pastels. And from a simple platonic friendship, we started going out. Though she wasn’t nearly twice as brilliant as I was, I couldn’t resist her charm.
I followed her into the art room. There was Uncle Alders in his watercolor stained apron, palette clutched by his thumb and drawing pencil tucked over his ears, dishing out instructions to the 20 or so students. I almost laughed, but for what brought me there.
Lydia sat at my place.
Terrible nausea washed over me as flashes of the accident churned my mind. I thought I was going to throw up so I quickly bent over the wall fastened wash-hand basin. There was Lydia, bent over her easel, painting. My body lay in a coma at General Hospital.
The feeling passed, but the knot in my stomach persisted.
Lydia. I was rising up to leave the room when she raised her head. I slightly flinched, thinking she saw me. She didn’t. No one could.
I’m obviously the last thing on her mind, anyway.
Instead, she scooped some color from the Mon Ami jar, mixed it on her palette and put some tint of pink on her painting. She would have been with me in the car when the accident happened. But two months before, she broke up with me. One day during break, she called me aside in the buttery and told me she had become born-again and felt convinced that the things we were doing together were wrong. She didn’t want to go out with me anymore. It was after a youth weekend camp she attended. She said she decided to “take the higher way.”
I told her she was crazy and told her in two weeks the religious sentiment will pass. I surmised it was no more than an emotional religious encounter like most of the people in my church, who will stand for altar-call today and the next day, are back to the old habits they renounced.
I was wrong. At least, two months now, she hasn’t returned and it’s looking like she’s not going to.
Higher way. Whatever that meant, it seemed to work for her.
She was busy these days. Busy with her painting. Busy with her books. Busy with those student fellowship guys. I must agree she’s changed for the better. She looks happier and the last term, she rose to the third position in class from average.
Here was I, trapped between life and death, not knowing which one I deserve.
Cool for her.
P.S. 1. References to real situations or actual person is entirely coincidental. 2. JSS 1 is the first year of secondary school in Nigeria. 3. I drew that unconscious guy in the image.
Do you remember how you felt when you first read about Daniel and his three friends, Job, David, and Goliath or Joshua and Caleb?
I think you do.
Can you remember how you felt when it was your turn?
Maybe you rather not.
Was it easy to take the path of the trailblazers?
No. And it is because you were in real time.
It helps to remember that when Daniel faced Goliath or Daniel was dared to serve God or Joshua stuck with divine perspective, there was no historian looking over their shoulders, recording their every move for posterity. They were normal men living in real time. By faith.
This is what I mean when I use the word, Uncharted, as I talk about life.
And that is why I have not punctuated this article with references. I’d like to see this as real talk in real time. Like Daniel going into the Lion’s or David swinging a shot at Goliath or Job waiting out his misery. Right now.
Courageous living is only really exhilarating in retrospect.
Today, you are living the dream. You are taking one step at a time and following God in faith as he leads you on a life of purpose. Watch it – I said a life of purpose, not an act, or show or period of purpose.
The fulfillment of purpose is not a period of time in the spotlight. It’s the whole time. Period.
So each day matters. Each triumph, each failure, each “accident,” each person that loves or hates you – the detail of each breath you live is an ingredient in the life God’s cooked up for you.
Ah, we love the spotlights. A thespian lives for the day he or she will debut, or win an Oscar. A student longs for the day he graduates.
Yes, there are spotlight days, events and phases you can tag. There are wildernesses too which I call them milestones in the journey where you fill gas or food, relive yourself or stretch. No one camps at a milestone.
In essence, you pick victuals at the milestones. Or drop weights. So, drop the idea that a day will come when you will rest.
No. This is for life. All or none.
I’m speaking to your heart right now; God gives you peace, God gives you strength. God gives you a resilient spirit that will submit to the leading of the Holy Spirt as he guides you in the uncharted journey – your destiny.
As you put one step ahead of the other and repeat, may you not falter. May you not fall. And if you trip at any point, simply rise, “dust” and move on.
Yes. We are. Download.
I’ve just finished watching a movie and I’m outraged.
Not at anyone, but at the message it has passed across.
It painted our humanity dark and reduced our existence to (using a lenient word) meaninglessness. So, in the grand picture, in matters of life, love and fulfillment, humans can, at best, stumble in the dark and hope not to bump into their deaths. And then, it’s grossly sexualized.
Sadly, the viewers’ reviews read things like, “Oh, great movie!” “The actors played their part well…” or some funny part of the acting. While there is nothing about the message it has spilled out, that message has filtered into the unsuspecting hearts of young and old and is forming a mindset of low expectations.
But, I beg to differ!
The earth is not a meaningless speck in the universe. Your life is not without a purpose. The way to find fulfillment is not by trial and error. You don’t have to date a couple of guys before you stumble unto one you might get married to. You are too precious to waste your life on frivolities. The teen-age is not a stupid phase filled with confusion and vices…
My heart goes out to young people trapped in this empty and mediocre life, fuelled by the lies of Modern Media and the internet. There’s a big mind-bend that has warped his way into our society – its bigger nomenclature is the “World System.”
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
You can come to Jesus and burst into a new life of adventure. You can’t take the headlines too seriously. There’s little hope on the modern screen. The internet is a no-man’s dump.
Come to JESUS!
Reference: 1 John 2:15
Good afternoon everyone,
Someone working in the Nigerian Tribune, dubbed “Nigeria’s most informative newspaper” read “Donut” and loved it.
He did a review that was published in today’s newspaper (Thursday, 27/08/2015).
If you can lay your hands on a copy, get, read and pass along. And if you can copy the link on their site, shared below, and share on your social media platform, please do so and spread the word.
This calls for prayers. Young People may begin to request copies, and it’s got to remain FREE for teenagers. We are trusting God for provision of more copies.
Do your part.
Pray. GIVE. So that we can Go.
Here is the link:
I think I might just start building my muscles because I have a blow reserved for Joab and his brother, Abishai, if I ever meet them. Those guys are something else! Even though the sons of Zeruiah were family to king David, they always were at the fore-front of most mischief.
He provably infected Abishai.
But I must say, Commander Joab was a phenomenal figure- I must give it to him. He was a calculated assasin! A real Sharpshooter.
In the return of Absalom, in the census that was not meant to be, in the administration of military men, sure, he gave some counsels to David which were precise and beneficial, and schemed for the good of the king. But it seemed he had two evils to sandwich each good he did.
So ambitious. So insecure. So unforgiving and revengeful.
He was a constant pain in the neck to David. He flouted the King’s command multiple times. He avenged at will. He assassinated men that didn’t need to die and executed anyone that stood in his way of retaining full command over the army of Israel.
I think he got more #blood on his hands than David.
But for all his scheming, he wasn’t even mentioned in the hall of fame of David’s mighty men. Little wonder David charged Solomon to kill him!
Well, I have no conclusive judgement for him. I’m just awed. This is one of the fascinating figures in the bible.
I hereby officially nominate Joab into the biblical hall-of-fame of “Daredevils” and “Bad boys.”
Are you burdened by the task before you? It seems so monumental while you seem so infinitesimal.
It’s a trying situation, you feel left behind in the race and stuck in the rut.
One option is to throw your hands in the air and resign to defeat.
Another option is to #trust.
Don’t be paralyzed by fear of failure. Do not be overwhelmed by imagining what may or may not be.
What is it – an exam, a project, a series of decisions, a task?
Allowing fear and despondency overwhelm you will shut your ears from God’s voice, prevent you from receiving fresh encouragement and instruction. It will brood more despair and weaken your mind and body.
Even if you are in this trying situation because you weren’t adequately prepared to meet its demands, you must still trust God and do what you are meant to do, regardless of the time left. It often isn’t too late.
It’s all in your mind. If you can strengthen your inner faculties by prayer, God’s word, and a resolve to succeed as the only option in your mind, you can grind down any wall.