As The Author of Your Life Write Your Story With A Knife
Have you heard the term Synesthesia?
Synesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sense triggers an involuntary reaction in another. One of the manifestations of this condition is when an individual's sensory system connects things such as letters, shapes, numbers or even people's names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor. People who live with this rare condition can literally taste the sound of the words they hear or read.
While only around four percent of the population is affected by this rare condition, I think we all can testify to the fact that sometimes our words may SOUND good, but they may not always TASTE good.
You know, those times when the words that come out of our mouth, while proper, logical and relevant, somehow, do not feel right. Or, should I say, do not taste right.
How many times when we want to say one thing, something entirely different comes out?
How many times when being prompted by God to share our heart with someone, we buckle under the pressure of self-consciousness and self-preservation and chose the words that make the message that was meant to be bold and empowering sound shallow and empty? Have you ever sensed a bitter aftertaste of those words?
I recently discovered that our written words can have an aftertaste as well.
Several weeks ago I wrote a blog post entitled “An overlooked Miracle” that gave me just that, a bad aftertaste.
Not that there was anything wrong with the post itself. It was well thought out, theologically sound, rather well researched and witty. I wrote it in accordance with the advice of most prominent social marketers and experienced bloggers. It was sufficiently long (2,000 words - isn't that what they say is optimal for generating online traffic); it had specific keywords and even external links. And yet, as soon as I hit that post button, my mouth became bitter, I felt like a fraud. The problem is, you can find a lot of good things in my article, some good information, some useful links, some humor; what you will not find in it is my heart.
I hope you don't think that I am pointing fingers here. If anything, the only finger I am pointing is at myself. At the end of the day, we all are writing for different purposes, for different audiences, we all have different goals and we all have different writing voices. Unfortunately, as a very inexperienced blogger and writer (and as a mere human) I fell into the same trap as many who walked this road before me - the trap of comparing myself to others. And by doing so, I inadvertedly took my eyes off the task that God laid before me when He granted me this privilege of being able to express my heart and His with my written words.
Why am I writing all this? I am writing this as a reminder to myself to stay true to myself and to stay true to the voice of the Holy Spirit when HE prompts me to write.
My views may be too radical, my feelings may be too raw. My blog posts may be too short, or too offensive, or too emotional, or too truthful. But they will never be dull. I pray that, as I am being obedient to the Holy Spirit, my blog posts, with all their imperfect grammar and punctuation, with all the lack of external links and keywords will punch the readers in the gut, provoke them to think differently, make them stop and ponder, but most imortandly, drive them to their knees and into the Presence of our loving God.
In 2 Timonthy 1:6 Paul encourages his young friend to be bold in his gift for the ministry that he received from God:
“For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
Being faithful to your gifting, being committed to your voice, to your purpose is not always easy.
But, whatever your gift is, fan it boldly into flame!
This post is not about right or wrong. Rather, it is about staying true to who God created you to be.
Be that writer that God called YOU to be.
Be that blogger that God called YOU to be.
Be that Leader, that Entrepreneur, that Mother, that Teacher …
You are one of a kind for a reason!
There is a term often used in literary circles - writing with a knife.
It refers to the fact that good writers always use two separate but closely intertwined processes: writing their message and then cutting away everything that is not their message.
And I want to do just that.
I want to write with a knife! While being honest and vulnerable, I want to cut out from my blog posts anything that is my flesh so that all that is left is God and His message.
Whether you are a writer, a teacher, a parent or a spouse, whoever you are,
as the author of your life, write your message with a knife!
Cut out all those things that don’t bring light into this word. Cut out those things that don't bring hope, love, peace and joy. Cut out those things that stop you from pursuing your dreams and keep you from being authentic self. And finally, cut out from your life those things that don't bring glory to God.
“An Overlooked Miracle” is still out there. You may accuse me of hypocrisy, but I did not take it down. The magic of internet marketing does work. All the efforts that I put into crafting out a blog post that drives traffic to my website were not in vain. I should be happy. And yet, every time I see a reader engage with that article my whole body cringes because I knwo that the success came at a cost of betraying my own voice.
And on the debate of short vs. long blog posts (the very trap I fell into), I want to leave you with this:
Legend has it that Hemingway while being at a bar with friends, bet everyone at the table 10 Dollars that he would be able to craft a complete and compelling story-line in six words. Once the money was on the table, he took a napkin and wrote:
“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”