One of the funny things about being a writer is that I think in writing language. I'll see or experience something and immediately I'll start a train of thought begins as if I'm writing the opening line of a blog or article. Sometimes, if the thought is really profound, I might even start a book going in my head. :)
Take the other day for example. I ran out of paper towels, and I immediately started a blog in my head that began with, "I'm constantly amazed whenever I run out of paper towels. Every time I replace a roll, I subconsciously expect that the new roll will last forever and that I've seen the last of the empty cardboard..." Then, throughout the day, I added onto this little blurb in my head as related events came up. Later, I kept going with, "...It's the same with toilet paper, hand soap dispensers and laundry. They just feel like they should be one-and-done chores, yet they pop up every few days like annoying weeds that will never stop invading a flower bed."
Isn't that funny? I've heard that people do that with Facebook posts, too. They'll constantly think in terms of status updates. But I've often wondered what I should do with this. Should I keep a notebook handy and record all of the random sentences that my brain authors in a day? That would be an interesting experiment. Ha! Might be kind of scary, too. :)
Depending on the situation, some of these opening lines are serious, but they all have one thing in common: They all are written (or thought) with the goal of capturing the attention of a make-believe audience. With each one, I'm thinking up sentences that would ultimately engage a reader and spark their interest to keep reading. In fact, I bet if there was a market for a book of openening lines I could write a bestseller. But because I'm usually not around a notepad or computer, most of these thoughts come and go without landing. Even now I'm trying to think of more examples but I'm drawing a blank, which is disappointing because if I could just get them out into the world, I would love to know if anyone else thinks the same way. Like with the paper towel thing. Does anyone else ever think that? Is anyone else ever literally surprised when the roll of paper towels doesn't last forever?
Oh! Okay, here's another one. So, the other day I was putting a spoonful of peanut butter in my mouth when I started a mind blog: "There are only two condiments in this world that make any dish better: peanut butter and cream cheese. You can add them to both savory and sweet dishes, and they will make it taste a hundred times better." Does anyone think that? Not that it's a life-changing question, but I'd be interested to hear someone else's thoughts on peanut butter. :)
And, today, as I opened my door to head out for a run, I paused to pick up the newspaper. As I tossed it inside, my mind began to write. "Every Sunday morning feels a little like Christmas. I come down the stairs to find the most perfectly wrapped gift waiting on my doorstep begging me to open it and discover the prize inside."
I've always known I was a writer. Words are my joy, and I live to craft, develop, design and play with them. I especially love finding new ways to say old things, and I get seriously hacked when words are misused, mistreated or, worse yet, disrespected--something that has basically become a national pastime. And it absolutely kills me that it's become acceptable to use this kind of improper, substandard language.
One of the things I've learned through the past few months of freelancing is that people just don't care as much about quality anymore. Through my work writing content for an online marketing company, I've spent a lot of time reading business websites and doing research, and, man, people will just put anything out there in order to fill up space quickly. If you want to find quality writing, you have to deliberately go to a writing-based source like a national magazine or newspaper, otherwise you'll just start swimming through a pool of overused phrases, stale cliches and filler text. It's sad.
I think all of this is boiling down to two points for me:
1. That I want to start writing down my mind blogs to see if any of them turn into material of substance.
2. That this whole thing is reminding me of excellence. The world may not value quality over quantity anymore, but the good thing is that this makes the quality goods stand out. And that's what I'm hoping will happen for me as I continue to pursue writing and editing--that the quality of my work will be what sets me apart and generates business. Because at the end of the day (mentally noted that I used a cliche), excellence is a great way to bring glory to Christ, which is what I believe is the purpose of life in general, be that through work or whatever we do.
While I was at FCA, one of the most popular verses that we would quote was Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." It makes me think about my Mighty Man who, even though he's been super busy, poured his soul into crafting a soul-stirring sermon for this morning instead of recycling something he's done before. I think about my future brother-in-law who pours his heart into leading worship at our church every Sunday because God has gifted him to sing and play. (Side note: Way to go to both King AND Queen Biz today for rocking it out!) And I think of my mom's cleaning lady who actively looks for projects to complete around the house even if they aren't part of her official list of chores. I'm inspired by people who do what they do with excellence instead of cutting corners. It makes me want to do the same.
Today, as I share my quirky writer's mind with you all, I hope that the Lord stirs something in you about what you do and how you use your gifts and passions to reveal Him. Consider how you use your skills and whether or not you are really putting them to use with quality. If so, how does that reveal Christ to the world around you? And, if you, like me, experience personal shock when you pull the last paper towel from the roll, would you let me know? Just curious...
Have a wonderful week, everyone! :)