Christmas Trees and Writing
By Marilyn Nutter
It’s looking more and
more like Christmas. Calendars hold dates for concerts, shopping, and special
experiences, like a popular event in my community, the Festival of Trees.
Walking along a path from
a hotel lobby to several corridors, it’s fun to stop and admire the variety of uniquely
decorated Christmas trees. With changes each year, displays might include a creative
Lego theme, Victorian tea sets, and decorations representing a particular
Behind the scenes, as designers met to plan, I’m sure there were lots of suggestions and proposed ideas. I doubt students decorating with Legos considered, or could successfully pull off, the Garden Club’s Victorian theme. And perhaps another group dismissed the idea of using shades of a single color in ornaments, so they opted for a whimsical variety of winter sports ornaments. Eventually groups landed on a tree that reflected their mind, heart, and purpose. That brings me to writing. How does our writing, and the tasks that go with it, reflect our mind, heart, and purpose? What if we approached writing as if we were to uniquely design a Christmas tree? Let’s look at:
Prayer: Pray for discernment to use your time wisely, balance personal responsibilities, and reflect your unique style, personality, and gifts. Seek wisdom from Scripture. Filter other voices that say, “you need to, you should,” and listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice. Conferences can be excellent opportunities for learning, pitching, and networking, but not every conference is the right fit in terms of money and topics. Perhaps you can pray about finding a writers’ group or a critique partner to give accountability and insight in your writing.
Purpose: As you evaluate writing opportunities, ask if the assignment is a good fit for you. What do I want to write, and why? Am I coming from a place of experience to teach, inspire, or encourage? Would my topic be best suited as an article, devotion, or a book, and will it reflect my voice?” Like the Victorian themed and Lego trees, what is my unique slant?
Prepare: Prepare by looking at your audience, approach, style, and word choice. How will this piece meet my readers’ needs, fulfill the assignment, and meet my goal?
Plan: Plan how to invest your time. Writers not only write, but share through social media to expand our audiences of readers and writers and promote our message. Not every outlet’s style or audience is the right one for you. We are often pressured to have a presence to grow our platform and numbers, but some places and groups are more suited to our style and genre than others. Pray for discernment to choose the most appropriate platform and how often and what to post. So, we circle back to prayer. Each part of writing—knowing your purpose, preparing wisely, and planning your time—is woven in prayer, because it is there you hear the best voice.
Just as the Christmas trees weren’t copies of each other but captured unique themes reflecting each organization’s trademark, writers creatively use what we’ve been given to present a unique message. How have you seen the benefits of praying, knowing your purpose, preparing, and planning in your experiences, to reflect your mind, heart, and purpose? Is there one in particular you need to focus on?
Marilyn Nutter is co-author with April White of Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart, and a frequent contributor to online sites and compilations. Visit her website at MarilynNutter.com.