By Don Zoller
Most of us remember what it was like in school when we had to “Show & Tell” in front of the class. Although, at the time, we may not have appreciated what the teacher had in mind. It was all about presentation. As we grew older, we understood the importance of clear and concise presentations. What your writing looks like, its appearance, is also important. In writing, your appearance includes style and format. And, like your “Show & Tell” the aim is for a clear and concise presentation.
It’s probably just human nature, but our tendency is to use more words than needed to describe something simply. It takes effort and focus to be concise, yet clear, in our writing style. Whether you are writing a college thesis, a user manual, a novel, or, as in this case, God’s story about your life, clear and simple is the rule to effective writing. Every word is precious. Do your words help your reader understand clearly what it is you are trying to say? Or, are there too many words getting in the way of your thought? Writing clearly and concisely requires some practice—writing and re-writing, and, usually, re-writing, again!
When you begin to write I suggest using a conversation style. You are writing to readers who you know and love. Talk to them naturally in your writing. This approach is friendly and is what most people today are familiar with. I call it, “kitchen table talk.” When in doubt, read what you have written out loud. If you stumble over the structure of a sentence or word, you know you have more work to do to achieve a conversational style that flows simply and clearly.
The appearance of your format should also be simple. Initially, keep what you write to a few pages. I suggest no more than 10—12 pages, formatted on 8.5 x 11 paper, and use a 12-point Times Roman or Calibri font style. If you are up to the challenge, you can fit your story into a booklet-size format. You may want to include personal photos in appropriate places. Pictures of family and friends in the right places give a warm touch to your writing. Be creative! I would be happy to discuss with you other advanced formats, sizes, and publication options. Just email me.
Your action today—Focus on your reader. Help your reader to enjoy the words you write, but more importantly, help them to enter into your life and experience with the living God. Don’t let your words get in the way of your purpose for writing. Johann Sabastian Bach concluded his musical scores with a purpose statement – Soli Deo Gloria – For the Glory of God Alone! Until next time . . .
Blessings and Shalom
Not to us, O LORD. Not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Don has recently joined the family at Trinity and is active in the 50+ Bible Study. He enjoys writing and has authored several books that provide spiritual encouragement and biblical insights. His son and daughter-in-law, Graham and Susan, are also members at Trinity.