Prohibitions and Visions: A Word to Writers

We writers of Christian non-fiction face a natural tendency to focus on helping a reader decide between rights/wrongs or prohibitions/allowances. This is not always a wrong choice in style, but often it’s not the best choice. As a writer you can do better. Learn to set forward a clear, positive, and compelling vision for your reader. Instead of focusing on limits, focus on possibilities and if those possibilities are consistent with Scripture they will naturally dwarf the prohibitions. Achieving this is not easy, but neither is it complicated. Nor are good examples of this hard to find. Case in point, the new vision-setting book on ambition. In it very little space is devoted to convince the reader to avoid laziness. Laziness is the archenemy of ambition, right? Yet how many times does Dave Harvey use the word “lazy” or “laziness” in his 224 page book? Never, not one single time. Why? Because his book attacks laziness with a compelling picture of ambition. Help the reader embrace a compelling vision for life and you will write something that no list of prohibitions/allowances could ever hope to achieve.

6 thoughts on “Prohibitions and Visions: A Word to Writers

  1. Tony,

    a great point that is transferable to teaching small groups or raising children!

    It also makes me even more excited about getting my copy of rescuing Ambition which is already ordered.

    Jude

  2. Very convicting, and very good!
    Tony, when you were still doing carpentry work, I am sure you found yourself quite fatigued at the end of a day. How did you overcome the tiredness to find energy to work tirelessly? This is a problem I face especially when trying to prepare to teach and write. Any help you may offer would be most appreciated, thanks and God Bless,
    Brandon

  3. Great question Brandon. I did find myself tired at the end of a long day of hauling 2x10s, dealing with customers, etc. I found that I did my best reading at night and my best writing early in the morning. Most often I was too tired to write at night. Also, when I was doing repetitious work (siding, decking, etc) I would meditate on my sermon/article/whatever I was working on. I would come home with 2×4 scraps with ideas scribbled on them as I worked and meditated I wrote them down throughout my day. This sort of gave me energy to continue in my day of carpentry, kept my mind active, and made going to work seem less unrelated to my passion for communicating biblical truth. I derived some energy from this practice. Helpful? Blessings brother! Tony

  4. Ah, very helpful indeed. Thank you!
    Kind of reminds me of Edwards redeeming his time while on horseback, pinning thoughts to his coat until he got to his destination.
    I always have scrap wood lying around. Tripped over plenty of it to get to a pad of paper just in time to lose a thought.
    Thanks again brother and God bless!
    Brandon

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