Laurel Thomas

writer Archive

Monday

4

December 2017

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COMMENTS

A Stage At the River

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One night in 2009 on Britain’s Got Talent, a little woman walked on stage, hairy eyebrows and a saucy attitude. Nervous, she struggled to remember where she lived. In the background were snickers and whispers of ridicule as she shared her dream to become a professional singer.

Everyone laughed. The judges and the audience.

Until she opened her mouth and sang.

Platform. It brings us to the public eye. So different than where our writing begins, sitting with laptop, alone, doing what we do. Creating, putting words on a page that express thought and emotion – all that makes us human. All that connects us. And yet, crafted alone.

Susan Boyle had been singing for years, but never had a platform like Britain’s Got Talent. Her bravery to bring her song before multitudes was rewarded. Her voice was soon heard all over the world.

The very essence of writing is to communicate. To share. Platform positions our voice where it can be seen and experienced.

As an introvert, the fear of platform is like the terror of public speaking. Spinach in my teeth? The carefully prepared speech forgotten? Who wants to hear what I have to say, anyway?

Writers need to be read. Sure, a creation needs preparation to make it as clear and beautiful as it began in the writer’s heart. But it also needs platform.

When shared with others, all that we’ve learned to express our work well causes it to sing. Like when a courageous Scottish lady, mocked and ridiculed, opened her mouth and surprised everyone.

We can’t pretend that the solitary life of a writer is only that – solitary. Our words are meant to connect us to a world that extends across borders, into languages we can’t speak and people we’ve never met.
So, we do what it takes to say it well. To learn the craft, to make our message resonate with others.

Because that’s what writing does. It releases a song in us, through us, in a way that others can join in.
Will we capture the world’s attention? Not unless we’re willing to bring our art to a place where it can be seen.

Platform can be formed in many ways. Perhaps by the power of a blog touching readers from countries far from our own. Or instruction that brings your article to the attention of a magazine editor. Maybe it’s help with a website that needs brushing up or with navigating social media. If your story is finished, access to an acquisition editor can make all the difference.

Keep working on that manuscript, then bring it before others. It’s your song and it needs to be heard – by many.

 

Wednesday

4

November 2015

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COMMENTS

Invitation in the River

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Invitations come in lots of ways. They can be online, free, custom-designed, or personalized. There are invitations to birthday parties, to graduations, weddings – all special events to be shared. They may not come engraved on fine linen paper. An impromptu phone call or text works, too, like “Hey, how about lunch?”

Some invitations offer such promise or limited access they require careful honor. I watched a You-tube video of a Maori tribal welcome, complete with warrior’s spears and elaborate chants. Protocol surrounded the whole process. It wasn’t offered or received with a casual, “Sure, whatever,” but with intentional honor.

I’m invited to new territories all the time. I’ve been a wife, mom and now grandmother. They all offered an invitation to open my heart in a new way. Today it’s writing that whispers my name.

I’ve pounded on many doors in my lifetime. After all, maybe trying harder was the only way in. Like the years when I glared at the door of love and yelled, “Let me in!”

But what did I have to offer? Would I honor love when it welcomed me in? Or would I drink it dry, wipe my mouth, then turn away?

Invitation is often about acknowledging gifts right on my doorstep. I don’t need to leave town or place my order on Amazon. It won’t break my bank account, but does require my investment.

This investment is an unlikely one and certainly imperfect. Ready? It’s one that honors the invitation with my past.

Yikes! Aren’t I supposed to forget the past to move forward?

In God’s economy, my past matters. The tests I survived, even the mistakes I made all count. I didn’t learn about Him in only sunshine and roses. There were stinky days when my own heart betrayed me.

I’ve found that like God, the invitation isn’t a legalist. The journey of walking with my Redeemer counted. All of it.

Heaven extends its invitation in my present with future promise. Promise that my world needs. The fact that my smallest obedience didn’t escape His notice not only comforts me. It helps me see what His hand extends today and shout Yes! to the future it holds.

Shalom in the River,

Laurel Thomas

Sunday

9

November 2014

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COMMENTS

Cliff Diving in the River

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Remember my last flying attempt? The one that dropped me to concrete pavement when I was four?
Pain helped me decide to limit my flying attempts to jumping around a lot and calling it flight.

Oh, dear. Truth smacks me in the face right now as surely as my bony knees met pavement many years ago. How could I believe that living in maintenance mode via fear could somehow be mistaken for flight?

Flight comes when I choose a platform of fear and jump, believing that wings will do what wings do on the way down – carry me. No platform, no leap, no flight.

I went to a writer’s conference yesterday and did what I hate most. I talked about my novel in front of not only strangers, but published strangers. Published in fiction. Yikes.

Missy (the main character in my story) didn’t seem very exciting by the time I answered a few questions about her, in public, by an adventurer, sci-fi/fantasy kind of professional.

I felt like I held my baby up to the gods, not knowing if they would hurl her to the rocks below.

This professional was kind and insightful. I was glad I took the plunge. I faced a fear about speaking in front of people I didn’t know about a subject I wasn’t sure about. Could I look like what I am, a novice writer, and be okay with that?

One of the exercises James Rubart recommended to us was to ask God to reveal a new name for us.

I knew a few names I had to cross off the list. Names I let get entrenched in ways that kept me from flying. I won’t mention those names. They aren’t nice. They were like nuggets of concrete tied to my feathers. Hence the hope that jumping around a lot equaled flight. Not so much.

I shot up a quick prayer to the Lord. How about me, Lord? Have a new name for me in this season? I gave Him a few suggestions. Was pretty sure they were mine, not His.

When I got to the book signing table, I introduced myself to this kind, talented, published writer. I said, “Just sign it ‘Laurel, alias cliff jumper’.”

What? Whose idea was that? Well I asked, didn’t I?

So my identity for this season is to jump off the platform of my greatest fears, not just once, but on a regular basis. That is, after all, my name. It’s who I am and what I do.

The Lord has a new name for each of us in this season. It doesn’t have to be a Bible name. It doesn’t even have to be spiritual. Just ask.

He has you on His mind in a very special way. For now and for all the tomorrows to come.

Shalom,
Laurel Thomas