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Friday, May 29, 2009

Are you drawing blood?

On Tuesday, members of Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild were treated to one of my favorite writing teachers, Craig Bubeck. He's a great writing teacher, and when he links our writing to the Bible, well, it's nothing short of amazing. If you get a chance to hear him teach, drop everything and go!

One of the things Craig talked about was goads. A goad is a sharp, pointy stick used by herders to redirect the animals. It's meant to hurt them enough to get them to move, but not draw blood or kill them. As writers, our words are goads. We need to use them to redirect, but not cause serious harm.

I've been thinking a lot about words as goads lately. Our society seems to thrive on negativity. Criticizing and cutting others down has become a "fun" part of our culture. It's almost sick... the blogs and websites dedicated to it. Walk past any checkout lane and you see blood oozing on the pages of magazines. You don't have to be famous to be a victim. Every day, words slip out of our mouths or on our keyboards that we think clever, witty, or even perhaps meant to make others think. Instead, we draw blood.

Yes, I've been guilty of stabbing people to death with my words. Over the years, I've worked hard to limit the bloodshed. But Craig's warning made me take another look. Am I doing all I can to use my goad properly? I think we can all do better.

Here are a few thoughts to consider before wielding your weapon of words:
1. What do you intend with your words?
2. How would you feel if someone used those words on you?
3. Will those words accomplish anything? Anything Godly?
4. Pray.

Let's work on using our words as goads rather than weapons. If you have tips, please share!


Deborah Talmadge said...

Hello Danica,
I've been lurking around your blog for a while. I remember you and Jaime were quite deft with your words. I think turning them to the written page to create realistic characters is a good thing to do with that skill.

smithsk said...

Very thought provoking post. I've been guilty of lashing back, especially when I justify it after being wounded myself.

Pammer said...

Thanks for making me think. I know there are times when I've used my witty words to wound, even if it was on the sly.
I pray that I am better at using them to help now.

Great post.

Unknown said...

I like this post a lot. Makes you think. I wrote a book review that was funny but probably a tad mean. Then the author stopped by and commented and I felt horrible. Definitely a goad moment. I try not to repeat that.

Denise Miller Holmes said...

I agree with you, Danica. The world is harsh, and why should Christians verbally treat each other without thought about how another might feel. That said, I called you "a little stinker" today on FB. Sorry! :).

Danica Favorite said...

What a lot of great thoughts! Deborah, so glad to see you!

Susan, I think you make a great point, and I'm often guilty of the same thing. It's so easy to lash out. I definitely need to work on that one.

Pammer... yep!

Jaime, it's amazing how one person's interpretation makes a difference.

Denise, I am a stinker, so it's okay. :)

Audra Harders said...

Great blog post to make a person think! Funny how sticks and stones really don't have much on words.

I don't always stop to think before I speak. I end up apologizing a lot, and sorries don't fix everything.

Thanks for making me stop and think, Danica!