I have often been asked by people and those who work in concert with me in putting my articles, pamphlets, books, and other literary material together where do I get the ideas from to write and compile so many compositions continually. This is especially true when it comes to my articles that are now being featured in two newspapers – the Dillon Herald and the Morning News, respectively. Two of my associates (who are responsible for typing and editing my material) had a brief conversation about the very thing that I am addressing in my column today. They were amazed at how quickly I can put a column together and my seemingly effortless ability to write about diverse issues and subjects without being too repetitious, predictable, and boring. Invariable, this literary ability (that I believe I was born with) came from my Creator and Maker, Jesus Christ. Simply stated, it was a part of my DNA from conception. Though I will proceed to share with you where some of my ideas to write originate, bear in mind that the primary source and inspiration comes from the Lord. For truly without Him, I can do nothing.
Memory and Imagination
I have been told by some that I have both a keen memory and creative imagination. Well, if what some say about me has any veracity in these areas, I am quick to give the credit to the One who made and saved me. I can recall things with accuracy that took place as far back as when I was two years old. Then from a child, I have always possessed a creative and vivid imagination. It was difficult for me to concentrate when picking cotton as a boy because my imagination would seize me and have me counting the birds in the sky or the cars passing by. I would imagine being the bird king who could summon my winged and feathered subjects at will. Even in school (up to the 12th grade), most of my classmates immediately recognized my paper (when we checked and scored each other’s assignments) because of my doodling of little figures of soldiers, planes, and other things that were scribbled all over my papers. This was a release of my imagination that needed an outlet and expression. I attribute my memory and imagination as perhaps the primary impetus to my writing.
Reading and Research
I do not believe that anyone can develop as a writer (whether fiction or non-fiction) without a serious application to reading and research. I endeavor to read or browse through two or three newspapers a day, not to mention magazines and inspirational or informative books, especially the Bible. Though I do not do it anymore, there was a time when I use to read encyclopedias and even the dictionary to familiarize myself with historical characters and events, as well as to enhance my vocabulary and word usage. I attribute my writing aptitude (to a degree) to my application to reading and research.
Conversation and Observation
Believe it or not, much of what I write about is gleaned from talking to others and keeping my eyes and ears wide open. You would be surprised by what you can learn just by looking and listening. I have heard one wise man say that the reason our Creator gave us two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth was due to the fact that He wanted us to do twice as much listening and observing than talking. Though that is not a biblical passage, it makes a lot of biblical sense. I have been given the knack to immediately catch or detect a good idea for a sermon, lesson, or article for my column in interacting and talking with people.
Current Evens and Hot Topics in the News
Whether they will admit it or not, every journalist and newspaper columnist are inspired and obligated to report on and write about pressing issues that are transpiring. This is the case on every level – national, statewide, and local. Consequently, I am (at times) compelled to address and give my opinion on some of these noteworthy happenings. To fail to do so would be both a dereliction of duty as a newspaper columnist and my convictions and conscience as a Christian and citizen. So, in light of this, much of the impetus to what I write about in my column comes from current events and hot topics in the news. As always, my challenge is to localize these events and reveal how they will affect and impact us. Afterall, though we are a small, southern and agricultural community, we do not live in a corner of isolation or on an island apart from others.
Things Historical and Seasonal
For certain, things that motivate and inspire what I am going to address in my column are special, historical days, like Independence Day, Memorial Day, and such like. Then how can I ever forget days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other days of the year that have been designated on the calendar as a time of observance and honor for special people. Then there are days of commemoration, like the upcoming 9-11 (that I will be featuring in my column on next week). Finally, the holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years have not only captivated and filled me with anticipation, joy, and wonderment ever since I was a child, but even today as a man nearing 70 years of age. These holidays are both the most wonderful time of the year, as well as the inspiration and impetus to many of my articles during that magical time of the year.
Now you know some of the incentives to why I can compile the columns like this one so effortlessly, to be perfectly honest about it, writing is in my DNA and I love doing it!