Convict :: Make things happen

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Doing things is the leading cause of things happening. Stubbing one’s toe causes pain in one’s toe. If you take the advice of your brother and go jump in a lake, you will get wet. These are three of an infinite list of bullet points on a list titled “Cause and Effect.” Being convicted is the leading cause of doing things.

Conviction is the cause for which the knight fights the dragon. He knows that the dragon will harm the pretty girl in the dress, and that to hurt her would be evil, and he’s got a sword in his hand. His conviction to do right leaves us to find him with the serpent’s head on the ground and the maiden in his arms, rather than the knight observing a dragon’s mid-afternoon royal snack.

And you can’t be convicted of everything, either. You can’t love books as much as you hate them, or sleep in in the morning and wake up at 5 AM. You must be convicted that one thing is right, and its opposite is wrong, or it isn’t conviction; it’s indecision.

Writers need conviction, too. Writers are dependent on conviction. Your writing is most impactful when your readers either agree with you in the face of opposition, or disagree with you because, according to them, you couldn’t be more wrong. A reader wants someone/thing to either love with reckless abandon, or to abhor wholeheartedly.

Imagine publishing a novel, and seeing someone take it off the shelf in a bookstore. (We’ll say Barnes and Noble. Because Barnes and Noble is fantastic.) They open the first page, not knowing that the author is anxiously watching to see their reaction to his opening paragraph.

And after ten seconds, they mutter, “Meh,” put it down, grab a copy of “Twilight” off of the shelf beside it, and walk away. Wouldn’t that just tear you apart? Books and stories alike ought to amaze you, mystify you, or call you to action. Not lull you to sleep with complacency.

The teen daughter shouts out in frustration, “Do you even care about me?!” Her father replies, “Well, sure, hun. And I care about coffee, and football, andĀ mortgages.” He smiles nonchalantly. She gives him a hug because she cares about him, too.

What book did that come out of? A reader is hungry for strong words and defiance and a cause to join. They want to be convicted. Convict them. Until the next…

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