Monday, February 12, 2018

Cherry Red Nails and Emoticons: the must-have style-guide, by an extroverted-introvert



The older I get, the more I am embracing my style in life. And, I have to say, I think my inner extrovert is overpowering my inner introvert!

My nails are always painted bright, bold colours; cherry reds, sparkly blues, metallic pinks and purples. I just can't stand having "naked nails!" This is a relatively new thing; just a few years ago, my preference was pale, barely noticeable shades that didn't make me stand out. 

It's similar with my hair, which is currently rocking beautiful 3-tone blonde highlights that match my cat! Eventually, the aim is to go pink! Rose gold ombre pink; I know you want to google that now. I can wait.... Gorgeous isn't it!

My clothing and accessories are a little less out there, perhaps, but are still somewhat bright and I tend to avoid the blacks and navies I used to always choose. 

So, what has changed? One thing: I have finally found my style! I am no longer concerned what others' opinions might, or might not, be, of my style. And I am also far less afraid of standing out from the crowd and being noticed. This is me, bright, enthusiastic, and often laughing far more loudly than I ought to! 

I have friends who are more conservative than I. Their nails are shorter and, if painted at all, they are in soft, pastel pinks or "nude" shades. Their hair is untouched, and their clothes are muted tones of blue, brown or beige. Their speech is perhaps, quieter than mine, and their laughter is always at appropriate decibels when in public. We all have our own styles; different, for sure, but none better than the other. And yet we all get along swimmingly, and often end up talking and laughing for hours on end.

When it comes to writing, I am first and foremost an encourager. That's my thing. It will probably always be my thing, and especially written for creative people. My writing style is light and fluffy and plagued with an over-abundance of !!!s and, when possible, lots of these:  😃 😋 😌 😡 😸 🙎 🙋 I use descriptive words like "very, really, super, fantastic and excellent," and when possible, highlight my message with at least one photo. Often of a cat. Or my kids. Or the beach. Or me pulling ridiculous faces. 

Fun, right?! Perhaps...but I'm sure to some, (particularly editors!), reading that last paragraph was akin to eating 22 packets of fairy floss and washing it down with lemonade! Sickly-sweet and just too much! 

And you know what? That is absolutely okay. Really, it is. Because I know that my style is not going to communicate effectively to everyone. Just as your style will not communicate effectively to everyone. And the great thing about this is, we don't need to reach everyone! In fact, I highly doubt than any one individual could possibly appeal to every single reader of Christian literature in the country. 

Just as my friends and I all have our own personal style, so do we have our own writing styles. And far from being divisive, they complement one another so beautifully. I wonder if that's why Jesus told so many parables in so many different settings; what some related to, others wouldn't, and vice versa. 

Perhaps you don't know what your style actually is? Just as it has taken many years - and let me say, some very tragic style choices - for me to develop my style, perhaps you are still trying to find where you fit? Could it be in an entirely different genre to what you'e used to? 

Maybe you were told that romantic novels are your thing, but deep down you long to write a sci-fi series, set in a cluster nebula some 5000 light years from earth? Perhaps you are struggling to write an historic documentation of the plagues of Egypt some 50 000 pages long, full of meaning and depth and factual information - you know, because "you're so good at it!" - but when your mind wanders, you see the faces from the light-hearted romance novels you long to write. Novels that allow your readers to let go of reality for just a moment, and be swept up in the plight of Candice and Brett, the almost-but-never-quite-together-couple! 

Let me ask you...are you creating out of the style that God wants you to, or out of what you feel you ought to be? Or feel safe hiding behind? Or any other reason you might think of? If you are truly comfortable with your style, I encourage you to keep on being you. But, if this is even slightly resonating with you, then maybe it's time to let your true creative persona shine forth. Yes, it may be very different, and people may notice you, but won't it feel amazing to be rocking your true style?! Perhaps it's just a small tweak that's needed for now? Like a bright pink streak in your untouched brunette hair?! Literarily-speaking, of course 😉 

Just remember...whatever your style, in whichever genre, God will bring your audience to you. Trust his creative hand in your life, and be your most authentic you. 

Blessings, 

Helen 😊 😄 😇 😉 😎 😸






14 comments:

  1. Great post Helen and a great reminder too. Good on you for becoming YOU! You do glorify God when you discover whom He has created you to be so I can see Him cheering you on and saying 'That's my girl, Helen'! I used to wear somber colours for the first 50 years of my life - then I woke up realising that God's given us all these beautiful colours and why don't I make use of them. My wardrobe changed dramatically to lots of too bright clothing - and I love it. :) Even I do feel a wee bit embarrassed sometimes when in the midst of a more austere company. Love the point you make about writing what we are created to write - that is so important. So thanks for giving me a happy start to my day through your lovely, humorous post.

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  2. I'm so glad that you're finally embracing your colourful self, Anusha!

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  3. A lovely, refreshing blog, Helen, that made me laugh out loud! Thank you. And ... ahem ... one day I'll put that purple streak in my hair I've been wanting for years!!

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    1. I'm glad it gave you a giggle, Jo-Anne. And yes, go get that purple streak! We want photos, though!

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  4. Wow! Love your style, Helen! Thanks for an interesting insight into who you were and have become! The contrast is amazing and lovely! Your sense of humour had me chuckling all the way through this post. Being comfortable with who you are is so exhilarating and life’s fun aspect becomes more enjoyable drowning out some of the stuff we used to take so seriously. Love the new Helen!

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    1. Hi Lesley, thank you for your lovely comments. I'm glad this gave you a giggle. Isn't it wonderful when we can be free to laugh a bit, even at ourselves! It makes life that much better I think...definitely less serious!

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  5. Well, I can't relate quite so well to the long, colourful nails and purple streaks in my hair (lost most of mine anyway) but I like the introverted extrovert in you.
    Being one myself, I occasionally don the (metaphorical) clownsuit and do the song and dance thing to the delight or disapproval or embarrassment of family and friends. Then I retreat, red-faced, into my little embarrassed shell and disown the showman that just made a fool himself.
    But I'm learning to cope with my dual-personality, by the grace of God. Yeah! Be what God created you to be. Helen!
    You encourage me.
    Go, the Showgirl!

    Cheers & Blessings
    David Butler (aka Arthur D Bardswell)

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    1. Hi Arthur/David, thanks for commenting. Oh, the juggling of the dual personalities is a tricky business, for sure. My introvert often anazlyses my extrovert's behaviour rather critically...I'm learning to be kind to them both. I do hope you continue to don that clownsuit...maybe even literally one day?! (Sunday school ministry perhaps?!). And that no matter what, you keep on being the you God made you to be. Blessings, Helen

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    2. I LOVE reading your blogs Helen. You were born to be a writer! I was amazed when, as a little girl you wrote with such humour and passion and as a teenager you could write stories that had me wanting more and more...I could see the gift in you I am still amazed at your ability to express yourself in such an open and honest way. God has blessed you with a great ministry of creativity, humour and encouragement and I am so proud of you for putting yourself "out there" and letting Him use your gift to inspire others. Proud mum?? Absolutely!! ���� ❤️❤️❤️

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    3. What can I say...I have had an equally-creative and writerly mum to teach me. Your encouragement is, as always, contant and keeps me going. Love you ma xx

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  6. Oh you are a breath of fresh air! Keep on blowing - in breezes, gales or multi-hued hurricanes - to bless the world and glorify your Maker.

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    1. Thank you Rhonda, I will certainly try to keep on doing so. xx

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  7. Hi Helen, thanks for the encouraging post. I love your description of how you tapped into your own genuine style. It's something we all need to do for sure.

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    1. Hi Paula, you're welcome, I enjoyed writing this blog. It is so great when we do find our own style and develop it. I hope you are encouraged through these words. Blessings, Helen

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