David C. Hughes, Writer

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete." –Deuteronomy 16:15

Archive for the tag “Bob Hamp”

TMI (2015-08-28 Daily)

I do a lot of online research for both my writing and my engineering jobs, simply because the information on the internet is readily accessible, fast, and in some cases, accurate. Recently I did some research on a power supply design for a project at Vertex Electronics. Starting with a basic Google keyword search, I marched down the screen, clicking on results that appeared relevant to my design goals. I selected a link containing information about a 12 volt dual power supply and waited eagerly for the page to load.

The page finally popped up, and smack dab in the middle of the screen, between the lead paragraph describing the benefits of a +/-12 volt DC power supply and a description of a 14-0-14 volt step-down transformer, sat a photo of a woman dressed in nothing but a few twists of leather, a pair of black high heels, and a large helping of my imagination. She seemed to be contorted into some pleasantly painful yoga move, dark blonde hair cascading over her face.

TMI

“What the—?” I gasped. “TMI! What does this have to do with power supply design?!” Granted, her design was, well, electrifying (don’t judge me), but the prominent position (of the ad . . . ) was extremely distracting. After several minutes I managed to read the actual content of the website (all twelve words), but the experience left me feeling . . . dirty, like I had to go home and confess to my wife.

These kinds of non sequitur ads are all over the place now—they pop up like Donkey in Shrek—“Pick me! Pick me!” It reminds me of that movie, The Fifth Element, where ads crawl across the walls of buildings and on shop windows as people walk by. The Fifth Element was set in the future, but it didn’t take long at all for that kind of future to arrive. Good grief!

Once, while looking up commentary on Dr. Seuss’ Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, I practically fell out of my chair when a racy ad for Calvin Klein’s “Reveal” fragrance popped up right next to the article I was searching for. The ad featured a completely naked woman kissing a completely clothed man with a weirdly puzzled look on his face. I think his expression reflected mine exactly—“Why does he still have his clothes on?” I wondered.

TMI

The other day I found a website chock full of information on HTML, the web page programming language. After a few minutes I realized how distracting the site was going to be: the content frame was surrounded by colorfully-animated pop-up ads, no less than four at any given moment. All the ads moved, flashed, and cavorted on the screen. Each time I selected a new page a fresh set of ads appeared. “These guys are clever,” I declared to my boss. “Every time my eyes detect movement, they jump from the content to the ad. I hate these people. I wish they would all die.” I’m sure it took me at least twice as long to learn what I needed from that website—instead of helping me be more productive, the internet is now morphing me into a twitchy merchandising target with an attention span the length of a nanotube. Hooray for free enterprise. Good thing the computer has an OFF button and Amazon still sells real books fashioned out of paper and ink instead of Calvin Klein ads.

For months I’ve been grumbling about the pop up ads on my Yahoo! email inbox page. “No, I don’t want a girlfriend aged 50 plus!” I scream at my computer. “No, I don’t want to save $1.50 on my next purchase of Preparation H Medicated Wipes for Women!” I yell, shaking my fist. “All I want to do is read my freakin’ email. That’s it. Just . . . read . . . my . . . email . . . .” Of course I can’t get rid of those ads because I’m using Yahoo! mail for free, but I’m paying for it every day. If something’s free, I’ve learned, it may not necessarily be worth anything.

Remember the good ol’ days, when we actually wrote letters? On paper? With a pen? Letter-writing was truly an art form executed with deliberateness and abounding in love. Not long ago I would spend an hour or two every month writing letters. Now it seems a significant part of my day is wasted just deleting the plethora of emails asking me to send money to help repatriate a friend who’s stuck in Outer Mongolia. And having two email accounts doesn’t help. Neither does having the ability to access email on my cell phone. Now even precious bathroom time is spent deleting junk emails rather than reading the latest issue of Field & Stream. And that’s not even saying anything about Facebook . . . .

A few years ago I had a lunchtime interview-turned-information session with Bob Hamp, former Freedom Minister for Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. During the conversation Bob excitedly spoke about the benefits of setting up a blog site and establishing a Facebook account. He showed me the exponential exposure potential of Twitter, and explained how if Kari Jobe liked one of his tweets she might favorite it out to her followers. All 591,000 of them. “Wow!” I breathed, thinking about all the book sales I’d get each time I published a blog post. “Amazing!”

After that interview I embraced the dark side and busily set about building my WordPress blog site, establishing a LinkedIn page, setting up Facebook, and opening a Twitter account. Now I can’t keep up. Just the other day my publisher told me I needed to focus on building an author platform. Jeez! Enough already! Between email, social media, and maintaining my blog page, I have exactly 2 minutes and 39 seconds a day to actually write. And half of that is taken up by my daughter walking into my office and asking if I want to play with her plastic horses. “No, honey,” I tell her sweetly. “Daddy’s busy.”

“Doing what?”

“Answering emails.”

“I thought you were a writer.”

“I am. I write emails . . . .”

What’s that old saying, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?” Believe me, I’m trying to join ‘em, but this old 8-bit brain still processes information like a Tandy TRS-80 rather than a Tianhe-2. Gone are the days of just sitting down to write . . . and writing. But, who knows, maybe sometime in the future one of my pop-up ads featuring a scantily-clad woman seductively holding up The Epiphany of Joy will hit your screen and you’ll buy a copy. Then the griping will have all been worth it. In the meantime, please excuse me. I see I’ve got 43 Facebook reminders, 372 new emails, and 12 LinkedIn notifications to respond to. Not to mention President Obama wants me to refinance my house. Can’t waste any more time actually writing. . . .

 

Copyright © 2015 by David C Hughes

 

My Blog at One Year (2014-08-14 Daily)

On Thursday, August 15, 2013, I debuted my blog site, David C. Hughes, Writer.  I was ecstatic!  Two months of design, layout, and content development culminated in the launch of what’s turned out to be more than a labor of love—it’s the fruit of faith!

I remember June 11, 2013 well.  With my digital recorder in my pocket and my Mead Five Star notebook in the other, I traveled to Southlake to meet with Bob Hamp, author of Think Differently Live Differently: Keys to a Life of Freedom, and the Freedom Minister for Gateway Church at the time.  I originally had plans to meet Bob at the church to interview him for The Epiphany of Joy, but his admin called and asked if I could meet him at a restaurant for lunch instead.  “Sure!” I replied, wondering immediately how well the voice recorder would pick up our conversation over the background noise.   But I was elated nonetheless.

You see, Gateway Church’s Foundations of Freedom video series, featuring Bob Hamp (http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom-kairos/media1), had inspired me several months earlier to finally quit messing around in the mud of apathy and fear and swan dive into the clear lagoon of full time writing.  I’d absorbed every word Bob had spoken in the video series, and I just knew I had to interview him for the book because, as I saw it, he not only lived his passion, he shared it.  I wanted to get his take on joy and living joyfully.  What I got instead was something much more valuable: a lesson in social media!

Yep, here I was sitting across from one of my heroes, eating grilled fish and sautéed green beans, and he’d deftly charged forward discussing how to use social media to market my brand.  I listened as intently to Bob in real life as I’d listened to him speak on the Foundations of Freedom videos.  He showed me his Twitter feed and explained the potentially exponential spread of a message as other folks picked up the tweet and re-tweeted it.  I nodded in appreciation as I listened to Bob excitedly explain the logic of using Facebook and the common sense of developing and maintaining a blog page.  Until that moment I’d been using email to broadcast my “Dailies,” and I’d been transmitting them to thirty people each time I clicked “send.”  As we wrapped up lunch, he asked me what I wanted to talk about regarding joy.  I conducted a short interview, scribbled a handful of quotes, and left the restaurant knowing what I had to do next.  I was suddenly overjoyed at (and scared of) the prospect of building a blog.

Two months after that interview I opened the curtain on David C. Hughes, Writer, and I’ve been having a ball ever since.  Don’t get me wrong—as my newborn has grown into a toddler, it hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it.  Having a blog page—an active blog page—sets before me the challenge of regularly sitting down to write.  Imagine that!  Instead of merely hanging out on the sidelines dreaming of writing, when I committed to posting a meaningful essay at least once a week, it forced me to grab that dream by the collar and drag it into reality.  Writing’s hard work, but with practice and passion it becomes doable.  And with time, it can become viable.

Having a blog site gave me the drive to turn the crank on The Epiphany of Joy.  Blogging the book was an amazing experience, and having a vehicle to “test drive” the initial manuscript in a public forum kicked butt.  It’s hard to write a book, even harder to finish it, but publishing the book serially on the blog page kept me motivated and conscientious.  After all, I knew I just couldn’t post an unpolished first draft out there—someone might say something negative and hurt my feelings!  Just kidding . . . . sort of.

Speaking of which, when I jumped into this undertaking, I thought I had thick skin.  I’d been a member of read-and-critique groups off and on for the past twenty years, and I thought I’d developed a tolerance for criticism.  But launching my work into such a public forum pulled the covers off that myth!  The first time I received a less-than-favorable comment on one of my posts, I allowed the remark to toss me into a two-day funk.  Now that I’ve experienced that, I’m coming to realize that, as a writer, not everyone’s going to agree with my opinion all the time.  And as a Christian writer, it will be even more challenging as I face people who have dissenting opinions backed up with zeal.  But I welcome the challenge and look forward to the dialog—just keep your comments short and to the point, please, so they don’t take up three pages of my blog!

But this endeavor is only worth pursuing if it not only inspires me to keep chasing after my passion, but also if it affects the lives of those who take the time to read it.  My job, my obligation as a writer is to write.  My job, my obligation as a Christian writer is to write to glorify God.  God’s job is to bring the readers to my writing, and if one blog post, essay, or book that I’ve written touches a one person’s life and changes it profoundly for the good, then I’ve done my job, I’ve fulfilled my obligation.

So as we celebrate my blog site’s first birthday, I look forward to seeing what happens as my toddler starts developing an attitude!   Thank you all for keeping me motivated to continue turning the crank, and thank you all for your support, prayers, and interest as we travel on this incredible journey together.  Without you my life’s calling would be meaningless.  With you the world is truly blessed.

David

P.S.  I’ve now taken the plunge and set up a Twitter account: @TheJoyGuy.  What else?!

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