Sewing Up Your Communication


Today, David Drury posted on facebook: Writing a manuscript is like making a dress, it’s easier to artfully cut than to add scraps to it later.”  (He followed this with the comment: This is gleaned from my extensive dress-making experience. [eyeroll]“)

I actually do have dressmaking experience.  As a matter of fact, I was the parliamentarian of the Future Homemakers of America club at Griffin Junior High.  [Until, when in the 8th grade, I attended the joint FHA-FFA (Future Farmers of America) convention in Atlanta, where I learned that shirts under overalls are optional for future farmers, while trucker hats with tractor logos are not, and where I changed my interest in homemaking and became president of the Future Business Leaders of America at Griffin High School.]  But I digress.

Wanna know something about dressmaking? You leave a margin all the way around–more than you think you’ll need–and then you stitch the fabric together loosely (that’s called basting). Then you see if it fits. You can make adjustments because you left margin for something to be a little bigger here or a little tighter there.  You don’t only need a margin of fabric.  You also need a margin of time.  If you watch Project Runway, you know that the contestants always seem to run out of time at the end, and many of the details are missed in trying to meet the deadline.

This is where the worlds of church communication and dressmaking collide.  Church communicators are always writing toward a deadline, and new information is always coming in.  If there is no margin–no time or space–to consider the new information, your communication could be incomplete and ineffective.  We need to leave margin for creativity and inspiration.  We need to read and re-read it and share it with a few trusted others.  We need to see if it fits our audience before we send it down the runway.  I realize that there never seems to be enough margin to make it perfect, but have we allowed the time and resources that we will need to at least make it better?