Life is a Subhead

Write a good one...

Subheads are critical. Ever had to write one? Well, over the years, I've agonized over my share. For those who may not know, a subhead is that little, tiny sentence under the title of an article, short story, book or manuscript. It's more than the summary sentence and greater than any synopsis. Extract the root of a 10,000-word body of writing and distill it down to one pivotal, all-encompassing core phrase, and there's the subhead. In fact, every one of those 10,000 words -- every paragraph or sidebar -- is subject to it. And above that, it can make the difference between someone reading more or leaving the store. Make no mistake, although it's short and sweet, it's powerful and nothing means more to the author than someone being drawn to the story.

Our lives are subheads in a way. I remember as the fitness editor for magazines, my purpose was to help people shape their bodies, but I wanted my words to help shape souls. I wanted a different subhead. And I'm grateful you're reading it.

The office worker who refuses to gossip, that's a subhead. The cashier at the supermarket who -- after standing on her feet 12 hours -- still asks, "How are you?" and means it, that's a subhead. The second string athlete who out-hustles the starter -- subhead. What's yours? Are you a teacher, lawyer, assistant, stay-at-home mom or dad? Friends, we have the honor and privilege to agonize over our daily subheads, constantly rewriting and revising to get it right. Why? Simple. Someone reading us may choose to turn the page. Our lives are short and sweet, but they're powerful and nothing means more to the Author than someone being drawn to His story.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: How can our approach to health be a subhead that draws someone to the Author?