Recently this blog has been resuscitated.
The reason for my previous blog coma was twofold: a busy schedule (large family and church planting) and a lack of material.
I write this post with the intention of helping busy people be more effective with writing (insert your busy life for mine if applicable). I was helped by my loving wife. One day in August she lovingly kicked me in the rear end and encouraged me to get off the bench and get back in the game. In light of this I was forced to think a bit about writing in general and this blog in particular. Here are some napkin scribbles to that end.
1. Writing is unquantifiably beneficial to me: A friend recently gave me a book on the super foods. In reading about the foods I read repeatedly of how difficult it is to quantify the impact of eating this stuff long term. Similarly, the impact of disciplined writing is tough to quantify.
In 4+ years of blogging (wow, that’s a long time) I have been forced to gather thoughts, chew on them and then drive them to completion. There have been countless times that I have had an idea or thought that I was going to write about but then hit eject when I was about two paragraphs in. Some experts might want to flog me for that, but I think it was probably a good decision in light of where things were going.
At any rate, I have many random thoughts throughout a day. These thoughts pass in and stick around for a time and then leave. If that is all they do, then they don’t help me. They just come and go like commercials. However, if I am disciplined to grab onto them as they stream by, then I may be able to learn something as I walk through them and wrestle with implications. Writing helps me to do that.
2. Writing Reminds me of my weakness. Prior to starting this blog a friend told me that it would be a good idea for me to spend some time writing. He thought that since I was brand new in ministry and had not gone to seminary that it would be good for me to chase down some of the theological jackels that leave footprints in my study. He told me that writing would help me ‘own’ things.
He was right.
I have realized repeatedly that not only do I have issues with communication in general, but thinking, grammar, spelling, and content. Further, I don’t have all of my theological i’s dotted and t’s crossed either. I may think I own something on paper but owning it with the pen is a different ballgame. If you grab a topic and aim to write on it you quickly see your weakness. I wonder if my friend ever thought I would start blogging. He probably figured I’d start a diary or something. I am thankful for his encouragement.
3. Writing Reminds me of what is on the front burner. There are times that I think about what to write and I realize quickly that my heart is cold or bitter or angry. The pen reflects the pulse of the heart. In so many ways I hate that I don’t write more. There should be gallons of edifying material flowing out of my heart. Why is there not more? Writing helps me to see what is (or is not) bubbling up at the surface.
4. Ways to Write more amid a busy schedule. In this latest revival of my blog I have made some changes to help myself write more and do so more efficiently. Here is are some of the more effective items.
- Write down ideas in a notebook. I have a couple of pages in my Moleskine journal that I have specifically dedicated as a basket for ideas. I try to write down these ideas when they come and then think through them on occassion. If I don’t do this I am left with fading memories of thoughts and topics that are at best fragmented. For some reason, if I write them down in my notebook it is like writing them down in my head. This has really worked. I have about 30 articles/topics in the magazine clip ready to either steep in my mind or find their way out onto this blog or other forums where I write.
- Read more books. Even amid a busy schedule I have found that the best way to engender more writing is to read more writing. Reading does something amazing to our minds. It leaves all kinds of untraceable cookies in there that we access behind the scenes when we aren’t paying attention. This has really helped.
- Set a goal. I am trying to write a few articles a week. The goal is reasonable and helpful (but not oppressive nor unflexing).
- Write about what you enjoy. I would hate to write about repairing an engine (any type) or sewing. But theology, ministry, family, books, sports, life, etc are all things I enjoy.
- Write for yourself. This sounds strange but it’s not. In light of what I wrote above, writing is a very helpful tool. Write for yourself to get better and enjoy it. If other people benefit that is great too. Don’t get discouraged, the discipline works.
Feel free to add other tips that you have found helpful. Learning from others, particularly good commenters, has been an enduring benefit of this blog.