Do You Have a Book Or a Blog In You?

A lot of people have a gripping story to tell, or insights the world needs to hear. Is that you? Do you have a book or a blog in you? If so, here's a list of "Writer's Rules" I've put together that I hope you'll find helpful...

1. Writers cultivate an active mind. To get something out writers must put something in. The abundance and velocity of a writer’s ideas depends on bringing the mind to a state of quiet, readiness, preparation, and inquisitiveness. Together, these fire the imagination.  Keep a small dictation recorder at your side to record thoughts. Half of genius is lost between one stop light and the next. Keep a stack of 3 x 5 cards in your pocket or purse. When you have an idea jot it down immediately because, no, even though it's the best idea you've ever had, chances are you'll forget it. Code your cards but subject in one of the corners.

2. Writers read. Thousands of thinkers over hundreds of years have been in a “conversation” on virtually every topic. Some of these wrote down their thoughts. Also, it is a hard thing to read and watch much television.

3. Writers observe. Writers observe life and make connections. Their “ahas!” deepen and enliven their message. How do athletic contests relate to life? What lessons do we learn from the ant? . . . the elephant? . . . the flea? People learn by analogy.

4. Writers think. “Think yourself clear.” Writers have a clear purpose in mind. They never (well, shouldn’t) write until they know what they’re writing and why. Clarity releases energy and creativity.

5. Writers file. Retrieving the right idea at the right time ranks as the number one challenge to many writers. Good writers have a system, and they discipline themselves to use it. This allows them to get things back into their front lobe.

6. Writers teach. Writers write better after they have taught their material. Verbal communication forces the mind into the discipline of forming thoughts and ideas into coherent sentences.

7. Writers write. The best writers discipline themselves to write regularly. The best time to write is when you penciled it onto your calendar -- when you said you would. Write every day, even if only a little. Start a blog. Post on Facebook. Just make it happen.

8. Writers probe until they find the passion. Hold your text or idea to the light, turn it over and over again, try to say it different ways, outline it, poke at it, probe it, penetrate it. Employ the principles of observation and reflection. To have substance, ideas must show existential interaction -- they must engage real life. After all, theology is application. Excellent writers not only tell us “what” but “so what?” and "now what?" Until the passion comes, sit for a while on your eggs.

9. Writers “imaginate” by taking an unusual look at the usual. The most interesting photography catches an unusual look at the usual. A great photograph brackets off a little piece of creation and makes us see it in a new and interesting way. It's the same with writing. Since there is nothing new under the sun, the writer must show a new angle, a unique perspective, a new cut on an idea, a different glimpse at life. “Oh! I never thought of that before!”

10. Christian writers must write out of the overflow of their personal relationship with Jesus. The Christian writer differs from all other writers in this: They are the only group who can end their stories with hope. Therefore, we have a unique responsibility: To give an answer for the hope that is in us. Here is a credo to live by: “I will commit myself to a life of devotion and study of God, then write about what I am learning.” In other words, the “task” of the writer is to know and love God and, then, out of the overflow of his own private walk with Jesus, to write. The vocation of the writer is not to write, but to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. The Christian writer writes as an outward expression of inward gratitude for all Jesus is doing in his private life. He (or she) writes for his own growth and, if others read him, so much the better. 

Until every church disciples every man...