By Elizabeth Prata
I subscribe to Sheehan Quirke The Cultural Tutor’s newsletter called Areopagus. (What a perfect name for a Cultural Tutor, isn’t it!). His free newsletter contains short tidbits on the following subjects: Historical Figure • Art • Classical Music • Architecture • Rhetoric • Writing • Historical Anecdote. I love it becuase the newsletter is so well written, and interesting. You had me at well written.
The Number X Edition (or 10 for Roman Numeral innumerate folk 😉 contained the following paragraphs on the topic of Writing:
Words as Thoughts
The importance of writing cannot be understated. And while its usefulness as a life skill is obvious, I think there is something of much profounder importance to writing than effective communication or academic and professional success.
Thinking is difficult – really difficult. Thoughts appear in your mind seemingly at random sometimes, and constructing coherent patterns of thought requires a great deal of effort. Even when you manage to think clearly and thrash out a few conclusions, they’re easily forgotten. And most of the rest of the time our thoughts are contradictory because we’ve barely had the chance to analyse and understand them. No wonder are all so prone to saying stupid things!
That’s where writing comes in: the practice of putting your thoughts into words. Or, more tellingly, the act of taking those thoughts out of your head. You can write a few words, read them, leave them, come back to them, and reconsider them. It’s much harder to do with that with thoughts, which are intangible and changeful.
But if you take those tangled, complex thoughts out of your head and write them down, you’ll see them much more clearly. And you can see the contradictions and inconsistencies, you can find out where you’re stuck and where you’re certain – you can deal with them, edit them, reword them, and make things clear. In the end, you’ll figure out what you actually think.
All of this to say that writing is an effective way of thinking. So when you’re faced with a problem – it could be professional or personal, a complex project at work or a struggling relationship – writing down your thoughts will inevitably help to solve that problem. (By Sheehan Quirke The Cultural Tutor at Areopagus).
I thought about what I had just read about writing for a long time. My first thoughts went to the children I teach. I’m a Literacy Interventionist and reading instructor at a public school. I’ve taught writing for a long time. I love seeing children develop skills. The process is beautiful to watch.
Then I thought about how hard it is, really hard for young children to not only acquire language, then use it to express themselves, but then to engage in the process Sheehan the Cultural Tutor outlined. I vowed to be extra patient with young writers.
Next I thought about me and my writing. I’ve been a writer for a long time. My first memory of writing something was when I was about 7 and I wrote quotes from song lyrics on my little cork bulletin board. Jimmy Buffett, “If we couldn’t laugh we’d all go insane”, and the Beatles, “And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow”. And such like that.
In reorganizing my closet a few years ago I came across my travel journal, my first one. My senior class in High School had an end of year trip to London. I kept a journal of the trip and made notes about what I had seen along with opinions. My entry for the first time I flew above the clouds gushed with awe and contained lots of exclamation marks.
I’ve been writing ever since. Imagine my joy when the internet came along, then blogs that allowed a writer to just write then press ‘publish’! I didn’t care if anyone read it, even, I was just as happy to simply write.
I was saved at around age 42. Now I understood that the talent and drive the Lord gave me was to be used for the glory of the Lord. He had been honing me all those years. My thoughts then turned from my writing in general to writing on theological topics, with Jesus at the center of the goal. This is a totally different animal than just writing a chatty blog.
Anything I write must be theologically accurate, the word must be rightly divided. (2 Timothy 2:15). It must be well written, I do not want to serve up a sloppy joe to Christ when it should be a filet mignon. It should be helpful to the faith, and I don’t mean only ‘positive’ as our finite minds calculate.
I saw this tweet on an education topic.
I am in my head a lot, thinking. I can absolutely relate to that girl.
Even before we are saved by grace through faith, He prepares us for His future use for the kingdom. He gets all the glory, all the time. What talents did God give you that when you became saved, you turned and used for His glory?
3 thoughts on “On Writing, and On Writing for the Lord”
Thank you Elizabeth!! This article is so helpful!! I look back on what I’ve written and realize that there should have been more thought and editing–I am even compelled to go back to those pieces and start editing!!
I’m genuinely sorry that I can’t do Saturday Sampler this week because I’d recommend this essay as the absolute pick of the week! It’s so true that writing helps one organize thoughts. That’s why it’s such a challenge, I suppose. I’m so happy you wrote this piece, Elizabeth. Thank you.
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Thank YOU, DebbieLynne. I appreciate your readership and encouragement so much. I just read your piece on the Confusing parts of contending for the faith and it was a masterwork. Truly a great essay. Super analysis of the different approaches to discernment. I’m going to link to it in the next Prata Potpourri. 🙂
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