When I don’t write often I find it hard to write often.
Does that make sense?
Writing is a habit. It takes practice and persistence. At least that’s what I find.
I’ve been a bit out of practice recently. I tell myself I’ve been busy, and that’s true, but it’s not an excuse. Not really. I can make time for other things, so why not blogging? Why not journaling my thoughts about my training for ministry?
Perhaps it’s because I’m processing. I tend to blog when I know what I think about something. Sometimes I think out loud. Sometimes I kick an idea around. But mostly I have a pretty good idea of my thoughts.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been learning and thinking about the writing prophets. My first module has been Old Testament and we’ve been thinking about Jeremiah and Isaiah and Amos. It’s fascinating to go back to something that was written such a long time ago and find such resonance with today. It’s also sobering to wonder how anything I write might be read by others and might stand the test of time.
Of course I have been writing in some forms. I’ve written sermons and emails and notes and study materials but I haven’t blogged my thoughts for ages. To be honest I only really started this post because we’ve been doing a module on writing for different contexts and I need to write in a few formats. This seemed more appropriate than writing a magazine article for an imaginary publication. But why should that be?
Writing is powerful. Words convey so much.
In a TED talk JJ Abrams talks about how he feels intimidated by his MacBook. Some days he sits down to write and feels as though he has nothing worthy of this beautiful piece of technology.
I’ve felt that. I’ve felt it about a new notebook with its fresh, clean pages, just waiting for me to ruin them with my inane scribbling and incoherent thoughts. I buy Moleskine notebooks. I use a good pen. I do that to remind me that committing something to paper is in some ways a sacred thing. It has value. Even if no other person ever reads it.
Sometimes that can lead to a paralysis. A writer’s block. It’ll never be good enough or nobody will be interested so why even bother?
But I also find I write more when I read more and when I engage in conversation more.
Writing helps me to organise my thoughts. It forces me to try to make things orderly and coherent. That’s not always easy and, as I said earlier, perhaps that’s why I wait until I know what I think but sometimes as I write the connections begin to appear. The dots start to join and a picture starts to appear.
Sometimes when I write it just comes flooding out like a tidal wave of consciousness that always seems to make sense when it’s done. Other times writing is a long, slow and painful process that results in something that feels unfinished and doesn’t quite capturing the thoughts it grazes against.
So, I’ll try to write more here because some of the stuff I’ve been learning about is important. Crime and punishment, justice and righteousness. Big topics with huge implications for society. Jeremiah and Isaiah and Amos thought so too… See… dots to be joined.