Most set of instructions will tell you to read them through before you begin. This is especially the case in cooking, where not having all the right ingredients in the middle of preparing a meal can be disastrous. The prudent thing to do is to read through the recipe, gather all of your ingredients, do the necessary prep and then create.
When it comes to writing there needs to be a recipe. While there isn’t one recipe for writing a message or curriculum for your ministry, there are a few things we can do to make sure what we produce is quality. This is what I do when it comes to my writing:
- Capture Ideas: I’m not sure when I’m going to use these ideas or how; but, I know I can’t let them go in and out of my mind. I have an idea journal, some people use Evernote, their mobile device; it doesn’t matter how you capture them, just get it down.
- Cultivate Creativity: If I’m sitting down in front of a computer screen with no idea what I’m going to write I’ll get frustrated quick. To get motivated and creative I’ll read, cook, run and do anything that brings me joy. Creativity isn’t just doing it’s learning and growing (Why Creativity Lacks In Ministry And This Title). My best ideas are ones that have been nurtured for a while.
- Run Through It Once: This is similar to constructing a rough draft. I won’t stop for minor errors, I’ll power through broken ideas; all so that I can get it down on paper. Many times we get stuck in our writing because we won’t allow ourselves to put crap down on paper. Make a mess and then clean up later, because you won’t always be perfect the first time.
- Get Feedback: When it comes to writing a message I immediately send out a draft to a few trusted individuals who have the authority to be critical with my work. What I usually send them is that first raw, rough draft because that’s when I’m more open to suggestions and feedback. If I spend hours constructing a message I’m going to be a little more sensitive.
This is my recipe to writing. It isn’t perfect, but it’s what has worked for the last 5 years. My advice for those of you who are stuck or new to writing is to study others, adapt their principles and make it your own. Writing is a talent we can all develop and while we might not be Hemingway, Shakespeare, James Patterson or Dr. Seuss it’s something we can all do well.
What are your writing tips?