August 13, 2012
The other day my wonderful sister-in-law asked for my top ten writing tips. Well, as my fellow blog-warrior has pointed out, I love knowing things. Me? Share advice? You betcha. But really, while I can’t speak for my own work, lots of reading and a great education have given me a feel for what makes good writing. I am, of course, happy to join in a long tradition of writing about writing. These are the standards I remind myself of and some of the most common issues I find when I’m editing. Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, and I’m thinking primarily of creative, rather than academic or journalistic writing. Starting with the most important, in case I lose people along the way:
1. Know that your words are shadows of the Word. Yes, I’m going to get a bit abstract. I really believe great work flows from a sound theology, or at least a philosophy, of art. John’s Gospel tell us Jesus is the Word, the Reality to which all words ultimately point. The Word was the agent of creation (John 1:3), and when we write, when we create, we are reflecting Him and participating in redemption. Think about it — to write is, in a small way, to bring order from chaos. On my best days, I sit down to write knowing I’m taking up a sacred task. The words matter, deeply. Understanding this, I can tell you, changes everything.
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