How I Write
Lately, I have seen a lot of posts about various writers’ tools and routines they have for writing, whether it be books, articles, or blog posts, they all have something different. So, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon with this and have fun with it, because methodology and process is, in my opinion, interesting. While I have never written a book before, I have written many blog posts and book reviews. However, I am going to start with one bit of methodology first..
How I pick what I write
While most of what I write are book reviews, and there is no “choosing” there, I do write blog posts (like what you’re reading now!). My general rule for writing a blog post is to ask myself this question: Is it something I am passionate about? If not, I probably won’t write about it. If so, there is a much better chance of me writing about it. Most importantly, however, is time in prayer. I view writing as a ministry and outreach, of sorts, to reach people regarding some area of culture or society from a Christian world view. And that is important, because many people have no idea what a world view is.
And then there are things that have such an impact on culture and society, negative or positive, that they need to be written about from a Christian world view, such as an election or a torrential downpour of sexual allegations made against all sorts of people (Hollywood and politics). I didn’t write about the election, but I am working on an article on Sex, Morality, and the Existence of God.
So, yea, that’s how I choose what I write about. I hope it makes sense (because it does to me!)
Now for tools…
Tim Challies (Challies.com) has a book called Do More Better, which is a short read on productivity, and Evernote is his information gathering tool of choice. Over at The Reformed Outlook, I wrote a review of his system from this book, including Evernote, which I know use quite regularly when it comes to gathering and storing information. I gather articles for my blog, regular snippets of my children’s homeschooling work, copies of documents I sign for work or other things, and much more. It’s a great tool that I love. You’ve probably at least heard of Evernote. I urge you to go try it.
Microsoft Word, or just Word, is my application of choice for writing. There are others that I have tried (Apple’s Pages, Scrivener, Ulysses), but, for the short writing that I do, Word is all I need. If I ever attempt a full length book, maybe Scrivener or Ulysses will do. It’s basic, but it does what I need it to do. I was once asked why don’t I then just type in the text input box in the WordPress.org application I use for my blog? Well, often times, that gets laggy and it appears that I type faster than the page can process the inputs, but then when it catches up, letters and sometimes words are missing.
Logos Bible Software
Logos Bible Software plays a part, whether big or small, in almost everything I write. I might just be copying a verse or passage, or I might be looking up original languages to make sure the point I am making is valid and true to the text of Scripture. And, I also have the RefTagger plugin, which Logos makes, which allows you to scroll over Scriptures in the blog to see what they are (example: John 3:16). I could go on and on about the benefits of Logos, or any robust Bible software, but, that’s for another post and another time. Needless to say, Logos saves me a lot of time (and saved me LOTS of time when I was in seminary).
Coffee (really it is caffeine)
Yes, coffee does in fact play a part in my writing process. I work a high-stress job and don’t get nearly enough sleep, along with my four wonderful children make coffee and necessity. While sometimes I think I am at the point where it’s just a psychological placebo effect, I still drink it. After thinking about it for a few minutes, it’s not really just coffee, but caffeine in general. Sometimes, I am sucking down a NOS energy drink when I need a change from the hot stuff.
My computer. I love to write, and would probably write more out by hand, but then I would still by typing it out. I am, albeit probably too much, on my computer or my phone quite a bit, but, in the end, it all serves a purpose. Once I get to my computer, all those articles I saved on Evernote (usually via my phone) get disseminated to which Evernote notebook they belong in. And, eventually, stuff for blogging makes it into a post (mostly for The Weekly Nerd). My computer is what keeps it all together, kind of like a brain and longer term memory.
Yes, my wife, the love of my life, my help-mate. The one that annoys me every night when I go to bed (I love you if you’re reading this). The very same one who tells me what I have typed out makes no sense and makes me rewrite it, or fixes it herself. Yes, she is important, or I would often have stupid typos and grammatical errors throughout my blog. I praise God daily for my wife. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22).
In the end…
So, yea, it’s not that complicated or anything. Maybe I’ll update this with something different once (if) I write a book. I have ideas for that popping around in my head. But, for the time being, I am going to stick with the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and not change my process.
Note: This article is also posted at The Reformed Outlook.