Writing Works

You should have a blog. Whoever you are, and regardless of your writing skill or how many people you think would read it. Why? Because of three words: communication, reflection, and participation.

Writing gives us an opportunity to practice communicating effectively, and many of us need that practice. Think of how many times you have conversation in which the other person begins responding to something you didn’t actually say? The problem is, you probably did say it, at least in their minds. Every conversation has at least three sides: what you said, what you think you said, and what they heard. The way we say things matters, if we care anything about having meaningful conversation, then our way of saying things matters. Is it hard work? Yes, but it’s worth taking the time to practice. Any time you write, you are sharpening your ability to say what you really mean.

Writing also forces us to reflect more often on important issues. “How would I answer that?” “Do I believe that’s the best way to approach that problem?” “What is it about this that bothers me?” Engaging the mind with reading and writing will sharpen your mental persistance. Instead of giving up on difficult topics, you will begin to ask good questions and go deeper. I think of my friend, Terry. Compared to me, he’s pretty old. No one knows how old he really is, but he is old. But you wouldn’t know it by being around him because he knows how to think. When sharing conversation with him, corners of my mind that have been asleep for weeks begin to wake up. That’s the guy I want to be at 60, 70 or 80. I think the regular habit of writing can help make that happen.

The strongest value of writing is that it’s participatory. It gives others a chance to join in by inviting them into the conversation, regardless of whether or not you agree.

In the right sidebar of my blog, you’ll find a list of links to people who know what I mean by this.

Krista Finch writes with a natural flow that is enjoyable to read. She writes beautifully with an ability to push open doors in your heart that you may not have opened in a while. Yes, I’m baised since she’s my wife. But I’m also right.

Habits of the Cold War uses a brilliant stratagem to create his art: 99 words in every post. He doesn’t care if a post is too eclectic for your tastes; he simply writes to engage both mind and heart, if you care to join him.

Black Coffee Reflections is a great place to read about the “why” of being a follower of Jesus, the “how” of being the church, and the “where” of his own life. He writes consistently and invites others into the conversation.

These are the three blogs I read the most, and I read them because they aren’t writing for awards or applause. They do it for love of engaging in the observing/thinking/reflecting/expressing process, and each of them in their own way has encouraged me (sometimes unknowingly) to stay engaged in that process.

It’s not a writing contest or a job interview. It’s writing, and it’s good for you. Go to wordpress.com and sign up. That part is easy.

Now go eat your vegetables, and tell us about it.

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