Essay / Education

Read for Craft, Stay Happy, Try to Help: Tips on Writing

Andrew Faris over at Someone Tell Me The Story recently posted a short interview he did with me on the subject of writing.

Along the way I ranted about the current state of theological writing, recommended a few resources, and said ridiculous things like “ignore your audience.” But there’s also some good advice in there, like this tip about reading for craft:

When you read a sentence that really gets the job done well, try to figure out how the author wrote it. Try to imagine how the ideas in it came into the mind of the author, and what decisions he made about assembling it as you see it before you now. I hope this doesn’t sound dreary or gruesome, like stopping a fun game of fetch to dissect your puppy and see how it runs so good. Eyeballing craft is just how skilled practitioners work in any field: while I’m just enjoying a concert, my musician friend is both enjoying it and simultaneously making a mental note about a fingering technique to try. Cooks are asking for recipes or figuring them out on their own, woodworkers are checking out the joints and pegs in any good furniture they get around, public speakers are thinking, “Hey, I could deliver that joke even better than that guy,” and gardeners are spying on each others’ plots.

Read the whole thing at Faris’ blog.

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