Ask Me Anything Zambia: Tips for Reading and Writing

While in Zambia for my recent EPIC trip, I held an Ask Me Anything event at Central Africa Baptist College. Here are a couple of the questions and answers: one concerns the relationship between reading and writing, and the other asks for practical tips to become a better reader. I hope you find the answers helpful!  

Ask Me Anything Zambia: Writing and Productivity

While in Zambia during a recent EPIC trip, I held an Ask Me Anything event at Central Africa Baptist College. Here are a couple of the questions and answers: one concerns how to become a writer people will read, and the other is about how to maintain productivity in work. The answer is slightly ironic given my current situation (I didn’t mention not getting nerve damage is essential for productivity) but anyway, here are my answers.  

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A Warning To Those Who Work With Words

There isn’t much I know that wasn’t taught to me by someone else. There isn’t much I count as wisdom that didn’t come to me by way of someone older and wiser than myself. The wisdom I am about to share is of exactly that kind. I won’t reveal the source, but will say it was a man known for that rare but beautiful combination of a gentle spirit and a wise mind. This man works with words. Words are …

Writers Write

I’m asked the questions all the time: What does it take to be a writer? How can I be a better writer? How can I be a more successful writer? They may dream of launching a blog or getting published in a magazine or completing their debut novel. My reply is always the same: Writers write. It’s the most obvious advice in the world, I know. But it’s advice every writer needs to hear and take to heart. Writers write. …

How I Use Mind Mapping Software

Much of life is an attempt to bring order from chaos. The pastor who sets out to prepare a sermon fills his mind with information and then needs to arrange it according to a unified theme. The author who sets out to write a book collects information from a hundred sources and then needs to lay it out in a logical manner. Ministries, marketing campaigns, fundraising drives, and even family vacations begin as chaos and eventually come to a state …

Death to Clickbait!

I hate clickbait. I absolutely despise it. Clickbait is lazy. It’s manipulative. It’s distracting and disappointing. It’s an abomination. Death to clickbait! What is clickbait? “Clickbaiting is the intentional act of over-promising or otherwise misrepresenting—in a headline, on social media, in an image, or some combination—what you’re going to find when you read a story on the web.” It uses headlines with provocative adjectives—stunning, amazing, unbelievable, shocking. It promises that it will blow your mind, that you won’t believe what you …

A Call for Plodding Bloggers

I believe that blogs have been a blessing to the church in the twenty-first century. Maybe I have to believe this since I have blogged nearly every day of the century. Still, with every bit of objectivity I can muster, I say it and believe it: For all their problems and all their shortcomings, blogs have been a blessing. They have served the church and the cause of the church. Over my years of reading and writing blogs, I have …

Writing Tips: Tools & Context

I love to write, I write often, and I share my writing publicly. For those reasons I am often asked to share tips. How can I write more? How can I write better? More than once I have compiled tips on writing, and several times I have recommended books and resources on the craft. But today I want to offer a handful of new tips that are a little bit different from the kind I have offered before. In the …

Why Bloggers Are Calling It Quits

I have been blogging for 12 years now. For at least 11 of those years, people have been predicting the end of the blog. The reasons have changed, but the predictions have been consistent: It is only a matter of time before the blogosphere collapses. Last month Christianity Today ran an article by Amy Julia Becker titled “Why Bloggers Are Calling It Quits.” She points to high-profile bloggers Andrew Sullivan and Heather Armstrong. Both of them have recently decided to …

3 Helpful Instructions on Keeping a Journal

I am a committed blogger, but a sporadical journaler. If blogging is thinking out loud and in public, journaling is thinking quietly and in private. I am convinced that both practices have value, and I have often regretted my lack of dedication to the discipline of keeping a journal. This regret was heightened as I encountered a little postscript at the end of one of John Flavel’s books. Having written a couple hundred pages of theologically-dense teaching on God’s providence, …