The Book that Has Most Influenced My Writing

When I talk to writers or talk about writing, I’m inevitably asked questions like these: What books have most influenced your writing? What books do you recommend to become a better writer? My answers have varied through the years, though William Zinnser’s On Writing Well is generally near the top of the list, and I’m always sure to hold up Malcolm Gladwell as the kind of writer I’d someday like to become. Yet I’ve always known I haven’t read enough …

My Three Essential Writing Tools

During the past few weeks I’ve been asked many questions about blogging and other forms of writing, so thought I’d tell you about the three tools I consider essential to my writing life. There’s an app, a font, and a calendar that represent the heart of all I do. The App: Ulysses For many years now, the great majority of my writing has been done in an app called Ulysses. This is a Mac-only app, though iA Writer is a …

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How Can We Stay Productive Over the Long-Haul?

During a recent trip to China , I was invited to spend some time with some friends who live there. They asked me questions that ranged far and wide, but here we talk about productivity and how we can remain productive over the long-haul. Transcript How do you continue to come up with new ideas for content and produce it so regularly? Well partly, it’s what I do, so I just have to come up with content. So, the longer …

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.  

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 …