I discovered something about writing and thinking yesterday, as I was penning my contribution for the church magazine sitting in the sunshine on London's South Bank. It's a simple thing really, something I've known for a long time but maybe not as clearly as I saw it yesterday. It's probably something you've known forever, so you'll be able to cheer that I've caught up!
The process of connecting words leads to new avenues of thought. Like synapses in the brain firing and making new connections between brain cells (someone will tell me that's old science!), so the very act of linking words together on the screen or page, creates new thoughts which, more importantly, leads to fresh lines of enquiry.
Sometimes I sit at my keyboard, needing to create a sermon, write a lecture, compose an article and find my brain is suddenly and spectacularly stripped of any inkling of what might write. So I start typing and the every act of joining words together opens up the possibility of something to read that will be worth reading, that means something.
Inevitably what I first keyed into the machine is worked over and reworked out of existence as by the third or fourth paragraph something is emerging what looks like a train of thought, an interesting reflection. But this is not always the case; yesterday's first paragraph stayed remarkably intact!
I was always told by editors and, more recently by my MA supervisor, to write and then find out where the gaps are in your knowledge, rather that to read and research until you think you are ready to write. It's good advice. I'm going to try and follow it over the coming few weeks and see what emerges.
What I wrote yesterday will be posted here in the next day or so as it emerges in print form in our church magazine.