Welcome to week twenty-one of the #WritersQuick5 series - where we learn about writing from fellow writers.
This week I’m thrilled to bring to you a new area of writing: the perspective of a pastor. Sermon writing, religious writing, devotionals, all have their own unique niche and voice and may have an even wider reach than any book on a shelf. (Personally, from all my years of going to church, I can attest that the power of what is said at the lecturn is drastically impacted by the quality of the writing of the preacher.) And, whether you are religious or not, as writers, we can all appreciate the craft.
So today I bring you insights from Pastor Tim Brown. Full disclosure: Pastor Tim, or PT as many of us call him, was my pastor for several years before he moved from Chicago to Raleigh, North Carolina. I have personally turned to his words many times over the years, in times of joy and in times of crisis, and appreciate the craft it takes to go into the kinds of messages he conveys.
Back to PT now. PT is a prolific writer. He writes devotionals, humor, editorials and book reviews. His articles have been published in The Cresset, Living Lutheran, and The Christian Century. You can find his works, including all of his sermons across his two blogs: Endless Falling and Reluctanxtian.
Let’s see what PT has to say…
Question #1 - Where do you write and why do you write there?
Usually early morning or late at night, in my office or study. I need to be surrounded by words to write for some reason. I need to enter "the house where words dwell," as I like to say regarding my writing process. I don't need a distraction free environment, but prefer one where resources are close at hand (water/beer, books, pens, paper).
Question #2 - What is unique about writing for your particular genre?
I write a lot about the intersection of faith and doubt, even in my devotional writing. Religious people can be finicky, so have you to present yourself with bare honesty or else you end up with something trite.
Question #3 - What are some of your grammar or punctuation pet peeves?
I am in love with the Oxford comma. I am in love with run-on sentences. I am in love with winding prose, but also equally in love with short quips. Brevity is not my friend.
Question #4 - At what point in your writing process do you start to bring other people in to review your work?
Beta versions of articles. Let the editor slosh through the punctuation.
Question #5 - What advice would you give to a new writer about the writing process?
Write. A lot. Every day. Crappy writing is good writing.
Thank you PT for your insights and advice. I think, no matter what genre we are writing in, we can all follow the advice that we need to “present yourself with bare honesty or else you end up with something trite.” Honestly in writing is always the way to go!
Please check out PT’s two blogs Endless Falling and the Reluctanxtian. From there you can read all of his sermons and he links to any articles he has published. You can also follow him on Twitter.
If you would like to be featured as a writer in the #WritersQuick5 series, please just reach out and let me know. I’d love to promote your work as well!
For updates on #WritersQuick5 and other info from me, please follow me on Twitter or check back with this blog for all the latest.