Philosophy Lite: Writing gives a sense of accomplishment and productivity

By Raymond Smith

I can't speak for other writers, but I know what I get out of writing, and I take this space to list several reasons why.

First, let me say that in earlier years, I could not imagine myself as a writer. But I have learned that over time, new interests and opportunities present themselves, and I simply decided to stretch my wings.

Writing gives a sense of accomplishment and productivity. Writers want to share their interests and discoveries. Writing helps a person develop his own philosophy. Like keeping a diary or journal, it helps the writer think through his feelings and develop a better self-expression. While some may enjoy writing fiction, I'm more of a realist and prefer to deal with the urgent matters of our faith.

We are living in precarious times, not terribly different from the days of the early church. They are exciting times. We see the church undergoing change as denominationalism is slipping and new independent churches are forming. New styles of worship are being encouraged.

Every writer gains more than his readers, as he does the research and develops his ideas. As I think through my ideas, my faith is deepened, and I more clearly understand what I believe. Beyond this, I expect that readers will be encouraged to deepen their thinking and clarify their beliefs.

The challenge in writing is to get the words right. The first draft may take only an hour or so, but improving the flow, choosing just the right word, checking spelling and punctuation and making sure the ideas come across plainly takes time. When we speak, we sometimes say things we regret, but writers can take time to think through their ideas and make corrections.

The computer makes writing easier. To be able to erase a word with the swipe of a mouse and to cut-and-paste words and whole paragraphs is extremely helpful.

One of the joys for me is the occasional idea that pops into my head when I least expect it. Sometimes, ideas may come when I lie in bed at night or when I'm walking around the neighborhood. I carry 3x5 cards so that I can write those inspirations down.

Hector Berlioz, the composer, once said that every writer and musician knows the anguish of forgetting a great idea when one had no opportunity to write it down.

I love quotations and have a dozen of those books. The ideas they contain have survived the years because of their profound truths. Many contemporary writers have insights, which I am pleased to share. I highlight important passages in the books I read for future use.

Lastly, one always hopes that his work has some influence on his readership; to think that in some way he can nudge the world in a better direction. To feel that one can influence others brings a sense of satisfaction; we all would like to feel that we have some influence in the world.

Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and President of Strong Families of Victoria.