Seeing Clearly: Writing as a Way to Focus

“I love it when a plan comes together.”

If you know who made that statement, you and I probably have a common media history. Even when things seemed like they were not going to work out, you knew he would be able to say this at the end of the day.

I could probably say the same about writing.

Sometimes my thoughts are all over the place. I have bits and pieces of some really stellar ideas. I’ve written them down on little scraps of paper. I’ve tried carrying a little Moleskin just in case an idea came to mind. I’ve tried voice memos, taking pictures and more. But nothing quite brings those great ideas into focus as pounding them on on the keyboard.

As I’ve been reading previous posts, I’ve seen little scraps of ideas that are actually pretty good. The writing sometimes falls flat because the idea hadn’t fully formed yet. But with the continued discipline of writing, I’ve been able to see some positive results.

The more I write, the greater my focus.

I’ve seen this in a couple of ways.

Sometimes an idea pops into my head, and I begin writing. I think through my motivations, consider what others have said, and try to flesh out something practical. When I do, I have the opportunity to realize something–it’s not such a great idea (at least not yet). It might have sounded good on its own, but following it to its logical conclusion did not work out the way I thought.

When that happens, I have two options–I can trash it or save it to drafts.

More often that not, I save it to drafts. (I hate throwing away what I thought was such a great idea!) In doing so, I’ve often found a fresh perspective later on that re-framed my great thought and resulted in a good piece of writing. Sometimes the best ideas are worth holding onto.

In another sense, I’ve seen how extended periods of writing can also reveal an over-arching focus for me as a writer. Reading a series of posts mirrors back those things about which I firmly believe and ignites passion. So I not only learn to focus my ideas in individual posts, but I can gain greater focus for my future posts in evaluating my blog’s bigger picture.

An Illustrative Story

I began feeling the birth pangs of a family ministry philosophy about 7 years ago. I had some great ideas, but they were tough to communicate. I tried some things that failed, but I learned so much in the process. Had I evaluated the “family ministry idea” simply based on the initial “writing,” I might have been frustrated enough to trash it.

Then about 4 years ago I had an opportunity to learn more in community with others who were thinking through family ministry. I learned, taught, wrote, dreamed, and the end result was a renewed focus on what biblical family ministry could be. My writing then had some good thoughts, but I can tell they weren’t fully formed.

Now I’m in a place where I eat and breathe family ministry. With time, the idea moved from the blurred edges into a more tightly-focused center. The time, patience and perseverance have resulted in a solid framework from which to operate. But there’s still more focusing to do.

Looking Forward

As a writer, “I love it when a thought comes together.” It doesn’t always start off well, but it doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. A strong focus takes time, patience and perseverance. In the end, you might just find that you have done something even more important than created some great pieces of writing.

You’ve brought your life into focus.


So, any ideas who made the statement at the beginning of the post? Share your educated guesses below!

One Response to “Seeing Clearly: Writing as a Way to Focus”
  1. Sharman says:

    Hannibal Smith…A TEAM

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