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Listen in as Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, talks about the latest books, cultural conversations and pressing ethical questions that point us toward the kingdom of Christ.
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How I Write

Russell Moore - Signposts

Published on 07/07/2017

In this episode of Signposts, I talk about my approach to writing. From keeping track of ideas, to writing books and articles, this podcast offers you a look at the whole process. You can find the full transcript and links to subscribe below. We're about to take a little break here in the summer here on Signposts. I'm going to take a few weeks as I'm writing a book to really concentrate and give my attention to this book. As I was thinking about that, one of my colleagues said, "You should talk about on Signposts how it is that you write." And I have to be honest, I'm really reluctant to do that because I said "Nobody cares how I write, first of all, and second of all I certainly don't commend to anybody else my particular way of writing." But he said, "There may be some people who can benefit from that as they're thinking about how to write for themselves." And maybe so.Because you are probably going to be called upon to write something at some point in your life. It may not be that you're a writer, but you may have to write a loved one's obituary. Or you may have to write a letter to a child or a family member. All of us are going to have to put down on paper or on the screen our thoughts at some point. Some people just do it much more extensively than other people do it.So here's kind of the process I go through. And again, I don't commend it to anybody at all. This is just the way that I work. What I wish I could say to you is that I sit down and make out an elaborate outline, and then have note cards in front of me, and I go through each of note cards. That's not how I work. What I have to do is spend a lot of time, first of all, reading in whatever area I'm going to be writing in, and then a lot of time just processing that. So just thinking. A lot of the most important writing time for me actually is not in front of the screen, it's walking in the woods. Because that's when I'm thinking through "Okay but what about this, and what about that, what about this idea, and what about that idea," and sort of churning as I'm thinking through this. And for me, exercising - especially sort of meandering free exercising - is what helps to put all of that together for me.I also like to keep with me a little notebook because there will always be those moments where something will just flash. I'll be reading in Scripture devotionally and something will hit me - "I haven't considered that, that's important for whatever this thing is I'm writing." Or I may be sitting in a wedding somewhere and something hits me. So I want to have something that I can quickly jot something down about whatever it is that I'm thinking. Then just continue to churn and continue to think about these things. Then when I sit down to write what I typically want to do is to spend some time balancing writing what's down on the page, usually these days in my study at home, with sort of pacing around the floor. So if you watched me - I would never want any one watching me. I have a couple of friends who will sit there and write while they've got people around them. That would be disastrous for me, because I just jump up and pace around the room, sit down and write a little bit more, jump up and pace around the room some more. It's a really sort of neurotic thing to watch that I wouldn't want anybody to see.But as I'm writing things down, I have to have huge periods of solitude interrupted by short bursts of community. So what I need to do is to talk about what it is that I'm writing about, not all the way through, but in certain little bursts. So I'll gather a group of friends together and just say "Hey, this is what I'm thinking about. Does this make sense?" Or I'll call my friend David Prince on the phone and say "Hey, what do you think about..." and just start talking about what it is that I'm writing. Or my wife and I might go for a walk and I might talk to her about what I'm thinking through.

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