A Plan to Improve Your Writing
How To Wake Up From Your Field of Dreams, pt 4 of 4
We conclude our four-part series on our false assumption that “If I write it, they will read it” with a final tip and a plan to improve your writing. We chose this topic because communication is a constant for every leader planting a church. More than a “well read ” leader, you need to be a leader who is read well.
As a review, here were our first two tips:
- Move your main point/action to the beginning of the sentence.
- Write it, then Cut it in half.
The Final Tip: Print and Proof it.
Welcome to the most obvious, yet most neglected tip. Your people are worth serving even if it cost the world a few trees. Tree loss is a recoverable offense (replant trees). Losing the ear of your people due to content overload is NOT recoverable. You could fill a 100 mega-church sanctuaries with the unread emails, unopened church letters, and unheard announcements penned by undiscerning planters and pastors too busy to notice.
Here are three reasons to print and proof.
1. Seeing the words on a printed page gives needed context.
Although we live on screens, print and read your words to give context and discover content that may be too long. I have written countless bulletin announcements only to be surprised by their wordiness when printed. When I see them, I notice an announcement that gobbled three and a half lines of precious bulletin real estate.
This is akin to video-taping sermons preached while in seminary. As you watch it back, you discover your unintentional Ricky Bobby impersonation—I don’t know what to do with my hands right now.
Caveat: If the content is exclusively digital, work to proof it in context—i.e. on the iPhone screen, on the projector screen, etc. Your goal is to evaluate whether the content is worthy of the real estate.
2. Slow is fast.
The axiom that is true of discipleship multiplication holds true for proofreading. Slowing down enough to print and proof is the fastest way to get your message laser-focused, which is the quickest way to get heard.
3. Proofing with a pen in hand improves your writing.
Circling the phrase “awesome opportunity” repeated seven times in your two paragraph newsletter tutors (and humbles) you. Print it and proof it with a pen. Go old school and use a red pen. Involving multiple senses in the process improves your writing in the short run and the long run. We call that a win, win.
Get Your Free Writing Improvement Mini-Kit
Download the free Improve Your Writing Mini-Kit from Church Planter Starter Kit. The mini-kit includes a doable, 12-week plan to help you improve your written communication starting this week. Each week focuses on one of our tips and will see you improving in a matter of minutes, not hours. The mini-kit includes a Cheat Sheet with all of the tips and examples in one convenient location. Keep it handy as a go-to reference as you write.
I default to the belief that I am too busy to use this tip. I barely have enough time to write the email, the bulletin, the newsletter, the blog post. I also default to the accompanying belief, “How dare they not read my precious content and respond accordingly!” My final card I play is, “This is not important enough for me to go to the trouble.” The center of all three thoughts is me. I arrogantly assume my time is more important than those I serve. My communication is supremely important. And lastly, if what I write is ‘not worth the trouble’ of writing better, why am I writing it to begin with?
Consider the vastness of sin and failures which lay at the feet of “I’m too busy.” Then marvel at this truth: Jesus was never too busy. Mindblowing. Jesus, with the same interruptions, the same pressures, the same kinds of responsibilities, the same challenges, the same disappointments, the same fatigue…he never succumbed to his schedule, but remained master of his time. He used every minute to serve, worship, love, and lay his life down. He does not condemn planters slammed for time. His finger does not wag in disdain out our inability to slow down. Rather, he calls us to lay down our schedules and the sin that often motivates our overcrowded plans, and to enjoy the good news that He is not too busy for us.
Share the Mini-Kit
Have a friend who could benifit from this? Perhaps someone who sends emails of constitutional length? Have them snag a copy of this mini-kit. The great news is, our mini-kits are hypo-allergenic. Click on your favorite social media platform at the bottom of this page to share.
What Others Shared
Here are a few thoughts shared by other Church Planter Starter Kit subscribers.
Wow, bro. Great stuff today! That was encouraging and convicting as I am a man of many words. Thanks for applying the gospel!
Love the Gospel perspective on communications.