The Write Time
I sometimes skip over the beginning of Luke’s gospel and get stuck into the ‘proper’ story. But as someone who both writes and researches there is a really important message here. Thus Luke Chapter 1 vv3-4 says “I too decided after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed”.
I have always been an educator of some description, right from my teenage years when I helped with groups of younger children at church. One of the challenges of being an educator is what is the basis of that which you are teaching. How do you know it is true or right? In many cases research is behind it, thus as Luke did about the life and works of Jesus, someone has investigated it and written it up. That someone could be you!
There is a growing awareness of the importance of evidence-based practice and doing anything between a small investigation to a PhD can contribute towards that evidence. However, some of us need support in getting to the place of either having the confidence to do that or having the knowledge and skills to know where to start.
As someone who has a passion to help people’s voices be heard I have tried to encourage and mentor people to both write and research and get so excited when I see someone get published or achieve a qualification that they had not expected to. Perhaps the first stage in any of this is to establish a writing habit. I blog twice a week at Marker Posts and Shelters just so I am doing some writing every week. Henri Nouwen offers a helpful insight as to why it is important to write:
Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant memories. Writing can be good for others who might read what we write. Quite often a difficult, painful or frustrating day can be ‘redeemed’ by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become life-saving for us and sometimes for others too. (Henri J M Nouwen Bread for the Journey London DLT 1996:135).
Thus you may want to work out how you can begin to write and where you might share it – on a blog, guest blogging, social media, a newsletter… Each of us has a message to share with the world and experiences that others can learn from or be encouraged by. Be courageous and consider how your voice might be heard more clearly!
It may also be that you would appreciate mentoring or coaching in this area and there are people in this network that could help you. This can range from a one off clarify your thoughts session on a research question before you contact a University about doing a doctorate to a series of mentoring sessions where someone walks alongside you as you write a booklet, book or undertake some research into your own practice or an area of interest – this doesn’t have to be part of an academic course. There are lots of possibilities and it may be that to achieve your dream of seeing something in print, getting your voice heard, sharing your wisdom, you might benefit from the support of a mentor.
One of my favourite song lines talks about wisdom born from pain, that wisdom may make a difference to the life of someone else, we can learn from each other’s stories and in telling our story we can sometimes make more sense of it. Our story may not be that of an individual but a group or a church. Hebrews 20.24-5 encourages us to ‘consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching’. Writing and research can be a collaborative endeavour and it may be that this is a really good way to start. We can remember too that the creativity involved in writing and research is a reflection of our creator God’s creativity in us and our lives (Julia Cameron) and ground our writing and research in prayer.
If reading this has ignited a spark in you to write or research, begin today!