Peter Leithart has just offered the best, and most honest, post on writing I’ve seen in some time.
Writing is variously referred to as a craft, an art form, an obsession, or simply communication.
But Leithart makes it clear that writing, however you define it, is hard. And it’s not simply the writing or typing of words that is challenging. More to the point, the actual process of bringing a writing project to completion is daunting.
The candid nature of Peter’s post is surprising, given how prolific the man is. He has written numerous books on theology, pastoral ministry, and a few Bible commentaries. He knows what he’s talking about.
The true value in his post for anybody involved in writing, and especially scholars, is his delineation of the five stages in a book project. These include: ambition, contraction, panic, obsession, and wonder. There is a good mix of sound advice, humor, and sheer anxiety, including the following gem:
Panic is good. . . . Once you’ve had a good panic, you’re fine. Everything’s smoothly downhill from here.
For a solid introduction to Leithart, get the Peter J. Leithart Collection available on Logos, featuring six of his best works. Peter also has a superb set of lectures available as a bundle on Logos Mobile Ed, where you can see the man in action as he teaches through Sacramental Theology, Typological Hermeneutics, and Trinitarian Theology.
*Find other works by Leithart and related authors on the leading resource for biblical research, Logos 7, currently being offered with introductory discounts until February 6.
** Peter’s original post was on First Things and can be found here.