Writing to Think Clearly

Writing out is a key exercise in learning to think well.  Writing puts the thought out there on paper to behold.  It expresses it; gives it reality in space and time.  Ink meets paper (or pixels illumine liquid-crystal-display) and the thought is now outside your mind and ready to be argued for or with or against or to be refined or reshaped or rejected.  It is indispensable to clear thinking and useful for study, believing, discipline, prayer, reading, and just about anything else you do with the mind. John Piper has this to say about the function of writing in his thinking:

“…In my English class [in 1963], the desire to read serious books and the desire to write serious essays and poems was born. This has never gone away. Writing has been an almost daily habit since then—in one form or another—notes, letters, journal entries, poems, ideas, reports, essays, and more. Writing became the lever of my thinking and the outlet of my feelings. If I didn’t pull the lever, the wheel of thinking did not turn. It jerked and squeaked and halted. But once a pen was in hand, or a keyboard, the fog began to clear and the wheel of thought began to spin with clarity and insight.”

-John Piper, “The Pastor As Scholar: A Personal Journey,” Chicago, April 23, 2009.

The whole lecture from which this quote was pulled is quite interesting, or you can read it.  Whatever suits you best.

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