Want to be a better writer? Stop putting out fires.

My wife and I live in Southern California, so the #1 topic of conversation right now is the wildfires that are devastating our state. It’s national news: hundred of homes destroyed, thousands evacuated, millions of dollars in damage.

Walk outside and there are tangible reminders everywhere: the smoke is thick and acrid – it burns your eyes and nose within seconds. Wake up in the morning and the sky is literally raining ash. The smoke is so thick you can stare at the sun as it casts eerie orange pall on everything around. Schools have been cancelled, people are staying home from work, everyone is wearing masks. Friends of ours are being evacuated, countless people have lost their homes…it’s a mess.


Write What You Know

A few years back, a friend of mine found himself in the office of Tim Keller, a popular pastor in New York City and a prolific author of numerous books on faith and work. He was there as one member of a team who was interviewing Tim as part of an upcoming film.

A pastor and scholar himself, my friend asked Tim a personal question after the interview had concluded: he had been entertaining thoughts of writing a book, but wondered how to package up all of the thoughts and lessons he’d learned over his 30-some years of life. He wondered how Tim Keller would do it – where would he start?

Keller’s response left him a bit disappointed, saying something to the effect of “Son, you can’t write a book – you’re only 30 years old. You don’t have anything to write about yet.