Oh, I eat my peas with honey,
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes them taste real funny,
But it keeps them on the knife!
Apparently, I can only write about something for 3-4 hours at a time before my brain cramps up. I’m on the verge of finishing up this sermon for tomorrow, but I got run out of Starbucks by the sound of a women’s couponing circle. Now I’m at Panera, but it’s going to take a minute for my mind to get back in gear.
So, I always write out my sermons word-for-word, which I understand is Not The Thing To Do. But I’ve always been unable to do anything other. I’m not a very good extemporaneous speaker. That is to say, I talk faster than my mouth can carry me, and then I stumble and either mumble or stutter. Furthermore, with a little adrenaline in my system; the brain starts to revving; the transmission slips, and I start chasing down every little rabbit trail. That’s not what I want to listen to, so it’s not what I want to speak.
Not so my writing. Nice and clear it is. And if I meander, well it’s because I meant to. Every flourish nailed in place. That’s the way to go!
And if it takes me seven hours to write out an hour’s worth of speaking. Well, it isn’t due to my slowness at typing. That’s how long it takes me to actually think out what I want to say. Do you think the use of my hands or my mouth affects how fast I actually think? Of course not. So if I don’t write out every word, what do you think will happen? I’ll tell you what will happen. I’ll rip through that outline like a little piece of tissue paper, in fifteen minutes, not having said half of what I meant to, and then I’ll stand there silently, wishing I could go back to point three and say that other thing I meant to say, but inconveniently forgot to.
Well, put that important thing in the outline, and leave the rest out. My dear fellow, you really don’t understand these things, do you? Which important thing? They all need to be in there. I need all the extra words to hold the outline down, like honey to keep the peas on the knife.
And really, what’s the difference between a 12 page outline, and a 12-page manuscript? So long as what you’re writing doesn’t sound like what someone might be reading.