I always wrote down anything I was going to deliver orally and still do, including sermons. This is because I think and convey ideas more clearly at a desk with a pen in hand than I do on my feet in front of a group of listeners. That may not be true for everyone, but it is for me. That’s why books about writing and reading occupy much of my time.
My favorite writing books are Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. Because writing has been important to me, I love Dillard’s book and keep at hand two vignettes from it. She wrote, “Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark.” I have also appreciated her advice about using ideas that are hot and ready to be expressed: