Welcome to my blog. I document my interests in academia, list a few of my publications, and explore topics in New Testament Early Christianity!

1892 Club: Ben Mast on Writing

mast-portrait One of the unique privileges of advanced education at Southern Seminary is the continual contact with diverse men and women from a plethora of disciplines. The 1892 Club (also see: here) helps promote unique conversations and talks on a variety of disciplines. And in this way, I, as a NT thinker, am shaped through inter-disciplinary efforts.

Yesterday was the initial meeting of the new term. The sound of colleagues, the smell of pour-over coffee, and the sweet taste of exquisite cheese quickly reminds me of the value of such gatherings.

Ben Mast, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences from University of Louisville, led the conversation. It was a two-fold talk. First, he gave his individual story of how he ended up where he is today through a variety of personal and academic anecdotes.

Second, he provided comments on writing. He is coming out with a new book on the Gospel as it relates to Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. If anyone has been involved with family members or friends suffering from such disease, his book (due out Spring 2014 through Zondervan) will help provide some much needed guidance on the topic.

Here are Mast's thoughts on writing.

1. Writing as a Discipline

  • Make it a Priority
    • Readjust life so as to do it.
  • Find a consistent place and time.
    • Procedural memory will help take clues from repetition and spatial repetition.
  • Track the number of words you write in a day.
  • Ignore the voices in your head.
    • Avoid the potential warning signs of criticism from colleagues and critics as you write. If you don't, you'll become crippled and never finish your project.
    • Do not edit while you write. Begin editing once you've finished a first draft.
    • If struggling to get started, force yourself to write one paragraph to get the motors running. No one will ever see this paragraph.
  • Write everything you have in your head.

2. Writing as a Spontaneous Event

  • Keep a notebook with you to record thoughts and ideas.
    • If you come up with an idea, you'll most likely forget it in thirty minutes if you do not write it down. Don't say to yourself, "I'll remember this later."
    • Write your ideas down as they come to you and revisit them at a later time.
    • I, personally, have found this Notebook quite helpful. I will always have one on me at a time. I own three to engage my writing and research projects at any given time.
  • Go to "Academic Talks" outside your area.
    • Hearing people from other disciplines talking about their interests will spark your imagination.
    • Make a habit to listen from specialists in other fields
  • Relationship Stress
    • Attempt to maintain low relationship stress.
    • High stress stifles writing and creativity.
  • Walk around outside and pray

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