His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Writing with hammer and chisel

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hammer and chisel

Though best known for his painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s passion was sculpting marble. And he considered that the figure he was sculpting was always present within the marble block. All he had to do was remove the surplus marble to reveal the figure within.

This is the way I’ve been approaching my writing lately. I keep chipping away at the block of words, removing the surplus junk to reveal something that will hopefully be worth looking at.

One of my favorite books on writing nonfiction is On Writing Well, by William Zinsser. Three of his key elements of good, nonfiction writing are clarity, simplicity, and brevity. This goes along with one of my favorite bible verses: “The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” (Ecclesiastes 6:11)

The first draft of the book I’m writing had grown to a flabby 205,246 words. Seven revisions later and it’s now down to 63,300 words, and still on a diet. I keep chipping away at the surplus stuff, making it simpler, clearer and way briefer. And I love the editing process. It’s fun to remove the junk that adds nothing, and discover the shorter message that is much more powerful. Though writing can be hard, editing is fun.


Author: C.J. Penn

Reflections on a double life... I'm just a wanna-be writer. What's it like trying to do serious writing while also being consumed with a full-time engineering job? Between the two, I sometimes don't get much sleep. But I love writing - it gets me out of bed when it's way too dark, just so I can do some work on my book before heading off to work. I'm also passionate about the truth of God and Jesus, a truth that is not always visible in the outward view of the Christian religion. It's this passion that has pulled me out of bed to write for over 6 years now, still working on the same book, a book about truth. Will it ever be finished? God knows.

One thought on “Writing with hammer and chisel

  1. Extremely well said. I think we might be kindred spirits. ; )


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