Take your time

The last place anyone would expect to hear the phrase “Take your time,” would be in the army. In times of war, time is of the essence. Everyone on the battlefield wants the war to be over and done with so they can go home to their loved ones. Soldier have to get to places in time in coordinated assaults. And the person who would survive the first volley of a battle are the ones doing the shooting.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was conscripted into the Singapore Army. The one phrase I remember hearing the most was, “Take your time”. The phrase was dripping with sarcasm, of course, but it was still surprising.

So it takes me great pleasure to present to you my advise in writing. Please take your time when you write, and no, there is with no sarcasm attached to this. Take your time to get it right.Take your time to do proper research on your topic. Take your time to find a proper illustrator (if you are working on a children’s story). Take your time to form the sentences. Take your time to tell your story. Time gives us a chance to reset our minds, gives us a better chance to catch mistakes we had made earlier when writing.

When man sinned, God already knew the solution and knew what needed to be done. God could have fixed it up straight away, but He knew it had to be done right. God had to prepare the hearts of men, prepare the bloodline of Jesus, prepare people to receive the forgiving grace of God, prepare the technology needed for the final events described in the book of Revelations. Even after over six-thousand years (give or take), we are not ready for the final events yet. And we know God isn’t slack (2 Pet 3:9), so He has been at work, getting things ready. So why are we not there yet? Because all these preparation requires time to get them right.

And our writing, as good as we are at our craft, require the same thing. We need the time to get it all right. God takes millenniums to get His preparation right, so what is wrong with taking a few extra weeks to get it right? Not a lot. So remember to “take your time”. It doesn’t cost a lot, but it will bring a lot of returns.

Dam the dams

Dam the dams. Close your eyes and say that repeat that a few times. Did you listen closely to what you said? Imagine not seeing the text and only hearing it. Were you cursing the dam that stores water? Were you cursing the curse? Or what were you saying?

When you read what’s written, you can see with crystal clarity what the writer said. What it means is another story altogether. But the clarity of what is being said is the beauty of the written word. No one wonders what word the writer used. They can wonder all about its meaning, but definitely not the words used.

And between reading and listening, I know listening is a lot easier and quicker. Regardless, reading is always better. When working, I prefer to get instructions via email rather than a phone call. I do not have to drop everything and focus on the speaker (I’m a typical guy who have trouble multi-tasking). I can choose when to read and consume the information, and I won’t have to worry if I forgot anything. Listening is temporal. You hear it once, and then it’s gone. You can’t hear it again unless you have it recorded. With writing, it lives on, long after the moment it’s first read.

Historians use writing to piece together history. They can’t used something that was said but not recorded. When an oral record is passed down for generations, there is always the issue with people’s memory. “What words did they use?” “Did they really say that?” “How can we trust that it wasn’t altered to suit their agendas?” And the list of problems go on.

It is nice to know the stories I write will last. The stories I produce as a writer will not be here today and gone tomorrow. I cannot imagine the bards of old. The stories they told and songs they sang were once enjoyed but are now lost to time.

I am grateful for the written record for God’s word. We can rest assured of the accuracy of what we now have. We have this confidence because there are so may written ancient records. Scholars have compared them over and over again. And they are confident that we have is an accurate representation of the original script. How amazing is that?

So when I read my Bible, I do not have to second guess what I read. Isn’t that just amazing?