Friday, August 22, 2008

Writing... writing... writing...

One thing I found out when I was in the UK was that for our Annual Report to the UK government bodies I had to have much more information than I thought I would. I had been expecting to just print out the figures and say 'Here you are...' but they require and extensive narrative to go alongside this. My brother-in-law helped show me and we downloaded one from another organisation as a template. His advice as 'keep it as simple as possible...'

So I came back to Cyprus with a writing task. I read through the template and started drafting our own. But as I read I became convinced that I needed to check out all the government guidelines too. So I downloaded them and read the 150 page book (in detail) to check I was doing it right. That book referenced other materials... which I also downloaded and read.

The reading/writing/reviewing/checking took about 10 days in all. I hope its correct now. What I thought would be about 2-3 pages has now turned out to be 17 pages... and that is following the advice of 'keep it as simple as possible...' I found it mind stretching - checking that I was following all the regulations. The red tape these days is phenomenal!

During this, I had the author of a series of short stories we are developing (eventually a video series) over and have been spending time with him honing them. Writing a short story is almost more difficult that a full blown novel in that the story has to be complete in itself within 1000 words.

I read somewhere that Sir Winston Churchill [about the only British politician I have any time for and he's dead now] said something like this 'If you want me to speak for two minutes, it will take me three weeks of preparation. If you want me to speak for thirty minutes, it will take me a week to prepare. If you want me to speak for an hour, I am ready now.' Doing some research I now find the quotation attributed to Mark Twain, President Taft and Woodrow Wilson! Whichever, the point being that short takes longer than long in writing.

In between the all that writing I have been reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell it's a great book and I highly recommend it. Doing more research online about Rob Bell I came across the statement of faith from his church was was not a propositional statement like most but what he called a 'Narrative Theology'. You can read the Mars Hill Narrative Theology for yourself and see what I mean. Anyway, this seemed to fit with some of what I have been writing in a book recently and so I wrote [you'd think I'd had enough writing wouldn't you] my own 'Narrative Theology' which you can read on another of my blogs. What intrigued me was that you can summarize the entire story of the Bible in one A4 page. Doing so actually expessed completely what we believe in a way that a propositional statement of faith misses.