Monks can teach modern writers some important lessons


Ludolph of Saxony Vita Christi (circa 15th Century) vol. 3 folio. 47

Modern writers don’t need to have the (once obligatory) shaved head and brown robes to write, but they should certainly take a ‘leaf’ out of the lifestyle and application to their craft by the monks of the medieval period.

Many writers today are under the pressure of producing something new every five minutes.  This erodes away at the quality of their work and produces disposable books that I believe are a terrible creation.

Just look at the image below.  It’s author has taken much TIME on its creation.  Their very DNA is almost inside the book; not only with every carefully hand written word, but which each stroke of their wonderful artwork that covers all of the four corners of its pages.


Books such as these are memorable and invaluable.  They are treasured for so many reasons, but above all, I believe that it is an appreciation of how much time they took to create.

In more recent times, even Tolkien is remembered for a similar reason.  He wrote for the joy of his craft and he created alongside his text many wonderful things, including an entire new Elven language.

I am a realist.  However, I believe that the moment that you write ‘with a deadline’ or for purely a ‘commercial reward’ in mind, you are no longer a writer.  Your craft dies a little each day that you follow such a path.

In order to create something wonderful and memorable, write for the passion of its creation.  Nothing else should enter your mind at any point.


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