How to Write a Book, or How Not To, or Encouragement to Write a Book
Supposedly 80% of people say they want to write a book. How many do you think will? I don’t blame the ones that won’t. If only because it’s so much easier to binge-watch Netflix. Writing a book means fitting a massive creative task into your schedule, learning how to consistently get your ideas out, hopefully polishing them into making sense, and then actually letting people read them. Eek.
Let’s face it, it’s much easier to digest everyone else’s hard work than do your own. Right about now, you’re thinking, “Hey! I thought you were going to encourage me to write!” Believe it or not, I am. Please write your book.
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’”
—Luke 14:28-30 NLT
Writing Well isn’t Easy, Communicating is Difficult, Please Someone Understand What I’m Trying To Say, ugh nevermind, Writing is Hard (Yeah, I’m just going with that one.)
In the verses above, Jesus is talking about the cost of being His disciple. Salvation is a free gift, but in following Jesus you will give Him everything. Completely worth the toll. I’ve found writing is costly too, but also worth it. At times you’ll feel like the great wall of China is between you and the task. And if you dare to scale it, there’s no guarantee what you produce will make sense to the reader. But there is a fulfillment to writing, even if it’s just between you and God.
The cost doesn’t really matter to me though, because what called me down the overgrown path was God saying, “Write your book. I am going to make you a writer.” I had to be obedient if nothing else. Since starting though, I’ve learned it’s not enough to just open my mouth and let the words fall out willy-nilly on the keyboard.
I should have known. What He spoke had a funny ring to it, implying I wasn’t already a writer. I had no idea how far I needed to go before God made me one. I thought it would be quick. I tried to show Him. “Look God, I can send a text message. I can write!”
But then I finished a draft of my first book and went on to editing. It was all fun and games until I went back and read what I had written a year ago. Even though I could’ve sworn I wrote it, I had no idea what half of it meant. Was there a point in there somewhere? Why is it all a jumbled mess? Do I really expect readers to wade through this airy-fairy stuff before I get to the bottom line? Oh no, I’m doing that now, aren’t I?
If God’s Called You to Write a Book, You Know What You’re Supposed To Do. Just Do It!
I’m nearing the finish-line of editing my first book. It’s taken me so long because as soon as I realized I was getting close—my progress ground to a halt. I felt immobilized. I wanted to do anything but what I was supposed to do to finish this project. Writers call it resistance.
Do you want to write a book? What’s getting in your way? Maybe like me, you’ve got to identify what’s stopping you. I had to push past my feelings. I had to give up things that were distracting, so I could focus. I needed to just do it, and keep at it, one foot in front of the next.
Amazingly, as I read over what I’d written last year, I saw progressive improvement. If you’ve got a book in you, write it! It’s not easy, but if you keep at it, it will get easier. You have to start somewhere, so make time to write now. Each day chip a little more off the marble until you find something inside worth looking at.
One of the things that’s helped me get as far as I have, is friends blessing me by checking in. Sometimes that accountability was what got me up the next morning to write. If you are considering writing a book, tell someone about it. Write a comment below about wanting to write. Get someone to keep you accountable.
Many friends have helped me, but I must specifically thank Chris Hendrix (DevotionsByChris.com) for his input on the title and cover, and Andrea Moede (TheFullnessThereof.com) who read and made notes on my most recent drafts. Joanne Hillman (Whispers of Grace) helped me edit my first draft (Poor lady’s been with me from this manuscript’s dark ages, and still managed to be positive and encouraging!).
They and many others were with me along the way, asking about my progress, hearing me say over the last year, I’m almost done! I wasn’t, but it was a grace to not know how much I still had to do. Using what I’ve learned, the next projects will hopefully go quicker.
But I’ll say it again, I’m almost done! Now I need some more willing friends to read what I’ve done and answer some questions which will help me polish it up (or burn it up and let it be resurrected out of the ash heap). Would you want to help with that? If so, please sign-up here: GodAndYouAndMe.com/Advance-Reader