A Few Lessons I’m Learning

Several months back, I mentioned that I’m writing a book and haven’t said too much about it since publicly. There are reasons for that, obviously, most of which amount to I haven’t had much to say.

However, I thought I’d give you a quick update on where things are at with it and what I’m learning through the process.

1. Having good friends and contacts is essential. The deeper I get, the more I realize that if you don’t have a good network to help, you’re going to have a hard time getting your foot in the door. On top of that, good friends and contacts who are willing to give you constructive feedback on what you’re doing will make the process that much easier. The feedback (and encouragement) I’ve received from Trevin,Tim, Dan, Andrew and Amber in particular has made even the process of submitting proposals that much easier.

Which brings me to my next point…

2. Submitting to publishers is not for the faint of heart. It can really hurt to get rejected, particularly if what you’re working on is something you’re sure God has put on your heart to write.

3. Rejection can be really encouraging. I’ve sent a proposal to six publishers at this point and have already received my first rejection. Believe it or not, I was really encouraged by it as the editor (a friend of a friend, incidentally), let me down really easily and reminded me that I can write real good when I’m trying.

4. Get an established author to show you how they write book proposals. I had no idea how to write a book proposal when I started this thing. At all. Fortunately, my friend Dan Darling gave me the down-low. I am unbelievably grateful for this. So grateful, in fact, that I will hyperlink to himTwice.

Image Courtesy of Tim Challies

5. Writing takes discipline. I’ve become increasingly aware of the distractions that surround me (as I mentioned yesterday), so much so that I’m thinking of switching back to using Firefox just so I can use Leechblock. Facebook and Twitter are deadly for productivity and I’ve found that in order to write well, I need to be able to sit for good chunks of time (two-three hours uninterrupted is ideal for me).

Also, having the image you see to the right pop up anytime I try to fart around on social networks will hopefully encourage me to get back to work.

6. You need a lot of prayer. I’ll admit, I really struggle to pray well and consistently, but on this project I’ve been finding myself (especially as I write this) convicted of just how much I need to pray through writing this book. So I’m trying to make a point of setting aside a few minutes before I begin work on it, stopping intermittently as I’m working through how to say something, and setting aside a few more minutes after I’ve completed my work for the day on it.

Additionally, this project’s been a good reminder for me that it’s important to ask others to pray for you, too. I’ve got my Tuesday morning prayer group praying with me on this, my Friday morning men’s group and and I think I’ve put in at least one request to the church as a whole. And now, I’d ask you all to join in praying as well, specifically that:

  • A suitable publisher is found; and
  • Christ would be glorified and His people edified through the book’s content.

So, those are a few of the things I’ve learned so far on this journey to getting a book published. I’m still not sure where things are going to end up in terms of where the book will land or when it will be released, but I’ll keep you in the loop as I get a better sense of where things are headed.

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  • http://twitter.com/spye Steve Pye

    You should just self publish on Lulu. Also, I want a Kindle version when it comes out. :)

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      I thought about using Lulu for another project (and probably will), but this one is seems better suited for traditional publishing. 

      I’ll make sure there’s a Kindle version for you, Steve :)

  • http://cleverphrasehere.blogspot.com Amber

    I had an interesting experience with prayer when writing Hope Lives. At the outset of writing it, I was suddenly faced with intense personal and spiritual problems. I found myself subsequently mired in paralyzing self-doubt. (Which is quite unusual for me. My usual struggle would be rushing ahead, overly confident in my own intelligence and writing ability.) In retrospect, I believe I was under spiritual attack (and I was raised Presbyterian, so I don’t just say that. :) ), and God used it to force me to pray desperately for help.

    Now I can see that this was my greatest salvation as a writer – the intense need to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in what words I write. I believe that if any good comes from my words, it’s only due to God’s grace (and not my own cleverness). God can graciously use us anytime, even when we’re messed up with bad motives, but I believe God especially used my words in this one instance because I so desperately asked for God’s Spirit to guide the words. Now, if only I could always have this attitude!    

  • http://cleverphrasehere.blogspot.com Amber

    I had an interesting experience with prayer when writing Hope Lives. At the outset of writing it, I was suddenly faced with intense personal and spiritual problems. I found myself subsequently mired in paralyzing self-doubt. (Which is quite unusual for me. My usual struggle would be rushing ahead, overly confident in my own intelligence and writing ability.) In retrospect, I believe I was under spiritual attack (and I was raised Presbyterian, so I don’t just say that. :) ), and God used it to force me to pray desperately for help.

    Now I can see that this was my greatest salvation as a writer – the intense need to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in what words I write. I believe that if any good comes from my words, it’s only due to God’s grace (and not my own cleverness). God can graciously use us anytime, even when we’re messed up with bad motives, but I believe God especially used my words in this one instance because I so desperately asked for God’s Spirit to guide the words. Now, if only I could always have this attitude!    

  • Dplaird

    Just read of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Did you know she wrote her life story and publishers rejected it. She rewrote it ten years later changing “I” to “Laura” and they loved it. Just to say, keep at it. Besides, I wouldn’t lightly set aside something you feel God has called you to write. As always, praying for you!!

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