Four Things I Learned While Writing a Book

A while back I shared a few things I’d been learning during the early stages of writing Awaiting a Savior. Since that time, the lessons have kept coming and I thought I’d share four more with you:

1. Writing something important will result in trials. I was speaking to one of our pastors on Wednesday night and when he asked how I was doing, the first word out of my mouth was, “Busy.” Over the last three months, I’ve finished writing a book, sold a house, moved, attempted to relax during a vacation, attended a prescreening of Courageous, wrote a script for Awaiting a Savior’s book trailer, on top of dealing with the high demands on my waking hours from my job and family. I’ve never had such a busy season in my entire life (and Lord willing, I won’t have one that’s quite this extreme again). The busyness of my life has escalated to the point that I’ve actually found where my capacity ends. Hopefully things will slow down for me sometime soon. I know my wife would appreciate that very much.

2. Don’t expect your “heroes” to endorse your book, but ask them anyway. Asking for endorsements was probably the hardest part of the post-writing process. You never know who is going to say “yes” or “no.” But one thing is entirely likely: You’re probably not going to get Piper, Driscoll or Francis Chan to read your book—at least not unless you’ve got a lead time of six-eight months (which I did not). However, thirty-four people kindly agreed to read the manuscript (that in itself was pretty amazing) and about a third of those have provided a blurb so far (I’ll be sharing some in tomorrow’s post).

3. Reading your own endorsements is alternatively encouraging and frightening. It’s really cool to see people you respect say, “This is really good!” But it’s also something that can cause the head to become a bit puffed up. This is something I’m trying to be even more watchful of than usual as I have a very intense predisposition toward pride. It also means that I will be trying to avoid doing things like reading reviews on Amazon.

4. The secret behind good writing? Great editing. No writer—no matter how good—can edit their own work. None of us are that good. A great editor can take a I have been enormously blessed to have had Kevin Meath edit this book. Not only is the end-product much stronger, but I am a better writer because of it. That’s in part because he wasn’t afraid to call me out on some of my bad habits as a writer (a proliferation of single-sentence paragraphs—which naturally has it’s home in blogging), but because he pushed me to make sure I was being as clear as possible for the average reader. With a subject like poverty, a lot of us who deal with it on a regular basis have a lot of knowledge that after a while becomes assumed. Transferring that into your writing makes for a bad reading experience.

If you’d be so kind as to keep three things in prayer:

1. Humility. Emily and I are watching like hawks for evidence of pride creeping in; we do not need or want me having a fat-head and thinking I’m important. Please pray that we won’t let our guards down.

2. Balance. When things start getting lopsided, it’s hard to manage the stuff of life, even when it’s for “good” reasons. Please pray that a sense of balance can be brought back into my life and schedule.

3. New Opportunities. We don’t know what God’s got in mind for this book; it might be a one-and-done kind of thing or it might be the beginning of a whole new adventure for my family and me. Please pray that we’d be faithfully open to whatever He chooses to do.

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