The other day a friend asked me if writing a book is really any different from the other writing I’ve done? She knows that I’ve been writing church curriculum lessons for the past four years, contributing to devotionals occasionally, writing weekly blog posts, and getting to do some other cool writing gigs.
At times those projects have felt hard.
And then I started writing a book. A “for real” book. Not the sweet attempt at a book I made three years ago when I was blissfully unaware of writing rules such as perspective, point-of-view, or the fundamental rule of show-don’t-tell. No, back then I just sat and made words fill up a page.
But, by what can truly and only be defined as an act of God, someone in the publishing world saw the potential of the story within my sad attempt at a manuscript and chose to take a chance on it. To help me write the story God allowed me to see, and then share it with the world.
And then it all got real. Really real. Scary real. Overwhelmingly real. But awesomely real.
So when my friend asked me if there was a difference between “normal” writing and writing a book, my answer was this:
Imagine that everyday you sit in your family room and lift some light weights while watching tv. You are quite proud of yourself for staying so fit and working out. Everyday you lift those 3 lb weights and feel really good about yourself. But then one day, someone invites you to try an advanced aerobics class. “I workout,” you think, “I can totally do this.” But then the class starts and within 2 minutes you realize you are in way over your head. This is nothing like lifting 3 lb weights while watching tv. This hurts. This is hard. This isn’t going to end anytime soon. And you can’t do this on your own.
For me, that sums up the difference between book writing and other writing. Maybe it’s not like this for anyone else. But for me the stakes feel higher. The subject matter requires constant research. My writing skills need beefing up. And I often get up exhausted from my makeshift desk. (Seriously, my “desk” needs help!! But who has time to go desk shopping??)
Writing is not for wimps! (Yet, who has time to really go workout when you’re trying to write a book while your kids are at school???)
I am so grateful to be working with an incredible collaborator. She is so talented and so knowledgeable. I just love how God has provided me with a team of people to help me do this huge thing He has called me to do.
That is so like Him isn’t it? He calls you to do something that scares you, that is bigger than you are capable of, but then He provides for you. Often through another person coming alongside you.
I am learning so much during this process: How to build a story arc, then tweaking the story arc, developing characters (and learning how to honor real people portrayed in the story), how to show and not tell, and so much more. I am loving every second of this process, even though it is intense and at times downright hard.
And I am so grateful to all of the people who are coming alongside me and helping me write this story.
A writer’s life can get a little isolated at times. I can’t exactly invite people over to watch me write (well I guess I could but that would just be awkward). It’s hard to meet up with someone for lunch, because what if inspiration strikes and I’m on a roll and have to cancel? I am constantly thinking of story ideas and placement and so I’m often there but not there in a conversation.
I had kind of fallen into faulty thinking of “I must do this on my own.”
But God has graciously shown me that writing the story He has laid on my heart is not a call to a life of isolation. It is a call to reach out to others. To collaborate. To allow others to encourage me. To receive that encouragement. To look up sometimes. And to engage in life. And I think my writing will be richer because of it.
It’s just another reminder that we were not meant to live this life alone. We were created to live in relationships. First and foremost with God, but also with each other.
Is there someone you can reach out to today? Encouragement you can offer? Even just a smile for someone? Do you need to allow others to encourage you? It can be hard to accept help, but what a gift it can be. Let’s bless each other in some way today!