For anyone who might be interested, here are some musings about how the book‘s going. You can see all my posts about writing a book here.
Where I am…
I’ve just started Chapter 13 of what I think will be a fourteen-chapter memoir. In other words, I’m almost done!
A couple chapters ago I got to the point where I needed to introduce the blog, and the concept of blogging generally. It was surprisingly tricky to figure out how to do that. How much do I assume the reader knows about blogs? If I refer to another blog, do I just say the name, or put the URL in parentheses? I’m sure my agent will be able to tell me how to handle that, but it was interesting to try to figure out on my own what would work best.
It’s been so helpful to have old blog posts to look at to remind me what I was thinking at the various stages in my conversion. A few that marked big moments for me were:
- In hope of happy endings
- The comments at A deal-killer?
- The comments at Faith in humans
- Two steps back
It’s been an interesting trip down memory lane to re-read some of that old stuff.
What I’ve learned…
This process has given me endless opportunities to work on trust and obedience. There are many times when I sit down at my computer and feel like the whole thing is terrible and I can’t think of anything I want to do less than work on this stupid book. But then I come back to that same question that I was talking about in this update: Do I think God called me to do this, or not? If so, then I need to just do it, even when it’s not fun, even when I doubt the whole thing.
On the flip side, there are also times when I feel absolutely on fire about working on it, so inspired that I feel like I’m going to explode, but days and days (or sometimes weeks) will go by that I can’t find time to type even one word. Again, I just have to trust: If it’s in God’s plan that I get this done, he’ll give me the time, eventually. Whenever I feel tempted to let it impact my vocation as a wife and a mother (e.g. pouting because I keep not getting time to write, taking time out of family time work on the book, etc.) I know that I’ve fallen into an untrusting, controlling mindset that I need to snap myself out of ASAP.
Why writing a book is harder than blogging
People frequently note that it’s odd that I complain about the difficulty of writing a book while I keep the blog regularly updated. As I said in a previous update, blogging is not only not work, but it actually relaxes and energizes me. Amy Jane of Untangling Tales described the difference so well in the comments here:
Blogging is like being the hostess or guest of honor at a party (maybe just my kind of a party…): everyone is already connected to you somehow, you have some measure of status and feedback. Whatever you say (write) has the general context and cushion of relationship to get you to the next post/conversation, so flubs are less threatening.
Writing a book, on the other hand, is like giving a speech. It is for the conveyance of information, must be able to stand on its own, and will be read by disinterested (in you the writer) people as well as those who love you and those who’d delight in ribbing a hole in your idea-baby.
The book, somehow, just feels like higher stakes.
Exactly. Overall, though, I’ve really enjoyed the process. It’s been a great challenge.
Thanks to having a new babysitter to help out a little bit during the week, I might even be able to be done with a first draft by early June. After that, the next steps are:
- Go back and add in things that I had to gloss over the first time I wrote it (e.g. details that require lots of research).
- Shelve it for two weeks to clear my mind (an idea I got from Stephen King’s On Writing).
- Read the whole thing through with a fresh set of eyes after the two-week wait, make edits.
- Have my husband and a couple friends read the whole thing and make edits.
- Read it one last time.
- Send it to my agent, after which a whole new editing/revision process will begin before he even starts shopping it.
For those of you who have written books or know about the process, am I missing any steps there?
Thanks for letting me think out loud here. It always helps me clarify what’s going on to put together one of these posts. If anyone else is working on a book right now (whether for professional or informal purposes) I’d love to hear about it!
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