how i am writing a book
it's lonely and i like it. it's lonely and i kinda don't like it. i have days where i set myself up for a day at the office with an ambience that doesn't have to meet anyone else's approval. it's just me and the laptop. i've got my goals for the day, the week, and the month and i'm ready to get after it.
every morning i'm praying about some aspect of the book, but typically the big picture. ben pauses to pray with me. i know i've stepped into a dream much bigger than i can accomplish on my own. through prayer, i engage with the Holy Spirit who is the One speaking as i pen His words.
i thought this process would be different. i imagined i'd feel like i had arrived into this glorious circle of writers who have gone before me and are currently best-sellers. (yes, i see actual faces in this circle and i'm figuring out in my humanity that they are real people with crumbs on their floor, too) rather, i feel small. i am humbled. God has increased because He is Who i need to see the most. there might be a glorious circle out there, but it's not my goal anymore.
a greater appreciation has taken hold of my heart of all the writers before me and the ones pushing through every day to put their words to the page. i get their sweat and tears that they have put into the words on the pages of their books that i have read and marked and received and the ones being written right now.
i'd love to have you come into my writing space today. it's nothing glamorous at all, but perhaps it will shed light in the intricacies of the making of this book, encourage you the creatives, and i honestly would welcome your company.
i call it chunks and cracks. i've also heard other writers refer to their writing time as such. chunk writing for me is wednesday through friday from 9 am to 1 pm. but i realized that if i wait around until the following wednesday, i'll have to spend extra time getting reacquainted. hence, writing in the cracks. this means i'm thinking the book every waking hour of the day. i have a notebook i keep with me for chapters that i'm editing. i have a journal with me always that i'm taking notes in. evernote is used frequently as i get ideas and want to save something i've read online. i sit down thirty minutes before bedtime to hammer out an interview i did that morning. my writing time requires both right now. this week i got extended chunk time because ben took the kids to school on his day off. to keep it more segmented, i tell myself what it is i'll be writing tomorrow so that the goals are concrete when it seems like its extremely fluid in my brain.
i don't know them yet, but i'm praying for them. i have their names written on an index card that i see every day. i'm believing God to unify our hearts around this message so much so we are filled with wonder at what God does with our collaboration and obedience. i'm still in awe that in the midst of this writing project, there's a team of people who will use their gifts and expertise to make this book great.
i've got a few friends that i've thrown a chapter or two at. it feels very much like i chunked it at 'em. "hey, watch out. it's coming for you. i got to get it out of my head and it's been simmering too long on the laptop. whatcha think?" (clearly this message is for friends only.) after so many lonely hours with me and ms. laptop, i need a friend that i can throw something to. even when they don't see it coming and have a bazillion other things to do, they are so gracious to ponder a thought and read a paragraph or a page or a really bad first draft.
i've got a group of three friends that organically formed at a writer's conference where this book was found. we call ourselves "the supper club" for we met at dinner the first night when we knew no one else. this is what vulnerability gets you - a supper club! we send each other updates the first of the month and two live close by so we can literally hold each other's writings.
this book that was found at the writer's conference, this book that i get to write, has got the fingerprints of people in the city and in my life. they are writing partners as i get to interview them and tell their stories. i can't wait for you to hear from them in the pages of the book.
i'm more of a paper & pen kinda writer and use technology because i have to. i keep a journal with me at all times. i roll one page to the next, but will label in the margin if it pertains to a particular category or chapter. for example, if i'm listening to a sermon about rest, i write rest in the margin, knowing i can reference it later for a chapter on rest. if i'm watching the kids play at the park and an idea sparks as they are hanging upside down about creativity, i write that in the margin for a future blogpost. all my ideas and thoughts are kept in one journal then the next. on the inside cover, i put the month and year i start the journal and add the end month and year when i finish. they're starting to mount on my desk and will be what i grab in case of a fire and hide if i ever fear a break-in!
now that i'm working on a book, i have taken my journals and typed up the notes that i want to use. i put chapter titles at the top of each page and put the notes that fit under it. then...
i use scrivener. i can see and click on the chapters on the left and throw things into categories. i am probably using the very basics that scrivener has to offer and need to make the time to learn more about the software. after some time, i get bored with the screen, and need to print the chapter out. then i grab my assortment of pens and use the color i'm in the mood for and edit away. i put the revisions in and file the printed chapter. scrivener allows for exporting to word that allows for comments and sharing and submitting.
my favorite writing tool is right here...the blog. it keeps my writing flow going. it allows me to gather with you, my community. i feel less lonely here and as i write "in the dark" (by myself with my laptop) the blog let's me tap into your lives in the light, but oh, i can't wait to gift you the book!
i'm putting the meat down into every chapter. all the good stuff i want to give you, my readers. it's regurgitation really. i'm not stopping to give it too much thought, but writing my first ideas that come to mind, come to heart. i'm about to be done getting the meat down. it's stuff i've already received in years past through stories and Scripture and living that the Spirit brings back to mind. i have it mapped out chapter by chapter and have plowed through it this fall. i'm nearing the end (God is good!) and will start to edit and revise.
afterwards, i will do two read throughs where i'm certain i'll still be making revisions. i will read first as a sacrifice of praise, an offering to the Author of my life. then i will read it a second time as if i were reading it aloud to you, my reader. first read will reflect edits so that the manuscript reflects His Name. the second read will reflect edits with the readers in mind.
i see you as i write. i picture your town square, your commute, your street, your workspace, and your church. i want you to love where you live. that's why i pick up my journal and sit with my laptop and write. you are how i'm writing a book.