A little more than 10 years ago (Wow! Time truly does fly!) I was a blogger and also launched a website. Both endeavors had a special purpose: to inspire, encourage and support those desiring to live a Christian family and/or homeschooling lifestyle. I loved every minute of it, and within a year, the website made it into the Top 100 list for “best homeschooling resources.” A couple years into the journey, God started whispering to me through people from all across the globe. “Write a book,” He was saying.
I’d get emails or comments online (sometimes, even phone calls!) from strangers who were regular visitors to my blog and website. “Have you ever thought of writing a book?” they’d ask. Some were a bit more bold, making it a statement rather than a question. “You need to write a book,” they’d say. The only thing in my way at the time was me. However, there came a point when the writing on the wall was so clear, the question changed from “Could God really be calling me to do this?” to “Am I going to muster up the courage to do as God asks or deny His request?”
Write a book if God whispers to you through others
Sometimes, other people can see God-given gifts in you that you can’t see in yourself. I finally decided to write a book, and was amazed at how God blessed me through the experience. For several years, I hosted an online discussion group where people would read the book chapter by chapter, then meet online to share their thoughts. (The book was designed as a journal/study guide for women seeking Christ as the center of their daily lives.)
It was a wonderful experience to receive hand-written letters and cards in the mail from readers. Positive Amazon reviews made me glad that I had followed through in doing what I had felt called to do. Whether your desire is to write a book of fiction, instruction, analysis or even an autobiography, ask yourself what’s keeping you from taking the plunge.
There’s no ‘one way’ to write a book
Maybe you’re hesitant to write a book because you think there’s a certain way to go about it and you don’t know what that is. Every book is unique, and so is the process that each writer goes through to get the thoughts from his or her brain onto the paper. The first logical step to take if you want to write a book is to write. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s often the biggest obstacle a would-be writer must overcome.
As soon as you start to write, the self-doubt and negative thoughts will set in. You’ll wonder whether anyone will ever want to read what you have to say. Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, you’ll be your biggest critic. When that doubt hits, just keep writing. Mark Twain is quoted as saying that writing is easy — it’s simply a matter of crossing out the wrong words. No one will see your rough drafts, so allow your thoughts to unfold in a natural way. You can change your manuscript as often as you like until you achieve the copy you’re comfortable sharing with others.
To schedule or not schedule writing time
If you’re the type of person who functions best with structure and routine, you might want to set daily writing goals. Some people aim for a certain word count per day, others set a specific time to write. On the other hand, you might be more of a free spirit when it comes to writing. You’d rather let the timing unfold itself, writing when you feel compelled and letting it rest when you don’t. The only potential problem with the latter is that procrastination can be a sneaky tool that gives your self-doubt the upper hand. It’s okay to not set a definite schedule for writing as long as you’re not doing that to keep yourself from completing your book.
Decide what the purpose is for you to write a book
Is your goal to make the top seller list on Amazon or in the New York Times? If so, you may want to seek additional support to help you publish, market and promote your book. Raking in a big profit doesn’t always have to be the defining reason for you to write a book. Perhaps, you’ve gone through a trying experience in life and telling your story can be part of your healing process. Maybe you have something to say to encourage others in a particular lifestyle (like I did). Is your God-given gift that you are great at making people laugh? Maybe you should write a book to do that.
If you have always wanted to write a book, you should go for it. If you complete the task, you’ve succeeded in something you’ve always wanted to do! It’s a bonus if a lot of people buy your book but it’s not necessary for your endeavor to be a success. Success lies in fulfilling your dream. Do it for you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll write a book, and that will be your one and only, or maybe you’ll go on to write several more! The thing is, you’ll never know unless you try!