Yesterday I hit a huge milestone in my writing life, I finished the first full draft of my manuscript of a book that will soon be looking for a publishing home (anyone want to talk to me about it?). When I hit the print button and saw the huge stack of papers that I'd produced (yes, me! I did that!) a wave of shock came over me. One leg of the marathon is over. I just couldn't believe I'd made it this far! Sure, there will be revisions after revisions left to make, but over 80,000 words on a page is a great start-- especially as I wrote most of it while having another full-time job and of course keeping up with the demands of regular life.
All of this is to say, I'm in awe of the art of writing and others who are with me on this journey.
I'm thankful as always for the support and editorial feedback of the WritingRevs-- some amazing pastoral ladies who are also working on projects of their own. Have you read Sabbath in the Suburbs or Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land? You should.
And, I'm also grateful for the larger writing community that I'm a part of-- friends who I've met on twitter who sign their tweets #iamwriting or #writing who help me remember this solitary work is most of all a community building exercise.
I'm grateful for colleagues I've made in others phases of my life who have gone before me as authors. Knowing them and watching their process helps me know that I could do it too.
One of these colleagues is Alan Rudnick. Alan and I were in a clergy group together back in our associate pastor days in Maryland. I worked at Alan's home church while he served at nearby Methodist congregation. Then, we both started solo pastorates at the same time and it has been fun to watch the progression of his ministry. He's recently completed his book with Judson Press called The Work of the Associate Pastor. It's a comprehensive collection of essays and helpful suggestions for both churches and pastors about how the ministry of an associate fits into the larger vision of the church. Looking for a book about church staff dynamics? Check it out.
Another one of these colleagues is J. Dana Trent. Dana and I were in the same class at Duke Divinity School, as part of the Baptist House of Studies program. Now, Dana is married to Fred, a former Hindu monk. She recently completed her first book called Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk which will come out in October 2013 through Upper Room Books. Dana lives the kind of life of writing, spiritual direction, teaching and ministering that inspires me on this non-traditional path I'm on, and I'm so excited to see where this publication takes her in the future. I know you will too-- I mean, who would have thought: a Baptist and an Hindu? I'm sure it will be a page turner!
Bottom line: if you want to write a book, you must make friends with people who are doing the same.