I thought some of you might enjoy taking a peek behind the curtain to see what it's like writing a book. It certainly isn't glamorous or exciting. Instead it is often quite scary. This seems to especially be the case when you know that the first volume was so well received. It can fill an author with a lot of doubt and insecurity about whether they can do it again. It's so tempting to quit while you are ahead. So here's a very personal and vulnerable glimpse into what it is like to write a new book. This is an entry from my journal this morning.
Today, I finally felt it was time to begin writing the next book in the Whispers series. Over the last two years since it was released I've taken many notes and written many different articles that may or may not find their way into the book. Yet I've only written sporadically and without any sense of clear focus. Today, it is time to sit down and begin shaping the book, to resume the discipline of prayerfully putting words on blank pages.
It's amazing the upwelling of emotions I feel, especially for someone like me who is not normally very good at staying in touch with his feelings. As I sit with this I recognize that the predominant feeling is one of fear. Questions like these swirl in my head.
- Do I have anything worthwhile or new to say?
- Hasn't it already been said somewhere else?
- What if my writings sound like incoherent ramblings or are perceived as clichés?
- Who am I to try and speak into the lives of others, others who have inner lives much deeper and richer than my own?
- Will this just be a repetition of my last book, more of the same?
- I have several different directions to go with the content, which one is right? Are any of them right?
- Is what I plan to write today really worth someone's time?
- Etc, etc.
Writing is one of the things I love to do, but it is sometimes daunting. The biggest obstacle I face is not the writing but rather myself. In order to write I must face an internal battle, wrestling with the doubts, fears and unrealistic expectations I find within.
So, today I begin writing in earnest. I'm not going to write to appease the voices in my head or to win the praise of others but I'm going to write for myself. I'm going to write the things that are real in my life, the things that move me, the things that seem meaningful. It may be trite, it may be cliché, it may be disregarded by others, but it will be true to where I'm at today. That's all that I can do. To do otherwise, to try and please the voices in my head would mean that I was writing that which is not genuinely mine. This is something I refuse to do.