My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1b (NASB)
“You’re going to write a book. And it will be called Worth the Wait.”
Those are the words God spoke to me in 2006.
I remember it like it was yesterday. In that moment, you could have mistaken me for Sarai…because surely I chuckled, just a tad bit inside.
Sure, I read books. To be more accurate, I devour them.
But still, what did I know about writing one? Absolutely nothing.
Yet I quickly realized that was exactly how God wanted it. He wanted me to rely completely on Him. And that is exactly what I did. Well, I actually had no other option. So that seemed like a really, really good one.
My journey with book writing started with that experience (a word from God, a thought, a divine encounter, or whatever you want to call it). That is typically what happens with most who realize they are called to write. Really, anyone who has lived any portion of life has a book inside them, a story that somebody needs to read/a message that someone needs to hear. While this is true, most are stuck, trying to figure out how to unleash it, how to lay it all out in a comprehensive book format.
Well, I am here to help you. That is my purpose for writing this particular blog. I first want to say my way is not the only way. My strategies are simply that…mine; my way that has proven to work for me. However, I believe you can either flow with it or use it to develop strategies of your own that will help you to release the treasures, that are stored up within you, to the world once and for all. You are a Messenger of Christ. And it is time that you make your voice known. How are you going to do that? Just Start Writing…Already.
My first book, Worth the Wait, started with that simple title. Truth be told it needs to be updated and have a subtitle, among other improvements. However, it got me started and served its purpose. It even did rather well when I released it in 2007 as a first time, self-published, unknown author, with no social media accounts.
Now how did I get to that from a title? I will tell you as I unfold my sure proof strategies.
1. Know the Title or Theme for the Book. As I shared above, God spoke the title to me. That is not always necessarily the case, as I have learned from other author friends. You may just have a theme (an idea, topic, etc.). You can begin writing with that. As a matter of fact, if you are considering going traditional or mainstream publishing, you do not want to be married to a title. If your book proposal is accepted, it is highly likely your title will be changed by their creative team. This is common. However, if you are self-publishing, the title you choose is safe. Nonetheless, keep in mind the fact that you love it, not everyone else will. Be sure to seek God about the right people to invite on the journey with you who will give you loving, constructive criticism. A title, alone, could hinder the potential for the book. And yes God does want His message into the hands of as many people as possible. So do not underestimate this little detail. Just use what you have at first to drive and inspire your flow as the topic unfolds.
EXTRA: Open up a Word document or Google doc. On the first page, type your topic or title in big, bold words. If there is a scripture you have related to the it, put that on the front cover as well. This will be your driver every time you open up the document. Also, if you can find a picture online that represents your thought, copy and paste it to the cover page too. When I wrote Worth the Wait, I had a picture of an eagle and the Scripture, Isaiah 40:31 as my inspiration. As you can see, that remained when I went to final print.
2. Develop an Outline for the Book. When God gave me the title (topic), I leaned into Him more for what the book should cover. Sure I knew my story would be the focus. But in my case, I did not sense God was simply leading me to write a testimonial. He wanted to use my testimony to uncover some spiritual principles. In prayer, I was given 9 chapter names. Yes, heavenly downloads will always come when we press in. From there it was time for the real work to begin. Side note: I have heard others say, they even get as detailed as brainstorming subchapters as well before they begin the writing process. While I have not done this to date, I think this is a great strategy and can help those who needs to tackle writing chapters in bite-sized pieces. Note: This could change or expand later. Just getting started is the key. Do not camp out in planning phase too long, lest you find yourself losing momentum.
3. Write Your Preliminary Introduction. The preliminary introduction introduction is not to be thought of as final. This gives you a brief snapshot of where you intend to go with the book from start to finish. When the book is finished, you must go back and update to a more all-inclusive, comprehensive introduction that represents the fullness of the project. For example, my preliminary introduction for Worth the Wait was less than a page and a half long at first. In the book, in published format, it is almost six pages in total.
EXTRA: Type in bold letters at the top, INTRODUCTION. Start writing everything you can think of that the book should be about. Just write. You can add and take away later. This will be, what I call, your “preliminary” introduction. You could use the outline to help you write in the order you intend for the book and save yourself time by not needing to reorganize later.
4. Write the Book. Look at your chapter names. If you are getting revelation or you are feeling a deep connection with a certain one, start with that particular chapter. There is no rule that says you have to write in order. However, if writing in chronological order works best for you, as it does me, go with it. However, I am learning that there is the likelihood for more productivity when you write the easier chapters first. Also, when writing, do NOT try to edit as you go. I made this mistake with Worth the Wait. Though I got through it, I probably could have written the book in half the time it took me, maybe even less. That is still a struggle for me at times, as I am in the writing process again now. But I have improved greatly and am making much better progress this time around.
Final Thoughts and Suggestions:
- Schedule time to write. Do it right now. Put at least one date on the calendar. And when you finish that appointment, do not conclude without making sure your next date is already scheduled. If you are just starting, begin with a small block of time like 30 minutes to an hour, no more than that. You do not want to get overwhelmed and throw in the towel.
- If you have children or a family that demands quality time, do not schedule writing during their wake hours. You will not get anything meaningful done with multiple interruptions. That means you will need to plan on going to bed a little later and/or waking up a little earlier.
- If possible, go away from home to write. You are likely to commit rather than waste the time and gas you used to drive somewhere write.
- Turn off, not just silence, your cell phone (if possible). If you are doing small blocks of time, like one hour, you should be safe to be unavailable for that short while. It will be worth it.
- Log completely out of all social media and email on the device you are working from. It is too tempting to take a peak, and will definitely decrease your productivity. You should have laser focus during the time you set.
- Do not miss your appointment. Treat it as seriously as a prenatal appointment, because that is exactly what it is. Book birthing is serious business and should be treated as such.The enemy will throw any and every thing at you to try and get you to cancel. Don’t do it. If a legitimate urgent situation arises, re-schedule a time within 48 hours. You will lose your motivation if you put this off.
- Ask the Lord to give you people to take the journey with you, as support and accountability partners. I always have a few readers to follow the journey from start to finish. I choose wisely, as I allow them to speak real constructive criticism to me about the project. I allow them to do this chapter by chapter. It is much easier as I go along, as most people are not able to give timely feedback on a whole book. They put the pressure on me to keep going, when they submit their feedback and are waiting for the next chapter. I am also fueled by their encouragement on what they are getting out of reading the book.
Being intentional about the message God gave me is responsible for that title, outline and mini introduction resulting in me completing and publishing a 176 page book. Now there are many shorter books that are very successful. As such, do not feel yours has to be this length. Allow God to let yours unfold as you consistently lean into Him for guidance concerning what He has imparted into you.
Lord…May books be birthed in abundance as a result of this revelation. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
If you would like your very own autographed copy of Worth the Waif, click on the bookstore tab for instructions on how to purchase. At this time, it is not sold on Amazon or at other online outlets, as I intend to do some revisions before releasing it again. However, I am able to ship out copies of the un-cut version immediately. It will also give you great insight on formatting to help you develop your own for your book project.