Beginning to middle...
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
When I first sat down outline the book I am writing, it was the single biggest project I had ever undertaken. I tried a few times to start this project on my own, but was never able to pick up the traction that I needed. I felt that the story was important enough, and interesting enough to tell, but I wasn't quite sure where the best place to start is when writing a book. When I was in my undergrad program studying American History, I had written so many papers and had done so much research, but none of that compared to the feeling of sitting down to write a ~200 page story.
When I had questions on how to start writing a book, I went to my favorite first stop for learning something new, YouTube. While I was able to learn a little bit about the process, YouTube didn't work for me. Up to that point, I had spent a little time in prayer for the potential of writing and what that would look like. One Friday morning, on the way to a Bible Study I attend, I was praying again for this book concept.
Then I felt like I was directed by God to share this desire with the Bible Study during our prayer request time. This group had been through so much with me over the previous 9 months. They had prayed that Anders would be miraculously healed. They prayed that Rachel and I, along with our family, would be at peace when we buried Anders. And they prayed prayers of thanksgiving when I told them that Rachel was pregnant with Elias.
When it was my turn for prayer requests that morning and I shared with the group my desire to write a book about Anders's death, walking through grief, and most importantly, share how Rachel and my faith have grown during this difficult time, I could hardly finish before Tim had an idea. "You've got to speak to Jordan," he told me.
So I reached out to Jordan, and I am glad that he has given me incredible advice along the way. When I have gotten the most stuck in the writing process are the times when I either feel like "now's not the time to write" or when I have doubted my ability to finish this project. The more I have gotten into the writing process, the more I have desired to consume information and advice from others about their tips and tricks to writing.
I fight against myself on a regular basis to remember that this is the beginning of my experience as a writer. I regularly have thought about comparing where I'm at, the book I'm writing, and the timeframe that I'm working on to works that others have done.
I've listened to and read about people that finish their book in a weekend, a week, or a month. My head wants to compare my situation to theirs, but I know there is danger in that. I also can't compare the process that I am using with the process that an experienced author uses. My schedule flexibility doesn't allow me to work for hours everyday and so my approach has been different, but it has worked for me.
Comparing myself to others is something I have struggled with my whole life. I've compared myself to classmates and friends. As an athlete, I was constantly comparing myself to others as motivation to improve myself and get one step ahead of them. While these comparisons were motivating for me, they weren't really good for me; they weren't good for my heart and soul. When I was comparing myself to a rival, I was not thinking about them as a person, I was thinking about them as an adversary to defeat. The Bible is filled with warnings against this kind of thinking...
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” - Exodus 20:17
19 "A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot." - Jude 1:19
12 "Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding." - 2 Corinthians 10:12
Instead, as a believer in Christ, the only one I can compare myself to is Jesus - to which I will never compare. So instead of boasting in myself, I am to boast only about the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:17).
So how do I improve from where I have been to where I want to be? The best way to look more like Christ is for me to read the Bible to figure out what Christ said and did and then engage in relationships with others that are closer to Christ than I am and imitate them. The Apostle Paul called on his followers to follow him...
"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." - 1 Corinthians 11:1
As a writer, I am attempting to do that, follow behind others that have done this before and I am fighting pretty much each day now, to not compare myself in my beginning to someone else who is already in the middle or nearing the end of their journey. Instead, those are the people that I should imitate.