Yes, that’s right. I published my own book. It’s a unique and beautiful resource for writers called Pray Hear Write: 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting for Breakthrough in Your Writing. I began writing it as an answer to questions I’ve been asked—by both publishing peers and authors—about how I come up with good book ideas and come to know the right way to structure a book that really grabs a reader. I realize I am one small editor and writer in the big world of publishing and that there are so many who’ve done more notable work. Yet, like you, I speak from my own corner of experiences in the world.
The only way I’ve come to conceptualize concepts or discern the right structure for books that seem to resonate with readers is through connecting with the Source of all creativity, wisdom, and strategy—God. The formula for me, over the years, even with my degree in English, is to go to God in prayer and sometimes fasting for books and ideas that reach people’s hearts.
From Practical to Spiritual
I’ve been educated in the practical steps to writing—brainstorming, narrowing a topic, choosing an audience, thesis/angle, credible sources, and so on. But that can still yield some pretty dry reading, and I don’t think that’s what we are aiming for out here in the trade book industry. We want to move hearts and improve lives. And if we can change the world with our books, that’d be even better. So, to me, infusing the writing and conceptualization process with the potential to influence on that level requires a different set of knowledge and resources that comes only from the biblical practice of prayer and fasting. So, yes, I pray for books that aren’t mine and their authors—and sometimes I add fasting.
About the Book
Books are often answers to deep questions, and so with Pray Hear Write, I attempted to articulate the process I take that has often yielded hundreds of meaningful book ideas that touch many people’s lives. I’ve also included daily prayers, confessions, and spaces to write in the book what you hear as you pray. You can use those pages as your own version of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. Then at the back of the book, there is room for you to flesh out any book ideas that come to you during the 21 days, and you can even get a jumpstart on writing a book proposal if you desire to get an agent or find a publisher. I’m so excited about this book and the accessibility to God ideas it gives the inspired writer.
What I’m Learning
The publishing process can be expensive financially, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, and other ways that sometimes can’t be articulated—whether you traditionally publish or self-publish. We know this. What’s new for me is the first-hand experience I am having while publishing my own book. As so many published authors intimate, it is angsty and rewarding all at the same time. Going through this process myself gives me an even closer connection, I think, to what the authors I support may need at various stages of their publishing process.
In thinking about—and feeling—the cost, I posted on Facebook that no one should be asking authors for free copies. (I had a moment and have since taken that and related posts down.) Authors, however, can give away whatever they choose. It’s almost the same as how we give our hearts to special people in our lives all the time. We don’t diminish the value of a gift just because we give it away. There are other ways to devalue a gift that will take this TED Talk off the rails, and that isn’t for now.
I’m almost at the end of my process. I can’t lie. In myself, I’m nervous about everything: did I choose the right cover treatment? Will writers really be helped? Greater than my nerves, though, is the desire to be faithful to what I know God dropped in my heart and what He said do—pray, hear, write. And that’s that.
What Has Me Excited
As of the date of this blog post, my advanced copy is on the way, and shortly after that come all the other copies for those who preordered and the ones that will go with me to events. I canNOT wait to smell them—I mean, see—SEE them all and sign them and put them in packages and send them off into the world.
I invite you into this process of praying, hearing, and writing what the Spirit of God says, so that what you write when impact the world as He has set in your heart to believe. Both the Pray Hear Write hardcover and ebook are available in my shop, as well as the rest of the Pray Hear Write Collection. You can also order it through Amazon. I pray that you are empowered and equipped through this offering.
Have you published a book on your own? What did you learn?