Monday, August 08, 2011

5 Things I Learned During Writing Week (from the Fussbudget Savant)

1. Writing books is harder than writing sermons (at least for me).

Last week was a doozey. Writer's block, uncertainty about how to proceed, sleepless nights, crawling productivity, and so on. I wasn't fun to live with.

I do remember feeling much the same things when I tried to learn Greek (my best friend reminded me this week that I used to launch things at him when he was just trying to help me learn my declensions) and when I was just beginning to learn my craft as a preacher. I am Don Music.

In fact, my new descriptor for myself is Fussbudget Savant.

2. Writing a book is different from writing a sermon (at least for me).

I am glad that I preached through this material before trying to write it into a book. I'm sure that it helped me to develop my thoughts and give me a first chance to put the ideas down.

But I'm finding out that the two genres are not the same, at least how I practice them.

It's not so much about writer's voice. I am still "me" in both genres.

But it's different in other ways including:

- I tend to write sermons by piling on sentences.  A book is more oriented towards the paragraph.

- I tend to write sermons with a cadence that doesn't work with the book.

- I can't rely on pacing, inflection, body-language. It must be in the text for someone to get it.

- I can't rely on people knowing me or what I believe as a starting point. It must be in the text for someone to know that I think it.

3. I need to "be myself."

It turns out that I'm not Ed Welch. Or John Piper. Or Sam Crabtree. Or D.A. Carson. Or Joshua Harris. Or Paul Miller.

Or anyone else whose book I really admire and find to be an inspiration.

I might be writing in a similar genre, but I need to do it my way--even if it won't be popular with others because I'm myself.

I knew this, but I was still trying to write like someone else.

(My wise wifey gave me (read: forced me to see) this nugget of wisdom this week. Thanks, Sweetie!)

4. I still have a lot of sin left in me to kill.

See #1 above. A lot of my problems last week stemmed from the fear of man and from pride. If didn't have those sins still knocking about in my heart, it would have still been a lot of work, but not a pain in the neck for all concerned.

God's still working on me.

5. God is good, my wife loves me, my kids are patient with me, and our church is awesome. 

I knew this one already, but it was good to learn it again!

I'm thankful for a productive week and for the church's gracious provision of writing weeks. It was good to go to church on Wednesday night and Sunday and not have to teach or preach.

I'm thankful for my kids' patience with my preoccupation. I went for several walks with my 11 year old daughter and she patiently listened to me process my book outloud. The boys don't seem to mind sharing me and the basement (lair which doubles as both their play-place and my writing office).

I'm thankful for my wifey's wisdom and she still wants to hang around me.

And I'm thankful to the Lord for the ability to study and write on this level.  He is good and it is good to belong to Him.


I totally sympathize with your point #1. I will teach until I am blue in the face but ohhhhhh Father please don't make me write stuff down!

Keep at it, brother of mine. And if you need help, call me the day before it's due. Like you used to do with your sermons. >:)