I have dreamed of writing a book for a few years now. It all started three years ago when, in an attempt to grow in my relationship with the Lord, I decided to write a daily devotional for an entire year. I ended up seeing that through completely. For 365 days, I spent an hour or two a day writing, totaling upwards of 300,000 words written by the end of the year. It was through that project that my passion for writing began.
Reflecting on the process of writing my first book, I’m grateful to have a completely published book that I can hold physically in my hands. It’s a dream come true, and sometimes I still can’t believe it’s real. But it was also a lot of hard work. There were plenty of times, especially during the editing and revision process, that I wanted to give up or didn’t think I would make it to the end. Thankfully, I did, but not without the help, support, and encouragement of my family, friends, and the many people at New Degree Press (like my editor) who guided me through the process every step of the way. I truly couldn’t do it without them.
Even though I knew what I wanted to write about from the start, my book changed exponentially throughout the process. As an example, I included one of the three original book cover concepts. When I first received the book cover concepts, this one was my favorite and I was certain it would be the final cover. But after getting some feedback from my beta readers and others, it became clear to me that it wasn’t liked by many, and I ended up picking a different cover. And the cover wasn’t the only thing that changed either. Stories changed. Layouts changed. The book concept changed. Not a single part of the book wasn’t touched by the refining process.
If there’s anything I’ve learned at all — besides what I’ve grown in through doing research and reflection for the book and my new understanding of the nuances of publishing a book — it’s to appreciate the process.
It pains me to say, but as I’ve been writing this article series and looking through my book to find excerpts, I’ve already found a few errors. They’re not huge, but they exist. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to pursue an unhealthy expectation and burden of perfection in my life. The danger in a moment like this is to see even one error in my book, no matter its size, and immediately discount the entire book as a failure. Or, even worse, to discount myself as a failure.
But I’m not a failure, and neither is my book. For ten months, I’ve poured myself into this project, and I came out of it smarter, more mature, and a better writer. The reward isn’t found in a “perfect” book, whatever that means. It’s found, rather, in the fact that I persevered until the end and came out with a completely published book. I don’t imagine it will be my last, and there’s always room to grow, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in 2020. And ultimately, my worth and value isn’t found in my ability to produce, but in the fact that I’m loved and affirmed by my Heavenly Father.
My advice to anyone wanting to write a book — or write anything for that matter — is to stick with it. Success is not necessarily always found in sitting down for an entire afternoon and writing a few thousand words. Sometimes, it’s found in sitting down in front of the laptop when you don’t want to and just getting a paragraph or two down in the ten or fifteen minutes you have between meetings. It’s a long process, and it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Every single second.
Thank you to every single person who has supported and encouraged me along the way. I couldn’t do it without you. I hope this article series (and my book) have blessed you on your own journey to cultivating healthy rhythms, and I pray that you would be blessed abundantly throughout this year as you grow in an abiding relationship with the Lord and pursue first His Kingdom.