Tuesday, June 19, 2012

About That Book: An Exercise in Narcissism

I have been challenged from several sources lately to STOP DREAMING and GET GOING on one of those books I've wanted to write.  Besides the basic fear of pouring myself into a project that, in the end, remains unmarketable (which, somehow, I have come to equate with "unuseful"), I am also paralyzed by not knowing where I ought to begin.  Here are the books I've mentally (and in some cases, literally) begun writing:

Trinitarian Education: Educating According to the Nature of God

It Quite O'ercrows My Spirit: Suffering Christianly

From a Mother's Heart:  Letters to My Christian Sons

Don't Be That Guy: Literary Lessons for Boys

In My Name: Teach Your Child to Pray Biblically

I've also desired to write a comprehensive Bible curriculum from a particular perspective (probably too overwhelming and wouldn't finish until I was 96), as well as a number of literature guides.  Sigh...

How does an aspiring writer know what readers want?  Something true, engaging, honest, from the heart, encouraging, challenging.  That much is obvious.  I suppose I could approach it from the standpoint of writing to benefit my children and grandchildren and if it goes no further than that, then that would be OK.  If perchance it DID find an audience outside of them, that would be a bonus, right?

Feel free to chime in with your opinion, if you have one.  Otherwise...stay tuned.  For another 5 years...maybe by then I'll have finished an OUTLINE.


sbh said...

I'll be your (amateur) editor. We can talk through ideas together. In person. Not over email. I suck at email. But I'm okay in person :).

Anonymous said...

Go for it, but maybe don't start with the most challenging or comprehensive one. Which one is closest to your heart? I'd love to read the second on your list, though I don't know if "O'ercrows" is a contraction-typo for "Overcrowds" or is a literary reference I don't understand. Regardless, I'm interested! Also would like to read the last one in your list.

Since I've never attempted to write a book (unlike my husband and sons, though I'll admit I dreamed about writing _Confessions of a Reforming Grandmother_ when I was newly Reformed), you should take my comments for what they're worth--not much! ;-)

Ruth Horne

Lori Shaffer said...

sbh, you ARE ok in person and I look forward to those conversations! Of course, first you have to return to The States!

Ruth, the ones closest to my heart will actually be the most difficult to write. Emotions "get in the way" but they could potentially make them the most effective too.

The phrase, "It quite o'ercrows my spirt" is from Hamlet. O'ercrow means "to overpower; to triumph over the way a victorious cock crows over his adversary."

Thanks for the encouragement to GO FOR IT!

Anonymous said...

You're welcome! And thank you for enlightening me...it's been a long time since I read Hamlet!


Kevin Heifner said...

My vote: Bible Curriculum based on Jim Jordan (and others) work.

Lori Shaffer said...

In some ways, Kevin, I feel that if I could do it well, that would be the most beneficial for The Church...but don't know if I have the energy and devotion to learn all I need to learn to make that happen! It would definitely require a long-term commitment and a willingness to wait for the payoff of completing it!

I still think it's amusing that all the time we were at PCA together, I had no idea we were on the same theological page! I mean, I knew we had the Christ and the creeds in common, but Jim Jordan??? :-)

Jennifer said...

First rule of writing is: write what you know.

Second, choose one of your less comprehensive possibilities so you can complete a manuscript. It will do wonders for your confidence to tackle one of the more daunting projects. Also explore publishing it on amazon as an e-book. This new outlet is great for aspiring authors.

Three, ask Ruth Horne to edit and proofread for you. She has done it professionally, and she is very good at it.

Four, write when you don't feel like it. To quote Nike, "Just Do It!"

Lori Shaffer said...

Advice from one who KNOWS. Thanks, Jennifer. The first rule eliminates the Bible curriculum...I'd have to learn too much. Second makes complete sense. Third, I had no idea...I like it. Fourth, I know it's true and one of the hard parts.


Oriana said...

Definitely go for it. Even if you don't start writing immediately, think about it. ALL THE TIME. Chew on that thought until you get something good from it.