The Process of Writing a Book: What it Means to Me


I’ve been scratching out words for another book.

Now, I haven’t signed a contract. However, I did send the book proposal last week and then realized I hadn’t followed the directions. (Mom, are you laughing? You can stop now.) I’m secretly hoping that the acquisitions editor hasn’t had time to open my email yet. I should probably just tell her swet self to scratch that…I’m trying again. When I get my act together.

On the way over to the coffee shop today to do some writing, I had this internal struggle. Sometimes I forget the value of my work and I veer off and begin thinking this project is just another book “to get under my belt.” You know, because if I have more books under my belt, then I am somehow more qualified. I’m somehow more valuable. More respected. More important.


I’ve been asking God to help me process life in healthy ways, and Jesus was faithful to interrupt those thoughts pretty quickly. Sometimes we just need God to intervene and derail our unhealthy ways of thinking, before we train-wreck our souls.

Instead, the Lord painted a picture in my mind of what a book actually is. Maybe you’ll think this analogy is strange, but God communicates to each of us in our own language, and so it just worked for me:

A book is a lot like a life.

First there is the embryo stage.

This is when I first had the thought to write another book–perhaps God tucking His Kingdom dreams down into my heart. In this stage, God gave my book a name. I won’t tell you that name yet. I want it to be a surprise.

Then there’s the developmental stage.

This is where the book begins to take shape and form. For the Jesus-follower, writing a book is a lot like working on a piece of art with the Creator Himself.


There are prayers that we pray.

We ask the Holy Spirit to breathe life into the words, so that they are living and moving and able to go places and do things. This is the stage where we must be the most patient. There’s struggle and strain. We want to rush along and get it done, but we’re not just slopping out work to get “another book under our belt.” We must stay fully present and push through the writer’s block and the jumbled up thoughts and the foggy brain.

This is where we have to ask ourselves, “Is this worth my time?” And there will be doubts. But, we can feel it in our skin–how we have something to give that will help others, that will be worth their time. This is not pride. (Though we have to daily fight against that–the pull to make a name for ourselves.) This is simply placing appropriate value on our work so that we’ll keep at it till the end.

If we aim to create something that will go out into the world and nurture souls, then we must do all that we can to nurture the words ourselves. We have to tend to the story. Unhurried. With all of our heart.

We have to fight the urge to constantly reduce our craft to another tally mark on our never-ending to do list. Instead, we think of our art as a living, breathing, organic body of work. It has a heart pumping. Which just so happens to be our heart bleeding through the page.

It has breath. The wind of the Spirit that causes dead things to come alive. 

And as we’re patient with the growth process and mindful that this is a precious and holy thing–co-creating with our Maker, then there’s that awesome expectation of life bursting out.


We deliver and a book is born.

It toddles out in the wide world.

And even then we still tend to it. A writer never stops laboring because those words aren’t just lifeless, erratic jots on the page. They are our heart. Our soul. The best we have to offer.

And so we call it good.

And let it be enough.


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