The writing bug

bugI’ve picked up a bug. Not the sore throat, chesty coughing, runny nose kind. Though I’ve got that at the moment too. I’ve been bitten by the writing bug. I never would have thought it, but most of the time I’m really enjoying writing. I look forward to it. I miss it when I don’t get the opportunity to write.

Last night I finished the first draft of my book called ‘Hope Beyond Cure’. It’s got eleven chapters and goes for about 32,ooo words. I’m blessed to have an editor to help me bang it into shape and then we will present it to the publisher for approval. To be honest, I don’t know if it’s that good or not, but I desperately want to be able to put a book into people’s hands that points them to real hope. I wouldn’t mind you praying that we’ll get this finished and into a good shape. And that it will prove a blessing to many people.

I’m enjoying the blogging. It enables me to give expression to many of my thoughts on a regular basis, and the book summaries help me to consolidate what I’m reading. I’d recommend to people who are starting out in their careers, especially in ministry, to consider summarising/reviewing the better books that they read. It helps things stick and makes it easier to remember when you come back to the book for a second time.

I’ve got more plans to keep writing. I know I tend to be a bit of a dreamer and have had many plans that have come to nothing. But now I feel a sense of urgency about writing. There’s things I want to say. Maybe even some more book ideas in the wings.

And for the teetotallers who would like an ‘I told you so moment’ I succeeded in knocking a glass of red wine over my keyboard on the weekend. So any typos will now be blamed on sticky keys and short-circuits of the motherboard. Grrr!

Book week

tentIt’s book week in the bush at Burrill. I’ve been looking forward to this week for some time. The time has come to consolidate my thoughts and have a crack at writing a book. I especially want to write something that gives hope to people who have cancer. There are few things more devastating than receiving a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Hope is sucked away and despair threatens to take over. My desire is to offer hope that is more than meaningless platitudes or wishful thinking.

burril_officeSo this is my hermit week. I’ve been given leave from family to set up at the beach. My new house is a tent and camping equipment. My new office is a cabin, trestle table, computer, big screen monitor, Bible and some good books. I’ve got my AeroPress, Porlex grinder, and fresh roasted coffee beans. Russell Morris is playing some good Aussie blues. The beach, the waves and the fish are waiting. Perhaps they can be my reward for inspiration and achievement!

I’ve done some praying, some preparation, some thinking, and some research. It’s time to stop procrastinating with posts like this, and get things happening. I thank God for the opportunity to write. I thank him for the humbling experiences of the past few days. It was important to be forced to acknowledge my pride and to seek God’s forgiveness before kicking this thing off. God has his ways of reminding me to depend on him!

Dear God, please guide me through this process. Please work through me to bring real hope to many who desperately seek it.

My forced sabbatical

In some respects I view 2012 as a kind of forced sabbatical. I’ve read more books than normal and written more words than ever. It’s been incredibly helpful, to me at least, not only to read books, but to summarise, reflect and begin to apply what I’ve been reading. In fact, this has been some of the most careful reading I’ve done in a long time. Many of the summary/reviews have appeared on this blog and so far I’ve restricted myself to books that I’d encourage others to read. Books that haven’t made the grade have either been left unfinished or unreviewed.

When I began this process I worried that it wasn’t a good use of my time. If I wasn’t going to live that long, should I really waste it reading books? I knew it was a step up from watching TV and DVDs, but it still seemed a little introspective and indulgent. However, I don’t feel this way today. Rather, I’m keen to keep learning as long as I can so that I’ll be better equipped to encourage and resource others. My whole adult life has been shaped and influenced by books. Some of these books I’ve read and long forgotten, but others continue to guide me in the things that matter. Supreme among these is the Bible, followed by those that learn from the Bible and put it into practice. There are many others that contain great wisdom, make a practical difference in the lives of the reader, yet have nothing to do with the Bible. But we’d do well to be discerning about how we fill our minds and use up our time.

11 The words of the wise prod us to live well.
They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together.
They are given by God, the one Shepherd.

12-13 But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:

Fear God.
Do what he tells you.

14 And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil.  (Ecclesiastes 12:11-14 The Message)

Someone once said that they wished 90% of writers wouldn’t bother and the other 10% would write more. It’s true that there is much drivel between the covers of books. My desire is to focus on the 10%, to learn myself, and to urge others to do the same. I thank God for his Book. And I thank him for creating people with the ability to think, imagine, create, and tell. Books are a wonderful gift.