“Writing a Book is Easy” (said No one. Ever.)

You know you’re a new author when you make statements like, “I’m going away for a week to write the first draft of my book.”

As if….. But God is so good; we just don’t know what we don’t know. Whether it’s, “Hey, let’s paint the living room this weekend,” “Honey, let’s take that hike. It’s totally easy.” Or, “Wow, I think I’ll go back to school/get a job now that my children are older,” and other idealistic statements.

stained glass, GrunewaldI headed to a lovely retreat center three hours from my home in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, with high hopes but the experience has been eye-opening and recalibrating, to say the least. Yes, I had many plans, but what’s that Robert Burns quote, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley?” Things definitely did not go as I had planned. 

Here are seven things I’ve learned I’m learning:

  1. Life and Jesus will get in the way (in a good way) of completing your project.
  2. You planned to write a rough draft of your book but you’re the rough draft.
  3. Never write in the same room you’re sleeping in. A table along one wall does not a study make.
  4. You will have to recalibrate your expectations several times using not GPS, but Jesus PS.
  5. Sometimes being productive means lots of prayers going up rather than print on the page.
  6. Trust the process.
  7. Give it time.
  8. God’s not in a hurry.
  9. The book idea was His anyway—all you have to do is give Him your pen.
  10. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not God.

Lesson learned: sometimes staying home in a familiar place with room to move and think and cook and stop and start is the best way to write.

A writing retreat does not necessarily produce a first draft of a book, but it might refresh your perspective to attend to the task when you return.


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13 thoughts on ““Writing a Book is Easy” (said No one. Ever.)

  1. You learned seven things in one week, Jody? You accomplished a lot! I, too, appreciate #2, but also #6 and #7. Thank you for the important reminders our writing selves need to hear from time to time!

    1. Yep, 7 things in one week. There’s seven days in a week, eh? Now for God’s grace to help me remember to walk in them!

  2. Gosh, I love that sidebar photo of you! Makes me miss you, friend.

    A couple thoughts on this window you’ve opened for us (into Grunewald’s ambience, and into your process):

    I’m so taken with the variety of texture in those clear bits of glass, the perfect illustration of how intricately complex and layered our “clarity” often proves to be. Those patterns even invade the heart of the flower. Methinks you have been beautifully invaded . . . and much will bloom from your openness. Do I smell spring?

    1. Laurie, I have been ‘beautifully invaded’ indeed. I am so blown away at the way you see things, the richness and layers illuminate so much. A real life visit is due somehow, someway…. yes.

  3. A. M. E. N.
    The Lord whispered a book idea into my consciousness, and then threw life at me… That was 5 years ago! I’m still “writing” that story – along with others, and along with living life! – knowing it’ll come to fruition in His time!
    Blessings! 🌼

  4. Thanks for ‘keeping it real’, Jody. There is nothing more helpful. I can hardly wait to read what the Lord is writing in you right now!

  5. We show up and we see what God will do. You’re showing up, you’re seeing, you’re growing. And, you’re encouraging others in the process. That right there is good stuff.

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