Writing about Your Life: Where do I Start?

When I began writing about my life, I had no idea I’d be writing a book. Writing in a journal was my way of emptying out lots of frustration and anxiety about my day-to-day struggles. In fact, my private journal writing covered a good ten to fifteen years of my life. I wrote whatever I was feeling about pressures I experienced. But I always seemed to come back to three events which I wanted to do over if I could. I share them in my book, The Price of Pearls. I lived with regret for a major portion of my life, until I was almost swallowed by depression and realized I had to change.

I began entertaining thoughts about writing about my life about six years ago. I remember talking to friends about certain books they were reading and thinking I might have something to say, too. I finally agreed that there was an audience for my writing, women who struggled with self-acceptance. I remembered the times when I felt like I was on the outside looking at everyone else enjoying life.

I went into the whole idea of making my life an open book with fear and trepidation. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had given me an assignment.  I could not shake the thought. Once I started writing I began telling others that I was writing a book. That was good and bad! Once I put the word out there, I had people checking to see where I was in the process. So even when I had days and months when I didn’t feel like writing, there was always somebody who would ask, “So how’s your book coming along?” Ouch! I thought they forgot.

I know we haven’t discussed how to determine what to write about, but I feel you should know that writing a book, especially one about your life, involves mixed emotions. If you’re struggling with roller coaster thoughts about the idea, welcome to my world…and that of other writers. We all go through insecurities. Don’t let your insecurities stop you! God calls insecure people to do great things! Duh!  Have you taken a look at the disciples lately? He is not surprised by our feelings! In fact, they are the stuff He uses to prove He is able!

I promise we will talk about the process of deciding what to include in your book next time. Forgive me. I was feeling a little insecure about taking you there today.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)- “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

So You Want to Write a Book: Writing about Your Life

Recently, a friend of mine mentioned he was thinking of writing a book. He was very excited about his idea and passionately shared his thoughts with me. I was amazed with his plans and told him I thought people would definitely want to read his book. Then he asked, “Well, how do you write a book? Where do you start?” Little did he know that I had been toying with the idea of using my blog to share my journey in writing The Price of Pearls, a book about my journey from a broken, insecure woman to a woman who has found and accepted the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.

For most of my adult life, especially during my “turbulent years”, I kept journals. On some days, long before I thought about writing a book, I wrote about day-to-day emotional struggles. For the better part of my young adult life through my early forties, I lived a roller-coaster life of fear, and depression, with occasional periods of emotional stability.  I never let anyone know about my journal entries. I screamed out to God for help in those entries. I knew I could not help myself. Some of those entries would later become the source of material for my book. Over my lifetime, I’ve had several journals.

Let me say again that your journal is not your book. They are sources for your book. One of the mistakes I made in writing my book was not determining my purpose for writing. I remember when one of my friends read the first draft of my book. Her comment to me was this: “I see three different books here. You have enough material to write on three different ideas. What are you really trying to do?” I didn’t quite know how to answer her. She went on to explain that I was writing about too much and needed to focus. She even suggested I take a college writing course to help me with the development of my book. I must admit I was a little annoyed that she thought I needed to improve my writing skills. After all, I was an English teacher! Ugh! How arrogant of me! To this day, I welcome any help I can get! Later I will tell you about a wonderful writers support group I found after moving to Georgia.

My suggestion is that you continue praying and asking God if He wants you to write a book. Most likely, if you’ve already been thinking about writing, He’s already been talking to you. Then pray about what direction He wants you to proceed with. Is He asking you to write about your life? What period? For what purpose? Who will be your audience? Are you writing for teens? For young adult women? For all women between 18 and 70?  For young men?

If you don’t write your innermost thoughts and feelings in a journal and you’re thinking of writing about your life, I suggest you start today. If you don’t have a journal, the best place to buy one at a reasonable price is at a dollar store. Or you can take a regular notebook and just begin writing your thoughts and feelings about any aspects of your day. What was most troubling to you? How are you feeling about the incident? Put the entry aside and return to it later if you choose to. I sometimes go back to previous entries months later and find out my perspective may have changed.

A writer must be in touch with his or her thoughts and feelings. Writing in a journal is good practice for doing that. If you already have journal entries, you’re probably ahead of the game. Take time to think and pray about what God wants you to do with them. Get God’s perspective. In the next entry, I will talk about my experience in deciding what to put in my book. I’m excited for you! You have something to say and someone is waiting to hear it!

You can find out how to order my book at www.patriciamanns.com. I will use excerpts from my book along the way as we talk about my process.

So You Want to Write a Book!

ghost god (pike and 12th)     A few years ago, I felt God was calling me to write  a book about a difficult period in my life. I have to admit I was excited and scared at the same time! While I had been saved for many years and believed God had forgiven me for poor choices I had made in the past, I was still battling ghosts from my past.  Truthfully, I had not totally forgiven myself and taken responsibility for my actions.  I was hiding from others, living behind a mask of perfectionism. I was an approval addict and God knew it.  I was a people pleaser.

Then I heard His voice, calling me to come out of hiding.  I was frightened out of my wits! What would others think of me? How would I handle the scrutiny of my peers? I wrestled with God for a long time. It was okay to share my experiences with other women at a retreat, but I knew He wanted more from me.  It was time to take off the mask and become available for His purposes. I had to become vulnerable and that was a tough decision. Remember, I was an approval addict. And it was time to break the addiction.  I could no longer hide behind perfectionism. It was time to tell the truth.

The Price of Pearls, the story of my journey from the bondage of shame and depression to a life of joy and freedom has been released! The book is available at www.patriciamanns.com. My hope is that others who read it will find the strength to  come out of hiding and live a life of freedom! I invite you to visit my site and find inspiration to tell your story.

  Perhaps God is calling you to write a book. In the coming days, I will begin sharing my book writing journey, so sign up to receive notification of my new posts. Leave me a reply and tell me what God is saying to you about writing. Do you have a book in mind? Or maybe you want to begin blogging. If you need support, this is your opportunity to find encouragement. I made a lot of excuses when I thought about writing a book. Can you relate to that? I don’t know everything, but I’m willing to share what I’ve done in the process of writing my book.

Come on! Jump aboard! You have something to say and others need to hear it! My favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, which reads “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (NKJV).”

Backspace, Enter, Shift or Delete

English: Backspace Polski: Backspace

Image via Wikipedia

Familiar keys on my laptop–backspace, enter, shift, delete……

God, what are you saying to me?

Step back and assess?

Enter the open door?

Shift my thinking?

Delete unnecessary clutter?

All of the above.

It’s time for new things!

Out with the old and in with the new!

Got to step out of my comfort zone and take risks!

But what does that mean?

Where will I go?

What will I do?

It’s all in His hands!

He holds my future.

He ‘s pushing me out of the nest.

But are my wings ready?

How will I know?

He knows!

Ready, set, goooooooooooo!

You’re soaring high above the clouds!

You’re reaching for the stars!

You kiss heaven and transcend the impossible!

It’s your time to fly!

Let go and let God!

Did you not ask God, “Enlarge my territory!”?

Well, He heard you and believes in you.

GERONIMOOOOOOOOOOO!

Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (NKJV).