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.