Can You Write a Book?

Posted: March 9, 2022 in Uncategorized

I think a lot of people would like to write a book and any more probably have at least one book in them but something about it just feels daunting. I think it is the sheer volume of work and writing, but today I want to try to give you a different perspective. I’m a pastor. Since the onset of COVID I have taken a different tactic. Where before I created notes for my sermons and as longs I could read them well enough to preach from that was all that mattered. When COVID happened I was concerned. I figured out simple ways to get met messages online and many people appreciated them. The difficulty is I minister to an older congregation and quite a few really faithful saints, people who were here every time the doors were opened before the pandemic, were not online and had no access to the online services. I tried to find a way to minister to them and the only thing I can think of was to write my sermons out and mail the to those who didn’t have internet access. Interestingly, I thought this was a pale substitute, but the people loved it and many distribute these messages far beyond themselves. In some ways it feels like it has been more successful as an outreach tool than the online presence, but that’s not really where we’re going with this.

To get a sermon that lasts about a half hour, I need to write about 3500 to 4000 words. I do that at least 50 times a year. The average non-fiction book is about 50,000 words. This means I write 3.5 to 4 books worth of material per year every year. Suddenly it seems a lot more manageable, but I know what you might be thinking. “Preaching is your job, I do something else for a living. It’s apples and oranges.” That may be the case, but let’s think about this a little bit. You don’t need to write four books a year, you just want to write one. Again I think what keeps most people from writing a book is the daunting number of words, and 50,000 does feel like a lot of words. In school I remember writing 500 word essays and sitting there counting all the words and struggling to hit the 500, and sometimes I think that’s where the intimidation comes from. Consider this, til I finish this post, it will be right around 500 words, which for me is about average. For this year, my goal is to post at least 3 times a week. That’s 1500 words a week. 50,000 is 100 times 500. At 1500 words a week, a very manageable goal, you can finish your book in less than 34 weeks. The point is like any other large goal, if you break it down into manageable pieces, it suddenly becomes much easier. Case in point, my current project is my doctoral dissertation/project. The book portion is going to be a little larger, probably around 75,000 to 100,000 words. I have broken it into 25 chapters. Now with all the research required, these chapters will take a bit longer, but I have set a goal of a chapter a week. I won’t always be able to hit that, but even in trying it keeps me on task and moves me closer to our goal.

The point is simple, you can write a book, you just have to write it down in manageable sized bites and then take those bites one at a time. Don’t make the goal all or nothing so missing the goal feels like defeat, just keep moving forward until you reach the goal. I’ll say it again…

You can write a book!

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