Posts Tagged ‘nanowrimo’

I was on Facebook the other day and I saw something called #inktober. The basic idea is for all us artsy types who work in ink, to create a piece each day. I decided, since I usually already create at least one piece every day, to participate. I think it will be fun, but more than that, it gives me a goal and a challenge. Where before I might put creating off for a day or two, now I’m more likely to put something out.

Last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo in November. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind the challenge is pretty simple, by the end of November you should have a 50,000 word rough manuscript. They have a pretty great website where you can log your daily word count, get inspiration, encouragement, etc. My book Enough, while not technically a novel was the result of my participation in NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure if I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, as it is a lot of work at a pastor’s busiest time of year, but I do have a screenplay/novel that has been gnawing at my brain, and a Master’s thesis that could probably be blessed by a challenge, so you never know.

The point in sharing these things is this. If you are a person who finds yourself stuck creatively, or you just want to do something fun, a challenge is a great way to break the creative ice. I’m sure there are challenges out there for just about every creative discipline if you know where to look. They really can be helpful. It all comes down to that idea of how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. Large challenges can be so intimidating. If I told you you had to create 31 pieces of work this month, you might be tempted to throw up your hands and say no way can I do that, but to do one a day is really not terribly difficult. If I told you I need you to write 50,000 words in a month, you might have a similar reaction, but 1500 words a day feels much more manageable.

I will close with the words of speaker/author Andy Andrews. When asked if he likes to write, he said, “I like having written.” Thousands, maybe millions of people want to write a book or create great art. The ones who succeed are the ones who do the work. Challenges can help us in that regard. Find a challenge and get involved. On a related note, what kind of challenge might we offer here that would be beneficial to you in your ministry.

By the way here is day three of #inktober for me. I’m really into car art these days, so probably more than a few of these will probably reflect that influence (like this one), while others will be from ministry presentations, posters, etc. Sometimes it’s more about creating than it is about what you create.

Well I thought by now my book, Enough, would be out by now. I put my covers online to get opinions and most people didn’t like either of them. That set the process back a little bit. You see, my plan was to do internal illustrations for each of the chapters to try to continue the theme throughout. Coming up with a new design was difficult but I’m getting there and working on the internal illustrations as well.

If I want to be honest, there was part of me that regretted posting the covers and not trusting my instincts. If I had trusted my instincts, the book would be out by now. Why didn’t I just charge in and do it my way? Something didn’t feel right about the designs. The folks who commented confirmed some of the vague discomfort I was having with my work and the end result will be a stronger finished product and a better book.

Think about it. My deadline was self imposed anyway and a little delay allowed me to get some real world feedback from some people who are likely customers for my book, plus I ended up with a new concept that is helping me to convey the message of the book better visually. All in all getting opinions will likely improve the reception of this book and help it’s message spread wider, which is my primary goal for this book anyway. Proverbs 15:22 says “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” When you’re working on a project, especially when you’re stuck or something just doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to get some opinions. It might really help.

And keep watching for Enough, coming soon from AMOKBooks.

Well I finished the writing of my new book “ENOUGH.” a few days early. (yes I know the period will look like a punctuation error, but it is there on purpose, as if to say “enough. it’s over, complete, I am enough.”)

With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) you get the thirty days of November to write a 50,000 word book, and there is a great website to log your progress as you work through. Now I did not write a novel per se, but it was really helpful in getting my nonfiction book finished, at least as far as the rough draft stage.

This concept really worked for me. It gave me a goal to shoot for every day and watching the little bar graph climb to the goal really incentivized me to get it done. There was a great sense of accomplishment as I crossed that 50,000 word line.  It was a great experience, that I highly recommend to anyone who can carve out some time. It’s not easy but it is doable. It actually relates to a concept I have been trying for quite some time. Accomplishing a large project, by breaking it down into smaller manageable steps. If you feel like you have a book in you, why not give it a try?

A nice side effect of this for me was this project has also spawned a couple of sermons for my church and will also become several speaking presentations in the coming year. Now I plunge into the hard work, of formatting, editing and making this thing into a real book.As well as the fun work of illustration. Keep watching for updates.

Well I did it, I crossed the finish line on 50,000 words. Now onto editing and waiting to hear from a few people on how to proceed. I’ll share some thoughts on this adventure tomorrow. In the mean time here is today’s excerpt from near the end of the book.

Am I Good enough? part 3

As we near the end of this book, I wonder where you are today. Are you still discouraged? Have I written something that will make you think you’re not good enough. Well you need to know, no matter where you are, you’re good enough to start. They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Maybe today is the day to make that first step.

Are you doubting because of something you have done, or maybe something you’re continuing to do? Maybe today is the day to turn around and turn to Jesus. Give your sin to HIm. He already bore it to the cross. Ask Him to forgive you and ask Him to help you leave your sin there at the foot of the cross and never take it up again.

Are you wondering because you don’t compare to someone else. The answer to that is simple, stop comparing yourself to other people. They are on their journey and you are on yours, and while in Christ they all end up at the same place, heaven, the paths between here and there are varied and different. Instead, compare yourself to Jesus. Make no mistake, if you do, you will come up lacking. He’s perfect, you’re not, but He is the best example you can follow. Better than any example this world has to offer. So many people struggle with the will of God and what it is for your life. The first thing to consider is totally biblical but not found in the Bible. It’s found in something called the Westminster Catechism. It says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” We glorify God when we do our best in Him to honor Him in whatever He puts before us, pointing people to Him as the source of our strength and goodness. We give Him glory when we live to honor Him.

And finally if you want to know the will of God, Paul tells us what it is in Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Now when he says offer your body as a living sacrifice, it is not some sort of ritual that will involve your physical death. Jesus already paid that price, once and for all. Instead, it means to die to your selfish desires and submit yourself to God instead. If we truly do this we will be holy and pleasing to Him, which should be our goal. It means, once again that we turn from our sin and give Him all we are. This is the essence of real worship, submitting to God in every area of life, and anything less is, in fact, a form of idolatry.

Further he tells us not to conform to the pattern of the world. The reason for that is simple, the world is a mess. It runs under a different system, a system that has things upside down and backwards from the way they are supposed to be—completely opposite of the way God intended. This system was set in place by the one who came to steal, kill and destroy, the enemy of your soul, Satan himself. The effects of sin are running rampant everywhere, and they’re trying to drag us into it’s wake, but there is a better way. In order to get to that better way, we have to take on a radical non-conformity. We have to be different than the world. This way of thinking is really nothing new. Your mom probably showed it to you in not so many words when she said, “If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you do it?” The smart answer to that question is “No!” Instead you would go a different way, a way different from the pattern of this world.

Here’s a possible design for the book cover. What do you think?

Well I dropped the writing ball a little on Saturday and Sunday. I knew I would, so I worked ahead and today I played a little catch up. Saturday I was in training all day to do disaster relief work with children and yesterday, I preached in the morning, came home, loaded the van and spoke at another event last night. I am over 47,000 words and should finish the 50,000 word challenge tomorrow, Lord willing from there is a lot of editing, and some additional copy. Here’s today’s excerpt.

“Here’s the problem, excellence is like greatness and enough. Its a sliding scale and a slippery slope. How do people become excellent? They learn and grow. How can they learn and grow if every opportunity for learning and growth is choked out in the pursuit of excellence. We wonder why the church has a consumer mentality. I can tell you why, no one has the opportunity to contribute except the talented few that can meet the sliding scale of excellence. The rest come to the church to sit in their seats and watch the show, Why shouldn’t they be consumers when all we will allow them to do is consume? The other side of this is how much do we excuse in the lives of the “excellent” simply because of their talent? For example. If “Joe” is a virtuoso guitarist but he’s living a sinful mess of a life, how long are you going to put him up in front of the congregation. His talent is excellent, but where will his example lead. Excellence can be a very bad thing.

But what if we considered excellence differently? What if instead of only using the people who’ve arrived, we gave the inexperienced the opportunity to learn and grow. What if we considered excellence to be the best you can do today? What if we let people start where they are, and help them to demonstrate faithfulness in the way they work toward growth? What if character counted more than talent? By the way character does count more than talent, especially in the church. If we looked at excellence in this way, we wouldn’t constantly looking for people to serve, there would be a point of entry for the talented beginner and the person who just wants to try, character flaws could be worked out and everyone could start to feel “great” about where they are in the journey.”

Well I’m up to 42,315 words in NaNoWriMo, which is amazing to me. The goal they post is 50,000 words. With less than 8,000 to go, I don’t think that’s going to be quite enough to say all I want to say. My goal is to finish the writing before Thanksgiving and dig right into the edits and illustrations. My goal is to hit publish to Amazon by Midnight November 30, but more important I want to make sure it says all it’s supposed to say and it’s done right. Today’s passage is something I’ve been working through for a while. I hope it blesses you.

In this world we all face temptation and we all fall to that temptation and when we do, we fall into sin. I have long looked for a way to illustrate this and I think I have found it. I know you’ve seen those commercials. There’s a closeup of a person, you can usually see no more than his or her head and shoulders. All of the sudden there appears an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other. The devil starts off trying to tempt the person to indulge in something, usually some decadent dessert, and the angel tries to talk them out of it. It usually seems like the angel loses out. Now these commercials are usually humorous, at least to some degree, but they are taking this way too lightly. Temptation is very real and it’s a huge battle, not between two little imps on your shoulders, but between the two most powerful forces in the universe. The battle is for your soul. Your life is a line.

When I demonstrate this I set two easels up on the far ends of a stage. On one end of that line is a portrait of Jesus, on the other a portrait of Satan, because ultimately that’s the battle. Jesus is on one end and Satan is on the other. On one side is love, on the other, hate. On one side is life, on the other, death. On one side is light, on the other, darkness. You get the idea, polar opposites battling over you. You are somewhere in the middle, somewhere on the line between the two and faced with a choice. Satan begins to do what he does best. I don’t ever like to give him any praise of any kind, but there is something I must concede. He is good at what he does and what he does is tries to lure us into temptation. He knows just where to hit us and what to dangle in front of us to get us to turn toward him. We see the temptation, and too often we are off to the races, running headlong toward our own destruction. Remember that’s his ultimate goal. His end is secure. He is headed to eternal destruction. The only thing he has left is to try to destroy what God loves most, and what God loves most is you. He tries to lure to your destruction. Now if you already belong to Jesus, your ultimate destruction is off the table, but He will still try to destroy your witness, so that others won’t see your life and leave the path to destruction. Before we go any further look at the picture below, look at the man and his position on the line. Look at the direction of his body. In order to turn toward temptation, in order to turn toward sin, so you see what he has to do. Yes, He has to turn his back on God and that is precisely what happens. When you turn toward sin, you are turning your back on God, and you are ultimately turning toward your ruin, every time, all the time no exceptions.

Now let’s suppose your on the dead sprint to death, heading to your own destruction, when you hear a little voice. The still small voice of God, of the Holy Spirit and He’s saying, “Please stop. You’re not going to like where this ends. It’s painful. It’s going to hurt a lot. I have something better for you. I love you.” You hear that voice, and you hit the brakes and in that moment you turn around. You turn your back on sin and you turn to Jesus. That act is what we call repentance. Jesus gave His life to buy us that privilege, the privilege to turn around and turn to Him and to be rescued.