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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Writing Experience

As many of you may already know, I have just begun a 7-week sabbatical to work on a book. While I fully intend to take a break from church, leadership, being a pastor, and going to the office, I can't stop sharing thoughts and insights along the way. So, keep checking back regularly as I'll try to post a few times a week during the writing journey. I'd be grateful for some dialogue, particularly as my normal level of interaction with real human beings will be way down these days. As long as I'm staring at my computer screen, I might as well have some real people to interact with.

Anyway, today I've been thinking a great deal about the process of writing itself. Writing is a bit like breaking glass. You begin with a perfect, clear piece of glass in your mind's eye. The minute you begin to throw words on the page, that crystal image shatters into a thousand pieces and falls to the ground. The writing process, then, can be a painful experience of picking up each piece one at a time, turning it over in your hand, and deciding how it fits back into the grand design. You keep doing this- analyze and place, analyze and place- until you eventually have a picture that at least vaguely resembles the original piece of glass. I am beginning to think that as an author, the experience of writing can never quite live up to the vision or dream of writing. Maybe knowing to expect this will be enough to carry me through the long days.

I am not sure I'm an author yet, but for me, the glass has certainly shattered! And even though picking up the pieces can by tedious, I am finding the experience to be more enjoyable than I had anticipated. There is a freedom to this rhythm of thinking, writing, reviewing, rewriting and thinking some more that has been a welcome change to the pace of ministry. In church life, nothing ever really feels done. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to come to the end of a page and have a new one begin. The progress is measurable and progressive, even if it times it all has to be smashed again!

I pray that whatever journey you are on, you are finding joy in the process...