Thanks to Carol King, I have an idea for a blog post about writing. She and Donna and I had lunch together yesterday, and Carol asked, “How do you put a book together? I mean, how do you start?”
How do you write a book? The same way you eat an elephant, a little bit at a time. You eat an elephant a bite at a time, and you write a book a word at a time. Not that I plan to eat any elephants! I do plan to write more books, however, and rather than think about how daunting the task it, I think about how I can sit down today and write a sentence or two. I might have to come back and start over again and delete that sentence, maybe an entire paragraph or two, but I’ll do it in stages, little by little.
In the case of Eve’s Sisters, it started with the germ of an idea that I picked up from attending a Bible study about Queen Esther. My sister-in-law Karen invited me to go, and although midweek evening events don’t usually appeal to me that much, I was intrigued and agreed to go at least one night. That’s all it took, one night.
The series was based on a book and video series by Beth Moore, a dynamic and fascinating communicator. She made the “character” come alive, so much so that I could feel Esther’s fear, be emboldened by her courage, and visualize her standing before the king in her queenly attire. Studying her life motivated me to study the lives of other women in the Bible, some well-known and some who aren’t even named in the scriptures. For example, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the woman with an issue of blood who was healed after touching the hem of Christ’s robe. What’s really amazing about her story is that she’d been seeing doctors for twelve years…to no avail. While her problem was a physical one, it’s not much of a stretch to see that He can also heal emotional wounds.
Back to the writing business. A few months before the Esther classes, I started blog entitled Eve’s Sisters on blogspot (http://evessisters.blogspot.com). With the help of my friend Connie, I got the basics of formatting down and wrote one post…and then another and another. The more I learned about these women, I began to see that there were numerous parallels between their lives and ours and that they struggled with many of the same issues. From teaching psychology, I could also see the application of many psychological concepts to these issues.
The light came on. If I who had been teaching psychology for over thirty years hadn’t recognized these parallels and applications before then, it stood to reason that other women were in the same boat. I needed to put these blog posts into book form so that I wouldn’t be the only person to benefit from looking at the lives of Eve, Hagar, Hannah, Tamar, Mary, Dorcas, and dozens of other women.
The first blog entry was in July of 2008, and I decided to put the posts together in a book in July of 2011. Nine months later, Eve’s Sisters finally went “live” and is now available as a soft cover and as an ebook. In those nine months, I wrote and rewrote, added and deleted, and grouped the essays into chapters. Then I decided it’d be a neat idea to pose a question at the end of each entry, add pictures, and dress the book up in a couple of other ways
It was a long but rewarding process that I completed by working a little each day (or almost each day), word by word. As the saying goes, inch by inch, life’s a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard. It’s the same with writing a book.
‘Like eating an elephant… one bit at a time’… brilliant and you couldn’t be more right.