I don’t know if anyone but me remembers this, but I started this blog as practice, as a way of processing my thoughts, with the intention of eventually writing a book.
That was two years ago next week.
I have a friend who says I should write a book. He feels it so strongly he thinks God wants me to write a book. I tell him, fine, I’ll write a book–but every time I think I know what I want the book to be about, something changes and I either feel like I don’t know what I’m talking about, or I lose interest in the subject. I actually wrote a first draft about my journey out of the institutional church–but looking at it now, it seems unbelievably narcissistic. Who the h-e-double-hockey-sticks am I to tell anyone what the church should look like? So I started this blog to create “raw material”, to process and discuss. And I’ve been a compulsive blogger ever since.
I think mainly it’s because I’m the kind of person who thrives on the interaction and response, and when you write a book you have to write a long time, then wait a long time before someone tells you how good it was and asks you to sign it. With a blog, you write something and BAM! someone leaves a comment, someone tells you how they related to it, how they’re going through the same thing, and how you totally changed their life by that once sentence you wrote.
Instant gratification. That’s what I’m all about. That’s why I’m a blogger. 🙂
I still want to write a book someday, but like I said, I get hung up on what exactly that book ought to be like, and what it should be about. I thought at first it ought to be about worship, since that was my “thing”, and all. But honestly, as I got started with putting some ideas to paper, I realized I was bored silly–because I’d been over that material a thousand times, taught it in seminars, demonstrated it over and over again. The last thing I wanted to do was write it all down again in book form. Shelving that plan was actually a good idea, because since then my whole picture of worship has been revamped, and I would have had to denounce my own book. Awkward.
Then when all the stuff happened that finally woke me up to the fact that I was no longer part of the institutional church, and couldn’t be anymore, I thought I’d write a book about that. That’s where the rough draft came from–and I felt good writing it because I did feel I had something to say. Then I found out lots of other books had already been written about the same thing, and that’s when I started to feel narcissistic. Plus, I have this thing where I want to be the first guy to say something, and I lose interest in a new idea when I find out someone already had it before me. Besides, narcissists don’t make good book writers–they make good bloggers.
And then there’s the whole thing about research. I figured if an unknown like me was going to write a book, he’d have to research a lot of material and cite a lot of sources to make his work look scholarly, like he knew what he was talking about. I have to be in a certain kind of mood to do research, and I don’t like having to cite my work. I don’t have the patience for it. I’d rather just say what I think, and spew my opinion and have you, the reader, believe I am the expert and don’t need to prove my point at all. Again…a perfect fit for blogging.
One thing I’ve noticed in all the reading I have done the past three years–my favorite kind of book seems to be the reflective kind, sort of a bunch of essays put into book form. Books that don’t seem to be about anything in particular, but you really get something out of them anyway. I loved Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazzfor this very reason. I just started his new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Same deal–love it.
I totally wish I could write like Donald Miller. He doesn’t do footnotes. He just says stuff the way he thinks it, reflects upon this thing or that thing, and tells stories about stuff that’s happened to him, and he’s absolutely hysterical about it. That’s the kind of book I’d like to write–the kind where I don’t have to do a lot of homework. I’d just say stuff and it would be hilarious, and people would like it so much they’d want to make movies about it. But at the same time, it would make you think, and ponder, and in the pondering, something in your heart and mind shifts.
Just like Donald Miller writes it.
But I’m not Donald Miller. I tried. I tried reworking my material to sound crazy funny like Donald Miller. It just came off like I was trying to be Donald Miller. And I’m not.
So I guess, yeah, someday, there will be a book. Maybe I’ll get particularly inspired and know what to write and how to write it, and it won’t sound like Donald Miller, but it will still be good.
But for now…I guess this is my book. I’m just sort of writing it as I go, a moment at a time. And I’m good with that for now.
Now if only I could get people to pay me to do this, like Donald Miller gets paid to write stuff.