To my ears, it sounds a bit ridiculous and slightly pretentious to say that I am writing a book. But… I am. Again.
This is not the first writing project that I have intended for publication in the last 20 years. But, God willing, this will be the first one to actually get completed and become a real, live book.
In the past, my great ideas have fizzled out into failure because of one simple thing: faith. Or, more precisely, lack of faith. Each project begins with great enthusiasm and confidence in the goodness and rightness of what I am undertaking. And then… and then I start to doubt. I either doubt the idea or my ability to bring the idea into fruition and my enthusiasm wanes… my confidence dries up… and I leave my idea to die on the vine.
Not this time! But… haven’t I said that before?
The difference is that, this time, I have made my desire to write a book a commitment to write a book. Publicly, I have committed to writing a first draft by March 1 and getting it into the hands of an editor by my April birthday. It is only by sharing my commitment with the world (the world means you, dear reader) that it becomes more substantially and powerfully a commitment. Not only will I have people to encourage, remind, and motivate me toward my goal, I will also have my identity and honor bound up in the fulfillment of my commitment.
It’s a lot like religion.
Many people in Western nations think that religion is a private matter, between the believer and his or her God. Yes, believers gather in communities, but even these communities are private communities, outside and separate from the public square. People do not bring their religious beliefs into the workplace, school, playground, or shopping mall, because religion shouldn’t be a public thing. It’s best kept behind closed doors.
This is, of course, a wrongheaded notion.
Like any belief, a spiritual belief is something that a person chooses and commits himself or herself to believing and living. If spirituality was merely about feelings, then, perhaps, one could make the argument that it is a merely private matter. But, true spirituality is about commitment. A person dedicates himself or herself to a spiritual way of thinking and acting. This way becomes the way of the person, both behind closed doors and out in the public square. There is no separation, because the choice is total and the commitment is complete – it involves the whole person. A person who believes one way and acts in another lacks integrity. This is the problem with people who say that they believe human life is sacred and that life begins at conception – but then write and pass laws that allow, and even help in, the destruction of human life.
Okay. That was a bit of a digression, but The March for Life is coming up this weekend and… well, it wasn’t really that much of a digression. If you believe something to be objectively good, then you need to live it and encourage others to live it as well.
And, if I believe that this book that I’m writing is worth writing, then I need to live that belief – I need to write it!
Doubts and lack of confidence cannot stop me if I am truly committed. Doubts and lack of confidence are, after all, very natural, given that I am a simple human being. I don’t want to lack integrity and I don’t want to be lazy anymore. It’s time to put my money where my mouth, so to speak.
It’s time to put my pen where my heart is.
And, so… I’m writing a book.
With the recent flag in confidence and several appointments in the past week, progress is not as far as I would like it to be. I added six pages to the rough draft and wrote three more pages of the first draft. (Is that confusing?) I wrote a 3,800 word germ of the book – an embryo, if you will, with everything necessary and important in it, just needing further growth and development. And my outline has become a table of contents.
That’s it. For now. Happily helping out a friend on Saturday, then Sunday will be for Mass attendance with both of my parents and my greater faith community, as well as football on the television with my dad. Next week: writing EVERY day. I’ll be posting a prescheduled series to live up to a commitment that I made last year, but I will be checking the comments – so, please, remember that I need you! Hold me to my word, help me keep my integrity – in other words, bug me and bug me until the book is done.
Thank you! And a shout out to MB, Ignatius, and Donna Maria, who are also busy writing their books. Know that I’m praying for you!
© 2018 Christina Chase
Photo credit: Michal Grosicki on Unsplash.com
I don't call myself a poet — but the beating of my heart is poetry. I don't call myself a theologian — but the light of my mind seeks the Divine. Who I am is a Child of God, a Divine Creation, a person devoted to being fully human, fully alive.