One Book’s Journey: Preparation

A lot of hard work has to go into your career, and preparation, and being your best at all times.

Leven Rambin

Recently I spent time with a young woman who wanted to pick my brain about being a writer. My new friend obviously wanted to know what she needed to do to become a successful writer.

Among her questions were whether I had a degree in writing or had taken courses in writing…No, and no.

She asked if I’d attended writing workshops…again, no. Then she asked the biggie: what had I done to prepare for becoming a writer?

I sat there trying unsuccessfully to figure out an appropriate response. The aspiring writer shook her head, and looked puzzled.

Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word…Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.

Proverbs 16: 1, 3  MSG

In the last few months, I’ve spoken with several young professionals who are choosing to walk away from successful careers to pursue  completely different vocations.  Bless their sweet hearts, these amazing people figured out far earlier than me what they really want in life, and they aren’t willing to let their earlier preparation hold them back from moving forward in a whole new direction.

Over time, I earned three degrees at increasingly higher levels of education. I had plenty of preparation in a field I was passionate about, and was gaining plenty of experience. For a while I was so focused on preparation and passion for teaching, that I missed what God was calling me to do.  

It would be easy to regret or resent the time and resources I invested in being an educator. But guess what I discovered out, Dear Reader? God never wastes anything.

Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-3  CEV

It wasn’t until I was hip-deep in writing Behind the Halo that I realized God had been preparing me for a long time, just not for the service I’d expected.

Sure, I learned a lot about writing by teaching the writing process to students from second grade through middle school.  Professional development did a little fine-tuning. Practicing writing skills in a variety of genres was great preparation for writing a book, but all that stuff wasn’t what mattered most.

The most critical preparation in my journey to becoming a writer came through years of interacting with all kinds of people, listening to their stories. It came by listening to stories then hitting my knees in desperate, intercessory prayer, and learning to really listen to what God had to say.

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8: 28  RSV

Trust me, Dear Reader, this isn’t a series on how-to write a book. It’s the journey of one book, Behind the Halo.  For me, its journey continues to be filled with faith, hope, and thankfully, humor, and the first step was preparation. (I just didn’t know at the time what I was actually preparing for.)

I hope you’ll continue sharing the journey with me this summer. Being such a busy time of year, I’ll be posting updates bi-weekly on Thursdays. Here’s the tentative line-up for the remainder of the series, One  Book’s Journey:

  • Inspiration (7/22)
  • Determination (8/5)
  • Collaboration (8/19)
  • Frustration (9/2)
  • Exhileration (9/16)

What does preparation look like for you, Dear Reader? Are you a pains-taking kind of person, or more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants?