The Monday Blog Tour has seen some great writers talk about their work and provide insights into their writing processes. Lucy Mills kindly tagged me to continue the tour (read her post here). So here are my answers to the blog tour’s questions:
What am I working on?
I find the mix of work I have fascinating. Working mainly during the time my children are at school I manage to squeeze in editing other people’s books, writing Bible study guides, writing articles, interviews and reviews for magazines and websites as well as writing books myself. I have a regular column on Christian Today’s website and also have three books coming out this year: on May 23rd the first two of the Foundations 21 book series Jesus and Prayer come out, which are small-group discipleship and study guides that work in tandem with the Bible Reading Fellowship’s Foundation 21 website. Later on, in June, I have a book, co-written with Chris Ledger, being published by CWR: Insight into Managing Conflict.
At the moment I’m deep into an editorial job, which I’m finding challenging but hugely enjoyable. I’ve also got some books I’m in the middle of reading that I will be reviewing and then interviewing the authors, as well as some articles about new initiatives to write. Oh and a set of Bible study notes to write in the next few months. At the end of last week I got a snippet of interest from a publisher about a book idea I’ve had mulling over in my head for quite some months – so I need to do some actual work on that too! It’s the first book in which the idea has come totally from me (the others happened by editorial contacts approaching me) and so I’m really excited about developing it. Sometimes I seem to be juggling too many plates. But it means I’m never bored and I love the variety!
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
I mainly write Christian non-fiction and, when I started doing so, I felt quite overwhelmed, and almost put off before I really began, because there are so many other writers out there doing a similar thing. But I think once you have found your particular voice then you simply have to go with it. Publishers and sites that are a good ‘fit’ for you will begin to recognise and appreciate it. I would say, for me, the most important thing is being true to who I am – and that includes the struggles and the mistakes. I feel I have to write about the everyday. I don’t know if sometimes I’m too honest – I always have to be careful about treading that line, especially as my husband is a pastor and a lot of those in our church read what I write, but I write to encourage others. I want them to be free to be who they are supposed to be – and us all to be honest with one another on a much deeper level.
Why do I write what I do?
I felt called by God to pursue writing as well as editing when I was heavily pregnant with my second child. Since then He has opened up doors I would never have dreamed of. I can still compare myself to those with endless book deals and huge speaking tours – but He hasn’t called me to walk their walk. That may come in time – but it may not. And I’ve got to learn to be content with that. I’m to be faithful in my own journey in life. And that’s mainly what I write about. The fact that it is so important not to be afraid to open up and be vulnerable. Helping people to realise that we truly should be in this life journey together – we all struggle and need each other to admit it so we can support one another fully.
The other thing I really enjoy doing is flagging up the work of incredible organisations and individuals who truly are changing the world. I’ve had the privilege of writing about the A21 Campaign and 28 Too Many, to name just a couple.
How does my writing process work?
As I said, I focus as much of my work into the school hours as I can, which means I have to be extremely disciplined. That said, I’m often found scribbling on bits of paper or tapping notes into my phone if I’ve suddenly had a bit of inspiration.
Generally, though, I make myself a cuppa after the kids have been dropped to school, sit and pray at my desk, read my daily Bible notes (wow, I’m making myself sound too holy – often this is done in a real rush!) and then I tackle whatever job is to hand, whether a chapter for a book or a set of interview questions. I type quickly, getting all my thoughts down, and then go back and edit everything I’ve written. I have found it much harder to edit myself, although I do try to be ruthless. I have a conversational style, and I know it can get unwieldy at times, so I usually ask my husband to read everything I’ve written before sending it anywhere!
There are times when I’m in the middle of a writing or editing flow when it is time to pick up the children. Sometimes I just have to let that go or, if there is a deadline looming, spend time with the kids and then get back to work later in the day if time allows.