What Writing a Book Taught Me

6 Lessons I Learned from Writing a Book about Faith

I had always dreamed of writing a book. I know, some of you are thinking, I have that same dream while others are thinking, Who needs yet another book?

Courtesy of Flickr/WaltStoneburner

I empathize with both of you, actually. Now that I’ve written several books, both by myself and with others, the process isn’t nearly as mysterious as it once was. But it is not an easy task — at least not to write something someone will find worth reading.

Along this journey to write A Story Worth Telling: Your Field Guide to Living an Authentic Life, I examined every passage of Scripture referencing faith, belief, or trust. You name it, I’ve probably dismantled it.

And then to tackle such a topic that people much smarter than me have written about for centuries — well, it was a bit intimidating at times.

But the greater challenge was managing my time.

When I signed with the publisher to write the book, I had a lot of time on my hands. [ You can read the book to discover why. ] When it finally came time to write the book itself, I found myself deeply committed to helping a friend launching a new business venture.

I ended up having to work seven days a week for more than two months to complete the first draft. I may have seen my six children occasionally; I don’t recall, unfortunately.

But I did get it done — and learned a few lessons in the process. Some of them made it into the book itself and some didn’t. I thought it might have some value to share some of those lessons with you.

Lessons I Learned from Writing a Book about Faith

  • Faith is at the core of everything. The need to trust is woven into the very fabric of the universe. All people are people of faith, not just Christians. I explain more in the book, but I have become aware — sometimes painfully aware — of how much I must trust God to do anything and how how often I fail to trust him while doing my own thing.
  • The mission remains, but the process can and will change. I called the book a field guide because I wanted to offer proven, practical tips for living an authentic life of abundant faith in the real world — out in the field where faith takes place. As any hiker knows, sometimes the best laid plans go awry. While writing the book, the plan changed several times as I dove into the Scripture, examined my own life, and heard the stories of other FaithWalkers. The process changed, but the mission — to equip you to live an authentic life with abundant faith — remained the same. Hopefully, when you read it, your faith will grow in ways you never imagined possible. [ Don’t forget you can still get a copy for free as part of my launch team. It doesn’t take much, but time’s almost up. ]
  • Things don’t always turn out the way you thought they would — and that’s OK. You are not God, in spite of your brief delusions to the contrary. And the path to the top of the summit doesn’t always turn the way you think it will. That’s precisely why faith is so vital to our journey. For this book, the plan changed a few times. There was miscommunication and confusion that set back the timetable. And my own efforts to help launch a business ended taking up a lot of my time. There were several times in what writers call “the messy middle” that I wanted to quit. But persistence paid off.
  • I am not alone. One of the most encouraging benefits of writing this book was discovering that I am not alone in my quest to live with authentic faith. For every story that made it into the book, I heard at least ten more along the way. The world is full of people committed to faithfully living out what they believe to be true — often in the face of pain, discomfort, persecution, and great uncertainty. And not one of them I encountered would trade any of it. There is an authentic joy and fulfillment that comes from doing what we were created to do. All the stories inspired me to finally take the plunge into podcasting this summer. Stay tuned for more about The FaithWalker’s Podcast where I will feature more inspiring stories from real people living out their faith out in the field along with practical helps to grow your faith. Who knows? One of those stories just might be yours.
  • It takes a team to get things done. I could not have written this book without the support of the many people I name in the Acknowledgments. So it is with the walk of faith itself. We are never alone, no matter what we see, sense, or feel. And when we try to go it alone, we fail to do what we could have done with the support of a team.
  • The good in life can easily distract us from the best in life. This is a tricky one that, unfortunately, took me awhile to figure out. As I mentioned above, the writing process absorbed all my spare time for about two months. I thought at the time that in order to make the deadline, I had to skip church. After all, it wasn’t like I was missing church service to play football or something. I was writing a book about God. But as I reflect on it now, I think my faith fell short during that season as I leaned more onto my own strength than trusting God to make another way. And I likely set a poor example for my kids. (I did confess that mistake to them and asked their forgiveness for setting that example.) Writing this book to help others think, live, and lead with abundant faith was, I hope, a good thing. I pray people read it and take their faith to a new level. But even good things can become an excuse to let our faith slide.

So there you have it — just a handful of the lessons I learned from writing a book about faith.

I wanted the book to be the kind of practical help you would want to pass on to a struggling neighbor, to a friend whose not all that clear about his or her faith focus, to a mother or father who thinks their dreams are passing them by, or a graduate just starting to get serious about his or her life story.

Candidly, this book is for anyone — Christian and non-Christian alike — who wants to live a life of lasting significance.

If you haven’t done so already, you can claim a chapter from the book for FREE with a click here. It releases everywhere on May 19 — but please don’t pre-order or buy it until then. Click here to see why I’ll give you a lot of free stuff just for waiting.

Question: What lessons have you learned from tackling something by faith? What dreams have you set aside out of fear that the process may be too difficult? Share your thoughts by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or otherwise unhelpful.

  • Hey Bill, Great practical take-aways here! I was especially helped by the ideas that I am not alone and that things will not always turn out the way I envisioned, and that’s okay. Wow, that is really liberating! Thanks for the helpful post.