In the years since writing my first book, I have encountered numerous people who talk about writing a book. Unfortunately, few of them follow through.
While it is true that getting an agent can be hard and getting the attention of a big publisher even harder, it is actually easier to get a book into print than ever. For anyone who's thought about writing a book, there has never been a better time to be alive.
If you're one of those dreamers who have a book in you, it's time to buckle down and get the job done. Why?
1. It'll get you out of bed in the morning. Once I start a writing project, momentum develops and the juices flow. This literally pulls me out of bed because I think and write better earlier in the day. I'll warn you however—it'll also keep you up at night.
2. You'll become more studious. Were it not for authoring books, I would depend too heavily on previously prepared sermons. Being the exacting discipline that it is, writing demands that I be diligent and consistent. Knowing what I produce is going to print, I'll dig a little deeper in search of just the right explanation, illustration and application.
3. It'll provide a quiver full of sermons. Though I suspect most preacher-authors take sermon transcripts and edit them into books, I do just the opposite—that is, I write the book first. One reward of all that hard work is having a binder loaded with fifteen messages waiting to be preached over the next several months.
4. It'll make you a better preacher. Like most preachers, I can chase rabbits with the best of them. But because I write more tightly than I speak, subsequent messages come forth much leaner. Remember this principle: "There's no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting." Put that into practice and you'll become a better writer—and speaker.
5. It'll help expand your ministry. In addition to those listening by radio or to recordings, around 300 sitting in the sanctuary hear my messages each week. Writing increases that number exponentially. I've given away countless books on overseas mission trips where pastors with limited resources received them eagerly and appreciatively. I edited my recent book on prayer, Unsearchable Things, into nearly 100 blog posts.
6. It's easier and more affordable than ever. We've come a long way since stone tablets, parchment paper, and Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. Computers allow for simple correction and production. On-demand printing means minimal investment on the part of the author. If you can scrape up a few hundred dollars, you're in business. And, you don't have to buy 500 copies of your own books to sell out of your car.
7. Others can join in on the blessing. When it comes to covering the costs just mentioned, don't hesitate to get others involved in the process. When I launched into book-writing over a decade ago, a mentoring preacher/author encouraged me, "You've got people in your church who would love to help you publish your work, so don't hesitate to seek them out and ask." He was right. I've had scores of supporters contribute thousands of dollars toward the publication of my eleven books. I seek their help at the beginning of the process and present them with signed copies of the first books off the press.
8. You'll leave a legacy. What would our awareness and appreciation of the likes of St.Augustine, A.W. Tozer, E.M. Bounds, Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis be if their books didn't occupy our shelves? Although you might never become famous or write a best-seller, your words can remain behind as a blessing to those who remain in this fallen world, long after you've gone to be with Jesus.
Todd Gaddis has been a pastor since 1990. He serves at First Baptist LaFayette, Georgia. In addition to 11 books, he has written for Focus on the Family, Leadership, Pray, War Cry and numerous LifeWay publications.
For the original article, visit lifeway.com/pastors.
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