NCWA blog shines a Spotlight on the writing journey of CIRCLE OF SEASONS: MEETING GOD IN THE CHURCH YEAR by Kimberlee Conway Ireton.
After my initial dance of euphoria, reality set in, and with it, fear: how on earth was I going to write a book? When the contract came in the mail I had a three-year-old and a three-month-old—and only eight hours of writing time each week.
And I’m a lousy writer.
I’m a really good re-writer, but this means my writing process is highly time-consuming. I have to write a whole bunch of nothing, spewing all my random thoughts onto the page before I realize what I’m trying to say.
Given the time-eating nature of writing garbage and then sifting through the garbage to find the one gem of a paragraph or sentence or even phrase that’s present in it, I wondered how I was ever going to finish a 35,000-word book in nine months.
Lynne Baab,author of ten books and my patron saint of writing, helped me map out a plan that took into account the fact that I spend about a quarter of my writing time actually writing, and the rest of it rewriting and revising.
It was a very aggressive schedule: two weeks (about 16 hours) to initially write/rewrite each of the eight chapters of my book, then one week (eight hours) to further revise each chapter. Then I sent my still very rough book out to five readers for feedback, after which I had another month (40 hours) to incorporate their comments into another round of revisions.
Each day, I faithfully showed up at my computer, prayed that God would make it possible for me to do more than I knew I could do, and started typing. Sometimes the words poured generously across the page. Sometimes they had to be wrenched and wrestled there.
But either way, the Spirit of God was breathing life into my words; I just couldn’t always see that at the time.
For instance: the Epiphany chapter of my book gave me fits. I wrote and found nothing usable, so I wrote again with the same result. It took me 12 of my 16 hours to even find a gem I could use to provide direction for the chapter. But once I did, the writing flowed, and in just a few hours I was able to finish the whole chapter, piecing in material I’d written—and written off—in those frustrating days of what seemed like wasted writing time.
Months later, when I got my editor’s comments back, he wanted significant revisions to—guess what—the Epiphany chapter. I went through eight drafts, using various iterations of my editor’s suggestions before one line—one line!— morphed into a story, and that story fit the themes of the chapter far better than I could have ever dreamed.
I think of Jesus’ words to his disciples after they feed the 5000: “Gather up the fragments, that nothing may be lost” (John 6:12). Indeed, nothing was. Amazing, that.
Book giveaway! Leave a comment on this post by December 15th and your name will be entered in a drawing to receive a copy of Kimberlee’s book!
In CIRCLE OF SEASONS: MEETING GOD IN THE CHURCH YEAR (Intervarsity), Kimberlee Conway Ireton shows how paying attention to the circling of the liturgical seasons can deepen our faith. Through reflections on her experience, she encourages Christians to embrace the church year, exploring the ways it shapes our unfolding life with Christ.
She invites readers to participate in the rhythms of its seasons—from the reflective preparation of Advent and Lent to the joyful celebrations of Christmas and Easter to the often lulling dailiness of Ordinary Time—and shows how these seasons ground our life with Christ in time, in Scripture, and in community.
In addition to her book, Kimberlee Conway Ireton blogs about good reads, great writing, and raising her four young children on her website. In December, she’ll also be writing scintillating posts about Advent and Christmas.