In my years as a published author, I have encountered countless people who talk about writing a book, yet few follow through. If you’re one of those dreamers who have a book in you, it’s time to buckle down, bite the bullet, and get the job done. Why?
It'll get you out of bed in the morning
There’s nothing like the “tonic of a fresh task,” especially as you approach and experience the second half of life. 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!
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 diligence and discipline. Knowing that what I produce will also be preached, I’ll dig a little deeper in search of just the right explanation, illustration, and application.
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 several messages itching to be preached.
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.
It'll help expand your ministry
I’m preaching to much smaller crowds in this interim phase of ministry, which I’m very happy to do. At the same time, I’m fulfilled in knowing writing has increased that number exponentially. Thanks to a great deal with a generous printer, I’m able to give away hundreds of books a year. Of course, I’d like to see them. Yet I’d rather them be in the hands of people than boxes in my office closet.
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. Just don’t cut corners when it comes to editing, paper quality and cover design.
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 nearly two decades ago, I remember a mentoring preacher/author encouraging 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 absolutely right. I’ve had scores of supporters contribute thousands of dollars toward the publication of my books. I seek their help at the beginning of the process and present them with signed copies of the first books off the press.
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 still living in this fallen world, long after you’ve gone to be with Jesus.
In response to Habakkuk’s lament, the LORD replied, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it” (vs 2:2). Like that ancient prophet, God may have a message He wants to deliver through you. Write it down and get it out there so that others may get in on the blessing.
Todd Gaddis served 30 years as full-time senior pastor and is currently interim pastor at First Baptist Church in Statham.