Winston and Me

Recently I completed a proofreading job for a master’s degree candidate (one of my part time income streams) which contained an insightful quote from Winston Churchill:

“Writing a book is an adventure.  To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement;  then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant.  The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.”

Churchill’s metaphoric perspective got me thinking about where I am in my own authorship process for my first book (and this companion blog) Sex-ed Homestyle: Equipping Parents to do the Job Right, at Home . . . Where It Belongs!

An adventure?  Yes, I’m still considering the entire project an adventure . . . albeit a much longer one than I had anticipated.

A toy and an amusement?  No, I can’t say I agree with Churchill about this phase. My non-fiction opus has always been an arduous task … words flow far more efficiently and confidently when I speak than when I write.

A mistress?  No, even though my manuscript discusses numerous aspects of sexuality with candor and explicitness, I won’t compare any stage of my process to an adulterous affair.  Besides, there’s nothing secretive or forbidden about my writing.  My husband knows all about it and cheers me on, while my accountability partners pray for me.  All of you blog readers have sampled my handling of various sex-related topics, and some of you have provided meaningful feedback.  To my knowledge no one has reported me to the vice squad . . . or to my pastor.

A master?  Yes, this seems to be where I am right now.  At this stage the writing process is a “friendly master” because I consider the book idea a calling from God Himself.  I willingly embrace the servitude, committing myself to this heavy topic, which appeals only to a limited & struggling demographic . . . those who value biblical virtue.  Sex education is such a high stakes endeavor that I feel external & internal pressure to ensure my instruction manual offers impeccable facts & statistics, clarity, utility and winsomeness.  The pressure is intensified by my internal drive to equip beleaguered parents and to glorify God.

A tyrant?  Yes, but I expect to feel the fullness of that tyranny once a publisher accepts my book proposal and gives me a firm deadline by which the manuscript must be completed & submitted.  I’ll have to scale back outside work commitments and my already skimpy social life.  My dear husband will have to tolerate months of convenience food and a lower standard of housekeeping . . . just like he did when I wrote my master’s thesis.

A monster that I’ll kill and fling to the public?  Yes, I hope so.  But I’ll keep my sword & shield handy . . . especially when hostile segments of the public try to fling the beast back at me defaced by nasty mocking & sharp criticism.  To fight discouragement I’ll pray hard and recall more of Churchill’s advice:

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Winston and Me

  1. omd says:

    Ahh… good ole Winnie. Quite a leader. Many didn’t like him and many thought him a hero. There will always be those that take the role as opposing critic.

    One of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt:

    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” ~
    “Citizenship in a Republic,”
    Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

    Keep going Linda. Yours is a subject that needs to be in the public discourse. The material is important. Your book will be an influence on the culture.

    “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

  2. Holly says:

    The calling, the striving, the discipline to reach a goal…. all part of His huge tapestry being woven and spun for unseen…. and seen…. Kingdom purposes. He has given you the gifts and the tools….. He will strengthen you to persevere in this important task. The old adage…. “if only one life is impacted/changed”, etc….. bears a weight of truth that is worth considering. It matters not the “market”, the reception, or the journey there…. the outcome is obedience to the task given YOU. What a privilege to cheer you on, and watch the mystery unfold.

  3. Tanja says:

    Thank you for sharing your insights about Churchill and your upcoming book. However we view the writing process, fun or arduous, your attitude that God has directed our work as writers is spot on. God crafted us with the ability to use words well, and then he put a burden upon our hearts. We just need to trust him enough with the process and remember that “whatever [we do,] we work at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” I am looking forward to reading your manuscript.

  4. Kim says:

    All these steps are also reminiscent of pregnancy and childbirth. Praying for you and am VERY proud of you as well. God has a great plan for your life. This is just another chapter of your life .

  5. Linda says:

    Thank you dear readers! I am moved and my spirit is immensely buoyed by the outpouring of encouragement from you all! The Lord has raised you up as a team of faithful, praying cheerleaders, sans pom-poms 🙂 And I know there are many more teammates who haven’t posted but quietly support my efforts.

    OMD – Thanks for the apropos quote from the “rough rider” himself! Writing a “politically incorrect book” is indeed a rough ride, but infinitely more satisfying than a “safe, gentle walk on a smooth, level path”.

    Holly – You wrote: “It matters not the “market”, the reception, or the journey there…. the outcome is obedience to the task given (to me).” Yes, one of the themes throughout my book is that God calls us to be faithful, not successful. He rewards our obedience and is alone responsible for the impact of the book. He certainly defines “success” differently than we sinners do. Even though I tell others these things I still need to hear them stated back to me once in a while . . . uh, okay, FREQUENTLY! Thanks for your willingness to keep reminding me 🙂

    Tanja – Thanks for Colossians 3:23 ” . . . work at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” . . . one of my favorite Scriptures! Bob & I are entering a season in which I should be able to devote more of my heart to the book and less to employment for paying the bills. Keep your proofreading skills sharpened; I’ll be sending you a new chapter draft soon.

    Kim – You wrote: “All these steps are also reminiscent of pregnancy and childbirth.”
    Yes, prior to reading the Churchill metaphors I had heard other authors compare book-writing to pregnancy & birth . . . after naturally delivering 3 daughters I can relate!

    God bless you all!

  6. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!

    It is the little changes that produce the most important changes.
    Many thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *