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.”