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Category: Writing

What Releasing a Book Has Taught Me, One Year Later

One year ago today English Lessons was born. To commemorate this book’s first birthday, I would like to write it a thank you note/birthday card. If you think this is strange, don’t worry, it is. But when you write a book, it kind of becomes its own entity. A person in itself. You birthed it, yes, but then you quickly learn it’s just going to do what it’s going to do. No matter how much you will it to be a certain way, to be read by certain people, to be understood as a certain…

When I Am Certain of Nothing Else

The first part of 2018 has looked very different from my past few years as a full-time writer. As a writer, I spend most of my days alone typing at my computer, with the occasional phone call thrown in. But this year, I’ve had several speaking engagements that have required preparation and travel. I’ve been writing, but I’ve been writing talks and sermons, and I’ve spent a good deal of time in my living room reading over them and timing myself. My vocal chords are adjusting to what are typically quiet days. While I’ve…

When You Study the Bible for a Living

A few weeks ago my community group at church discussed this question: What is your relationship with scripture right now? I thought about it for a while and said, “It’s complicated. Scripture can feel like my job sometimes.” I study the Bible for a living. A lot of my freelance work over the years has been in the religious publishing sector. Right now, I contribute monthly to a women’s devotional site. I am working on a study guide for a Christian book releasing next year, and I blog weekly for a Bible study company. All of this work…

Announcing A New Project: Breathing Room

This is how my ideas come to fruition: I have an idea. I think about that idea for a long time. I say the idea out loud, but only to myself. One day, I say the idea out loud to a trusted friend. Then, I say it to more friends. I practice speaking the idea. Maybe it’s to gauge others’ responses. Maybe it’s to gauge my own. Am I really serious about this? Do I really want to do it? Or, do I just like thinking about it? I go one of two ways: 1. I decide it…

Why I Get Off Social Media on the Weekends

Every Friday at 5 p.m. I get off social media. I delete my apps from my phone and try my hardest to resist logging in on my laptop for the rest of the night and all day Saturday and Sunday. Then on Monday morning, around 8, I get back on. I reload the apps on my phone and scroll and stalk at will. I am not perfect at it and there are definitely weekends—especially when the book was coming out—that I remain online, but for the most part, I am social media free on the weekends and…

The Book. The Product

Well it’s here. It’s a real life, bound beauty of a thing isn’t it? I would like to talk about how this all got started. This whole book thing. I want you to know, and I need to remind myself because lately English Lessons has felt less like a book and more like something else. More like…a product. I realize this now as I reflect on my reaction when the final hardcover edition of the book arrived on my doorstep a week and a half ago. Earlier that day I had just received some disappointing news…

Should You Pre-order English Lessons? Probably. Here’s Why.

So the process of releasing a book is in full swing. This time last year I was hardly able to tell you what the book was about. Now, I can tell you everything! It’s so great. I don’t know if you’re into pre-ordering books or not. I am, but only for special books. For example, as soon as I heard Arundhati Roy was releasing her second novel, 20 years after releasing her first, I pre-ordered it online immediately. Pre-ordering ensures you will get a copy in case stock gets low. It ensures you will…

English Lessons Launch Team: How You Could Be On It

I tell a story in the book about this time in Oxford when somebody stole a battery from me. I rode a bike everywhere in Oxford. I didn’t have a car, so I depended on that bike to get me from here to there, rain or shine. It was illegal to ride a bike in Oxford without a headlight and taillight. Or, as we liked to call them, “front lights” and “back lights.” One night I went to a pub and locked up my bike outside. When I came back out, ready to go home, my front light didn…

English Lessons: The Book Cover and How Writing Makes You Crazy

Around this exact moment on this day last year, I hit SEND on my manuscript. I had spent the previous nine days in a bit of a frenzied state. I did not speak to other people. I holed up in a garage apartment in the country for a couple of days. My physical appearance got scary. All I did was write, and read out loud and go on runs. For nine days. In that time I rethought my entire book. I questioned everything I had been writing for the last two and a half years. I decided to change my…

2017.

2017. I know three things about it so far: It will be the year my first book releases. It will be the year I move home. And, I hope, it will be the year that I rest. I think above all else, 2016 made me aware of how tired I feel. I’m not sure I’m supposed to confess that sort of the thing in a New Year’s blog post, but that’s the truth. I am tired. In September this year, my dad and I attended the Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop, led by writer Leslie Leyland Fields…