Last month, I tried to give you an overview of the major “chunks” of time that go into a typical workday for me. This month, I want zoom in a little closer on one of those daily chunks: the actual writing of a page in one of the books in the WordPoints Daybook Series. As you know, I am currently working on Volume 6 in the series, and this one will be called Walking in Christ — the follow-up to Volume 5, Obeying the Gospel.
Since each page in these books contains a sharply focused point or idea, the first thing I have to do each day is decide on the idea for a new page. It might be a crucial passage of Scripture that relates to the theme of the book, or it might be a helpful insight, doctrinal truth, or important question. The critical thing is that whatever the starting point for that page is, it must be sharply focused in my mind. If it isn’t, then I must select something else to write on that day or spend however much time it takes to get the concept for the page defined more clearly.
All of these pages has the same elements: a title, a passage of Scripture, a first paragraph, one or more intermediate paragraphs, a closing paragraph, and a quotation. Whichever one of these pieces I start with, I must find the others before I start to write. Gathering all the elements sometimes requires additional reading, research, and thinking. In many cases, I have to spend all of that day’s writing time just studying a single passage of Scripture. With Obeying the Gospel, it often took several days of study and prayer before I was able to start writing a page.
As for the paragraphs that make up the heart of the page, I do not begin to write until I have clearly in mind what I want to do with the individual paragraphs, as well as the order in which I want to arrange them. I rarely begin writing until I have jotted down on paper the point of each paragraph, as well as the point of the entire page.
No two pages ever come together in exactly the same way. I once talked to a songwriter in Nashville who said that writing songs is very similar: you might start with a bit of melody, a line or two of lyrics, or even just a title for the song. But whichever door is your point of entry, you have to find all of the other bits and pieces that are needed.
As for the writing itself, some pages go down fairly easily, while others are more stubborn. When I have gotten a rough draft done, I put it aside and do other things. At the end of the day, I return to it and try to get to the point where I can say, “It has been written.” But over the next weeks — and months — I come back to the page over and over, refining it, sharpening it, and getting it ready to go to my two editors. When, months later, their suggestions come back to me, I must decide which of those suggestions to accept, and also make my own “final” improvements.
I try to surround each stage of the work in prayer, Scripture study, and pondering. Sometimes I map out a new page before I go to sleep at night — and my brain basically writes the page while I am asleep. The next morning, I have to run to the computer as quickly as possible and capture what I have produced while sleeping, before it gets away.
I’ll have some more to say about these things next month, Lord willing. But this month, I wanted to give you the basic outline of my writing routine. And believe me, I appreciate every prayer you offer for every part of this work.
Pray with me that I will be given the ability to finish these works
- Walking in Christ — Book 6 in the WordPoints Daybook Series. Target: November 2025.
- Going Home — Book 7 in the WordPoints Daybook Series. Target: November 2028.
- Seeking God in the Psalms — a 52-lesson study — theme for each week, studies for Monday-Friday.
- Ecclesiastes — a full-scale commentary on the text of Ecclesiastes.
- Encountering Christ — what the Scriptures teach about Jesus Christ . . . and why we should believe it.