Crunch Time

I hereby give you ten things to remember when you are nearing the end of your book manuscript and facing the Mt. Everest of edits:

  1. Bagged salad and cold cuts might be the dinner of choice for the next few months. Toss a handful of baby carrots alongside and all will be fine. Promise.
  2. Deep breaths when someone tells you that your writing gig is such a nice hobby. Resist the urge to spear them with your #2 Ticonderoga. They know not what they say.
  3. Now repeat to yourself: This is a reader I am called to love and serve, not spear.
  4. Thank your family and friends in advance for honoring your banker’s hours–swaths of time spent hunched over your desk, feverishly writing. They will deserve a medal as you cross the finish line, their due reward for generously granting you those twin, golden sunbeams of silence + time.
  5. Stand up, stretch, and take a walk. Gulp the fresh air and revel in God’s magnificent creation. The world is much bigger than you and your book.
  6. There will come a day when you will reach into the depths of your wardrobe and choose to dress in something other than your favorite ratty t-shirt and sweats. Respect and honor the fact that today is not that day.
  7. You will find yourself struck by powerful waves of new and fanciful writing ideas. Exquisite concepts for books, blog posts, and articles. Visions that have absolutely nothing to do with the book coming due. Jot them down in haste and fling them into your bottom desk drawer. Return to the task at hand.
  8. Oddly enough, you might find yourself bombarded by strange ideas while striving to finish a book. For instance, perhaps as you are typing away, you choose the word carve and wonder: Why does former NFL QB Brett Favre pronounce his last name to rhyme with “carve?” It is an impossible pronunciation by all accounts given the fact that the letter ‘v’ precedes the letter ‘r.’ Wild-eyed and despondent, nearly delirious by this horrifying, unmentionable anomaly, you look up, glance at your surroundings, only to realize that you are babbling, and no one else cares a whit about such a flagrant mispronunciation.
  9. Which sparks fresh insight: It is time to resolutely step away from your book for two entire days. Take in a good movie or crawl into bed and sleep. Immediately.
  10. This too shall pass. Praise be. Only two chapters to go. As you finish this marathon, keep in mind that God has designed you, and when you write, you feel his pleasure (as Eric Liddell did while running.) God alone has graced you with this present opportunity. Thank him for it and keep going. One year from now your mind will be deliciously rested and you just might find yourself reaching into that bottom desk drawer (See #7), pulling out an idea for the next book. Make sure to stock up on bagged salad and cold cuts.

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