Writer's Log: Stardate 12-1-1
The beginning of a new year is a great time to think about trying new things, refraining from old things, and retrying things you gave up on from previous resolution. I have the usual list: I want to lose 25 pounds, spend less time bashing Republicans (although I don’t think I can give that up entirely in an election year), get my basement cleaned out, and spend more time with my daughters. But I also want to try an experiment with my writing for 2012: I want to post a comment every day about my life as a writer, focusing on the most important aspect of that day.
This is the first time I have started the New Year with virtually all my professional energy focused on writing and its associated speaking engagements, grant writing, and media appearances. And—also for the first time—I am teaching a writing workshop that I am really excited about. I have 8 students at Gordon College who will be working with me on my new book. This is something I have been trying to get going for years and I am eager to see how it goes. I am also planning a year-end non-fiction writing symposium at Gordon.
The writing events that will dominate 2012 for me include the following:
1) Working on my book Creating Adam that has a year-end deadline. All 8 of my students at Gordon have told me they want to work on this with me. A couple of them have already started.
2) Promoting my book Wonder of the Universe, which comes out in April and, as far as I can tell, is 100% complete at the moment.
3) Finishing the last few editorial details on my book God Saw that it was Good, which is scheduled for September. That book is completely written but I think I will have page proofs to approve, an index to create, and I will probably have to hit up some of my big shot friends to write blurbs for the back cover.
4) Getting my next book project set up. I don’t want to ever be without a major writing project and it takes so long to get a book contract that I will probably start thinking about my next project in late spring. I have several ideas to explore but I need to get further along on Creating Adam before I start thinking about that.
5) Speaking and media appearances. I have quite a few speaking gigs set up and various requests from the media to deal with. I actually enjoy interacting with the media but it can be nerve-wracking because you lose some control of your message. Reporters really want you to say inflammatory things to make their stories exciting and sometimes things appear in print that are more dramatic than you intended. One example is the title that our editor put on the op-ed that I wrote (with Randall Stephens) in the NY Times. He called it “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason,” which was a bit hyperbolic since the piece was about tensions within evangelicalism, not tensions between evangelicals as a whole and “reason,” whatever that would look like. But I was honored to be in the world’s leading newspaper so, on balance it was a positive experience. I have a request now from a reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Ed who is working on a story about what it is like to be a controversial scholar at a conservative college. I plan to navigate that quite carefully.
6) Blogging and other writing. Writers like me, who are not so famous that their books automatically fly off the shelves like those of Stephen King, have to work on growing their “platform.” For me this includes things like blogging as often as I can on the Huffington Post and other media outlets. I am fortunate that I have “broken into” this level of exposure and I can basically post something on Huffpo whenever I want. But it takes time and, alas, it does not pay anything. I am also trying to figure out how to effectively use facebook, my website, twitter, and other media. And frankly, all that is quite overwhelming…
OK. So this is post #1 for 2012. See you tomorrow!