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The "How" of "How Did You Write a Manuscript?"

How did I enact my pretty Trello plan from the last post? That’s the fundamental layer of the question, “How did you write a manuscript?”

There are two parts to this answer:

  1. I was willing to partner with God, and

  2. I stayed curious

Yes, planning and consistency are foundational to getting projects done, but this project was never just about writing a book. God knows what motivates us and how we get work done (for me, it is with peace and quiet and NO INTERRUPTIONS!), and He wants us to partner with Him.

What does being willing to partner with God mean? For me, I had to intentionally dedicate time to the writing project. That came about in two ways. I gave up sleep (at first, this was not willingly) and time with my family and friends.

I didn’t have “free time”. My 24 hours were already allotted (I had two young children and I was working part-time). I am not going to give the whole story here, but I have always held sleep precious and I previously had a few years of sleep-deprivation. Besides the typical sleepless nights from having babies, I had spent a whole year (literally 365 days) with very little sleep along with my youngest child. When I was receiving affirmation about the call to write, me and my youngest had just gotten back into good sleep habits and recovery.

One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, not because my youngest was tugging at me, not because of anything scary or sudden. It was a whisper call to my heart to get up and write. If you've been reading along with the blog, you can probably guess what happened next:

Me: "God, you've got to be kidding? It's the middle of the night and I'm just getting good sleep after years!"

God was not kidding.

I did leave my warm, comfortable bed and went to the cool, still living room. I was skeptical that I heard God in the middle of the darkness. But, as I sat for hours in that still, cool night, words flowed and I quietly pecked at the keys on my laptop. As suddenly as the invitation had been whispered, I was out of steam and heading back to bed. Not every night was like that, but countless were. I never set an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night and those calls only lasted during the writing of the first draft of the manuscript.

After that, my husband began pushing me to take “me time” on the weekends after having been with our kids all week and juggling my part-time work. He wanted time alone with the kids, so I would pack up my laptop and head to a cafe for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes, he would meet up with friends and they began to wonder if I was avoiding them. (I didn’t find this out until years later; they have been very encouraging of my writing journey since seeing a copy of my manuscript.)

I share all that because I don't want anyone to be surprised that partnering with God involves sacrifice. We're told this repeatedly in Scripture, but it doesn't always sink in (see Mark 8:34 NASB).

And that leads me to the second part: staying curious. This wasn’t a “passion project” for me (trust me, writing a book wasn't a dream or bucket list item for me; even if it was, I can think of other topics that would have been top picks). Oddly, what this did was free me up from “performing”. My “showing up” consisted of intentionally carving out time to listen (as mentioned previously), read, and write. I was free to ask questions and investigate for answers. I went down all kinds of rabbit holes (one of my favourites was learning about the meaning of words!). I wondered why God called me to this and what He would tell me.

While writing this post, I strangely remembered a common encounter in university. People would ask me what I was taking and when I replied, "Engineering", they would say, "You must be so smart!" I remember thinking and sometimes verbalizing, "No, I just work hard".

Upon further reflection, an assumption in that statement is repeated in the question about writing the manuscript. People don’t always believe that the tortoise wins the race or that slow and steady can achieve “big” things. But when we look at the Bible, it's filled with underdog stories. When people partner with the God of the Universe, anything is possible!

We tend to look at others and say, “Wow, they’ve achieved so much!” We don’t see the sacrifice: the hours of dedication, the pain to persevere, and the willingness to prioritize.

What might God be asking you to partner with Him? Are you willing to be curious about that?

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