The more I take away from my book, the clearer I’m seeing my book come to life.  It is like peeling carrots, cutting off the useless ends, washing the carrots, cutting them finely once again, and starting  the process of cooking them. I’ve been doing a good job of shaving off the peels of faith stories that don’t fit into my larger vision.

A few weeks ago, I was so happy because I had reached 60k words of writing in my book. I knew that was a great start. And then, little by little, I took out my proverbial machete and started carefully removing ill-fitting stories at their root. It was great to see how much I wrote in 2012, but just because I wrote more didn’t mean it was better.

Little by little, I’ve come to realize that I don’t want stories about general problems or worries in my book because I feel they don’t make the impact I’m looking for.

Eight years ago, I wrote a lot of general stories about things I was feeling and problems I was going through at that time. I tied in simple observations about feeling bad with a lovely bow of faith at the end. All pleasant, but not fitting in well with what I want to accomplish now. I know I want something more hardcore that is raw, deeply personal, reflects my true feelings, and may possibly make others cringe.

After doing this for some time, the cringe-factor became my litmus test. If I think my story will make somebody cringe or feel embarrassed for me in some way, then I know it’s the kind of story I want included in my book. I made a decision to keep faith stories that packed a punch, were specific, and deeply affected me in some way. Only then, would a discussion of faith make sense.

As you can see from my progress as of today, June 8, 2020, you’ll see I’m no longer ahead of the game as I thought I was. I am a little bit sad, actually, to only be at 42k words, which is almost 20k words less than where I was recently.

On the plus side, I love seeing everything I managed to accomplish so far. I’m extremely busy ironing out my stories to make them more consistent. If you look at stories 9 – 16 in the photo above, you’ll see a lot of these have general titles. I’m still reviewing what I wrote eight years ago. It is a slow job, but I’m making steady progress. I also love how I’ve begun separating some of these stories by good things that happened to me. That was another thing I forgot I did. Back then, I did take the time to highlight pleasant things I was going through, and how faith accentuated them.

The plan I came up with is like a mountain or a huge rainbow. Everything on the ascent has been bad, though resolved with faith. The huge thundercloud at the top will be the most pivotal experience in my book. Can’t tell you what that is just yet. The descent of the rainbow will match up with every Irish belief that at the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold, which is really a faith affirmation.

I hope you are starting to see my book take shape. I’m terribly excited at how streamlined and clearer my vision is. I’m thrilled to be able to present my writing and my goals for this book in a way that is logical and well-defined.

The Cringe Factor is a Useful Tool

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