I wrote a blog post this morning. And I hated it. The topic was marriage, but I had two main ideas and they kept warring with each other. I finally admitted that it wasn’t the topic (I can always kill off the weaker main idea); I just didn’t feel like writing a blog post.
Now, normally, I would push through. Go, Lori. Just Finish It. No matter how tired I was or how muddy the blog post became, I’d just get ‘er done.
However, my 25-year old son Eric happened to be in my kitchen when I told him of my struggle to write. He asked me why I was struggling and I said, “Because I’d rather be writing my book. I don’t want to write a blog post.” He laughed and said, “So write a blog post about the book you are writing.”
Now that actually got me excited. I’d love to write about that.
Okay, did you know that 87% of Americans want to write a book? And do you know that only 1% actually do it?
I now know why.
Plain and simple, it’s hard.
What makes the writing process so difficult: putting the thoughts down on paper in a way that feels natural.
At first I followed an outline but after writing a couple of chapters, it felt like I was in first grade. The words and sentences were choppy.Nothing substantial developed.
Then I changed tactics and wrote from a mind map, organizing it in Scrivener. A mind map is just a big paper with the main theme written down in the middle of the paper and then supporting details in circles all around that. Yes, it’s sort of like an outline but it’s not as prim and proper as one.
“Scrivener” is a cool program that helps me organize my thoughts in book form vs. saving lots of documents in folders in a traditional word processing program. Many writers use Scrivener. It is fantastic.
I wrote the first draft which is actually dubbed the “shitty first draft.” It’s the time when you just puke and get everything out.
Well, I got it out. And it was, indeed, a shitty first draft. I didn’t like much about it. I had anticipated that; my mentor told me to expect it.
I just needed to find my voice. I pulled out of the writing process and began reading bits and pieces of my favorite authors. What made me love their stuff? Well, their tone. They had a way of conveying an idea that made me smile and nod, laugh and sometimes even cry.
They made me FEEL.
I knew, if I wanted to make others feel, then I’d have to be willing to live in the emotional place of track meets.
Track meets get to me.
Every single time I am at a track meet I am absolutely moved by the beauty and raw talent on the track. I know they have worked hard but more than that, I know they have been gifted by God.
Being fast is a gift.
There are runners that understand the gift given. And they take that gift, combine it with hard work and I get to enjoy the outcome. As they run with passion and power and heart, I see their raw selves exposed. They run with everything they possess. And it brings me to tears. Always.
I was at a JV track meet on Thursday. I was standing next to my daughter Bridget and the boys’ two mile was going on. As I watched those boys run past us, the tears just poured from my eyes.
Bridget was like, “Really? You and track meets.”
She knows. She knows because she has sat with me at track meets. Even though I didn’t have runners I would go to the state track meet. Because I wanted to see the best of the best.
And every year, I would sit in the stands at Wichita State University with my sunglasses hiding my eyes. And I would weep with deep joy.
And I wanted THAT kind of emotion to be present in my writing. No, I don’t want to sit and cry, but I wanted to engage with that deeper part of me, allowing my readers to be moved, too.
So now, as I write, that is my gauge. Does what I am sharing engage the emotional “track meet” part of me?
It feels crazy vulnerable to live and give and write at that place. But it also feels right. I am currently on the second to last chapter of my fourth draft of the book. I hope to be finished with the entire book by the end of next week.
Then it’s a month of editing. I will hire an actual editor to make sure there are no stupid gramattical errors and I am also letting some close friends read the book for readability. What stories flow? What is too much? What is not enough?
After editing, it’s about publishing/promoting.
The main theme of my book is about our identity as Christians. What makes a Christian a Christian?
Who are we? What do we believe? What exactly happened on that Cross? And how did that change things?
My target audience is someone like myself, a Catholic/Christian mother.
I have loved writing. It’s making me articulate what’s been in my heart. For more than a few years I have been speaking with parents about pornography and how to help our children understand it so they can reject it.
My son Eric joined me in this mission field.
As we have given presentations and worked with parents, we have learned a ton.
We have learned a lot about addictive behavior.
But here’s the heavy truth: Telling someone they are doing something wrong doesn’t give them the ability to stop doing it.
In the same way, telling someone not to do something does not magically give them the ability to not do it.
We needed to go deeper, into the belief systems of the parents. Because we found that parents have parented in this way: Porn is bad. Stay away from it.
And it has not been effective. The kids still engage in the behavior but they simply hide it from their parents. We knew there was a better way.
So instead of researching “out there,” we started on a journey of healing and going inward.
Eric and I walked separately. We live in different places. We have read different books. We have different influencers in our lives. Yet God took us on the same journey. In the past year, we have truly learned who we are in Christ.
As we walked, we knew that we needed some solid answers and we were willing to go wherever that would take us. Our Protestant brothers and sisters taught us a ton.
I think I even become Protestant for a bit. I’m joking, but not really. Protestants understand the message of salvation better than Catholics. So we simply became non-judgemental and were open to the message.
We learned. I cannot speak for Eric, but I went from disbelief to belief and from well, sort of a rebellious angry attitude towards my Church to a glorious appreciation of it.
Eric and I are giddy. Grateful. We both now know what it means to be a strong Catholic Christian.
By the way, my son Mitchell is home from seminary this weekend and I told him, “Hey, I’m Catholic again.” He just smiled and said, “Welcome back, Mum.”
My husband Russ said our delving into Protestant teaching has given us a new passion for our Catholic faith. He said, “The most passionate Catholics are the converts.”
Since we were born Catholic we cannot exactly say we are converts; I guess Eric and I reverted to Catholicism. It was a needed step. Our Church is hurting right now. We don’t want to rebel against it but help rebuild it.
I hope this book can be a small part of that.
So why is our faith walk important? Well, I was talking to a small group of Catholic women and none of them had truly heard the message of salvation. They knew how to do the things of our faith. And they were doing them well. But rules don’t save. Rules don’t convert hearts. Rules don’t transform.
When my conversion to Christ happened last April, it shifted everything. EVERYTHING.
My relationship with my husband Russ changed.
But for me, the more important change was with my children.
THAT transformative message is what I want to give to my Catholic mama friends. When we understand who we are in Christ, when we get that the battle is not with flesh and blood, then we will see that the battle has already been won and we can step into the breach and with love and compassion, energy and passion, gift our children with the knowledge of their truest identity.
That is our mission as mothers. But we cannot give what we do not have. So I want to start with us. It might seem dry or boring. Believe me, it’s anything but.
There is more going on here than meets the eye. We need to delve deep into eternal truths.
I believe we can change our culture through our families! Not only that, but Catholic Mama, you are an incredibly important part of the healing that will take place in our Church.
If you would like to be kept informed about the release of the book (I plan on releasing it for free for a time) then sign up for our email list in the BLOG HEADER at the top of the page.
I love this life.
So glad you are in it.
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