Friday morning seems like a good time to provide some updates on what I’ve been up to lately, and especially what I’ve been up to in relation to my writing.
Yesterday morning was a big day: After eight months of work I finally submitted the manuscript for The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion. Surprisingly, it was a bittersweet moment for me. I was very thankful to be able to send it in and to be able to anticipate at least a few weeks away from it. It has been a long, hard push to complete the book—something that has taken me far beyond the 9 to 5. I’ve enjoyed writing it, but look forward to having a short break from it (like when your kids go to grandma’s for a couple of days—you miss them, but you’re glad for the break!).
At the same time it was also a little bitter. I was somewhat ashamed to send in a manuscript that wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. I think the ideas in the book are good and helpful but as of this moment, it just doesn’t have the flow I want it to have. Here’s the problem. After writing 80,000 words I found that I just wasn’t able to get “above” or “beyond” the book anymore to see it from a wide perspective. I was just too close to it. I know there are a few elements in the book that need to be improved but either I can’t tell quite what they are or I can see plainly but don’t know how to fix them. I found that profoundly frustrating and very nearly exasperating.
However, all is not lost. Helping me in such things is the job of an editor and I’m grateful that I’ve got a good one. The book is in Ryan the Editor’s  hands now and I know he’ll do great work in helping me with the flow of the ideas. He’ll have that big picture perspective that I’ve been unable to find. I know that the book will be much improved after he has helped me through this part of it.
I guess all of that humiliation is really just a manifestation of pride. I feel like I should be able to write a really good book without the help of an editor. And yet here I am saying, “I need your help!” It’s good for me, I’m sure; a valuable lesson. I think God is using this to teach me something and I suppose that means I ought to listen!
The plan is that Ryan will have the book for a few weeks so that he can begin to work his magic on it. Then he will send it back to me and I’ll have a few weeks of my own to respond with changes, improvements, and new content. By the time this stage is complete I am sure that I will be much more comfortable with the state of the manuscript. I am looking forward to being at that point. If you have been praying for me as I’ve been writing and would like to continue doing so, this is what you can pray for—that God will provide that final bit of direction I need to take all of those ideas and weave them together into a cohesive whole.
We are also beginning to look at cover design, something I always look forward to since it brings with it an element of reality—once the book has a cover it is much closer to becoming a real book. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as there is something worth seeing.
The Next Story is still on-track for release in April.
Sexual Detox is on the way and will be released in printed form just a couple of weeks from now. It has a new subtitle (“A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn”), it has been edited and added to, and it has been endorsed by Ted Tripp, Mark Driscoll, Kevin DeYoung, Ben Zobrist and Owen Strachan. All-in-all I think it’s a much better book than the one I gave away for free in e-book format. It is being published by Cruciform Press, a company of which I am a co-founder, and is our very first book. I’ll have more news about it in the days to come.
In January Crossway will be publishing a book titled Don’t Call It a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day. Kevin DeYoung edited the book and I contributed one of its chapters. Crossway gives this as part of their description: “DeYoung and other key twenty- and thirty-something evangelical Christian leaders present Don't Call It a Comeback: The Same Evangelical Faith for a New Day to assert the stability, relevance, and necessity of Christian orthodoxy today. This book introduces young, new, and under-discipled Christians to the most essential and basic issues of faith in general and of evangelicalism in particular.” That book is set for release in late January.