A book is more than an expensive business card or vanity project.
A book is part of the legacy of thought that we leave for those who seek answers and inspiration.
Growing up my Grandmother had talked often of a Rev. James Ireland. Her maiden name was Ireland, and for some reason, she was quite proud of whoever this man was. She talked about him as though I should know who he was.
His name stuck with me, but anything she told me faded away with time. As a young married woman, I was helping my Mother clean out the home of her older sister who had just passed. As we packed away familiar items, my mind wandered back through the years and I heard my Grandmother’s voice, once again, proudly speaking of our family heritage.
Somewhere, I had been given the Rev. James Ireland’s biography in an old book that he had written of his life and times. Once we were home, I dug through my books and found it.
Reading through the pages, I remember being surprised about what brought the Reverand from the shores of Scotland to the shores of North America and then the impact of his work on the Baptist denomination. He was one of our “Founding Fathers” of faith in my spiritual heritage. He and his wife had several kids and they suffered many hardships.
The book was an interesting read and some of the stories still linger in my mind, but now I’m not so certain of the details and desire to read the book again. Especially now that I’m a Grandmother myself and appreciate this long, hard journey that we call life.
Much to my chagrin, I’ve loaned the book to someone … and I can’t remember who! Through Google searches, I’ve been able to see that several libraries have copies of the book, but most are on microfiche. One of these days, I’d like to locate the book once again*, so that I too can pass along this information to my Grandchildren.
*I was able to locate a PDF of the full book!
What has struck me most is how casual we are, when we are young, about the words of the older and wiser adults in our lives. It isn’t until we have experienced life and all of the trials, joys, and events of life that we can fully understand the massive weight of wisdom that our Elders carry with them. Most of the time, it is too late to go back to them and ask them questions or have those deep conversations we crave once we understand. Either our Elders have passed on, or their minds have weakened to the point that some conversations simply are not possible.
Some people think that a person has to be an expert, or have degrees, or some sort of noble accomplishments before they can write a book. That’s nonsense! If you are a living, breathing person, you have something to say. You are an expert on your own life, and the lessons learned.
The greatest block to writing a book is thinking that you have to be the expert. Even an expert is only writing about their experiences and knowledge from their viewpoint. Without a doubt – there are other “experts” who may disagree with them.
The Rev. James Ireland wrote about his life. One of the pieces to my own heritage and perhaps one of the reasons why I have always yearned to pastor those without a Shepherd. My spiritual journey in the church was not at all what I had expected, but it reflects the humanity that the Reverand told about in his own story. (Some things never change!) He was persecuted by those who had different opinions than him. Imagine that!
What he did, though, was to write about his experiences so that he could pass on a heritage of knowledge to his kin. A reminder of noting what matters and sharing the lessons learned.
NO MORE EXCUSES!
Never before in the history of mankind, has it been so simple to write, publish, and sell a book. Whether you write it as a short PDF document, or turn it into a digital book, or make it available as a print-on-demand, or pay to print it, or perhaps have an agent represent you and a large publishing company publishes it … there are no excuses for not writing about what matters to you.
NO TIME? NO MONEY? NO SUPPORT?
The perception that you have to pound out your book all at once is only one way of writing a book. J.K. Rowling, a woman who also came from Scotland wrote her book by chapters. Tons of chapters capturing various ideas, characters, and situations. She wasn’t sure what they were going to be, or how they would fit together, but she valued her ideas enough to write them down. In an interview that I watched with her, she was sitting in a room surrounded by all kinds of oddball boxes, folders, and files that were spilling over with chapters and notes that she had written.
J.K. described how, as she was pulling her chapters together, she’d pick and choose from her ideas from the many notes that were available to her. Then, when she assembled her book, she went to several publishers who, one after one, turned her down until one small publishing company took a chance on her and published her Harry Potter series.
My reference to J.K. has nothing to do with what she wrote, but how she valued her ideas and inspiration and never gave up in spite of her struggles and time limitations in her life. One piece at a time … one page at a time … one idea at a time. She jotted it down and collected her treasures for the right time.
CLICK HERE to view more about J.K Rowling and her writing journey
How much more responsibility do we have as Believers, to write about our journey through life so that others can be encouraged and learn how others have overcome! To write about how the Holy Spirit directed and led us, how Jesus Christ saved us, and how much God the Father’s love has carried us through this life and all of the hardships we encounter, is not a competition for greatness, but rather – a testimony.
How many times have you wished for a mentor or someone to explain something that you had to find out for yourself? How would you explain that answer to a child? To a young adult? An overwhelmed Mother? A prisoner?
YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
You have something to say. A legacy to leave … long after you are gone … your words will still linger and inspire someone, or give them hope. Your words will stir the imagination or direct someone to long sought after answers.
Jot down your thoughts, know where your treasured ideas and narratives are so that when the time is right, you can pull it all together. Or, invest in the time necessary to value what God has gifted you with. An hour, a day, a weekend. One woman I know, takes a cruise once a year, just to write her next book. She said that it’s the only way she can keep her thoughts in one place because of all the interruptions her busy life presents. The sound of the ocean waves against the side of the ship, the silence from technology and cell phones, and the people she meets on her trips, all contribute to her creativity. She plots out her ideas and pounds out her book. Her cruise becomes a tax write-off because it’s all business! This is her business … and she’s quite serious about valuing the gift that God has given her.
THERE ARE NO RULES AS TO HOW
My “day job” is working with Authors, Speakers, and Entrepreneurs. They inspire me! Unlike the average person, they are a “species” of people with something to say. They look forward while redeeming the lessons and stories from their past. As a Creative Life Coach, I help them with assembling their thoughts and strategies for which creative venture they are to act upon next. And as an artist and writer myself, I am challenged and stirred to write my own stories and lessons.
My unexpected journeys have exposed my courage, my strengths, my love, my weaknesses, my gifts, and my talents. It is with great pleasure that I share them with all who cross my path. Whether in business, or in ministry, especially towards women, and even more, women who are also in ministry … I treasure my treasures. I encourage you to do the same. Rejoice and resist censoring what God has blessed you with. If you have an idea, but no talent – there are those who have talent, but no ideas. There are no rules as to how you will leave your legacy. But one thing is sure, even if one person is encouraged by your journey and your story – will that not make it all worth it?
If you’d like to read or skim through this rare book that I’ve found of my great-great-great-great Grandfather, here it is …