“Reflections on Writing my Book”
Some people are born to write.
Their words seem to flow out of their minds and land so beautifully on their laptop screens. They seem to write effortlessly with their words artistically captured and perfectly written on the pages their printers produce. Their ideas seem magically to appear, profoundly laid out before their eyes. For some, writing is their passion and they are masters of it.
But for the rest of us, writing is torturous.
My experience of writing is painful, full of anxiety, and full of stress. For me, it is a forced task which comes with lots of mind-convincing tactics and promises to myself that “something good will come out of hours and hours of thinking and writing.” It seems like everything I write is forced onto the page and rearranged like a jigsaw puzzle that was painfully put together through “grin and bear it” glasses.
This is who I am. Perhaps others among you have similar experiences and feelings about writing. Presently, I am finishing my third book entitled, Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit (Palgrave Pivot, 2013). Believe me, the entire process of writing this book was difficult and at times full of anguish. So many nights, I was just going to give up. But somehow I pushed through.
This third book is special to me since the topic has been hovering over me since I finished my Ph.D. I keep asking, “Why is what I am doing important if it doesn’t influence life now or for generations to come?” I do not want to write something that will have no positive bearing on our lives or on God’s created world. If my writing does not make any impact, then it becomes source of recycled paper, another kettle of words bound together with cover or something to grace the line on my c.v.
So, I wanted my book to make a difference in how people understand some of the problems of our world today. I wanted them to be filled with the understanding that we have power to change that reality. My hope is that people will reimagine a future where our children and generations to come can experience a flourishing life, where the earth is not a battleground, but an earth that can replenish itself. My hope is that they will live in harmony with all creation. I want people to live a flourishing life and understand the Spirit of God resides in us and in all creation. This Spirit of God is transformative and will empower us to make radical changes in our lives, the world, and the whole creation.
This is the reason I wrote this book. But I knew that waiting for the ideal situation to finish the book would be futile. Being a mom, a professor, a scholar, and trying to write a book is difficult. The sabbatical which occurs every seven years would mean I would need to wait five more years to finish this book. Waiting till my three children grow up would mean I would have to wait another ten years to finish this book. Waiting for better health so I can devote more of my time to writing this book will never happen. The motto I have come to live by is what I found on the internet. “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
With this simple motto, I decided to push forward to finish the book. I cannot wait for my next sabbatical, or my children to grow up, or my minor surgery to pass before I finish this book. Thus I completed the book in spite of not having ideal conditions. In humility I present my thoughts for discussion and reflection. It was not written in ideal conditions and in many ways it is an unfinished offering. But I offer the book, hoping you will engage with me in this important conversation of how to live so all people and all God’s creation will flourish.