Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Years Resolution

Now that my first book is all but done, I have started working on a second one. It's about "listening" - listening to God and listening to others. So my new years resolution is to send in a book proposal in 2009.

Has anyone found any good resources, or have any thoughts, about that topic? I would appreciate your input.

Happy New Year, everyone. 2009 is going to be a better year, I hope.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The value of self-understanding

Last weekend I spent a few days with some of my college buddies in Nashville, attending a wedding and enjoying the city (in spite of frigid weather). It was really the first time I have spent extended time in a southern state, and the first thing I noticed was that people were very friendly and EXTREMELY talkative. I have a feeling that my book will sell well in the south, as I would bet that introverts in the south feel particularly odd and displaced in their churches.

It was a very extroverted weekend in general. Four of us were staying in the same hotel room, so there was no where I could retreat. Two of my friends are extreme extroverts, with seemingly limitless social energy. Since it was just for a few days, I tended to go along with the activities they wanted to do, though by the third night I was exhausted. As an introvert, I require more sleep than my extroverted friends, but the sleeping arrangements did not allow for adequate sleep. My friends are some of my favorite people in the world, but by the end of the weekend I was definitely irritable and in desperate need of some personal space.

What I was happy about, by the end of the weekend, was how much my self-understanding has progressed over the past few years. A few years ago, I would have come home from a trip like that and my wife and I would have wound up in conflict because of introverted and extroverted differences. Yet we have come to understand each other's differences, and she knew that I would not have much capacity for recapping my trip or listening to her talk about her weekend. I assured her that as soon as I had more energy we could catch up on what happened. I felt annoyed when I got home but I knew not to take it out on her and she knew not to take it personally. I recognized that the next day I would need an entire day to myself to recharge and find my bearings again. I also knew that my brain chemicals were off kilter, and that as an introvert, I needed a lot of sleep to restore balance. I made sure my schedule the next morning didn't start too early.

Self-understanding not only benefits us, but it benefits others and our relationships with them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All but done

I sent in my revised manuscript yesterday to my editor, a full month and a half ahead of my deadline. I'm hoping that means we can move up the release date, but that depends on how many other projects are in the pipeline.

Here are a few things I added to my manuscript:

1. Section on the desert fathers - whom I call "introverted ancestors."

2. Section on the difference between introverted brains and extroverted brains.

3. An encouragement for introverts to sometimes "reveal your process": intimacy is built in messiness and vulnerability, and if introverts only tell people the conclusions they have reached without letting them into the decisionmaking process, they miss out on intimacy with others.

4. Section on the practice of sabbath

A committee is meeting today to recommend a title; I'll let you know when we have decided on it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

First Reviews

I got my manuscript back from my editor last week, and I was very encouraged by the feedback. If you are unfamiliar with the editorial process, here's what happens: after the author finishes his first draft, he sends it to his editor, who then sends it out to a few outside readers for feedback. In my case, a therapist, a pastor, and a parachurch leader trained in MBTI read mine, along with my editor.

In general the response was very positive, and the feedback that wasn't positive was very helpful and constructive. One reader was positively glowing in her notes, saying that she felt more helped by reading the manuscript than she offered help to IVP! She called my book "groundbreaking."

Now I'm sifting through the feedback and making the necessary changes to my manuscript. I'm also compiling a "For Further Reading" book list and some reflection questions that will be inserted at the end of every chapter. I also have about 6000 words to excise, which is a brutal exercise for me. We are also still working on a title.

After I send my revised manuscript, my editor (who is awesome, by the way) will go through it and copyedit it, and then after that we start moving towards printing, cover designs, and sending it out for reviews before it is published. I'm working on some names of well respected introverts that could write blurbs on the back of the book. The whole process takes a LONG time. We're still shooting for a release date of fall '09.