William D. Moak: Writing Don’t Eat the Cat Food! One author’s journey…

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of William D. Moak; author of  “Don’t Eat the Cat Food.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Hemingway once said of the writing craft, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” To those who don’t – or think they can’t – write, putting a sentence together is as torturous as solving complex fractions is to me.

Through my years as a journalist, PR rep, columnist and (now) book author, I constantly run across people who say things like, “How do you do it? How do you take an idea that’s in your head and get it across in writing so other people can understand it?” I always confess that I truly don’t know the answer to that. I know that I have had a lot of training in the mechanics of writing, but I believe God did give me a gift. It took a tenth-grade English teacher to bring it out. She challenged me to start taking my writing more seriously, and I credit her (among many others) with keeping pressure on me to get better. But it’s clear that Hemingway was right: good writing comes from deep within the soul, and some of the best comes out of pain.

When I first started writing my WestBow-produced book Don’t Eat the Cat Food!, I was in a lot of pain. What had been a very promising career had just taken a disastrous turn, and I was trying to figure out how my wife, sons and I were going to survive financially. I had always known (by faith and by experience) that God is real – He provides and can be trusted. But my faith had never been so tested as it was then.  Ironically, it was the days I was now spending at home, with just my little dog Flip for company, in which my spiritual candle began to grow brighter.

MoakCoverIn my tearful prayers, I begged him to make it all go away; sometimes, I could almost see him doing a facepalm as I finally began to understand some of what he had been trying to teach me all along: I had been settling for mediocrity in my Christian life, contrary to what God has promised me. In some ways, it’s like a tiger settling for cat food, when what he really needs is meat.

A lot of thoughts jostled for attention in my ADHD brain, so I sat down at my computer one day and started typing. First, there was an essay, as I tried to collect my jumbled thoughts. As the essays piled up, an idea began to take shape in my head: “What if God is trying to get me to tell people not some ‘woe-is-me’ story, but to help them to understand how God’s economy differs from man’s?”

Then one day, I woke up and told my wife, “I have started writing a book.” Looking at me with a sideways glance, she said, calmly, “I thought you might be. Tell me about it.”

So we talked. She told me that she had been praying that God would use our situation to help others understand God better. He had been answering her prayers – and mine – in a way that was totally unexpected and new.

As the book began to take shape, I sought out a publisher. I was referred to WestBow by a representative at another label, after they made a decision to stop accepting new submissions. My first contact was a guy named Jon Lineback. Jon wasn’t at all what I had expected; a pastor himself, he asked me a lot of questions – not all of them had easy answers – to help sharpen my vision of what I wanted from this book. A lot of other great WestBow folks have helped me make the book better, and help me understand the complex world of self-publishing.

When the package containing my published hardcover arrived, I opened it hesitantly. Would I be disappointed? If I opened it, would errors jump out at me? Were all of the endless rewrites, constant proofreading and decisions worth it? Would people care? Would anybody buy a copy? Did I do this as God wanted me to?

Today, it has been three months since I opened that box. I can say without hesitation that it was all worth it. Dozens of people have told me that they have been challenged to rethink God in their own lives, and have decided they are no longer going to settle for eating the “cat food” of mediocrity because they understand that God wants their lives to count, for them to know him better, and to experience the joy found when we draw closer to God. For a writer who’s been trying to get across that very message, there is no greater joy.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.

 

 

 

 


Reuben Lachmansingh: A Personal Journey Leads to the Words Flowing Forth

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Reuben Lachmansingh; author of two titles: ” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Ruben Family edited

In the year, 2002, I found my roots in a small village called Belwasa, deep in the state of Bihar, India.

It was a serindipitous discovery because when I paid a visit to my cousin’s home in Brampton, Ontario, it was only supposed to be a courtesy call. By coincidence, he would be called out to the hospital, and I would be left chatting with my aunt, who showed me letters from an Indian relative, then working in Khartoum, Sudan. My own correspondence would start, culminating with a journey to that long forgotten village, a village that now takes a prominent place in my family history.

What flowed next were words to describe that experience, words which had mushroomed into two books. That first book, “A Dip at the Sangam,” a historical novel, tells the tale of the protagonist—my great grandfather, who ironically after a holy dip at the Sangam, the junction of the three holy rivers, was tricked into servile indentureship to toil in the cane fields of Demerara.

ruben roadThe second book, “Road to Belwasa,” is part fiction, part memoir. Its early pages describe the suffering of the protagonist’s wife, left abandoned in India, then later, fiction leads to memoir, unfolding the author’s life story, packed with incidents and anecdotes. The book ends with the author coming face to face with his ancestral home, going back some 133 years. His joy is boundless.

Writing is so much easier when one is not burdened with the task of finding a publisher. I knew I had a publisher but the challenge was to find a working partnership that would endure. Many hurdles I faced, but with the right blend of talents they were all overcome. In the end, I had two books, whose design and book cover matched the contents in quality and standard.

While writing both books, I never experienced writer’s block for it didn’t take me more than a few minutes to get the workRuben Dip flowing again. However, make no mistake, the hours spent in writing a book are countless. Finding the right words which best express the writer’s thoughts can sometimes be a daunting task, but it is so much easier when one loves to write. First, there is the challenge of coming up with ideas for the work at hand, then the words, expressed in such a way as to touch the heartstrings of the reader, who become part of the story being told. The reader has to see himself as the protagonist and must feel the same emotions as he or she is
experiencing.

Even though, I had a publisher, getting the book published was a huge task. Many revisions had to be made, while weeks became months, which could become years. With the final manuscript in place, the task of finding little errors and typographical mistakes is again time consuming. When the manuscript with its book cover is submitted for final printing, the writer expectantly awaits his “masterpiece.” The satisfaction and the congratulations that ensue from prospective readers make the journey of writing and publishing a book a worthwhile one.

Bravo WestBow Press!

Reuben Lachmansingh
www.roadtobelwasa.com

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.


Kim Chesney Negri: “Mission Accomplished”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Kim Chesney Negri; author of  “Remember What I Told You.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today! 

Many mornings, after praying with my husband and youngest son as they headed out the door, my thoughts would often turn to my older children.  Their colleges were only about an hour away, but to my “mother’s heart” that seemed far.  Often, after praying for them and their day, I would text a scripture that I hoped would bring encouragement.  When they face conflict, feel overwhelmed or have major decisions to make, WILL they think to pray first or search scripture for guidance?  I knew my prayers would be a covering, but it was now time for them to establish themselves.

I hadn’t always made the best decisions during my own college years and wanted to spare them the heart ache.  Yes, lessons learned the hard way usually stick, I simply wanted them to experience the fullness of life that Jesus died for them to enjoy.Negri mug

Through the years, I had often started to journal.  However, the busyness of motherhood usually distracted me.  Now, I started to record situations our family had placed in God’s hands along with the ways He had answered and met our needs.  Did my children REALLY know I was praying behind the scenes and quoting scriptures over the circumstances?  This journal, I intended, would serve as a “legacy” of our family’s faith.

As I wrote, a statistic came to mind from my years as a youth leader:  After graduation, the majority of children who have been raised in church cease their attendance and association with God.  When I thought about the despair in today’s headlines (drug abuse, financial fluctuation, terrorism), I wanted to help our next generation rely on God’s GOOD news.  How many high school graduates have NEVER even attended church or read the Bible?

My motivation intensified.  My “audience” expanded.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

My college major was English with a writing option.  However, discouragement with classes and desire to have a “real job” lead me to quit before I earned my degree.  Years later, I met my husband while leading a youth group.  After we married and had our first child, I was blessed to fulfill the one desire of my heart, to be a wife and a mother.

Negri coverWhat began as a concern for my children expanded to culminate life experiences and complete a personal desire from my own youth.  Since my devotional has been published, many people have asked me, “Did you ever think you’d write a book?”  Yes, I thought about it.  But, NO, I never really thought it would become reality.

The “bigger picture” unfolded as I journaled.  Though interrupted many times before, I picked up where I left off.  As I wrote, I believe God reminded me of past situations.  Likewise, after I said, “OK, God, I’m going to DO this”, He brought to mind additional scriptures which prompted me to add another section to my book.

When people tell me that my book is inspirational and that they see it as a quick reference of God’s Word for circumstances they face, I think “Mission Accomplished”.

What mission have you yet to fulfill?  Often, the hardest part is simply to start!  You may not have the full picture, it will develop as you write and pray.  Put your thoughts on paper.  Re-read them.  Pray over them.  God will guide you and perfect the good work He has begun in you.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.

 

 

 


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