Monday, July 5, 2010

Working on a new manuscript...

This morning I'm going to explain the new banner/heading. I took the photograph in my study, specifically for the blog this week (you can probably pick out one of my books if you look carefully). This is "book-writing week", and I'm on a writing retreat for several days in order to put the finishing touches on my latest project for Upper Room Books.

The manuscript is due on my editor's desk July 15. The purpose of these next few days is to put all the pieces together.

It's kind of like a quilt at this point. Imagine a hundred or so elements, all fairly complete, scattered all over a huge work table. My job over the next few days is to sew them all together so they make sense and work as a whole. Then, once that's done, I need to write the introduction and the last chapter. It's a short book, around 40,000 words or 160 pages, but it's very dense in terms of content.

It's a book about Easter, and I'm really enjoying the process. I don't feel pressure so much as opportunity - and responsibility. "What can I say," I'm praying every day, "that will contribute to renewal and spiritual growth for the people - believers and seekers alike - who find their way to its pages?"

My approach is similar to my recent Advent book (In My Heart I Carry A Star, 2008). There's a short chapter for each day of Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday and finishing on Easter Sunday. There's a surprise at the end, an extra few pages that serve as an epilogue of sorts, that I pray will "knock people's socks off"!

I'm inviting people to take a journey to Easter, through the time known as "Lent", so we don't arrive at Holy Week unprepared for the enormity of Christ's Passion. It's too common an experience for us to jump in for the excitement and celebration of Palm Sunday, return to life as usual, pay scant attention to Maundy Thursday, listen to a few arguments about "should kids have to go to school today?" on Good Friday and then wake up Easter morning with the vague understanding that we should be wearing something extra nice to church today....

My invitation is to enter the sacred rhythm of deliberate observance. I aim to inspire, to provoke thought, to encourage the spiritual walk, to put life-changing scripture in the every-day, to blur any lines of distinction between the sacred and the secular, and to provide a sure pathway that will lead participants into the most profound, meaningful and challenging Easter celebration they have ever known.

That's what I'm up to this week! I feel enormously blessed to have this opportunity to lead others into the presence of the Master - DEREK

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