A few years ago, I wrote a book exploring a number of the essential truths of the Christian faith. It was a good book, one that people really seemed to enjoy. It was also one of the projects that was simultaneously among the most rewarding and frustrating I’ve ever worked on.
The book was rewarding because it seemed to really help people who read it—especially teens and college students—get a grasp on what it is we believe. It was frustrating because it was definitely a project that I felt like I could have done more with. Done better with, even.
I’ve done this before with the odd article here and there. But never before with an entire book. But earlier this summer, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and try. I started pulling apart the chapters of this book.1 I’ve spent many hours trying to figure out what worked well and what could use improvement, and many more writing and rewriting. It is slow work, as you can imagine. But I’m really enjoying the experience of rewriting this project, even if I don’t entirely know what’s going to happen with it. Here’s what I’m enjoying so far in the experience:
The writing is more confident.
I hope it’s not arrogant to say, but I’m a better writer today than I was four or five years ago. This really shouldn’t be a surprise since the more you do something, the better you typically become. But being a better writer now means that, in revisiting this project, I can get rid of some of the choices that were rooted more in insecurity than confidence in my abilities. (Which in my case means toning down some of the obscure humor and trying too hard with footnotes.)
Going deeper where it is needed.
In the original version of this book, I had to keep certain areas pretty broad for the sake of space. The goal was to give a very simple introduction to some core truths, which meant that I wasn’t necessarily going to be able to go into detail on all the important aspects. By rewriting, I’m able to give those areas some necessary breathing room, allowing some essential truths more time to shine in ways they couldn’t in the earlier edition.
Drawing necessary lines.
This rewrite also allows me to draw deeper and clearer convictional lines. These lines were already in place in the first edition, of course. But, for a variety of reasons, I felt I had to be a little less pointed when I originally wrote it. In this new edition, I don’t have that same problem. Perhaps it is a matter of age, along with a greater convictional confidence. Whatever the case, I’m a lot more comfortable drawing lines in places I may not have in the past. (As well as challenging where some others may be drawing lines unnecessarily.)
A slow work in progress
I don’t really know what’s going to happen with this rewrite. Perhaps it will find a home with a publisher. Maybe it will just be something for me. Only the Lord knows. But the experience of rewriting it has been far more fulfilling than I would have anticipated. Lord willing, you’ll get to see it someday.
- And for those curious, I was recently granted the rights to this book by the publisher, which allows me to do this.