I Have No Plans to Write That Book

Whenever I go out, strangers offer unsolicited compliments about some aspect of my appearance, usually my hair or clothing. From this fact alone, I might decide that people like my style. Perhaps I should write a book!

But aside from the fact I have no desire to write a style book, there are other reasons why starting this project doesn’t make sense for me:

  • I’m not well known outside of a few small circles.
  • I’m not sought after for photographs by the media.
  • I’m not a fashion model.
  • I have no special training or knowledge in fashion.
  • I have no influential friends in the fashion or beauty industries.
  • My style won’t work for everyone.
  • I don’t blog about style.
  • I don’t have any social-media outlets dedicated to being stylish.

For me, simply enjoying this part of my life is enough. If I decide to write nonfiction in the future, perhaps I’ll tackle another Bible trivia book!

Next week we’ll talk about authors seeking to be successful in nonfiction publishing.

Your turn:

What part of your life could you write a book about?

Do you have an interesting hobby that you might write a book about?

38 Responses to I Have No Plans to Write That Book

  1. Avatar
    Debby October 31, 2019 at 5:17 am #

    While I have written several books about my hobby (crafts category), I’ve often joked with my husband that some day I’m going to write a book about my life and call it: Everybody Wants a Piece of Debby. That pretty much sums up my life as a mother of 3, a wife, a woman with a job – you get it!

  2. Avatar
    damonjgray October 31, 2019 at 6:07 am #

    I’m certainly not a fashionista. My poor wife just rolls her eyes at my lack of fashion sense.

    I faced down death twice in 2012, once in February and again in October, surviving a physical condition that defied medical science, a condition usually diagnosed during the autopsy. When I questioned the doctors as to why I am alive, the only response they could give was, “You’re just lucky, I guess.”

    I concluded, rather, that there is something God wants me to do – some purpose I am to accomplish. My task, then, is/was to identify that task, that calling. So, perhaps the manuscript to write is one on how to identify your purpose or calling.

    I haven’t researched it, but I suspect there is already a pile of such books available.

    • Avatar
      Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 31, 2019 at 7:02 am #

      Damon, I think you should write about that experience, and your words bespeak the title:

      “Just Lucky, I Guess”

      • Avatar
        Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 31, 2019 at 7:20 am #

        Damon, to elaborate a bit…the person whom he in this community are privileged to know has a tempered grace and faith, toughened in the crucible of a deadly illness.

        It’s not the illness that’s of primary interest; that is just the vehicle that brought the man to a place of greatness.

        It’s that journey that the world needs, the story of hope consummated in Love that forms the basis of every worthwhile tale ever told.

    • Avatar
      W. Ian Walker October 31, 2019 at 7:06 am #

      Write that book brother! There is a real need for Christian and non Christian people, in the areas of sickness or eventual death to read a story like yours!

      Are you working on your proposal like Steve has demonstrated many times on this site? I’m sure that some amazing publisher will publish your story and your future book. God bless you in your research and writing times…be inspired by the Holy Spirit’s leading and direction…it will take you places you never imagined!

      • Avatar
        damonjgray October 31, 2019 at 8:22 am #

        By the way, your book on music therapy and ADHD looks intriguing.

    • Avatar
      damonjgray October 31, 2019 at 8:19 am #

      Goodness!! I did not expect this level (really ANY) of reaction to what I shared. To be candid, it never occurred to me to dedicate a manuscript to this until Tamela posed her question the way she did. I pondered it for a bit, and this is what I came up with.

      I do like Andrew’s title suggestion – “Just Lucky, I Guess.” That’s awesome!

      And you’re right, it’s not the actual physical illness that is of interest (that just sets the stage) but rather what I learned coming through it, and on the other side of it.

      Even posting it here was more to answer Tamela’s question than anything. I wasn’t seriously considering writing it, but wow . . . given your reaction, perhaps I should give it some ponder-time.

      • Avatar
        Carol Ashby October 31, 2019 at 8:25 am #

        You should definitely consider writing it, Damon.

  3. Avatar
    W. Ian Walker October 31, 2019 at 6:59 am #

    Interesting post! I took the challenge, and 10 years ago I wrote a non-fiction book about my Christian and musical ADHD life! Would you believe that it took 5-10 years to find the right publisher and in 2018 it was published? The book is doing very well internationally and its called “Stirring My Soul to Sing, Overcoming ADHD Through Song.” It’s current interest and success is beyond my wildest dreams!

    I’m now looking for a good literary agent to represent me (being Canadian and all eh!) and I’ve started “book II” and a few other articles. I’m seeking “divine inspiration” and am possibly thinking about writing a fiction story (I’ve never written one of these before and so I want to try and see if I’ve got it within me.) I’m going to write this story on something personal that has happened to me and see if it works or not. Back to writing something creative today. Thanks for your post!

  4. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 31, 2019 at 7:00 am #

    I have no great Last Lecture,
    no faith that doth impress,
    no seamless architecture
    of healing to confess.
    There is not a saving story
    to inspire you to life,
    no rebound born of glory,
    no hero to his wife.
    There’s simply a hard-headed bloke,,
    plain in every way,
    whom cancer does its best to choke
    from dawn to dawn each day.
    My only worthwhile testament
    is that I have seen the elephant.

    ‘Seeing the elephant’ means you’ve had a heck of a time, and it took a toll.

    • Avatar
      damonjgray October 31, 2019 at 8:26 am #

      I beg to differ with you my friend. I believe you absolutely ARE a hero to Barbara.

      Just wanted to clarify that! 😉

    • Avatar
      Judith Robl October 31, 2019 at 8:36 am #

      Andrew, You absolutely are a hero – and (apologies to damonjgray) NOT just to Barbara.

      • Avatar
        damonjgray October 31, 2019 at 8:41 am #

        Judith, you never need to apologize to me! You’re a gem to this community!

      • Avatar
        Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 31, 2019 at 1:40 pm #

        Judith, I’m honoured beyond words.

  5. Avatar
    Nora October 31, 2019 at 7:23 am #

    I understand. I love watching little kids but since I have none of my own, I’m neither qualified nor interested in writing that book.

    I am qualified to write my own story, but aside from writing notes down for future generations of my own family I’m not interested in publishing it.

  6. Avatar
    sharonkconnell October 31, 2019 at 8:06 am #

    If I wrote a book about any part of my life, it would be about the Christian Romance Suspense writing life I’ve discovered and fallen in love with. The problem is, I’m too busy living the writer’s life and enjoying it to write about it. LOL

  7. Avatar
    Wendy October 31, 2019 at 8:15 am #

    I’m a nuclear medicine technologist. I’m writing about my experience as a healthcare whistleblower. The hospital knew they were endangering patient lives–my supervisor even said so in an email–but they would not correct the problem. When I said that I was afraid someone would be hurt or die, the Director of Radiology said, “Nobody’s been hurt, yet,” and that if anything happens, the technologists would not be liable, the department would be liable. But, I didn’t want my patients to be hurt to begin with.

    Instead of fixing the problem (I offered some solutions), the hospital chose to try to discredit me and drive me out. What ensued was a roller coaster ride of events that I could not have predicted. Yet, God stepped in each time to help me through the retaliation and 3-year-long ensuing legal battle. When I was diagnosed with an aggressive, life-threatening illness–with no health insurance and only a part-time retail job–God provided a surgeon who did the surgery for free. I’m alive to tell of God’s presence and provision, in the midst of it all, because God provided what I needed, just in time. And, that’s not to say that there weren’t times when I had doubts and wondered if I had been abandoned, but this is sometimes the case when we’re being tested. I can testify of His faithfulness and His unconditional love.

    It’s a long process to write this type of book, but I’m legally free to tell the story, and God has given me everything I need. I’m in the midst of writing a detailed timeline, from which I’ll develop the outline, then the first draft. At first it was very hard to relive it all, but I find that it’s becoming easier as I go. God is helping me, still.

  8. Avatar
    mimionlife October 31, 2019 at 9:38 am #

    Most of my blog posts are about my personal life experiences. Our family motto is “It’s Always A Story With The Henderson’s”. People have suggested that I put all my blog posts into a book. 🙂 I might consider that idea one day.

  9. Avatar
    Colleen K Snyder October 31, 2019 at 10:11 am #

    I am struggling a little with your “criteria” of what qualifies someone to write a book about anything. Especially the “not being well-known” and “not having influential friends in the market.” Are you applying that to non-fiction subjects, or to books in general? I am very much aware of the need for a “social media platform” in order to get a book “out there,” yet those factors alone should not determine the value of writing a book or not. If I have misinterpreted your meaning, forgive me!

    • Avatar
      Tamela October 31, 2019 at 5:17 pm #

      Colleen, since this is a literary agency blog, my intent with the majority of my posts (otherwise, some are personal, some are devotional, etc.) is to help authors learn how to be published well. The list is meant to help authors understand whether or not to write a nonfiction book for publication by a major house. Of course, excellent books are written never to be traditionally published but are appreciated by their intended audiences. To God be the glory.

      • Avatar
        Shulamit November 1, 2019 at 6:14 am #

        Tamela, the hard part for me to figure out, is I have two nonfiction books I am working on, but they are on extremely different topics, potentially no audience overlap (where someone might be interested in both, it would be coincidence). I have limited platform in the religious subject, and extensive platform in the secular subject, so the secular is the obvious one for me to try to publish first. But by publishing it first, I would confuse people by following it up with a book on theology/philosophy. If I try to publish my religious book first, without enough platform, I’m concerned it would not be picked up.

        Is it possible to successfully publish different nonfiction books in entirely different subjects, or is the reality that I have to choose one and stick to it, if I want to be successful as a nonfiction author?

  10. Avatar
    kamalini1947Patricia weerakoon October 31, 2019 at 12:11 pm #

    Hello Folks
    I am a 72 year old Sri-Lankan woman born in a tea plantation and now living in Australia. I am a retired academic sexologist and a Christian who writes and speaks on sex and gender. Apparently that ‘intersectionality’ makes my life interesting!
    I have written and continue to write on sex from a Biblical perspective…. But about being a sexologist? Maybe I could start with the time I introduced myself to a premier Christian literary agent by saying ‘Hi, I’m Patricia. I work in sex.’

  11. Avatar
    Kayleen Reusser October 31, 2019 at 12:59 pm #

    Your post made me think of how difficult I’ve found it to be a female non-fiction writer about World War II. I read plenty of female fiction World War II writers (love Sarah Sundin). But to put 5 books together and especially to speak on the subject of it as I’ve attempted to do for 3 years has been a challenge. It has seemed like people don’t think I, as a female, will have anything to say even though I have interviewed 260 World War II veterans and my husband and I went on a World War II tour of Europe which is the focus of my talks.

    But I’m going to continue because I’m a proud wife/ mother of Air Force airmen and I am seeking to help preserve our national military heritage by interviewing veterans and telling their stories. It was not something I planned to do after interviewing my first World War II veteran for a newspaper story but it’s so fascinating and fulfilling that I’ll stick with it for a long while. Each interview is an adventure and I believe each person has a story.

    Not sure if I’m considered successful in most people’s opinions but I have 15 local speaking gigs between October- November because of Veteran’s Day. That’s besides the rest of the year when I have that many again spread out. I’ll look forward to reading your follow-up post on this subject and comments. I lead 2 Christian writing clubs and will forward this post of yours as a guide to them as well.

  12. Avatar
    Yaasha Moriah October 31, 2019 at 1:46 pm #

    I love branching out into nonfiction (I usually write SFF). However, you’re SO RIGHT that you can’t write about everything that strikes your fancy. I mean, you could, but it wouldn’t be the best use of your time.

    For me, I decide whether to write about a nonfiction topic if it can fall under the “living through difficulty with joy” theme that characterizes my nonfiction.

    That’s the theme of my book on singleness (i.e. the loneliness is real, but so is the joy).

    I’m planning a book (someday) on my experiences with chronic illness (Lyme disease, babesiosis, and a functional neurological disorder with non-epileptic seizures and temporary paralysis). I love sharing the unshakable confidence of being in my Father’s care!

    • Avatar
      beckonstuff October 31, 2019 at 3:05 pm #

      Would love to get that book, Yaasha. I have a young friend (20) with FND who does not know the Lord, but whose partner does. I know she would benefit from some good news!

  13. Avatar
    Norma L. Brumbaugh October 31, 2019 at 2:19 pm #

    Many writings float around in my subconscious and tickle my fancy every so often. I could write about farming as an analogy to spirituality, from my years of farming and my country roots. I could write about the compassionate side to teaching, the many ways in which children are reached through novel methods and caring individuals, from my years of teaching and as a reading specialist. I might write about the caregiving role of adult children with their aging parents and the major earthquake it takes to make things happen when denial causes resistance, but you persevere on through because you care and must. I would truly enjoy writing about leading women in the deeper, freeing, spiritual walk, though the areas of hurt and bondage to freedom and grace, from my years of experience both personally and in leadership. And there are several others because of my creative bent. Expert knowledge v experiential knowledge could be where the rub comes in. Fun to think about the many possibilities.

  14. Avatar
    beckonstuff October 31, 2019 at 2:57 pm #

    I wrote a book on leadership because, as a layperson who’s lived through some poop, I wanted to see church leadership training include information on spiritual abuse, rethinking models, and having a more egalitarian approach to consultation. It’s just been released, and I’m very pleased with it. One beta told me it needed a small group/classroom study guide, so that’s almost ready, and I’ll probably do a powerpoint series as well. Getting way ahead of myself, but using my skills to help people move forward is what I love to do.

    There are two more books planned for that series. One is about the music & worship ministry (we’re overthinking AND underthinking it) and the other is about the cultural clashes and myth busting that must happen when one person marries another. But the book I’m most excited about is one about the fruit of the Spirit as a key to understanding God’s heart. That one has a companion CD planned for it as well.

    Yeah, you can be a comparative nobody and write about what’s on your mind, provided you do it well. 🙂 Maybe it’s a naive approach; but I think if you’ve got a book in you, and you burn to write it, then you probably should. That’s completely different from “I had a vague idea one day about a dress, and now I must devote myself to becoming a seamstress.” If you’ve got a drive, and God says yes, drive it.

  15. Avatar
    Marilyn Parker October 31, 2019 at 9:53 pm #

    I’ve decided to write a book about why Christian women have a duty to confront their husbands.

    I’ve always been a non-confrontational person. Which has led me to be less than honest sometimes, especially with my husband. We both lost our spouses in 2009. We married in 2013, and I’ve been one happy lady. My husband’s almost perfect! Really! He has only one serious problem. He’s a shopaholic–without the resources to support his habit.

    So why wasn’t I watching the bank account?

    Because I didn’t want to spoil my perfect marriage by confronting my husband about his spending habits. When I recently discovered that our savings account was depleted and he had accumulated several thousand dollars worth of debt I was devastated. If my husband had been suicidal, I would have moved the guns out of the house, right? If he was an alcoholic, I would have locked the liquor cabinet (don’t actually drink, but you get the point). But I didn’t hold him accountable in this, very important, area.

    When we were in the middle of all this, I blurted out, “I’m going to write a book on why women should confront their husbands!” He immediately responded, “Do it.” So, with his blessing, that’s what I’m going to do!

  16. Avatar
    Jen Cason November 1, 2019 at 5:56 am #

    I guess you could call what I do “interrogating” scripture. I am struggling to write a book about it and really appreciate the help I find here and at the Christian Writer’s Institute. Thank you all so much for your willingness to share your knowledge with first-time writers like me!

  17. Avatar
    Regina Merrick November 1, 2019 at 12:25 pm #

    If I were to write nonfiction, it would probably be something about being a 30-year church musician!

    • Avatar
      beckonstuff November 2, 2019 at 12:53 am #

      Let’s swap notes 🙂 I’m writing a book about that too!

  18. Avatar
    Steve Laube November 1, 2019 at 5:58 pm #

    I may need to re-run the blog I wrote over four years ago called, “When Your Book Becomes Personal.” See the link here: https://stevelaube.com/when-your-book-becomes-personal/

    The point is not to say personal stories are invalid. But instead to help every writer of a personal story see that story from the perspective of a major publisher.

    This is one reason I celebrate the opportunity technology has created to make self-publishing a viable option…even if it is only meant for family members and friends!

  19. Avatar
    Kathy November 2, 2019 at 3:35 pm #

    I understand what you’re saying–expertise or interests that could result in a book publishers would be interested in.
    As that applies to me, I have had life-long experience with horses and am working to turn that into a devotional book for kids who love horses. And as a teacher, I usually understand kids, too!

  20. Avatar
    Susan LeDoux November 3, 2019 at 3:42 pm #

    I would love to write a book about all the churches/pastors I’ve interviewed over the years on various assignments for the Christian magazine for which I write. It would show how universal our Christian church is and how much we have in common with each other.

  21. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks November 3, 2019 at 4:38 pm #

    I live at a remote Bible camp in the Cascade mountains. We have to make our own electricity, pump our own water, plow our own roads, and once in a while we’ll get a brief glimpse of a bear, cougar, or even on very rare occasions a wolf. I’d never thought about using this kind of setting in a story, because it is my normal. But writer friends have encouraged me to think differently about my every day. When the generator breaks and we are stuck in darkness, or the pump on the well has a piece that malfunctions and we are suddenly out of water, these normal trials might be exciting to a young reader from a town or city or even a place with electricity, ha! And actually, I do blog for the camp, so that is a plus as well. I’m trying to find ways to look at my normal and see the story possibilities!

    • Avatar
      Wendy November 6, 2019 at 8:36 pm #

      Kristen, I can see many possibilities for how you could weave living in a remote cabin into a plot. Are you considering fiction? What genre do you like to read? Christian romance, thrillers, mysteries…? i.e. Someone is fleeing from a dangerous person (abusive husband, the mob, etc.) and somehow ends up at the remote cabin, where you have to live by survival skills, and the pursuer is not far behind. Or, a handsome man has a wreck on his way to meet his fiance, and is rescued by a woman who lives at the cabin, and while she tends to his injuries they develop feelings for each other. You can take it in any direction that you’d like. Write what you would enjoy reading.

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