Posts Tagged ‘Thirty Day Challenge’

PostHeaderIcon Publishing Heavenly Father’s Day, Part 1–Starting a Blog

By mid-September 2009, copies of the draft of Heavenly Father’s Day were in the hands of my content reviewers. As I described in my previous entry Christian Discipleship in a Small Gesture, I had received encouragement from a stranger, and was looking forward to doing some research about publishing options.

Most of that August had been spent on a free, intensive online class on internet marketing called the Thirty Day Challenge. The stated goal of this class was to make your first dollar online. I started a blog called Easy Knitting Patterns for class purposes. I didn’t make a cent for the first three months, but I learned a lot. And to be fair, I wasn’t giving the first blog much effort once I started the Heavenly Father’s Day blog.

So what was this Thirty Day Challenge? It was a class presented in thirty daily lessons. It was “live” in August 2009 (meaning the teachers were readily available via forums each day), but the lessons have continued to be posted up to the date of this writing.

Ed Dale and friends teach about marketing research, setting up a blog, ranking high in Google search, making money from your blog, and becoming a market leader. If you hunt around on the web enough, I’m sure you can find these topics elsewhere. The beauty of the Challenge is that it’s all in one place and very well executed.

What was really interesting to me about the Thirty Day Challenge was that it came into my life exactly when I needed it. The Spirit first told me that I was going to need to learn website design in late May 2009. (As I mentioned in my post, God knows all about publishing) Just as I was reaching a lull in the flow of material in late July 2009, along came an invitation to the Challenge in my email in-box.

I managed to get through the thirty lessons (and, more importantly, the homework) by early September and started my Heavenly Father’s Day blog. With all that knowledge under my belt, I set to work writing about the process of writing. My goal was to tell the “behind the scenes” story of how the book came to be written. I’m enough of an optimist to think there are those who will find value in the story of my journey.

One of the things the Thirty Day Challenge really helped me with was fear of losing privacy. As late as July 2009, I was telling friends that not only was I not on Facebook, I had no intentions of signing up. In fact, there was a time when I was proud of the fact that Google search couldn’t find me. Ed Dale changed all that. He convinced me I couldn’t reach my goals as long as I was too wary to step out from behind my firewall.

It has been interesting to watch friend after friend pop up on Facebook over the past year . . . like watching popcorn sizzling in hot oil. Makes me feel like I did the right thing. And today, I guess, I’m a full-fledged social-media-using internet marketer.

As a side note, the 2010 Challenge is structured a little differently so it’s not so intense. If you are at all interested in internet marketing, or just want to learn about one topic (say, Twitter), check it out. The preseason lessons for this year go live on July 1, 2010. Tell Ed I sent you.

Now that I had a manuscript and a blog to go with it, my next step was to make a big decision . . . one which I had been studiously avoiding: How to publish?

Now that you’ve finished the story of writing Heavenly Father’s Day (so far), check out my entries about Christian Discipleship.

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PostHeaderIcon Writing Heavenly Father’s Day, Part 6–The Last Chapter

Near the end of July 2009, I had come close to drafting the first nine chapters of Heavenly Father’s Day. But suddenly it was like someone had let all the air out of my balloon. There was a big gapping hole in Chapter 7. On top of that, I had decided my current Chapters 11 and 12 were really only one chapter. So now I was one chapter short, and I had no clue how to fill that void. I had material gathered for Chapters 10 and 11, but somehow I just couldn’t get excited about putting it all together into a draft. It wasn’t exactly writer’s block; it was more like a detour.

The first couple weeks in August, I hardly worked on the book at all. On the one hand, I felt guilty about not making progress. On the other hand, I had almost no desire to write. I didn’t feel inspired and excited the way I had when writing up to this point. And there were other things going on in my life that seemed to be very important to my overall effort–including an online, hands-on, time-intensive class on internet marketing called The Thirty Day Challenge that started on August 1. (More about that later!)

I had a brief flash of concern that I was going to be one of those people they were always talking about in the e-book articles I read. I was worried, for about 10 seconds, that I would never finish this book. After all, I was certainly not going to have it done in 72 hours. The e-book gurus all warned that if you didn’t get it done quickly, it might never get done.

But I kept telling myself this wasn’t that kind of book. This wasn’t something I could just throw together quickly to get it out the door, even if it wasn’t perfect. No. Heavenly Father’s Day was to be a reflection of what the Spirit wanted me to tell people. Maybe it didn’t have to be absolutely perfect, but a slap-dash job wouldn’t do, either.

I could force myself to make progress by working on side issues, like researching exact movie quotes. But I couldn’t sit down and write some un-inspired drivel, just because I felt like I had to write something. I kept telling myself that I was on God’s time, so I was just going to have to wait until more inspiration came my way.

As I looked up the scripture for my next preaching assignment (August 9), I was hoping this sermon would apply to the book, just like the last one had done. But as I read the passage, it just didn’t seem like it was going to lead me to an entire chapter’s-worth of material. I kept waiting.

Thursday morning before I was schedule to speak, I woke up telling myself I really needed to get that sermon outlined today. But first, I had a hair appointment. I also had a message on my cell phone from my step-mother. When I called her (on the way to the hairdresser’s) I told her how I was struggling with the last chapter.

She told me about a book she had been reading called The Shack. She said maybe I was supposed to read it and that maybe it would help me. I hung up the phone with a renewed sense of optimism. Maybe this new book was what I had been waiting for. It was like my balloon had been re-inflated. But I would have to wait a few days before I could get my hands on a copy.

Meanwhile, the next morning I woke up ready to write my sermon. The assigned scripture was about how God works in the mundane details of life. I started thinking about how God talks to us in mundane ways about mundane situations. About how our spiritual development most often occurs in our most mundane experiences.

The thoughts started flowing and I started taking notes while I was getting dressed. By the time I was ready for breakfast, I realized that this was not only my sermon, it was the last chapter. The wait was over.

The writing part would be smooth sailing from here. Pretty soon I would be telling people the manuscript was finished. But I still had no clue how I was going to get published. And what had I learned in that Thirty Day Challenge?

Next: Starting a Blog

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