Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Keep the End in Mind

My German genes require a structured approach to everything, including writing.  I can't meander aimlessly down a path; I need to know where I'm going.  I need to write with the end in mind.  I needed  structure for my book, a detailed outline.

Before the outline, I had to wrestle with a basic structural decision.  I wanted to tell the story of our life in Africa.  But I'm also a teacher to the core of my being, and I wanted to teach about destiny, purpose and faith.  Should the story be inserted as illustrations in the midst of a teaching, or should the teaching be inserted into the flow of the story? Ultimately I chose story as the skeletal structure upon which I hung some suggestions about finding and following one's purpose in life.  Why?  Everyone likes a story, but few people enjoy being told how to live their lives.

So with that decision made, I tore up the outline I'd originally jotted on my way to the Congo. I started anew. I broke our story into bite-sized chapters and gave each one a short title. It served as both structure and motivation as I approached the discipline of writing.  Twenty chapters.  Write the first chapter; check.  Write the second; check.  This is easy.  The book will be finished in record time. Or so I thought . . .