Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Something New

Today I gave the beginning six chapters, thirty-four pages, of In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People to my key beta reader. He is not a writer, or a critique group partner, but rather a rabid baseball fan. He read the first two chapters a couple of years ago, and loved it. From time to time he's pestered me about where the book stood, if I was writing any more. I had to keep telling him no, so far life and other writing projects were in the way. We'll see what he says about it. I thought of another man I could give these chapters to and see what he thinks about it. I may e-mail them to him tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I worked late tonight (till 6:30 PM) due to having taken time off during the day to run an errand, then went to Barnes & Noble to browse the writing books and magazines. I sat for two blessed hours with three books, two magazines, and a large house blend, and had a wonderful time. I took a few notes from two books of references I will use in an on-line poetry workshop I'll be facilitating in a month's time.

But about a week ago, as if I didn't have enough writing related stuff to do, I began a new project, a new Bible study. I just finished teaching "The Dynamic Duo: Lessons From the Lives of Elijah and Elisha". This is one of the projects I pitched to an editor at the Blue Ridge conference, and for which he wants a proposal. I have a lot of work to do converting my weekly handouts into passable sample chapters and writing the proposal, but my mind cannot focus on that right now, not until I have the FTSP proposal out the door.

However, I needed a project--something mainly for the future--to fill in the odd half hour when I don't feel there is enough time to work on one of my major, current projects. Since I co-teach an adult Sunday school class, and it will at some time be my turn to teach again, and since I enjoy developing and teaching my own material rather than something prepared, I've been exploring what I will teach next. And, since preparing these studies seems to be something I can do, and something that editors might be interested in, I am approaching this new study with the idea that I will write the whole book before I teach the study, rather than just have handouts and expand them into a book later.

So, I have begun planning a study with the tentative title "From Slavery to Nationhood: How God Used the Forty Years of Wandering". It will come from Exodus, maybe Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and perhaps a wrap-up lesson from Joshua. I'm planning a study that could be taught in from about eight to about sixteen weeks, depending on how a given class wanted to do it. So I've read selected chapters in Exodus and Leviticus, and most of the first twenty-one chapters in Numbers. Based on my reading, I already have sixteen potential lessons. I think, by the time I finish, I'll have about twenty. Then I'll have to cull out the weaker ones, and begin the actual lesson prep. That's really the fun part. I get to combine detailed Bible study, research, and writing into one package.

I will probably teach this beginning in January, so I've got some time, but not much. Meanwhile, ideas for another umpteen Bible studies are beginning to compete with novels and non-fiction books and historical-political newspaper columns for space between my ears. At least I know ideas are not a problem.

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