Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? Is Published

After 2 years of writing, our book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours is finally published and available in hard cover, soft cover, and with low priced E-book as well. Getting off track, I have a gripe with e-books. I can’t help but wonder why some titles remain so expensive in e-book format. As the author, I had the opportunity to set my e-book price. The soft cover edition retails at $19.95 but I set the e-book price down to $2.99. That price seems both fair and reasonable. In my opinion, E-books should cost much less than paper- back editions and I’m glad I control over the price of my e-book. That was a detour, now I’ll get back the point of this piece.

Even though my book went through two professional edits, and my wife and I read it over many times, our published book contains some errors, as the majority of my writing does. In a quest for perfection, it’s easy to get so discouraged you won’t begin a project, or you’ll quit in the middle of a project you started. I’m all too familiar with the quest for perfection.

 I have a tendency to leave out words in sentences. When I proof read, I fill in the missing words in my head, so I don’t see the error on the computer screen or hear it in my head as I read. Therefore it’s inevitable everything I write will contain multiple errors.

My editor told me, I Left My Prostate in San Francisco had more than 5,000 corrections. This averages to out to 19 corrections per page. I shutter to think about how many additional errors I had that were eliminated by spell and grammar check. If I included those errors, it’s likely before any corrections were made, I had some type of error every 5 words. That’s a pitiful statistic. Even with spell and grammar check my error rate was prior to editing was 1 error per 13 words.

Given my propensity for errors, one might easily conclude that I should stay far away from blogging or writing book.  Many people look at what they do poorly and stay far away from those areas. In matters of faith, deciding to avoid something based on our abilities or disabilities is the wrong thing to do. My favorite biblical example of this comes from the life of Moses.

God had a plan a task and a mission He wanted to accomplish through Moses.  He wanted Moses to go back to Egypt with a message from Pharaoh. The message wasn’t complicated or difficult to remember. The message was so short, even I could remember this message:
Ex 5:1
Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.'

 Moses did was most of us do. Moses performed an assessment of this strengths and weaknesses. After his evaluation he said this to the Lord in  Ex 4:10
"O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." He went on to advise God to send someone else!

How often have we passed up an opportunity because we disqualified ourselves from the challenge? More than once I became so discouraged with my propensity for errors, I wanted to quit writing I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? Like Moses I asked God: Are You sure You chose the right person to do this? What will I do other than to produce a mistake filled book? Those questions came from the place of discouragement.

Better, wiser, and healthier questions come from the place of discernment. Discernment recognizes the problem and looks for solutions. I didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars to an editor, but I had to if I wanted to produce a book that wasn’t filled with errors. In the process I learned that editors miss mistakes as well. Our book went through 2 rounds of professional editing. After that, my wife found more than 30 errors that were missed. Once the book was published we found a few errors both the editors and my wife missed. Oh well. If perfection were standard our book would not see the light of day.

The Bible was written to teach us about God, ourselves, our relationships, and most importantly our purpose in life.
God’s said this to Moses: Ex 4:11-12
Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?  Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.

That message wasn’t just for Moses. Those words are for us today. I needed God’s assurance as I wrote the book. Now that the book is finished I need this reassurance even more.  Finishing a book is the first step in the process of making a book successful. The next task is marketing. Marketing involves public speaking and dealing with the media. I’m blessed not only with the propensity for errors in writing, but also with speaking.

 An error in High School and the public humiliation that followed shaped my opinion of my self and my abilities for decades.

In a Social Studies class in the 7th grade the teacher asked: What right was protected by the First Amendment? I raised my hand and was called upon. I meant to say “Freedom of Speech” what came out of my mouth was “Speedum of Freech”  Forty seven years later, I can still  hear the laughter echo in my mind. I call that experience a shame anchor. Everyone has them. They are painful memories that shape who you are, and what you will and won’t do in order to avoid that familiar and painful sense of shame.

I have a choice of who and what I’m willing to believe. I can base my life and my life choices on my shame anchors, or I can base of my life and choices based on God’s promises.  God has promised He will help me know what to say and how to say it. I believe that. Does that guarantee I won’t mistake either in writing or speaking. Absolutely not! I will make plenty of mistakes. I’ve probably made some in this piece. God’s grace cover’s my mistakes, so I can laugh about them. If other people laugh at my mistakes, that’s Ok by me. We will all enjoy a good laugh together. It’s laugh without shame, it’s a laugh about our imperfections. The truth is our imperfections and mistakes can be quite funny!

The fact that I’ve published a book, blog, and I’m now engaged in marketing and public speaking I hope encourages anyone reading this to become all that God wants them to be, rather than be controlled by your imperfections, mistakes and shame anchors.

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