Saturday, July 07, 2012

Mid-life Lesson #18: Don't publish books before you're 40

Some pseudo-wise person made this memorable assertion, but for the life of me I can't remember where I read it.

Anyway, for better or worse I've been following it. This past decade was a good freelance publishing decade, but mostly work-for-hire pieces for Augsburg Fortress, web sites, and journals. It's a good gig. I plan to keep it up.

However, I will state now, on the even of my 40th birthday, what I hope to look back on at 50 (God-willing) with satisfaction.

I plan to write one book a year for the next ten years.

The Fuller Dmin dissertation is already well on its way, so that's the book for 40.

After that, I am looking at least to do the following:

1. An introduction to the Christian faith
2. A commentary on 2nd Corinthians
3. Something steampunk
4. A novel
5. A Kindle short

That's a good teaser. I have other items on the list, but don't want to get overly specific. Would love to hear from readers a) what books on writing help them write, b) what books they wish would see written.

In the meantime, I offer a link to my favorite book that inspired my present habits:


  1. Kathy S.10:53 AM

    The books that have most helped me write are the novels of John le Carre and Peter Matthiessen. I would like to see a book about the quote below. (It's interesting that your favorite book is by a Dominican. After 40, I wrote a book: Letters from Havana [Amazon].)

    Some years ago the Luther scholar Scott Hendrix published Luther and the Papacy: Stages in a Reformation Conflict, an important study which demonstrated how Luther’s quarrel was never with the catholic faith as such but with “the papists,” modern innovators who had betrayed that faith universally held. Nevertheless, Luther respected the papacy as a pastoral office, according to Hendrix. Indeed, the primary source of his anger was the betrayal of the pope’s universal pastoral duty by Leo X and his successors. Hendrix showed that Luther’s underlying and consistent criterion in judging the papacy is that by divine right the papacy is a pastoral office “of nourishing people in the church with the Word of God.” This pastoral function is “the criterion for claiming legitimate authority in the church.” Luther’s outrage is directed “at the perversion of the pastoral office.” In fact, Luther “was protesting against the usurpation of the church by an unfaithful hierarchy on behalf of the faithful people, not against the church on behalf of the individual” as he was so often falsely understood.

  2. Anonymous6:02 AM


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