If ever there was a skill to obtain before attempting to write a book, it would be endurance. I’ve wanted to write a book for most of my life, but despite the desire, finding the time seemed implausible once I started my own public relations consulting business and began having kids. Several years ago, I made a move to pivot and shift my career no matter what it would demand of me.
There’s something about turning 40 (ahem, a few years back) that lights a fire to pursue your heart-passions. It suddenly felt like I had no choice but to listen to that internal voice prompting me to get busy doing the things I think I’m here in this world to do. I’ve started pruning in new ways, hoping to create margin.
Praying for Direction
I spent time praying and asking God to direct me in my writing and pursuit of work that would glorify him. There are few times most of us feel as though we’ve heard super clearly from God, and this was one of those times. I heard him ask me to put together a book of stories of people like me who have left the little-known faith of Christian Science. I grew up in this faith (which is not Scientology, by the way) and left in the spring of 2001 when all my doubts came to the forefront. God kept putting people in my path to help me understand that the faith I was raised in was not where he wanted me. (My full story is in chapter two of my first book, releasing September 28, 2020: Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ).
Fast forward nearly 20 years. I reached out to a friend who has published many books and built a course on writing a good nonfiction book. She came alongside me and helped me get all the book details in place using her organization method. Then, I attended West Coast Christian Writers (WCCW), where I learned much about the publishing industry. At this conference, I joined the Inspire Christian Writers group and got plugged into a critique group that met once a week. As I wrote each chapter, my critique group went through each one and provided valuable input.
I wrote a killer book proposal, sent it to multiple literary agents I had met at WCCW, then a year had rolled around, and I met many of these agents in person. As I presented my proposal and followed up, agents responded with intrigue and interest. Still, they lamented that no large publisher would pick up my book because the target audience of former and current Christian Scientists was far too small. I understood what they were saying; however, I got my marching orders from the Big Guy. I persevered and finished the book (although I nearly got derailed by a hybrid publisher who wanted to publish the book but charges the author huge fees).
Instead of accepting rejection, I started a book publishing brand of my own, Veritable Books, and hired a professional editor and book cover designer. I also worked with the talented author consultant, Robynne Miller, to navigate some last-minute Amazon issues. I also have a skilled teen son who did all the graphics for the book’s social media promotion.
All told, this project has taken two and a half years from start to finish. I approached it as though I was getting a graduate degree in authorpreneurship (being a profitable self-published author), and this plan has proved incredibly valuable.
Within my book are ten chapters with unique themes; each tells a different person’s story of leaving Christian Science and finding new life in Jesus Christ. Thanks to my involvement with the Fellowship of Former Christian Scientists, I connected with people to find suitable subjects for telling their stories. I started by providing them with questions to think through their account, then we met on a recorded Zoom video, and I interviewed them. Afterward, I transcribed the audio recording using Rev.com. While the method of interviewing and recording was relatively easy (I love interviewing people), the transcript required entirely of a lot of editing before I could start putting the chapter together. Also, the spoken word is quite different from the written word. The challenge I assumed was to reinvent the interview as though I was the storyteller. Each chapter underwent a total of about 8-10 revisions and edits, including having the storyteller make changes. It was arduous, but incredibly satisfying to finish.
I’m thankful to everyone who helped in this process, including some of my dearest friends who cheered me on and prayed for me during the last two years. I’m so grateful.
- Don’t give up on your dreams, even if your dreams don’t pay the bills at the moment.
- Don’t allow others to squash your goals–if God gave you the desire to pursue something, trust him in the (long, complicated) process.
- Don’t be discouraged at how long something takes to complete–the point is to make it to the finish line.
I’m thankful for the resources to persevere in writing my first book and champion the cause to bring more people out of Christian Science and into a clearer understanding of biblical Christianity. I’m not sure what my next book will be yet. I’ll get to prayin’…
Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves the big picture of God’s journey we are all on together. Raised in a fourth-generation family of Christian Scientists, Lauren Hunter left her family’s faith behind at the age of 25 to become an evangelical Christian. She is also the founder of ChurchTechToday, a leading website for pastors and church leaders. Married to her high school sweetheart, Lauren lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. Her latest book is Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ.