Wednesday, April 23, 2003

I'm in New York. I told Dave I wanted him to make me look cool, tall and not balding. He said they don't make trick lenses that good.

I just got this email from a girl. It reaffirms the decision to make the book for men and women. She writes:

"I was at a guy friend's house one day talking with a group of people about lust. The guys were talking about the bombardment of porn all over the media, etc., and they said that girls were lucky that they don't have to worry so much about lust, because their minds don't work that way. I spoke up and told them that girls have to worry about lust too--it just attacks girls different than it does guys. We read romance novels, and see television shows that portray this perfect relationship with this perfect man, and we begin to idolize and lust after that. We struggle with taking our thought life captive and not letting it run wild with images of the perfect boyfriend, husband, children, home, etc. For us, we must choose to surrender these thoughts to God and trust Him to write us a love story in His perfect timing. The guys were honestly surprised. They never realized that we even struggle with that. I think it's an important thing for guys and girls to be aware of. Even if your thoughts aren't pornographic, that doesn't mean they're okay."

The chapter "Guys and Girls" speaks to this very issue. While I don't encourage men and women to discuss the subject of lust together I do think that we can help each other in this fight. That requires that we understand the unique temptations we face.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Jennifer got back to me. Evidently she doesn't have much in terms of changes. She's just waiting to get the preface, acknowledgements and dedication from me.

I really need wisdom in how to write the preface. I'm glad that I waited till the end to write the first few words. But there's a sense in which I feel the pressure because now I know all that comes afterwards. So in one sense I almost wish I had it written. I guess I shouldn't worry about it too much. And who am I kidding? Nobody reads prefaces and introductions anyway. If I took a poll I'm sure 80% of people skip to the first chapter.

I spoke with Doug at Multnomah while I was in Texas. They definitely want to do a study guide for "Not Even a Hint." They'd like to publish it in the summer of 2004. The big question is whether it will be two separate books for men and women or one. I'm not sure. I can see the merits of both approaches. I kind of like the idea of having the book be for both but then seperate study guides that could get into more detail. We'll see.

Tomorrow I take the train up to NYC to have my buddy David Sacks take the picture for the back of the book. David shot the cover for "Boy Meets Girl" and is a good friend. I haven't been to the City since before 9/11.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

On Sunday I got a copy of the new edition of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. It looks really good. There's nothing quite like holding a new book in your hands for first time. I remember how anticipating that moment would inspire me in moments of writer's block.

Today I'm heading down to Dallas for the Hispanic Youth Congreso. It's been strange getting back into the "youth speaker mode." I guess I'm just a homebody these days. Speaking at Acquire the Fire last Saturday was quite an experience.

I haven't done anything on the book for the last two days. But today C.J. went over chapters 9, 10 and my rework of chapter 6. He thought it was strong. Praise God! That was very encouraging. My prayer is that it will free many people from the treadmill of shame they've been on.

I haven't heard anything from Jennifer on the line edit.

Friday, April 11, 2003

My editor David read through my manuscript and has officially handed it off to a girl named Jennifer who is going to the do what is called the "line edit." The following email is one that I sent Jennifer in response to Dave's instruction to her:

"Hello, Jennifer! It looks like we're teaming up once again! I hope you're doing well.

I just wanted to add my voice to Dave's in saying how much I'm looking forward to getting your perspective on this book. Please give me your honest perspective.

I agree with almost everything Dave said in his note. The only thing I'd qualify relates to the following comments:

"Watch for tone shifts and fix them where you notice. Josh slips from casual conversation into churchy diction at times. It's the influence of the Puritans he reads, I guess. Watch for too many musts and shoulds, for words like "licentious" and "flesh" and such."

There's truth to this, but there will also be places where I'm very purposefully using words. So I'd want to track changes like we did with the IKDG repack so I can approve them. In some places there are theological truths I'm trying to emphasize by using somewhat "stuffy" words related to sin. So just let me see your suggested edits.

Thank you, Jen. I'm so glad you're going to be involved in this project."

Thursday, April 10, 2003

waiting...waiting...waiting. I sent chapter 10 to my editor on Tuesday. He's reading through the whole book once more before it goes to line edit. I can't believe I'm this close to being done. Thank you, God!

The question on soft cover or hard cover is still unresolved though. My editor wrote:

"I wonder how 'hardback' translates to teens and 20somethings. I propose they're kind of a use-and-discard bunch, not collectors, at least of books. A gifty package like you're describing says (or at least implies), 'I want to leave this lying around the apartment or on the toilet tank for my friends to notice and read.' It also says, 'I'm going to enjoy going back to this book often in the future.' My daughter, for example, has plenty of these beautiful, graphic driven hardbacks from Chronicle Press and so on and that package probably works for a Chicken Soup inspirational book like Danae Jacobson's book [Things I've Learned Lately is the book that inspired the idea of this format]. On the subject of lust though, I don't know. I suspect that readers will say what every person going into rehab says--'I'm going to whip this problem and then I'm going to move on problem free.' This would not be a cognitive statement, mind you, but I propose a strong subconscious need and assumption no matter what you say in the book. But a hardback says that the buyer wants to 'keep the problem,' so to speak, and shelve it carefully next to Oswald Chambers, Rick Warren and company. Your hardcore reader will do that anyway, but I'm not sure about your average youth group kid. Also, a paperback helps churches to buy in bulk for group and class studies, etc, which is where your book has a terrific opportunity to find a long and useful life, I believe."

Okay, this is officially more complicated than I wanted it to be! I'm not sure what I think. I just liked the feel of the hard back self-cover (kind of like "Prayer of Jabez" only a little bigger and bulkier). But if this is a hindrance to kids getting it I'm happy to change it. Aaaah, the joys of publishing.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

I received this sad letter recently:

"Dear Josh,

Here's my story. Immoral boy meets moral girl. Boy convinces girl to give more of herself physically than she ever has before, and she complies because she thinks it's love. Love equals marriage, and hey if they?re getting married, then God won't mind what they do together now.

Eventually, girl sticks to her morals and refuses to have sex with boy and he dumps her, citing other reasons but making it plainly obvious that the lack of sex was one of them. So it's over? I wish. Since the physical aspect had become such a predominant part of the relationship and the girl's life, she now finds herself craving it after the break-up. Because she didn't listen to God and caved into lust, she now battles it on a daily basis."

Today I'm working on chapter 10 titled "Holiness is a Harvest." I pray it will help people like this girl understand that every day through our big and small decisions we're either sowing to the flesh or to the spirit.
I wrote all day today except for a brief break in the afternoon when Shannon went to the doctor. Emma and I read her favorite "Little Bear" book and had strawberry shortcake. When Shan got home I went back to my "cave" and pounded away on chapter 9.

I'm not sure whether or not I like it. The bulk of it is scripture so I guess I can't go wrong in that regard. But the intro and the ending aren't quite right. This chapter has been all over the place. It started out as a key chapter in the middle section but then I raided it during the revision and used the concept of lust never being satisfied in chapter 2. Then my editor suggested I move it to the third section. That's what I've done. Now its focus is on using God's word to combat the lies of lust.

We're having word count issues. I'm supposed to be at 30,000 words but I'm already over that and I haven't finalized the last chapter or done an introduction. Oops. I found out today that this creates problems for the audio book. Dave also asked me whether I was committed to it being hard back. I guess I don't really care. I liked the self-cover hard back because it felt "solid"--something you could throw in a backpack. But I don't want it to be too expensive.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

My brother Joel sent me the following quote by John Owen. I don't know if I'll be able to use it in the book (I'm already pushing my word count of 30,000 as it is!) but it's very good:

"With this enemy (sin) we can have neither truce nor peace. So it is vain to hope for any reconciliation with sin. Some try, making 'provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof' (Romans 13:14). But it is like trying to put a fire out with wood and oil. It merely adds fuel to the fire and so increases it. The only way to deal with a fire in your home is to put it out. Nothing else will do. Since the very nature of sin is enmity, the only relief one can find is to utterly destroy it."

This is the attitude I want to encourage people to have towards the sin of lust. I think too many of us have tried the route of making peace with lust instead of seeking to destroy it.

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