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photo (96)Laugh, Cry, Do a Happy Dance

Almost exactly six years ago, I decided to make the final push to finish my dissertation – after three years of writing fits and starts and many life pauses, including the birth of my daughter. My decision meant I gave up many things and began binge-writing for days on end. The isolation, stress and self-loathing were terrible. But friends were kind and supportive and gave me courage to finish, defend, and graduate. Two important things happened along the way.

First, I figured out I actually had something to say. And I figured out I didn’t want to write like that any more.

In my work at Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching that same semester, I led a discussion about Robert Boice’s book Advice for New Faculty Members. Based on meditation practice and 30 years of research with new faculty, the book teaches how to write in brief daily sessions, to reduce emotional attachments to writing, to ask for help, to pause before starting, and to leave a bit over for the next session.

Giving birth to this book today, I can say with confidence, my writing habits are changed.

In early December I went into what I thought was the final push of laboring on my book. Two weeks turned into three. I worked steadily but never binged. Then I took a break and celebrated Christmas and New Years with my family. I went back to it after the break, and although I narrowed the circle of people I leaned on, I didn’t isolate or binge-write. I still enjoyed time with my family, carried on other kinds of work, and followed my task list for writing, working in 25 minute poms.

When I finished the book’s introduction today, I laughed a little, cried a little and did a happy dance. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me along this way. I’m grateful!

Stay tuned for what’s next….

1 thought on “Epiphany I”

  1. Birthing is an apt metaphor for book-writing. Labor long with the thought of something wonderful, hard days in between when you think it’s never gonna get here and the final push. Congrats! Hard work does indeed pay off.

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  • #faculty 2019-20
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#backtoschool means so many things. God’s mercy on every child who struggles with these questions.
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  • What a full day it has been! The first day of orientation is done. I’m delighted to meet the incoming students and imagine our work together this year in pastoral theology and care as well as the death, dying, and bereavement course next spring. It is also joyful to meet colleagues in the work of theological education. And this evening on a walk I even spotted @alexisinnyc having dinner with her family along Broadway. [This is the part where you break into it’s a small world after all.] . 
many things will no doubt “pull me up short” in the days ahead. And you can read about my first experience of that at my blog. Today’s #Episode39 of @threeminuteministrymentor is about learning from the moments that happen when we don’t know how to respond. From this kind of pain can come truly transformed learning. #backtoschool #BackToSeminary #3MMM #3MinuteMinistryMentor #TheologicalEducation #Seminary #SeminaryLife #MinistryLife #PulledUpShort #Learning
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