An Encouraging Word — Want to write? ‘Take the plunge!’

Write this down! Revelations 19:9

There are a lot of you out there who have told me that you have toyed with the idea of writing something for publication, but that you are reluctant to “get on with it.”

“I don’t have time.” “I don’t know where to start.” “I am afraid of rejection.” Excuses! Excuses!

Today I want to offer a word of encouragement to any of you who have been thinking about it, but have put off acting on it.

If you believe you have something to say that others might want to read, even if it is just members of your own family or circle of friends, technology today makes it relatively simple and inexpensive to publish a book. Companies specializing in self-publishing will supply you with free kits to guide you through every step of the process — anything from securing copyrights, to cover designs, to page layouts.
The whole book can be submitted electronically. With print-on-demand capabilities, you can print as many copies as you want, as few as you want, when you want them. If you don’t want to spend money on printing, e-books are even cheaper to produce.

With that help available, if you have something to say, something others want to hear, the guts to stick your neck out a bit and the discipline to present those ideas in a comprehensible way, you are on your way. The process will no doubt require the assistance of friends and acquaintances who are willing to help with seemingly endless editing and technology support.

I got into writing almost by accident. When I was preaching at the Cathedral of the Assumption, I would often hear people tell me that I should publish my homilies. I would always blow it off as a nice compliment, but I never acted on it because I never thought I was good enough. My standard excuse became, “I would, if I had an editor.”

One day, Michael Downey, who taught theology at Bellarmine came to the cathedral for Mass. When he shook my hand at the door, he said to me, “You ought to publish your homilies!” I repeated my excuse, “I would, if I had an editor.” To which he responded, “I am an editor for Crossroads Press in New York. Send me a manuscript!”

I can still remember when the first boxes of books arrived. Rather than ripping them open with delight, I looked at them with dread. There was still part of me that felt “not good enough to write,” something that every writer has to face at one time or another.

The rest is history. With “An Encouraging Word, Volume X” hot off the press and now available, I have 22 books in print (four of them are translations in Spanish, Swahili and Vietnamese). For a complete list and available locations for purchase, in hard copy or e-book form, go to Profits go to my work with priests and seminarians.

Thinking about writing? Take the plunge!

Father J. Ronald Knott

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