Thursday, June 28, 2007


A late summer book-contract deadline is looming, so this summer will consist of a lot more than lounging around on the river front. The book is tentatively titled, "A 'Well-Done' Legacy: Personality, Power, and the Leadership Debate." The idea for this volume came out of the last course I taught at Calvin Seminary--a course on leadership with a wonderful bunch of students who challenged me and kept me on my toes every minute of those 3-hour morning sessions. They didn't let me get by with anything, least of all making sloppy assumptions. The book, could be termed kind of an "anti-leadership" book. Who knows, though, what will happen when the editors get finished with it!

The following rough-draft paragraph is part of my chapter on Managing Everyday life.

"As I write this book I’m contemplating managing my everyday life that is packed full with family and friends (visiting Sarah, John, and kids on Sunday; Kayla’s birthday dinner Tuesday night, followed by family here at the river; Jane and Gene for dinner on Thursday; Sarah and kids for dinner on Friday; Mary and Mom Worst for lunch on Saturday; Kayla sleeping over Saturday night; meeting Carlton and Kayla on Tuesday at Muskegon State Park for two days and a night of camping; Howard and Betty for dinner on Wednesday; supervising three grandkids on Thursday while mom is at work; and in between, spur of the moment interruptions and chat on the phone, on email, and with neighbors). Every day there is work to do with the grass and shrubs and flowerbeds and vegetable garden, and we try to save time for biking or canoeing or other exercise. All the while I’m planning for several speaking engagements in the coming months. But looming over everything is the book deadline—this very book.

"How does one write a book in the midst of so many other activities? For me, through the experience of writing seventeen other books, the solution has been going into what I term “writing mode” which commits me to writing an average of one thousand words a day until the book is done. As with previous books, much the research is done ahead of time as I’m preparing lectures and class activities. But writing requires a special discipline. So, in the midst of an otherwise busy life, I jot word counts on my calendar: Monday, 1008, Tuesday, 656, Wednesday, 1326, Thursday, 1129, Friday 1438, Saturday, 611, Sunday, 328, Monday 1796, Tuesday, 1536, Wednesday, 1029, and by end of summer, hopefully the first draft will be sent on to my editor. Thus I manage my life—and my writing."