If you haven’t heard of Max Lucado, you’ve been in your writing closet for too long! Lucado is one of the most prolific Christian authors whose almost 100 books have 80 million copies in print. He practically lives on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Now that I have your attention, let’s dive into what makes Mr. Lucado so successful and how you can imitate his process.
First, watch this quick video interview with Max Lucado by Michael Hyatt, former publishing CEO.
M A X L U C A D O O N :: editing
In a recent quote Mr. Lucado describes the benefit, and agony, of the editing process:
Ernest Hemingway espoused rewriting: “I rise at first light . . . and I start by rereading and editing everything I have written to the point I left off. That way I go through a book I’m writing several hundred times . . . Describing A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway said, “I had rewritten the ending thirty-nine times in manuscript and . . . worked it over thirty times in proof, trying to get it right.”
I find it helps to read the work out loud. First to myself, then to anyone who is kind enough to listen. I vary the locations of the reading. What sounds good in the study must sound good on the porch. What sounds good to me must sound good to my editors. Sure, editing hurts. So does a trip to the dentist. But someone needs to find the cavities.
Let editors do their job. Release your grip on the manuscript. A little red ink won’t hurt you. A lot of red ink might save you. My most recent manuscript was returned to me sunburned in red. It bled like raw steak. Of its fourteen chapters, thirteen needed an overhaul. I was depressed for a week. Yet the book is better because of the editors.
And isn’t that our aim? The best book possible? We need good books. We need your best book. The single . . . the lonely pastor . . . the stressed missionary— we need you to give them your best words. We need you to write.
And now I believe we can all see why Max Lucado’s skill is worthy of our esteem. If he can write that well about writing, imagine the beauty of the rest of his work!
M A X L U C A D O O N :: clarity
Can you summarize your entire book in one sentence? If not, Max Lucado suggests that you need more clarity. He says,
Distill the message into a phrase, and protect it. Stand guard. Defy interlopers. No paragraph gets to play unless it contributes to the message of the book.
M A X L U C A D O O N :: the work of writing
In his writing space Mr. Lucado has posted the quote,
You wanna write? Put your butt in that chair and sit there a long, long time.
This reveals his view of writing… that it is hard work. Mr. Lucado suggests that if an author tells him that writing is easy or natural, his or her work is likely lacking in quality. So be encouraged that the struggle you feel each time you put pen to paper is actually a credit to the caliber of your work product.
Whether you are a New York Times Best Selling author or simply working on your first manuscript, consider employing Max Lucado’s time-honored tools of self-editing, striving for clarity, and hard work.