As promised, this is the first in a series of behind-the-scenes blog posts regarding the book, The Single Dad Detour. 

The Single Dad Detour started out as a fictional work. The title was Heart of Stone and it was the story of a single dad, a correctional officer who discovers a plot for his murder during an impending prison break. I planned to use the story in hopes that single dads who read it would learn how to survive parenting alone, all while being entertained.

Dumb idea.

11111My attempt at fiction was not so much out of creativity but fear. Fear that a self-help book would not fly unless I had a Ph.D. or other educational credentials.

Of course, the novel kept hitting a brick wall because my motive was wrong. Anytime you try to sneak a lesson into a piece of entertainment, it’s going to show up in blinding neon lights. Ugh! 

At the advice of my literary friends and professionals, I set aside my novel and dove into the first few chapters of what was then titled Help, I Think I’m Lost: How to Navigate Fatherhood After Divorce.

Once I decided to be authentic, I gained confidence as an expert in the field of family issues and the manuscript flowed out of me like magic.

As each chapter was completed, I’d take it to my critique group to have it polished. I am auto-didactic, so I listened and learned and read and grew as a writer. I interviewed single dads and other parents, researched the topic and added several interactive elements to the book.

Finally, almost 10 years after starting the novel, my non-fiction manuscript was organized enough to pitch to agents and publishing houses.

The rest is history. The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce released in February 2015 and became a work that is being utilized internationally to help dads all over the world. This humbles me and I’m so grateful for what God continues to do through the book. 

The lesson here is obvious. Move with confidence in the topic God has called you to write about. Don’t fear being accused as a fraud–you’re not! We shouldn’t hide behind one genre because we’re afraid of another. Step out and be authentic and watch God use you. 

I’m not saying I’ll never dive into writing a novel again one day. When it’s time, I’ll know. Until then, I look forward to what he might do with my upcoming project, PreLaunching: How to Prepare Your Teen for Adulting in Today’s World.  Only time will tell. 

How about you? How long did it take you to finish your first manuscript?