45 Terrible Names for My Book

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I hate naming stuff. When I was a youth pastor, it was torture for me to come up with a good name for our ministry. If I ever have a child, they’ll probably remain nameless until they’re 3 or 4 because I’ll be unwilling to commit to any one name.

It took me forever to finally decide on a title for my book. I bugged a lot of my friends with text after text of TERRIBLE title ideas. I knew I had to get all the bad ones out of my system if I was ever going to find one I was happy with.

I probably came up with at least 100 words or phrases I thought I could name my book. Here’s a list of 45.

Let me remind you that the book is about vulnerability. Why it’s important in the life of the church, why we’re afraid of it, and why we don’t have to be.

The title I came up with is IN THE ALTOGETHER. If you want to learn more about that, you can download a free preview.

Here are a ton of awful names…

  1. Breaking Open

  2. Sharing Your Life

  3. Show Yourself

  4. Too Human   (as in “we are all too human to try to live without vulnerability”)

  5. Where Hope Finds Us

  6. Honestly

  7. Wrong, Weak, and Worried

  8. Vulnerable Christianity

  9. The Only Way Forward

  10. Can I be Honest

  11. The Lost Art of Weakness

  12. All My Best Secrets

  13. All Our Best Secrets

  14. All Your Best Secrets

  15. Off Limits

  16. Crying is Cool

  17. The Lost Art of Being Human

  18. How to be Human

  19. Give it all You’ve Got

  20. All the Hidden Monsters

  21. How to be Human

  22. Give it all You’ve Got

  23. All the Hidden Monsters

  24. Can I be Honest?

  25. Full of It

  26. Running From Yourself

  27. Wrapped in Words

  28. Putting it all out there

  29. Putting it out there

  30. No Holding Back

  31. Hello to all our secrets

  32. What’s Left Unsaid

  33. So much to say

  34. Close Enough

  35. Wasted Grace

  36. In Defense of Staying Weak

  37. In Defense of Staying Human

  38. Don’t Go Alone

  39. You’re Not Brave, You’re Stupid

  40. Open

  41. Weak

  42. Bare

  43. Known

  44. Share

  45. Bumbling

Unboxing Test Printing of My Book

 
 

Because I’m self publishing my book I have to figure out all the ins and outs of formatting a manuscript for print. Right after I finished my 4th draft I put together a test copy with one of my incomplete drafts just to so what it would look like.

I did a livestream of myself unboxing it. It feels so crazy to say I wrote a book.

Read a free preview of it!

Everyone Apologizes, Even Mister Rogers

In my new book, In the Altogether, I spend a chapter looking at situations we all find ourselves in that require vulnerability. Some times they conversation around the topic can be too general and vague so I wanted to zoom in get specific.

Here are the 5 common vulnerable moments: being wrong, apologizing, confrontation, when it feels like your life is falling apart, and sharing your dreams for the future.

Everyone is wrong some times, everyone has moments where they need to confront someone, everyone faces tragedies, everyone thinks about their future, and everyone needs to apologize from time to time…EVEN MISTER ROGERS!

I love this clip I found the other day of Mister Rogers describing a time when he felt the need to say I’m sorry. What a relief to know that even Mister Rogers can let his frustrations get the better of him. And what a beautiful encouragement to hear him describe how quickly he realized he was in the wrong and apologize. I want to be more like him.

Free Book Preview

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Go to altogetherbook.com to get a free preview of my book!

Read the introduction and find out about my book tour in the fall. I want to come to your church.

Go to the site, click the button, put in your email address, check your inbox, read the preview, get excited, tell your friends, shave your head, ride a horse, wait for the pre-order to be available, pre-order it, wait for the book, tell more friends, ride another horse, read the book, bring me to your church!

THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE!

It feels so crazy that I finally get to share this with people. All year I’ve been locked in my apartment writing day and night. But now it’s time to share. That’s insane.

Just Keep Going

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There’s nothing worse than starting over.

When I finished the second draft of my book I took a little break from writing because I was so exhausted. When it came time to begin again, it felt like torture. All the momentum was gone. The muscles I had worked out from writing every day were weak again from lack of exercise.

It’s like a middle aged father watching his son, the high school quarterback, work out. His son is lifting some serious weight, pushing himself in the gym. The father can’t stop talking about what he could bench press back in his glory days. He wants to impress his son so he steps in to show him how it’s done. This dad hasn’t been physically active in a long time. He has no idea how much he can actually lift, but he tries for the weight he once maxed out at over 20 years ago. The dad goes to lift it. He can’t. It’s clearly too much. But he won’t give up. He used to be able to do this so easily! Come on! He tries again. And that’s when his body betrays him. He throws out his back. It’s violent and painful. He screams and falls to the floor. He’s humiliated. Did he cry? Yes. Like a little baby. Did he push himself so hard he pooped his pants? He’ll never tell. But yes. He totally did.

I get so mad at myself every time I go back to pick up a habit I abandoned. It’s frustrating because it used to be so easy for me to do this thing every day. Why is It not immediately easy again?! Because nothing can be done except little by little. I know it’ll eventually get easier but it sucks right now. It’s hard work. Like running a mile. The first day you do it is so much harder than the 8th day. After a month of doing it every day, you don’t even have to think about it anymore.

There’s something powerful about momentum. The snowball effect of work.

Why do I put myself through the frustration of starting again? If I just never stopped in the first place, I wouldn’t have to deal with this. If I stuck to writing, working out, reading my Bible, I’d never have to worry about that rusty stage again.

I should just keep going.

Advice on Starting a Newsletter

 
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Today someone messaged me on Facebook asking for advice about starting a newsletter (sign up for MY weekly newsletter). I ended up writing way too much so I thought I’d share it here too.

Here’s what I said…

I do my newsletter every week, however I know for a lot of people it makes more sense to do it every month. For me, it has helped to follow a few newsletters of people I look up to.

Austin Kleon is THE BEST. His blog and newsletter have been an inspiration.

I love the way he talks about daily blogging. He says it helps him be a better writer and makes writing books a lot easier. If he blogs every day for 3 months and then looks back over all he's written, he might notice 10 blogs all on the same subject. If you put them all together, that could be a chapter in a book! So he just uses it to pay attention to what he's paying attention to.

Every week in his newsletter he has 10 things he thinks are worth sharing. It might be stuff that he's written or stuff other people have made that are influencing him.

I also just subscribed to Ann Friedman’s weekly newsletter. I really like how she structures hers. I tried doing mine a little bit like hers.

I think if you’re not a known personality a lot of people will want to follow, it’s probably best to pick some topic or theme you can keep people informed about. Obviously you want people to look at you as an expert in your field so they use you as a resource. Maybe the newsletter can be a way to share resources with them. Stuff you’ve made or podcasts, articles, books, quotes that can you’ve found helpful in your own research.

Also, I’m writing this I’m realizing I’m not following my own advice. I should probably be more focused in my newsletter too.

I use mailchimp. It’s really easy and the free version is good enough to start with. I think once you start growing your audience, it’ll make sense to start paying for it.

A lot of people will have some free offer as an incentive for signing up for the newsletter. Is there something you can give people who sign up?

There’s a whole movement around newsletters these days. Social media is garbage and we have no control over who sees our posts. With newsletters you’re guaranteed to be in their inbox. It’s more intimate. It’s more reliable.

The Problem of Being Likable

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My friend Wade Bearden tweeted earlier today a quote from the Sherlock Holmes' story, A Study in Scarlet, commenting that these lines are “a great description of social median.”

 

“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence…The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done.”

 

ABSOLUTELY! And it doesn’t seem to matter who you are but more who you can convince others you are.

In a commencement speech from 2011, Jonathan Franzen spoke the graduating class of Kenyon College about the problem of being likable:

 

“If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you’ve despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level, contempt for those people, because they’ve fallen for your shtick. Those people exist to make you feel good about yourself, but how good can your feeling be when it’s provided by people you don’t respect?”

 

It reminds me of the Groucho Marx quote: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

We think we want people to only know the filtered, curated, likable version of ourselves that we present to the world, but it can never satisfy. Compliments become meaningless. They say “you’re such a kind person” and all you can think is “yeah, that’s because you don’t actually know me.”

The only relationships that will truly defeat our culture’s loneliness epidemic, are ones where we can be fully known and still fully loved.

Like Tim Keller says in The Meaning of Marriage:

 

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.

 

Disney's Insane Rejected Dwarf Names

I listened to the audiobook for Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination and I really loved it. Great biography. In it I learned about all the names they were considering for the seven dwarfs in Snow White. I'm so glad they didn't choose these.

I know this is not a complete list. I cut the video down to focus on the weirdest ones. Here's the complete list.

I know this video is ridiculous and there's no real target audience, BUT I had to talk about this.