From Blog to Book: One Skeptic’s Journey

This is a guest post from David Teems. He is a close, personal friend and the author of several books, including his most recent, Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God An English Voice. Be sure to check out his blog and follow him on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I admit, when I hear someone suggest that you can take your blog posts and turn them into a book, I am skeptical. But when I really thought about it, for all my skepticism, and as much as it pains me to admit it, my first book, To Love Is Christ, came about just that way. Let me explain.

Bit and Bytes Becoming a Book - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #18640372

Photo courtesy of ©

On August 1, 2002 I made a vow to God. He and I weren’t on the best of terms at the time, and when I finally got fed up hearing myself complain, or filling my journal with more whine, I decided to do something dramatic. My strategy was both simple and logical. That morning I decided since the Scripture tells me that God is love, I would write every day for one year on that one subject, love. That was it. That was my strategy.

Having a successful marriage (a ridiculously wonderful wife), I knew I was good for a few months of self-generated text, all my pent up wisdom, all the ooze and rhapsody of a well-tuned lyric. But beyond that, beyond those first few months, my thought was that God himself would have to supply the details.

Being 2002, I could hardly call it a blog at the time, but I did vow to post one entry on my web site every day and to do so by 12 noon. I obligated myself to a deadline and to an audience. It wasn’t long before I began to add a benediction to each post, such as “May your Christ be a warm one. May your Christianity be a door and not a wall.”

Fifteen months from that first day in August, I had a manuscript that was eight inches deep. Somewhere during that time, Benita and I moved to Franklin, Tennessee.

I had been introduced to Jack Countryman by Gloria Gaither. Jack published beautiful devotional books for Thomas Nelson at the time, often with a CD in the back. I gave Jack a proposal with a copy of my recording In The Mourning: For Those Who Grieve in the hope of getting a book deal (I had put a booklet together to go with the music). Jack and his crew ultimately turned down the project, but his editor gave me a wonderful review of my writing. Jack told me if I had anything else, please bring it to him.

It was a start.

Once this huge manuscript had grown under my hand, I took the benedictions (there were one thousand of them) and put together what I then called The May Book because each benediction began with the word “may” and the metaphor of the month itself is so powerful with its suggestion of new life, I couldn’t resist. Nelson liked it, and wanted to publish it, but thought it might work better as a devotional. That was fortunate, I told them, because I had eight inches of devotional.

They asked me to compress each entry to two hundred words or less. After moaning a bit, I worked with their editor, Alice Sullivan, for months to compress this tall, wordy, over-the-top mess to a trim, readable, accessible devotional. During the editorial process, some days were as long as sixteen to eighteen hours. I hardly noticed.

Two things came out of the experience. Okay, maybe three. I will list them.

  1.  The regularity, the discipline, the day to day obligation made a writer out of me.
  2. Forcing myself to condense each entry to 200 words or less taught me the art of compression, of discovering what was necessary, what was excess, and what was not (what Williams Tyndale and Shakespeare called “pith”). To discover where the true music lay. I developed a kind of editorial savagery. Being a songwriter, I suppose I had a head start on the process.
  3. I got a book deal. The advance was not huge by any standard, but who cared? I WAS PUBLISHED. And the little event did wonderful things to my thought life, to my confidence, and to my renewed perception of God, and life.

I am forever grateful to Thomas Nelson, who worked with me in my nativity as an author to awaken my instincts, to season and sharpen them for good use. I’ve written many books since then, for Nelson and other publishers. I am grateful to God as well, who proved himself as good as his description, as John defined him, and for putting the dare in me in the first place.

God is love. Of that I am certain.

To Love Is Christ, as I titled it, will always be special to me. It is deliciously tweetable. Certainly, its voice is more lyrical than my other books, but it was the logical step in my evolution as a writer, in my transition from music to books.

So, I have put a muzzle on my skepticism. Your blog content can, indeed, become a book. That is, with a few necessary conditions. And as much as writers writing about writing on the internet borders on downright creepy at times, here are five conditions, five necessary obligations, that must be satisfied if your blog is to be publishable.

  1. Hard work. There is no way to circumnavigate this one.
  2. Obligating yourself to write every day. No exceptions.
  3. Developing an editorial savagery, or even better, a great ear. I have become somewhat lactose intolerant, that is, I am (hopefully) able to detect cheese when I am guilty of manufacturing it, or when I hear it. Ernest Hemingway called it by another, more colorful name, but to be able to detect it is critical. The ear is the primary organ for the writer.
  4. Learn and develop the art of restraint.
  5. Love language. Love it. Never stop learning the craft.

That’s it. Happy blogmaking. Of the list above, I’m particularly fond of #5. Content is great. It’s critical. But it is execution alone that will set you apart.

Questions: Have you ever thought about going from blog to book? What would it take? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Joanna

    It isn’t something I have thought about seriously yet as I don’t think I have enough on any one theme yet, although a bit of my recent material has been on a faith in the face of the frustrations (disappointment, unanswered prayer, confusion ect.) of real life. Might keep pushing on with that theme to develop a more extensive and coherent series and possibly get to a book at some point in the future.

    • TNeal

      Just a thought but have you read through some of your past articles? I did recently and saw a number of themes emerging from different seasons of writing. I’ve collected similar thoughts into a file and am considering how to flesh those out into a more seamless offering.

      • Brandon

        Great words! I would try that!

    • Brandon

      True! But you can start by deciding to get a series together. That is how I released my first ebook on my site. It was not really based on my blog’s posts or anything (although I did post a few that were in the ebook)…

  • Patricia Zell

    Mainly because I found this blog and received so much wisdom and encouragement from Michael, I started my own blog in 2009 and wrote my book through posts. Because I have a demanding job as a high school English teacher, my commitment was one blog post a week, and within a year, I had my book. I chose print-on-demand self-publishing for three main reasons: I am an unknown, my “doctrine” is not traditional (i.e., I look at the Bible from a fresh perspective), and my book will be in print as long as I want it to be (no time limits on success). My book also focuses on love with the main idea being that God’s love is absolute–His love is perfect, complete, and real. I found it amazing how reading and studying the Bible from the perspective of God’s absolute love changed my understanding of how the Bible works. God’s absolute love will not fail!

  • Jon Stolpe

    This is inspiring!

    I have thought about taking my blog to a book, but I’m not sure that there’s been enough consistency on a single topic to do this yet.  

    • David Teems

      Just keep writing, particular if you are beginning to develop a relationship with the craft. Once you love it, I mean really love it, you’ll know when to begin thinking about a book. Listen close. When the right topic comes, you won’t be able not to do it (forgive the double negative). Until then—let the thought season a while.

      • TNeal

        And this is why it’s worth reading the additional comments. They offer practical advice with a sharper focus on specific situations. Good stuff!

      • Brandon

        Wise words!

    • Joe Lalonde

      That’s been my issue too Jon. This post has inspired me to plan out a month or two of content and see where it leads.

      • Brandon

        For sure! I actually have done that very thing this weekend. I have a major announcement (probably shocking) coming to the blog in January. I am really excited about it…

    • Brandon

      I think you have great potential to do so… it is just a matter of actually committing to it. Blog writing and book writing is a little bit different. Unless you write every blog post like you would a book (which is what I want to eventually get to), you have to edit a little bit.

      I would totally go for it though!

  • Christine Molloy

    I have been thinking about this topic a LOT lately. I write a blog called Thoughts and Ramblings on Life, Love, and Health and would like to take the content to develop it into a book. I had never read about anyone else doing the same so thank you very much for the inspiration!!

    • David Teems

      Christine, it is very possible! But books are serious things, living things. They will wrestle with you to bring the best out of you. They can be quite demanding. That was exciting for me. There was a definite transition from casual to serious, from curious amateur to pro. The investment makes all the difference. Go for it!

  • Cyberquill

    Sure I’ve thought about going from blog to book. I told God and lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. What am I to make of His reaction? 

  • John Richardson

    Insightful post, David. A blog is a great place to try new ideas and see how topics evolve.  In my six years of blogging, I have learned so much about the subjects I blog about by the comments and reactions of readers. This has helped me fine tune my content and develop a unique voice. It’s from this unique voice or niche that books come from. From there it is a matter of outlining, refining, and editing that will produce a work that is worthy of print. 

    Your journey sounds like an amazing learning experience. One area that can really help when trying to collect and define useful book content, is to run a reader survey, like Michael does once a year. If you ask specific questions about your subject areas, you can find those surprising gems that your audience craves. After years of blogging, I’m still amazed at what works and what doesn’t. 

    • David Teems

      Blogging has certainly created a kind of science of its own, which includes a science of listening, both a science and a craft which is beneficial at so many levels and so many depths. As for the science of the blog, I’m not sure there is a more knowledgable or savvy guy on the planet than Mike Hyatt. All who traffic this site, which includes me, owe him a great debt for his wisdom, which is so fluid, prolific, and alive, matched only by his generosity and largeness of heart. 

      • Brandon

        Blogging has certainly created a kind of science of its own, which
        includes a science of listening, both a science and a craft which is
        beneficial at so many levels and so many depths.

        so true! I have learned so much from blogging!

    • Brandon

      You certainly could create a book from your blog!

  • Gail Hyatt

    I have loved watching you on this journey, David!

    • Benita Teems

      Me, too!

    • David Teems

      Like the song says so sweetly (and not without its tears), “I found my home.”

  • Jennifer

    What a great article.  This is my sole purpose in blogging as well – I loved reading the perspective of someone who made it to the top.

    • David Teems

      You’re very kind Jennifer. Continue to learn the craft, and if it is books you want to do, read books, lots of them, study the long form, the construction, the movement of thought, and the lovely resolve at the book’s end. There is a difference between a blog and a book. Learn that difference and make the necessary investment. Commit deeply and give yourself no options. It will happen. God bless.

  • Kelly Combs

    I especially like #3 of  what came out of your experience!  That is the way I feel every time I am published.  When I was recently published in a compilation book by a NY Times best seller, my dad asked how much I made.  He was unimpressed by the $10 I earned.  *BUT* I was thrilled to be associated with a New York Times Best Selling author and published in his book. It is very validating, and only another writer can understand that.

    Congratulations on your success! Your post made me smile.  (And laugh as I read about your ability to detect cheese. )  Thanks for sharing, David.

    • David Teems

      There is not a worse feeling in the world than a flaw you can’t fix, that’s been set in ink. You feel exposed. That’s why I attached the word “savagery” to the word “editorial.” But when a text is as complete, or as “finished” as it can be, as thoroughly groomed and polished, there’s not a finer feeling in the world. William Tyndale, who gave us our English Bible in 1526, was a master at the “finished” line. He translated the phrase “author and finisher” and it is only right that he did. He had an economy about his text, a delicious blend of splendor and clarity that taught the rest of us how to do it, how to shape our words, and our thoughts. Writing should be inspired play.

  • Stacey29lincoln

    “Love language. Love it. Never stop learning the craft.”Rich and true – blogging has made a writer out of me – or at least helped me to see the writer that was always in me!

    Thanks for sharing your journey! 

    • David Teems

      This is the first of all requirements for the serious writer. Love language. The fact that you called that one line out says something about your appetite. 

      • Texaspenelope

        Learning the craft of writing. What are some good resources?

        • David Teems

          The best books on the subject are: ON WRITING [Stephen King], BIRD BY BIRD [Anne Lamotte]. These two are my favorites. There are many others, but start there. I suggest reading great authors. Find out who they are, and devour their text. Read books, great books. Absorb authors. I tend to read everything an author writes [Dostoevsky, Dickens, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Wolfe, Cormac McCarthy, Annie Proulx, Barbara Kingsolver, Ian McEwan, C. S. Lewis, and select others]. Truth is, if you don’t have the appetite to read, you deny yourself the tools to write. Reading is your bank account, your backstory as a craftsman.

          • JannFreed

            Those are two of my favorite books on writing also.  What about Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg?  Congratulations on going from blog to book.  I am working on a leadership book based on more than 100 interviews with thought leaders.  Since these leaders fall into the servant leadership area, do you think Thomas Nelson might be a possibility as a publisher?  Even though I have written four books in the past, they were targeted for people in higher education and those publishers would not be interested in this book.  I have others in mind such as BK and JB, but it is tough to get a publisher so I am always searching.  Thanks in advance for the advice.  

  • Chris Jeub

    Add to the list of advantages: Instant feedback from the most loyal of your audience. 

    I have published several books with the blog-to-book process, too. My most challenging or dicey ideas I first publish on my blog, then relish the feedback from commenters. Even trolls get my mind thinking how to bring the message out better.

    Great post, David. God bless!

    • Joe Lalonde

      I agree. It is interesting to see the feedback that you get from your blog. While I have not received any negative comments on my blog, a reader recently told me, to my face, that my blog sucked the past two weeks. It’s hard to gauge if his opinion is of the majority or the minority but it did give me food for thought.

      • Brandon

        Yeah. I have never had harsh comments on mine, but I have had a few that have caused to to rethink what I am doing. There was a time when I wasn’t putting much effort into writing posts, and I could tell…so could others…

        I have tried to change that now. I like when people point out those things! It helps us go farther…

  • Stantilly

    So if I don’t have a blog yet do you suggest I go from Twitter to Blog to Book? You can read my Tweets @stanwebster

    • David Teems

      Interesting question, but if you’re serious, I guess it depends on two things: deciding what it is you really want and how thorough, or how deep of an investment you are willing to make to achieve it. Once you’ve answered these essential questions, the rest will come to you.

    • Joe Lalonde

      I could see that as a possibility. I know of at least one Twitter feed that received a TV show and book deal. It contains a vulgar word in the title so I will not post it here, but it is possible.

      • Brandon

        That’s crazy!?

    • Brandon

      I would only start a blog if you want to. If it is something you are passionate about and you have interesting content to bring to the table, I would say GO FOR IT!

      If not, I would not do it…but I will tell you that it is a great journey! if you need any more advice, feel free to contact me through my site:

  • Becky Eppley

    What a practical post – thank you! I often think about going from blog to book as I’ve been writing devotional material for over four years now.  What would it take? A review of all of it to place it into catagories and to, like David, condense it into a consistent voice and format. Then of course would be to find an audience – I’m amazed when I dip my toes into the world of “blogging” that there are zillions of them out there, all linked together taking you from page to page.  I guess in that definition of the word I don’t blog but write what God’s teaching me at that point in my life.

  • Ben Patterson

    Wow. Solid stuff, thanks for sharing your insight. I’ve thought about the blog to book journey and wonder how much new/exclusive content you need to offer in the book. If there’s nothing new why would loyal readers buy something that they get for free on a blog?

    • David Teems

      Books will ask different things of you than a blog. It’s the short form against the long form. I have heard it said that you learn a subject by writing a book about it. I think that’s true. And most often the subject I learn most about is myself. Each book has explored me as much as I have explored it. Each one raises its own mirror. I have actually wept at times at what I discover. Books demand a kind of “sounding” that is, a penetration below the noisy surface, into the dark interiors, and you find yourself saying things you had not imagined before. 

      Blogs may be a place to start, but they just don’t have the reach that books do. And the exclusive content you mentioned is in a hidden place. It’s yours for the discovering. With a book you get to play Indiana Jones with your own soul.  

      • Ben Patterson

        An adventure for certain.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I can answer this, Ben. Three reasons:

      1. Because they don’t know it is all there on the blog.

      2. If they do know, it’s too much hassle to get to it.

      3. You will improve what you wrote on the blog, taking into account your reader’s comments and suggestions.
      This happens all the time in the publishing world of today. We have seen no impact on demand. In fact, if anything, it primes the pump in terms of demand. Your blog readers will be the most likely people to buy the book.

      • Ben Patterson

        Thanks, Michael. I appreciate your third point of improvement on previous entries and comments.

        • Brandon

          Mr. Hyatt gave some wise words. I agree with all of them, but #3 is probably the most that hits home with me…

    • Brandon

      I think you should go for it!

  • Stan Webster

    A great article. Not only informative but also encouraging. But before I rush off and start blogging away, what on earth can I write about that a zillion others haven’t already written on? Is there a list somewhere of the most popular subjects to blog on? Thanks again for a helpful post.

    • David Teems

      Again, here you have to play Indiana Jones with your own soul. Only you can answer this question. It really is there. But you have to “sound” your own depths. Happy hunting!

    • Brandon

      There are so many blogs on categories that are bland: leadership, social media, etc. The difference that sets them a part is the content. This site is different than other “leadership” sites. It all depends on what you are passionate about…

      If you are writing on popular subjects just to get noticed, you will get noticed, but you will probably not have fun blogging…

      I blog about things a love- worship, leadership, and Christian life. Feel free to check out my site at

  • Brett

    I’ve enjoyed your music…. Now I know I can go enjoy your writing!

    I love the lists. I still struggle with it, but blogging has helped with discipline: the discipline of being consistent and of being concise. Those are huge for me.  Thanks for sharing.

    One more thing that would help me is to really understand what it is I want to say. I know the consistency helps flush that out over time, though.

    • David Teems

      Thanks, Brett, and particularly mentioning the music. The transition to books was an evolutionary step. But hopefully, behind my text, you will still hear me singing. 

      • Robert E. Ricciardelli

        David, hope you are well. Call some time to catch up  

  • Cynthia Herron

    Wow! Right on the money with this one! All of your five obligations are so important, David, but I think #1 and #2 are vital if one has any illusions of truly pursuing a publishing career. Too many times, writers think they can do a tap dance around all the hard work necessary to succeed in a business that’s fraught with long, grueling hours and little or no pay initially.

    Congratulations on your persistence and your success! Many Blessings!

  • Donna Fagerstrom

    I have been a reader and follower of your writings and CD’s since my dearest friend Julie Ackerman Link first introduced you to me several years ago.  I’m a devotional writer.  A few things have been published in books.  Desiring to do more.  Thank you for your ministry and your work.  To God be the glory!

    • David Teems

      Thanks, Donna. And thank Julie for the introduction. 

  • Brandon Weldy

    I have just finished up a series of blogs on the fruit of the Spirit. It was a lot of fun and really peaked my interest in them. I did some reading on each one before writing and I was intrigued at what I was finding. I thought it would make a great book. That would take a bit more study on each, probably more writing, and a lot of removing “cheese.” It would be hard work, but I am definitely thinking about it.

    • Brandon Weldy

      Strike that… Have started on it. It’s been 4 days since I have finished the series and I am starting before I talk myself out of it!! I am very excited

      • David Teems

        Excellent, Brandon! Keep talking yourself into it. Daily. That too is a part of the job. You have to be convinced, and at a deep level of your existence. Writing is a lonely art. Determination. Tenacity. Perserverance. Resolve. Persistence. Hard-headedness. Learn these. Commit them to memory. Employ them with great love and regularity.

        • Brandon Weldy

          Thank you very much for this challenge and encouragement! 

      • Jeff Randleman

        Loking forward to reading it.  Loved the series!

        • Brandon Weldy

          Thanks! I was debating whether or not to do it and after reading this post today I knew that I needed to just do it.

          • Jeff Randleman

            Looking forward to reading it!

    • Brandon

      Awesome! I would love to read that series…what’s the link to it?

  • deandeguara

    Michael had a post a few weeks ago about taking the bite size approach to writing a book by writing 500 word posts. I’m committing to 2 500 word posts a week (or maybe 5 100 word posts). Something I’m definitely doing. I had a question. Is there any precautionary steps that should be taken to assure your content is not copied?

    • David Teems

      This is a great question. In Shakespeare’s HAMLET, the prince says something to his uncle/father/king Claudius that Claudius doesn’t quite understand. Claudius says to Hamlet, “I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.” Hamlet responds, interestingly enough, by saying, “No, nor mine now.” There is an important lesson here. Basically, by speaking the words to someone, they no longer belong exclusively to you. They are public property.

      My word of caution is this. If you don’t want a certain thought, or a piece of text to be used, plagiarized, usurped, or “borrowed,” don’t post it. Keep it to yourself. Cultivate it. Let it grow in your thoughts. This is difficult to do, certainly, but it’s a tactic you may wish to learn. 

      I have ruined or shipwrecked an idea or a text by spilling its contents too soon.

      I have a sign on my office door as I leave. Though I’m guilty of infraction, it says “Don’t talk about it.” Once your ideas migrate to a book, with the copyright seal, then spew away. Until then, be warned.

      • Michael Hyatt

        Actually, you’re blog posts are just as protected (or not) as your book. Copyright law applies equally to both. Thanks.

        • Brandon

          I don’t have a “copyright” necessarily set up on my site…is this something that I should need?

          How can you tell if someone is copying your content for profit?

          • Michael Hyatt

            You don’t need to do anything. Your content is copyrighted and protected from the moment you create it.
            I don’t know of a way to tell if someone is copying your content for profit. Usually one of my readers stumbles across it. In my experience, it’s very, very rare. Not worth worrying about.

          • Brandon

            Ok. I was just wondering…have copyright issues ever happened with your blog? I mean, has anyone ever tried to copy your content for profit?


    • Michael Hyatt

      You might want to read my post, “How to Protect Your Intellectual Property Online.”

  • TNeal

    David, thanks for sharing your journey. I’ve gathered a few common threads and plan to sew them together in a simple eBook format. I’m still sharpening my needle at this point (yep, that’s an accidental-on-purpose pun). God bless–Tom

    • Brandon

      Can’t wait to download your ebook!

      • TNeal

        Been on the road, so thanks for the encouragement, Brandon.

  • Josh Robinson

    Great post. I have thought a lot about this but did not know if many people used their blog as a book source. I am not sure I have enough of the same theme to move forward with it. How did you decide whether to do a book or a devotional? 

    • David Teems

      The language itself determined the course of this particular book. Coming from a musical background the voice was more lyrical. And a lyrical voice, while ideal for inspirational writing or devotionals, cannot be sustained in the long form except by the occasional strain of lyricism, like a vein of gold in a slab of rock. 

      Learn to listen well. 

      And if you decide to go to books by way of your blog, think of the blog as an artifact, as something showing only part of itself, something shy or partially hidden, not unlike a fossil to the discerning archeologist. This is a Stephen King illustration, but it works with our blog to books theme. Dig carefully and consistently around your idea, and apply words only as they come to you. In time and with great love you’ll discover the story that has been there all along. It may just write itself. I love that. The writer is always part mystic.

      • Josh Robinson

        Great imagery. Thanks for the input. Merry Christmas! 

  • Cheri Gregory

    David —

    Your commitment to “write every day for one year on that one subject,” is breath-taking. That kind of focus is “what it would take” to go from blog to book.  

    How to find/force/figure out that “one subject”? My blog is a pastiche of the 31+ flavors I find fascinating (depending on the day, my current mood, and latest life events!)

    In November, I did blog a 4-part series that took on a life — and following — of its own: “Priceless Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime”, focusing on the four Personalities. ( )

    Coming up with monthly themes for 2012 might be a simple way to continue with the momentum already created; in a year, perhaps I could have a respectible eBook…  

    Thank you for a thought-provoking post!


    • Brandon

      Great advicE!

  • Staffaction

    Could you expand on #4?

    • David Teems

      Great question. #4 is “Learn and develop the art of restraint.” Restraint, in this context, is simply knowing when you have said enough. All my life I’ve had very little restraint. Spew was the going term, I think. But spew defeats art. I remember when I first learned electric guitar, I played licks all the time during a song. I thought it was cool at the time, but I left nothing to mystery. The charm was chased away by the sheer excess of notes. It is the same with any kind of writing. Do not over explain. Leave something for the imagination to revel in. People will love you for it. And come back for more. Remember, part of your job is to work the charm.

      • Don Gallagher

        “But spew defeats art.” I like this, and your post, very much. I’ve learned that #4 also applies to conversation. As a good friend and mentor once told me, “Don, you’d be wise to be less “scenic” with your conversation and more “direct”. His distinction of “scenic versus direct” has stuck with me ever since. It’s a daily battle.
        Regards, Don

      • Kelli James

        That is so encouraging! I am pretty simple with my words, and especially for a girl, don’t have a high daily word quota. “Leave something for the imagination to revel in.” Love that!!! (My husband is definitely an over-explainer..I’m really trying to help him with that. Any suggestions?)

        • David Teems

          You sound like Benita. With men, it may be a territorial or predatory claim. Instead of a club we use words [or wind]. I have to practice a continual vigilance. My last name [teems] is a verb. It literally means “to be full of or swarming with.” No comment. But overstating has been one of my biggest hurdle. 

          Be patient with your husband. A cup of Tension Tamer Tea might help.

          • Kelli James

            Lol, David! Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll try the tea! (And the patience, too, of course!)

  • Sundi Jo Graham

    Wow! Love the story and the process behind it. One of my goals in 2012 is to go back through my posts and see what I can put together. Learned this from Michael and his lates Creating a Life Plan eBook. 

    Much blessings in your future success. 

  • Ciera Elizabeth Horton

    I really love this!  Your passion for literature and your great talent for expressing the love and mercy of Christ through the medium of words is beautifully illustrated in this article.  This is just so inspiring for people like me who have found a deep connection to writing and want to pursue it more…but maybe don’t always know how.  Thank you for sharing this! -Ciera

    • David Teems

      Thanks, Ciera. Follow that deep connection. Wherever your fascination leads you.

  • Kelli James

    I’m definitely hoping to go from blog to book someday, so thanks for a great post! And definitely love and agree with two specific things you wrote, “And as much as writers writing about writing on the internet borders on downright creepy at times…” :) And #5 is my favorite too! I LOVE words!

  • Vi Nesdoly

    This is so encouraging! I have written a daily devotional based on the Cdn Bible Society reading guide for two full years now and am starting into my third. My early thought was to make a book of it. But as I see the plethora of devotionals and my own nobody-ness, I have often thought that was a silly dream. It may still be, but I can attest to many of the benefits David mentions.

  • Cheri Keaggy

    This has encouraged me. I, too, am a songwriter who loves to write, but have managed to blog only once a month. Do I dare take the one-blog-per-day challenge? It’s scary to even type this because it dances dangerously close to accountability’s edge. Still, I thank you for sharing your blog to book journey. Courage, Lord, give me courage!

    • David Teems

      Cheri, as a fellow tribesperson, you have an incredible advantage as a musician. You have long understood the fluid movement of a line of text. You know how to negotiate a lyric. You understand rhythm and pace. You understand accent and the delicious pause. You know the weight and balance in a line. And I have heard you sing. Wow! You know how to control your breathing. As odd as it may sound, this is an important tool in writing. 

      The secret is simple. Write every day. Even if you can commit only to short periods. Also, blog only if you want. There are no rules. I have over 300 journals on my shelf. A lot of it is pure whine and howl, but it represents a continual effort, a long upward climb. Again, you don’t have to blog. Just write. You will eventually hear it, like you do so easily with your music. And whatever drives you to sing, will begin to drive you to put something down on paper. Trust me on that. 

      If you have an impulse in your heart to write, it is not there by accident. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree with David, Cheri. And I have heard you sing, too!

      David is a beautiful example of what happens when a talented songwriter becomes an author. He really has an unfair advantage. His skill with language is evident, even in his comments here.

      I’ll bet you could find a similar path.

      All the best.

  • Cara Showers

    I wouldn’t begin to know where to start to turn my blog into a book. I’ve often (often) thought about it because I know I have some good things on it. But my blog is a compilation of random thoughts and processes on how I lost 100 pounds. I know there are insights in there that would help others in what might be one of the hardest things their’ll ever do (lose a bunch of weight), but I have no idea how to compile them all into a logical functional story line.

    • David Teems

      The loss of weight presents a useful metaphor. If
      you feel some impulse to write, but you’re not sure what to write, be patient.
      It is often a matter of trimming the fat, of ridding the mind of noise and
      waste. As you have learned, to do that takes commitment, sacrifice, patience,
      time, determination, and perhaps a measure of things unknown. Let those
      elements work in your behalf. Once your thoughts are cleared of debris and
      other excesses, just watch. Some lovely creature of your imagination will
      emerge, to surprise even you, and make all your efforts worth it.

  • Jeff Randleman

    Great post today!  This is probably one of the main reasons I started writing, to develop my skills and generate content so that I could publish a book one day. 

    My passion is youth ministry and leadership, and a lot of my concent centers around this on my blog.  I hope that it will one day translate into print well.

    Thanks for the encouraging post! 

    • Brandon

      I would buy your book/ebook!

      • Jeff Randleman

        Thanks!  Putting up a free Bible Reading resource later this week, if you’re interested…

  • Crystal C.

    Thank you, David, for your wisdom and also for the inspiration interwoven throughout this blog post. The timing is no less than providential. With many folks’ thoughts pondering New Year’s resolutions, you have provided not only a challenge, but also steps for success. Skepticism and fear be gone! I believe!

  • Gigi J Wolf

    I appreciated this article because this is something that has been banging around in my head for awhile. I am just about to publish my 200th article on my blog, I started a category, “A Woman’s Guide To Everything’ which seemed to  take on a life of it’s own. It has helped to keep me centered on what is important, namely to focus on sharing helpful information, or inspiriational themes, rather than just writing a diary, which by definition, is self-absorption. There’s nothing wrong with that in small doses, but I would rather inspire. Thank you for the tips! 

  • Deanna

    I listened to the album No Language But A Cry over and over  (ha.. I think it was a tape and my youngest will never know what those are) when I first became a Christian! 

    Love this blog post – thank you. You not only have to love language to write well, but you also need to fall in love with your topic on some level.  I have found when I am able to dig that deep, the writing flows in surprising and wonderful directions. 

    • David Teems

      Well said. And you’re right. With both James Stuart [King James] and William Tyndale, I became deeply attached to them. I can say that I came to love them. During the writing of MAJESTIE, I actually came out of my office one day, weeping. My wife asked what was wrong. My answer seemed foolish, at first, but it was over James, or as we know him, King James, as a boy. My heart broke for a lonely injured child that lived more than 400 years ago. And in the context of a timeless God, I allowed myself the full extent of this sorrow. King or not, I could not help myself. From that point on the book almost wrote itself.

      • Deanna

        Great stuff!   Thanks for sharing your journey. 

  • Janice Campbell

    I love your two big takeaways– discipline and editorial savagery. One gives birth to the ideas; the other shapes them. 

    My education blog may someday evolve into a book, but it’s not a priority at the moment. I believe that when the time is right, that project will move to the top of the list, and making it happen will be a process of selecting, organizing, and pruning. 

  • Michelle

    I am a newer follower of your blog and I have to say thanks for risking and teaching us.  Great stuff.  I have been told on a number of occasions to take my blog and write a book.   It is a dream that I had decided was a piped one, especially with 3 kids a husband and a church.  I love all three. 
    Today I am inspired and challenged to take a second glance at this dream.  Thank you.

  • Richard Jones

    I respect David’s experience and am willing to concede (because I have not read it) that his book is the exception to the rule, but I have found that most books that come from blogs (and you can usually recognize them in the first two chapters) are not worth reading.  Outspoken by has one good chapter out of each five.  Missional Youth Ministry from is not a good read.  Leo Babuta’s Effortless Life ebook from could be skipped.  Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes is not worth 18 minutes of your time.  Sorry.  In my experience, most blogs to books are trite, simplistic, and very much lacking in depth.  And since the writers get into a predictable rhythm with their blogs, the chapters in the books are also very predictable and repetitive.  The posts were probably good (and maybe very helpful) in their original form: blog posts.  It seems all the people complimenting this post are those who have done blog to book or who are hoping to.  Please rethink your effort.  The whole blog to book movement seems to be one of two things to me: a way to realize your dream of being published or a way to make money from your blog. 

  • Lisa M

    I haven’t officially blogged.  Writing is therapy for me.  When my heart is full, it bleeds out in words.  I am not sure it is something that I could manufacture.   I would love to pen a book of lessons God taught through my children.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Writing a book, even a short 100-150 one, is one of the goals I’ve set for myself this year. One of the ways I’ve thought of doing this is through a series of blog posts. So you could say that yes, I’ve thought of it.

    To get there, I would have to prepare a plan and create a calendar of what I will post. Then I would need to write consistently great for a period of time. Hoping that it will be pleasing to the eye and ear and that my readers would enjoy it.

    • Brandon

      Definitely! You could even start an ebook first! Almost everyone on your site  will download it just to read what kind of content you have.

      My ebook on guitars was pretty successful. It was pretty raw, but I did it as a trial and error type ebook.

  • Brandon

    Great guest post! This was awesome! I loved your second point:

    Obligating yourself to write every day. No exceptions.

    I have a hard time with this…I post a few times per week, but I can’t necessarily post well thought out and prolific posts every single day. Is this what you were referring to? Or just write everyday?

    • David Teems

      My advice, if you really want to grow in the craft (and that is the whole point) is to write every day. And don’t despair about your first efforts. “Draft” is a useful word. It is defined as “a preliminary version of a piece of writing.” But it might also be defined as a kind of annoying wind. And wind is what our first attempts usually are. Most everything you, me, or anyone else writes at first attempt will be unspectacular. It might have touches of charm, but it’s usually coarse and lacks polish. That’s why they’re called “first” drafts. Anne Lamotte has a more colorful adjective for the first draft, but you’ll have to read “Bird By Bird” to find that out. 

      But keep at it. Seek clarity first. That’s beauty’s first refuge. From a lot of the comments it’s clear that “blogging” has been confused with “writing.” That’s simply not true. Even your blog posts deserve the rigor of art. And all that means is learn to polish your text. Again, execution alone will make you stand out.

    • David Teems

      My advice, if you really want to grow in the craft (and that
      is the whole point) is to write every day. I didn’t say blog every day. I only said write every day. There is a difference. I’m not the guy to ask about the science of blogging, but you’re certainly at the right address. 

      And don’t despair about your first
      efforts. “Draft” is a useful word. It is defined as “a
      preliminary version of a piece of writing.” But it might also be
      defined as a kind of annoying wind. And wind is what our first efforts usually
      are. Most everything you, me, or anyone else writes at first attempt will be
      unspectacular. It might have touches of charm, maybe even brilliance, but it’s usually coarse and
      lacks polish. That’s why they’re called “first” drafts. Anne Lamotte
      has a more colorful adjective for the first draft, but you’ll have to read
      “Bird By Bird” to find that out. 


      But keep at it. Seek clarity first. That’s beauty’s first


      Your blog posts deserve the rigor of your best effort. Your best. Learn
      to polish your text. Do the work. If you’re unsure what that means, learn what
      it means. Keats said “Love is not a plaything.” I think that should
      apply as well to our attempt at expression.

  • Patti Schieringa

    I have two questions.

    It sounds as if a web site is a first step to a blog.  A web site used to cost something. How do I get started on a meager budget.  I am learning so much about writing. I’d like to get started. I want to share insights I’ve gotten through the years. They aren’t all on a same topic. Is that a problem?

    • David Teems

      Michael Hyatt could give you much better counsel on setting up your blog. I would visit this site daily until you’re sufficiently under way. As to multiple topics; variety is, well, you know. Write whatever you want. I said this earlier today, but follow wherever your fascination leads.

    • Penelope Webb

      Check out Blogging with Amy. Great site for beginning bloggers. She turned down a book deal.

  • Edna King

    I was so happy to see your name pop up! I loved your encouraging and helpful post. I have been writing a blog for years to share our experiences with Mary Evelyn’s cancer. I tried to honestly express whatever was most on my heart.The blog gave others a window into  the challenges of childhood cancer, the joy and love that Mary Evelyn brought everyone she touched and how our faith sustained us.  Mary Evelyn died last year at the age of eight, but I still update and now the blog is about the  hope we  reach for beyond our grief .

    I’ve been working on a book proposal using tips from Michael’s blog. Thanks for giving me just the push I needed to refine it further and send it to some agents! Edna

  • John Onorato

    I have a blog, of sorts, on LiveJournal. Though I haven’t written on it in a while, I do have a number of people who read my posts.  I recently started publishing my memoirs on there — the first one or two entries, anyway.  I felt quite disempowered when no one commented on my posts.  

    How is this overcome? 

    • David Teems

      I have to admit, I write books, and each one demands so much focused attention, and time, that my own attempt at blogging has been irregular and somewhat unspectacular. I suspect also that if your site looks like you don’t pay much attention to it, your readers will get the same feeling. This is not good for drawing traffic to your site. 

      Again, keep visiting Mike Hyatt’s web site. For a writer, or an aspiring writer, or anyone even remotely interested in writing with an emphasis on the web this is the best site on the planet. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      You might take a look at this post I wrote: 7 Strategies for Increasing Your Blog Comments. Thanks.

  • Karen

    While I seem to have established myself as a writer among a
    small circle of loyal followers, I feel out of my league on blogs like these.  This industry and how things work, the required skill is a whole new  world- so much to learn.  Truth is, I still struggle greatly articulating my point
    and labor diligently to perfect it.  It’s
    hard work!  I can spend 4 hours easy,
    drafting and finalizing a one page piece.  I’m not a creative writer; words don’t come
    easy for me.  I’m a “thinking writer” lol
    if there’s such a thing.  I write inspirationally
    and so process alot over what I’m really trying to say and how clearly to say
    it.  However,  when it’s all said and done, I am fulfilled to
    know I have transferred my passion onto paper. 
    That I’ve served by best offering and I’m humbly blessed when others have
    been nourished by it in the way that I have been.  So, I’m still figuring out if I really like
    to write, have time to write and what kind of published writer I should focus
    on becoming.   This blog is quite

    • David Teems

      As I have found myself saying often in reply to these comments, be patient. Take your time. There seems to be a huge buzz about writing and about publishing, but the truth is, not everyone who starts finishes. And most everyone who starts out to do a book will eventually be confronted with the tremendous amount of work involved, the severity of the detail, and so on. Everyone wants to “have written,” that is, most people who say they want to write simply want to be known as an “author.” It’s the work that gets in the way.

  • Penelope Webb

    Thanks, David! Great post! I’ve just compiled my posts on our incredibly crazy journey of how we adopted a baby from foster care. ( I’ve been blogging since 2009.

    You are right about editing – what a huge job!

    My Ebook is story-driven. Making each post flow from one to the next and keeping a time frame are the largest challenges.

    Anyone have advice or references?

  • Kari Scare

    Yes, I’ve thought about it. I’m new to blogging but not to writing. I have a ton of material and am figuring out how to manage it all. I’m planning out 2012 with regard to what to write for my blog, and I’m also considering an ebook. What would it take? I’d like to say that personal motivation and self-discipline are my problem since I can control those to some extent. However, that’s not my problem. My problem is feeling like there’s value in what I’m writing and like there are people who want to read what I write. My problem is not feeling encouraged or like anyone cares about what I write. My problem is fear to a great extent. Lord help me!

    • David Teems

      Nothing wrong with fear. It’s a great motivator. It’s how we process it that matters, how we harness it for our own use, how we usurp its power. The best of writers, those large names we love to drop and impress our friends with, each of them have to face the blank page. And that’s always scary. Tread, therfore, into the house of art with trembling, with soft, reverent steps. Then bolt forward. Release the creature. Sit down and write. To write the next word implies that there has been a word that goes before it. Next thing you know you have a sentence. Then another. Then another . . .

      • Kari Scare

        Fear definitely motivates me, especially fear of failure and of wasting my time on Earth. Writing is not a problem for me though, meaning I rarely get writers block or lack ideas about which to write. My fear is that no one will read what I write and it’s impact will be nonexistant. That’s when I remind myself that writing for “an audience of One” is enough.

  • Diane Yuhas

    Definitely!  In fact, I just posted a short piece of a future book on my blog.  It seems a good way to get a taste of readers’ responses.   

  • Todd

    I agree that it takes good writing and hard work to get a book published. But most of us don’t know Gloria Gaither or have the connections to get our foot in the door.

  • Robert E. Ricciardelli

    David is a friend of mine. Thanks for sharing… 

  • jodi and betty

    that was very interesting .im a fan of your devotional last christmas i bought 3 and the hope was to inspire myself and give something meaning full to the other 2 resipiants. so thanks bless u heaps.

  • Jill

    I love this post, absolutely love it. Although I have been published in magazines and have always written, I took the plunge at the end of last January and began blogging (the techy side of blogging intimidated me for years). I am loving it. I love the feedback, I love thinking about my audience (Christian women and, primarily, moms). I love searching for ways to use language beautifully.

    I feel like I am back in my honors English classes; writing and rewriting for a favorite prof (although my prof is now invisible). Writing always clarifies our thoughts and causes us to more closely observe the every day of life so thoughtful blogging is a truly maturing process. I look forward to the new year and hope to write about how my book developed through the maturing process of writing for my blog.

    Merry Christmas to everyone! Emmanuel! God is with us!

    Jill Farris


  • Anonymous

    @KellyECombs:disqus .,…I can‘t believe….My best friend’s mom makes $69 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $6576 just working on the computer for a few hours….Read about it here… NeedJob

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Though I have never thought of sailing from blogging to wrtiting books, this post has opened my eyes to new horizons. Thank for the encouragement David! You have awaken the writer in me.

  • Mike Hansen

    Great post. Inspiring. I’m a hospital chaplain. I used to pastor in churches more than a decade ago, and loved, really loved writing and preaching sermons. I loved/hated the thinking process, you know? I was writing a new sermon pretty much every week for  the better part of 3 years. I was a blogger! I have started to blog this past fall and I see it. I am constantly thinking of different things to write on and almost have a hard time keeping up the typing with the ideas, concepts and illustrations from life. I have some themes I’ve developed and hope to unpack as I write. I don’t write sermons anymore and I miss it. Blogging has become that platform.

    Specifically for converting a blog into a book, I have a question. Forgive me if you address this further along down the comments-I haven’t read them all, but I will. So, you write, and write. I see that you had to whittle down your first published work. How do you then create a demand that the reading public wants to pay for, when you’ve already published it for free? I mean, I get the idea: you laboriously write and sweat it out into your blog. Then package it neatly in a accessible format, be it paper, electronically, or both. Obviously it can be done successfully too. I guess mine is kind of a philosophical question too. Why take what’s public domain and limit it?

    Thanks for sharing too.

    • David Teems

      Let me redirect your question. Consider this: an audience is cultivated, and will return again to your site, respond enthusiastically to your blog, or buy your book, usually for one reason. Because you’ve charmed them.

      One comment I often get in one form or another about my bio of King James [MAJESTIE: The King Behind the King James Bible—Nelson, 2010] is “I get the feeling you had a blast writing this.” And I did. In spite of the scores of books I read in preparation, the deep research, the uncertainties, and the tireless detail, it hardly seemed like work. It set off triggers in me that were delightful. I came under a spell. I was charmed.

      The most successful relationship between author and reader takes place when the charm becomes mutual, when your delight becomes your reader’s delight. When your joy is that immediate, that flush, when you’re having that much fun, it can’t help but show in the writing.

      Follow those triggers. Listen to your inner Hamlet as well as your inner Rodney Dangerfield. Somewhere between them is an an irresistible text. 

      As Mike Hyatt preaches so well, LEAD your readers. It’s all about leadership. Effective writing is about nothing else but leadership. Show them the trail of your passion, and find the language worthy of it.    

      But it begins with you. You have to be charmed to charm.

  • Ryan Hanley

    Great Article… 

    I Love language as well… I Love it. 

    And I really enjoyed the story you told here today.

    Thank you.

  • David Messner

    Great article. It is so inspiring to hear the full story behind the points of wisdom you gave. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Yes I have. I blog about my husband’s Alzheimer’s. Yet many times the writing doesn’t go on the blog, but in a paper for my counseling classes. What’s not on the blog? Authority issues when a loved one has Alzheimer’s, managing anger biblically, dying well, guns, stopping driving, for starters. I know that someday it will be a book.

  • Travis Dommert

    David – thank you for this post and for sharing your story and the wisdom in it.  

    I’ve written a few dozen blog posts this year…hardly daily, but a big step up from zilch.  I don’t think it would make a book…but there are themes emerging that reflect our insights and discoveries…and I fancy to think a book will be in the offing in time.

    The biggest theme is that we are all capable of amazing results in our work and life if we invest the time and discipline to master core skills, develop talents into strengths, and hone high-impact behaviors into a regular routine of behavior (what I call “drivers”).  

    All three reinforce the other…as was the case with your writing.  You got better at it (skill), you developed the critical eye and ear (talent), and you honed a daily routine that grew with momentum into 8 inches of material (driver).  

    So just as you nod to the oddity of writing about writing, I am inclined to write about process of building a process…that helps people become great at anything.

    Thanks and blessings!

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    “…..we are all capable of amazing results in our work and life if we invest the time and discipline to master core skills, develop talents into strengths, and hone high-impact behaviors into a regular routine of behavior” – Thanks for this master tip Travis! It’s a great success secret.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for the wonderful insights.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    “Writing always clarifies our thoughts and causes us to more closely observe the every day of life so thoughtful blogging is a truly maturing process.” — Thanks for this wonderful thoughts Jill! I am going through this similar phase in the process of  blogging.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    ” not everyone who starts finishes”. True, many in this world are great bunch of beginners.

  • Dwayne Morris

    Would love to write a book. The mere fact that I can’t shake loose from it convinces me that God has put it on my heart. I’m having a hard time determining a niche or topic. My blog (www.Dwaynes– is my take on a variety of things. Any tips on how to narrow the target?

    • David Teems

      The best possible response I can make is from Scripture. Luke 12:34 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  

      A book will ask the impossible. Long months of solitude, endless reading, endless self-examination, continual revision of both your text and yourself. It will demand an editorial slavishness, and all for the sake of a single idea, one that you wish to explore and shape. You will have to search your own fascination to decide on what to write about. But it is there. You may have to follow a trail of crumbs at times, but you will find. If you want it bad enough.

      The reward is in accomplishing something great, to see something you love come to life. But the cost is intense, and is worth a moment’s reflection. Here is another Scripture from Luke (14:28-31 NKJV) that may help. Between the Scripture reference above and this one lies your subject. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it . . . 

  • kalpesh maniar


    Nothing gives more satisfaction then the comments of readers for an author. I would appreciate if you take some time to read my novel “The Lords Of Kumaon” I would love to hear from you about my first work. I sincerely hope you would encourage my book. Please visit Thank you.

  • Jeremy Myers

    Yes, I am working on turning my blog into a book. Actually, I am writing my book on my blog. It forces me to make progress, to give the ideas a test run, and to begin to develop and connect with my audience. So far, it’s been great. I am not sure my manuscript will be 8 inches tall though…

  • Derwin L. Gray


    That’s wasabfunny and wonderfully encouraging blog.


  • Dmondesir

    This is wonderful!  It’s nice to hear advice about this–from a Christian–who’s done it successfully.  It just hit me today that I’d like to turn my blog into a book and I will continue to write fervently–everyday–to make that dream a reality!  Thanks & God Bless!

  • Matt

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  • Randall St. Germain

     I wrote my book first and now I’m blogging about my journeys with photos. It may not make sense to everyone, but it provides content, and I’m learning a lot as I go along. It is hard work. You are very right. I’ve only been blogging since November, and took two months to figure things out. My website audience has grown, especially in the last month, although I still have a long ways to go to reach your following, Michael. :) 
    Btw, “Learn and develop the art of restraint.”  Restraint is very important in many aspects of life. Could be a blog post in itself.

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  • Sheilahdaws

    My children have been after me to go from ‘blog to book’.  Hope to one day.  Thanks for the encouragement.

  • KD Bush

    Great post…my Pastor & I often talk about writing books, but have no idea where to begin.  So many thoughts and God ideas, but how do you get them all on paper and to be cohesive?  Thanks for shedding some really practical light!