On Publishing Online

For those of you who are reading the book I'm posting at Apostasy for the Modern Christian, a few thoughts about why I decided to put it up online rather than work on getting published through normal means (or self-publish paper versions).

I have a few big projects in life right now:

I'm working towards becoming a nurse - trudging through undergrad courses like Statistics and Physiology and working at a hospital to gain healthcare experience. That project is about 1) being responsible and doing something to make money so my wife doesn't have to work all the time to pay my student loan debt, and 2) finding something to do on a day to day basis that will be fulfilling, and will generally contribute positively to society. I'm surprised at how good I generally feel after a days work. I like it a lot. I feel like I can do this with the bulk of my time and be happy with my career.

I'm working on running a marathon (and generally becoming a regular road-racer). That project is about 1) making personal health a priority 2) feeling good about myself physically and emotionally, getting a regular flow of endorphins, fighting my characteristic doldrums 3) challenging myself to accomplish things that I never thought I would 4)pride and 5) enjoying the Seattle outdoors all year long. It's been a great addition to life - a lot of time commitment, but the discipline of exercising has been a revelation, and the sense of purpose and accomplishment has been huge. I admit that I'm looking forward to getting back to triathlon training, and that will likely be the long term commitment because running long distances is so high impact and I'm not sure my knees are built for it. In any case though - I love this new part of life, and plan to stick with it.

And I'm putting a book online. I've written things for work in the past, but for the most part writing has always been a sort of pure thing that I've done basically because I want to. I kept a journal for years during college, then have had this blog for like three years. The book came together across a few years when I was processing the religious experiences that I'd had in the past, and deciding on the next stages of my religious life. I was writing as I was making those important decisions, and the book is where I put those decisions in concrete terms for the first time in several places. Basically, it has been an aid to help me do what I needed to do. I wrote it for people to read, but generally I was thinking about family and friends rather than the general public. It's a bit weird, but there was also a certain sense of responsibility driving me when I was writing. I've functioned in the religious world, made decisions and promoted ideas that I know a lot of friends and family will be confused by or disagree with. As I've done that (basically being motivated by a need to tell the truth and do what seems right) I've felt like I at least need to explain myself. It's been impossible to explain myself personally to everyone who deserves it, and the book represents one way to help people understand why I think and do what I do religiously.

So, I've decided to put the book online because 1) I want to protect my freedom in this part of my life - I wouldn't mind getting paid for writing, but I don't want it to become something I have to do for money. I also don't want to feel like I need to write on particular things in order to sell my work. Pushing for publication would feel to me like a step in that direction, and printing paper copies to hawk definitely would have. I'll work on nursing for pay, and writing for my soul. 2) I wrote basically for friends and family. I'm hope other people find it, think it's funny, and find something helpful in it, but I want the people who've been with me through my religious life to have a chance to see it if they want to. It's an explanation and apology for all of my crap (often delivered in a dickish way, but dickishness is a form of communication as well). 3) At this point it's the main tangible product of my 30 years of religious life, and I feel like I should do something with that besides letting it sit on my hard drive.