The book started in 2013. I was given a sabbatical of which I spent a month travelling and nine weeks in the library, compiling and writing. I wrote 124,000 words and ate numerous Smartie cookies!
I'd been thinking of writing a book for a while. I'd done loads of training over the previous 20 years and regularly been asked for help with different aspects of youth ministry - writing talks, preparing Bible study questions, starting a youth group from scratch - and had loads of fairly disorganised resources. Before I got my head down and started, I posted on social media, asking for ex-leaders and ex-young people's thoughts and stories. Some were hilarious (like the haybale above), others meaningful and some may not have told me of bad experiences in the youth ministry although they had kept quiet at the time.
The nine weeks were spent trying to make sense of everything, but there was no publisher to do the hard work and I ended up spending the next five years sharpening the book up. The last six months, the pace has hotted up. Lots of free time (I'm a full-time church youth worker, not a writer!) has been spent editing. A few friends have done a massive amount of proofreading. Finally, chapters were sent out to 35 friends for comments. It crescendoed with the first all-nighter I've done in years to get the final draft to the printer.
It's now published. OK, so it's not perfect. I'm still learning, so do let me have any thoughts you have. Hold off as much criticism as you can till after Easter - make a list if you need to! Encouragements I can handle now!