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In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, the emergence of AI tools like ChatGPT has sparked a variety of reactions, especially within the realms of creativity and authorship. As a pastor and an aspiring author, I've found myself at the intersection of these discussions, leading me to clarify how I am utilizing ChatGPT in my journey of writing a book.


Firstly, let's address the elephant in the room: the notion that using ChatGPT might be considered 'cheating'. The ethics of AI in creative processes is a complex and nuanced topic. For some, the idea of leaning on an AI for any part of the creative process might seem like a shortcut. But here's how I view it: every tool has its place and purpose, and it's all about how we use it.


In the crafting of my book, the core of the writing - the heart, soul, and message - comes entirely from me. These are messages that I have personally written and delivered in the past. The challenge, however, lies in the transformation of these spoken messages into written chapters suitable for a book. This transition requires significant rewriting, especially at the beginning and the end of each piece, to adapt the content from an auditory medium to a literary one.


After I complete the initial rewrite of my messages, I turn to ChatGPT as a digital assistant for proofreading, focusing on grammar and spelling - areas where I openly admit to needing some support. Following this, I seek what I call 'brutal feedback' from ChatGPT. I ask for honest, constructive criticism on the strengths and weaknesses of each chapter. This feedback is invaluable, offering me a fresh perspective and sometimes prompting further revisions.


I view ChatGPT as an editorial tool, a digital counterpart to the traditional human editor. It's a learning process for me as well, enhancing my understanding of what constitutes effective writing. There was an instance where, purely as an experiment, I asked ChatGPT to convert one of my messages into a book chapter. The result was awful. That exercise reaffirmed my belief that the essence of my writing - the unique voice and message - can only come from me.


In conclusion, my use of ChatGPT is circumscribed and specific: it serves as a proofreader and a source of feedback. It's a tool that assists in the refinement process but never replaces the personal touch and authenticity of my own writing. In this journey of authorship, my commitment to maintaining the integrity and authenticity of my message remains unwavering. As I continue to learn and grow in my writing skills, I embrace the support that technology offers, while firmly holding onto the essence of what makes my writing uniquely mine.


As I sit down to pen these words, it's not just another day of writing, but a significant milestone. Today marks the 40th day of my fast, a period of profound spiritual significance and introspection. This journey has been more than just a fast; it's been a transformative experience, opening my eyes and heart to God's call - a call that's been gently nudging me for years now: the call to write.


You see, for the past 5 years writing has always been an unspoken dream quietly simmering in the background of my pastoral duties. It's an ambition that I've entertained not once, not twice, but this is my third earnest attempt. My previous endeavours to put pen to paper resulted in the beginnings of two books. However, life, as it often does, had other priorities. The joys of church leadership, the responsibilities of preaching, and my commitments to teaching at Scotland Bible School, all these vital aspects of my calling, have meant that writing took a back seat.


But God surprised me again. This prolonged period of fasting, has unexpectedly become a crucible for clarity about writing0 - transforming different message series into books. This was most unexpected.


There's a part of me that leans towards self-publishing, a path that offers a certain freedom and immediacy to share these works. Yet, there's also a whisper in my heart, urging me to explore possibilities beyond, to perhaps send my manuscripts to a few publishers. Who knows what doors God might open?


This third attempt, I believe, is not just a chance occurrence. It's a divine nudge, a reassurance that this is indeed a part of my journey that the Lord wants me to embark upon. The question of 'how' still lingers - how will I find the time amidst the myriad responsibilities that come with leading a church, preaching, and teaching? But when God stirs your heart, He also paves the way. It's a leap of faith, a step into the unknown, trusting that He who calls also provides.

Will this third attempt reach the finish line? One of the things I often tell myself at moments like this is, "Never stop restarting the right things." I hope this restart will finally be the beginning that get's me past the finish line but time will tell. Just because I've never finished a book before doesn't mean it's not worth trying again especially when I feel once again nudged by God in this direction.


You can follow the journey here. Will this be my last blog post... who even knows?

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