Writer Wednesday: Can you help me choose a title for my next project?

I’m not sure who first started Writer Wednesday, but today I’m jumping on the bandwagon to tell you about my next writing project. By that I don’t mean my next blog post or my next sermon, but my next print publication, which is my second series of sermons for CSS Publishing. I had a great time with my first series, and I’ve been invited back for the lectionary year 2014-15, with the manuscript due this August and a title due any day now.

What's in a name? Does a rose or a book by any other name smell as sweet?

What’s in a name? Does a rose or a book by any other name smell as sweet?

And that’s where the problem lies–because for me titles are a challenge at the best of times, and my best titles generally come after a piece is finished. Like the title of my book Sacred Pauses  which is much better than my working title of Time Out, but the final title was chosen only well after the manuscript was finished.

So here I am–without a single sermon written yet–mulling over possible titles for my series that will focus on Jesus’ ministry–mainly his teaching, like Mark 12:28-34 on the greatest commandment and Matthew 6:25-33 on seeking first the kingdom of God, and some of his great works like John 11:32-44 raising Lazarus from the dead. What a privilege to be working with such wonderful texts, but what about a title?

In all, I’ve been given ten gospel texts for ten different sermons, and since Jesus speaks in a significant way in each text, here are my top choices for the series title so far:

Red Letter Sermons for Everyday Living (which would work well in my own congregation, but I’m not sure it’s right for CSS readers)

Jesus in Ordinary Time, or maybe Jesus for Ordinary Time, or Jesus and Ordinary Time (since these sermons are during Ordinary Time and for ordinary life today)

Good News for Ordinary Time (perhaps a too obvious variation)

Conversations with Jesus (although the sermons themselves won’t be written as conversations)

And Jesus Said (and as I said, titles are a challenge!)

So what do you think? Which title gets your vote? Do you have some tips to share on how to choose a great title? Your prayers are welcome too 🙂



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8 replies

  1. I like the references to “Ordinary Time”. Perhaps, though, something a little more provocative. Like “Ordinary Jesus”.

  2. I like working with the idea of ordinary, too. I like “Ordinary Jesus” though I’d add a question mark. What about “Ordinary Good News?”

  3. I like the ordinary word too. I like Jesus in ordinary time or perhaps, ” ordinary time with Jesus?” or “ordinary moments with Jesus?”

  4. Oh, I love titles. Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in.

    “Jesus in Ordinary Time” is definitely the best you’ve proposed. As you say, it captures the liturgical season for the church folks and the common life of the secular world. And “Jesus” is definitely a big draw – for everyone. As a friend of mine has said – (many) people don’t like the church, but they love Jesus.

    Paulo’s idea of “Ordinary Time with Jesus” may work even better, though. It reminds me of a popular old book of children’s sermons called, “Little Talks with Jesus”. Yes, I would vote for this if it’s an option. Does that mean Paulo gets a commission?

  5. Thanks all for your input–I once wrote semi-regularly for a publication where the editor would invariably change my title so I would often submit my articles without one. I know whatever title I give to this project now may well change, but it’s good to have something to submit at this stage, so I’ll send in Ordinary Time with Jesus with bragging rights to Paulo for your commission 🙂

  6. Hi April…..I am so happy I could contribute to your title besides the commission….just kidding! I know you might change it later as I know how the writing process works and you may change the title completely after the article is complete. God bless you, Paulo.

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