I may or may not be crying a bit while I write this.
Fortunately, I also have a bag of barbecue chips by my side which makes things a little better.
I wanted to give all my friends an update on my book publishing process, and it’s a painful update this time. One of my main goals in making this blog is to be transparent – to override the facade of social media perfection.
So here goes.
* crunches chip. sniffles. crunches another chip. *
I blow through about 3 children’s chapter books a week, since that’s what I’m writing.
* okay, not ready…more sniffles. *
Anyway. I spend hours reading them, studying them, diagramming them, and re-reading them.
I found one a few weeks ago that as I read it, page by page, I got that hot feeling in my face that happens when a teacher calls on me and I’m caught daydreaming or that time I got pulled over in a speed zone or now, that hot feeling I get when I’ve found a book parallel to mine.
Yes. Parallel to mine.
I was sitting in the minute clinic waiting area, just wilting with each turn of the page. And not because of the ringing in my ears or the fact that I couldn’t breathe through my nose.
My writing voice is extremely different from this author’s. My characters are extremely unique from these characters.
(So I can keep my babies. I love them. I don’t want to give them up.)
But the plot….oh, the plot. There it was. Laid flat on each page.
Months of work. Months and months and months of work and someone else did it first.
But hey, other good news?
This book turned out to be a New York Times bestseller.
Dad says I should take that as affirmation that I know what I’m doing. That I know my audience, and I know what’s relevant to them. And praise God, I picked up this book before I spent too much time sending mine out.
But my heartache.
Couldn’t this have been easier?
Could my first book have been the one?
I know it doesn’t usually happen like that for authors, but couldn’t I have been the exception?
Maybe “easy” isn’t God’s plan for me or this book.
Maybe I’m learning what it means to persevere. Maybe I’m learning what it means to have faith in what I believe the Lord has promised me. The kind of faith that I can’t muster up on my own…the kind of faith only God can give. Maybe I’m in the process of creating books so much better, so much more developed, so much meatier than my first one, that kids will love them and benefit from them even more.
Maybe I’m learning to be real with people and not apologize about it.
I have faith that someday, I’ll hold my published book in my hands and I’ll read it to a class full of littles knowing that I didn’t give up.
Knowing that I didn’t lose faith in God even when things didn’t go my way.
Even when the disappointment was real.
Even when my 6-month project had to be filed away.
Even when the stomach dropped and the tears came because that book was like my baby.
I have faith that someday, I’ll tell littles not to give up. To follow their heart’s desires.
Because by God’s grace, I’ll say, I didn’t give up either.
And a beautiful book happened because of that.
So, with tears in my eyes and a knot in my throat, I’m on to book 2.
Thank You God, for teaching me to bow my head and to bend my knees and to run the good race with You as my anchor and with faith as my shield.
Dear reading heart, if you have a goal, a God-given heart desire, press on. Press on.
I have a feeling we’ll be glad we did.
And may we, the bold dreamers who face disappointment, call our hearts to sing this anthem:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights”
Blessings and joyful strength to you,