Umm… pinch me. I’m having a baby! (On becoming a writer, Part I)
Spoiler alert: I’m having a book baby, not a Booker baby. Those two little letters—“er”—make a big difference! And this story I’m about to tell? It’s about (and for) YOU.
There was a time when I raced to pound my thoughts into a Word document between too-short naptimes and the mountainous loads of laundry only two under two can produce. Writing was a revolution for me. It helped me learn who I was in a deeper, more experiential way and it unlocked a sense of creativity I had shelved years before, trading art for more “sensible” things.
In those early days of re-discovering writing (and absolutely bumbling into blogging), I wrote without fear of who may or may not read my little words. I freely poured my heart and soul into sharing whatever good thing I thought might breathe life into others. Whether it was deep or lighthearted, it was always with heart and intention.
Writing was, for me, a form of ministry and recreation and salvation all folded together into one.
When people asked me what I did for fun or how I spent my free time during those diaper days I would almost always answer: I write. Even though it had been a long-time dream to become an author one day, I never thought of my clumsy cannonball into the pool of blogging as an onramp for that. Truly, I pictured myself getting on with my busy life and ministry and mothering (while blogging in the cracks when I could) and then settling into book writing in my old age when I was… wiser, I guess, or when I had felt like I had somehow earned the right.
Fast forward a few years and here I am signing my first book deal:
I mean, WHAT??! I can still hardly believe it myself… and I’m simultaneously thrilled and terrified. But when I look back at the seemingly ‘unrelated’ events of the last few years, it’s clear to see how God was leading me in this process all along. I’ve begun to realize this isn’t the climax of some great accomplishment, but the beginning of another one. (And—oh!—the learning curve is steep, my friends.)
How did this happen?
The ‘coincidences’ throughout the process of writing a book proposal, securing a literary agent, pitching the book, and choosing between offers (offers!) are just too serendipitous to take all the credit for myself. Looking back at the unfolding grace of God gives me confidence and courage for carrying out what I’ve committed to. (OMG, I have to actually finish the book now. Yikes!) But seriously, I’m humbled and amazed by the way it’s all unfolded.
Now hear me right friends, I’m not saying I haven’t worked hard to get this book deal because I have, but this new endeavor is a blend between my own hard work, the conviction of my husband to create space for me (and constantly talk me off ledges, reassuring me I can do this), the unrelenting belief (and expertise) of my world class agent and friend, the constant encouragement and advice and prayer from my friends (and readers!), and the divine intervention from Jesus himself when I’ve needed it most (whether I was aware of it or not along the way). I mean, with this sort of a stellar combination of support, it’s no wonder things are clicking into place. I’m so grateful for all of it.
Birthing a book baby
Now here I am at 39. I’ve just delivered a baby after three heartbreaking miscarriages and now I’m working on birthing another one—a book baby—and let me tell you it’s painful, exhilarating work in wonderfully (excruciatingly!) similar ways.
I’ve signed a two-book deal and my first book—tentatively called Grace Like Scarlett—will be released next year. (I am so pleased to be working with the stellar team at Baker Books.)
Never would I have imagined my first book would be related to loss and suffering, and I’ve struggled to embrace it at times—selfishly not wanting to become known as “the miscarriage lady.” I mean, there’s more to my life than my suffering and pain. But that’s the nature of our lives isn’t it? We aren’t defined by a single story, and yet a single story can help tell a bigger one if we frame it right.
(On that note, friend—I wonder if you have a “single story” that can be reframed to help tell a bigger one? Because don’t we all? What is yours?)
Write the story
I’ll never forget the moment I felt God prompting me to get serious about writing this particular book. I was sitting on the vine-covered veranda outside a 200-year-old villa in Tuscany dreaming about another book project I was working on. While staring at the cypress trees dotted over the hills before me, God interrupted my dreaming: Write ‘Grace Like Scarlett’ he seemed to say. With some hesitation I whispered my “yes” and two days later I began to bleed again—I was losing my second baby to miscarriage. It felt like a cruel irony as if my “yes” should have protected me from experiencing the pain of loss again.
The years that followed were filled with stops and starts in my writing as I got pregnant again, miscarried a third time, got pregnant again, and then navigated a difficult pregnancy resulting in the birth of our beautiful son Micah. With all of the interruptions and detours (and the emotional minefield of those years), this book is a miracle. Although it’s felt hard to write, the opportunities to move forward with publishing have come somewhat easily. That, too, a paradox.
Hope for hurting hearts
This book baby I’m nurturing and growing—it’s the one I wish I could have read in the aftermath of losing Scarlett (our first baby lost to miscarriage). The question we’ll explore together is one I hope reaches far and wide and deep: What if your suffering is an invitation to something deeper? What if your pain—your own personal “Scarlett”—is the very thing that enlarges your soul to receive Grace?
Grace Like Scarlett is my offering to you, friends, but ultimately to Jesus. I will take my words and ask him to breathe life on them and through them and trust that they’ll find the destination he intended—weary and hurting hearts that need hope. If this is my chance to help tell humanity about the good, gracious, kind God I know then I’ll seize that chance and do my best to offer it wholeheartedly.
Thank you for being a part of this. Thank you for reading my words, opening my newsletters, sharing my blog posts, and sending me emails with your own stories poured out in faith and confidence. Thank you for loving my children and my family along with me as I’ve shared our stories with you online throughout the years. I’ve wanted to power down my blog many times but every time I’ve considered, another email lands in my inbox from you—reminding me why I’m here in the first place.
This isn’t my book, it’s OURS
I have a lot of work to do over the coming months. If you’re a pray-er, will you become a part of seeing this baby birthed into the world? Pray with me and for me while I finish my manuscript and turn it in this July? That’s only one milestone in the long journey of seeing a book placed on an actual store bookshelf, but right now it’s the leg I’m on. It’s a good, hard, holy, regular daily work and I’ll need encouragement along the way as I spend my hours plunking away at the keyboard (or staring out the window in between the plunking—ha!).
I love you. Deeply. Sincerely. Unreservedly. Thank you for being a part of this. If it weren’t for the readers I already have, I don’t know that I’d have the courage to write for the readers I will have. So again, thank you.
Now tell me, what is it you most hope I include in Grace Like Scarlett? I am, after all, writing this book for YOU.
And also, would you please consider passing along this post to a friend who needs this book?
LoveNotes // If you’d like to be among the first to know more about Grace Like Scarlett, pre-release bonuses, and other bits and pieces of the publishing journey, please sign up for LoveNotes—my monthly(ish), little(ish) letter. (In reality I only send it every 2-3 months so no need to worry about me taking up lots of valuable inbox space!)
The Lovelies // Some friends and I have made it easier to connect online. Would you consider joining our facebook group, The Lovelies? It’s a gathering place for women empowering women. Perhaps I’m bias, but I think it’s one of the loveliest places on the internet. Read here if you’d like to know more OR simply join The Lovelies on facebook now.
On becoming a writer // I’ve been getting lots of emails lately from growing writers wanting a bit of insight or direction for how to get started or how to move to the next level. Obviously I’m still learning, too, but I’ve written a post compiling all of my best advice along with the resources that I’ve found helpful through the years. If you’re a writer in search of some encouragement I hope these writing resources and practices serve you well.
Click on the image to join The Lovelies:Pin It