I don’t know, y’all. I’ve got mixed emotions about this book thing. I started a newsletter for people who wanted to follow along with the book-writing/editing/publishing process, and I think I wrote two — maybe three — issues before the whole thing just got to be too much. Writing a book is an ordeal.
It would be one thing to write a book in a chalet in the Swiss Alps, with servants who quietly showed up five times each day: three times to bring me healthy meals, once to clean the house, and once to remind me to take a shower and exercise. That would be pleasurable, I imagine.
Or, to write a book in a beach house in Hawaii, with those same servants who showed up five times each day, for exactly the same reasons as the servants in the chalet in the Alps. I think I would like that.
However, I am me, with the budget I have, and the real life I live which kept on happening, regardless of the fact that I was in the middle of writing a book, thank you very much. There was no chalet, no beach house, and not a single servant. Healthy meals were rare, as was exercise. I did take showers. Most days. And, when I took one, it was usually some time before lunch.
Eventually, I made it to the deadline, with enough words. After that, I made it through the first round of edits and a massive re-write. Now, I’m sitting on my deck, my shoes off, the sun on my feet, waiting to receive the galleys. (Sounds as if I know what I’m talking about, right? Don’t be fooled, fearless reader. Don’t be fooled by my publishing jargon. I’m not even sure I spelled that correctly.)
It has been a joy for me to have the manuscript in someone else’s hands, where I don’t have to think about it. I like not thinking about it. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I was wishing the book might just go away. There is so much that could go wrong, you know? And, I tend to brace myself for, and live into the worst-case scenario. I shut myself down long before the first bell rings. So, up until a few days ago, when people asked me about the book, I shrugged it off, with a wrinkled nose and an attempt to divert the conversation to a different topic. I began to imagine how wonderful it would be to have the book out there, but without my name on it. I began to consider a pen name, something like, Anonymous.
I was deep into this dream one day, imagining myself passing by the book at Barnes and Noble, knowing the truth about its authorship but not having to own any of it — most especially the reviews about it, which may be unkind. It’s a jungle out there, is it not? And so, there I was, imagining a way to convince my agent and my editor and my publisher to replace my name with my newly-invented pen name, when I got little message from God. And what God said to me was this, “Hey! Wait a minute! I worked hard on that book!”
God doesn’t usually go on and on with me. He cuts to the chase and gives me a message in the way I can understand it and, that day, what I understood God to be saying was this: The message of this book matters to him, and he has chosen me, not only to get the message out, but to champion it on his behalf.
Talk about a gut check.
I shared this news with a few friends of mine last weekend, while eating salad and chicken and cheesecake and then, the very next day, the cover of our book— God’s and mine — started popping up on social media. My instinct was to run and hide. To untag myself. To find a way to shut down the Internet. To just go silently into that dark night. (A little too much? Sorry.) But then I remembered this book is God’s project.
I believe in the message of this book, you guys. I believe it, and I need to hear that message preached to me, over and over again. I need to know that my small life — on this small sliver of earth, with my small sphere of family and friendships and people of faith, in this infinitesimally small span of time I’ve got — means something big to God. I need to know I can make a world of difference for good, right where I am, as I bumble and stumble through the everyday-ness of life. I need to know that there’s nothing to force or to fix or to flip, before God takes notice of me and invites me to join him while he redeems and restores this world of ours.
I need my name on that book. Not because it’s about me. No. I’d still really like to just find a hole somewhere off the coast and live there for the next thirty-six months or so. But, I need to have my name on that book as a public testimony (to those who might see it, pick it up, buy it, and read it) that I stand with God and I believe the message he wants to share with us (and when I say us, I mean, me first) is an important one. Whether the reviews are kind, or the book sells just a few copies, I want God to know this is about me and him. If he’s willing to get my fingers to type out a few words that matter to him, then I’m more than willing to say, “Yes. It was me. God invited me on this particular adventure. I am a better person for the journey, and I believe you’ll find something in the pages that matters, and that opens you up to letting God make a world of difference, in you, through you, and because of you.”
Some questions for you: Have you ever worked with God on a project and then wanted to hide from the results? What’s at the heart of that for you? Why do you think God speaks through us — ordinary people, living ordinary lives — instead of using a booming voice to part the clouds and make his message known? Have you ever received a bad review? How did you handle it?
Oh! Here’s a link
to the book on Amazon. You can pre-order it. <———That is my very first attempt at promoting the book. How’d I do?
YayyayyayYAY YOU! I’m so glad you had this epiphany. I’m so glad I can now post the cover of your book to my heart’s content on FB, knowing it won’t send you over the dark side! I’m so glad God got your attention and helped you realize that it’s your job to champion HIS book. Right on, girl!
I’ll probably need to be reminded in the days ahead. Good thing I wrote it down. 🙂
I love your cover. I hope you don’t mind … but I clicked on the link to go to Amazon & it comes up with an error message 🙁 Maybe it’s something I’ve done wrong but thought perhaps you might need to correct it. I look forward to reading this 🙂 May God bless the message & get it into the hearts of many.
Haha! Perfect! I think I fixed the link. 🙂
Thanks so much for your blessing. I receive it, on behalf of the actual Author.
Colleen Connell Mitchell
You did it! You talked about it! And you told us you were scared, but you still told us how to buy it. And you are still here, breathing. And we all still love you and your book without reading a single word yet. See that? Keep moving forward, friend. We got you. And also, God. 😉
Yep. I did. And I’m still breathing. Ha! And yes, God.
This time last year I was frantically working with my editor’s edits, trying to keep track of how he’d wanted me to move details around, trying to make sure they all made sense. I was grateful that he was able to send me the edits during Spring Break because I had brain space to work on it. I was deeply grateful he had a light touch, but tough enough to turn the thing into a fast read. There were some scenes that I wanted to stay, so he left them be.
I definitely wanted to hide from the results of my book being published. My first pictures are the book on top of a box in front of my door. It took awhile before I brought the book inside. I was shell shocked and feeling my life was disrupted as I’d deeply given up the idea of ever publishing the thing. Aside from Facebook statuses I was pretty much done with writing.
Your saying that this is God’s project as well as yours is very helpful. Something to remember, as the publishing of my book has brought many good things into my life, including increased confidence and learning new things about promotion and learning about my limits and blocks. I’ve worked through some things in the last year. I’m pleased to have found blogging as an art and a way of reaching an audience, however small.
Yes, yes, yes on God working through our small, humble lives, right here, right now.
I have received some negative reviews. The awful one on Amazon, that didn’t make sense, and accused me of lack of creativity was way softened by the many kind and supportive reviews from my readers. What has been very, very hard is being ignored by people that I’ve sent the book to, people I thought would do something. Some of the noes have been hard too because they were from people I’ve had long relationships with. Some said yes they’d help me but then said no. But silence from people who could take a minute to say no has also been hard. I remember querying a bestselling author who at least answered saying he was very busy. I bought his book and felt good about him. I must admit the lack of generosity that I’ve come across as a newbie in this world has been deeply troubling. (Another author friend, whose novel is wonderful, has said that has been her experience as well, so I’m not alone.)
Send your publicist flowers, chocolate because s/he will be doing difficult work for you, that you can build on. I bet your book will be a bestseller as it speaks to a need and you are such a positive, gentle and generous soul.
I, for one, am looking forward to your book!
I appreciate your reminder about the goodness of friends and family, even in the midst of whatever may come — good or not so good. That’s the most important thing, isn’t it? I said yes when God extended an invitation, and that’s saying something.
Adding flowers and chocolate to my shopping list. 🙂
Yes, friends and family are the best. And so is saying yes. And remember I’m here if you ever feel the need to talk (vent). I know you have closer friends, but I’ve been on both sides of the publishing desk, including publicity…The Lord be very with you as you walk this road.
You can’t see me, but I’m smiling HUGE for you and God in this project. I can’t wait to get my hands in this delightful work, and I am certain I will find much inspiration within the pages. Yay!!! Love you Deidra!! So happy for you!!
You’ve been such a great friend to me, Kris. Thanks for that. You’re the best!
My dream is that the day my book is published, I get hit by a bus.
Sheila Seiler Lagrand
Oh, Megan, I know that one.
Or, you could come live in a hole with me. 🙂
Sheila Seiler Lagrand
You did GREAT!!!! I can’t wait to read the words God gave you to share. May your words minister to many, many tender hearts.
So proud of you. So proud.
Thank you, Sheila! And, I’m thrilled about what God’s got going on in your life these days!
You did a great job as usual Deidra..inviting us into your story and keeping us smiling all the way. Your straightforward manner is believable…relaxed and natural. While reading your words reminds us of our own very special, unique missions with God. He’s got something to say. I’m glad He chose you. That He chooses us. Great work – great word. So excited to watch this unfold.
Yes! Everyone has a unique mission with God, and each mission matters to him, just the same as every other mission. Thanks for making this experience so much easier for me, and for helping me celebrate, late one night in NYC, when I finally hit “send” on that manuscript!
You did a fabulous job! Now I understand a bit more about your reluctance to discuss your book when I asked you. I appreciated you sharing the story of your book journey and especially your epiphany. God has already used you and your words mightily and I am excited to see how He uses your words in this book. Love the cover and will love reading the book!
Thanks, Jan. It’s an awkward feeling, for many reasons. And, I’m learning as I go. I appreciate your encouragement.
Lynn D. Morrissey
Congratulations, Deidra! It’s a process, it’s a journey, it’s a birth. It’s not easy, but it’s a delight. And yes, God gave YOU the message, and He gave YOU the grace to write it. He knows every little thing about you, and He knows where the message needs to go. And He’ll get it there. Sooo excited for you! I didn’t want my name on my book for another reason, but in the end, God had his way and worked it out. He always does. So excited for you!!!!!!!
Thank you, Lynn. It’s good to have the wisdom of those who’ve been down this road before me. Your enthusiasm is contagious!
Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk
I need those servants – NOW – and I’m not even writing a book. And I do hiding quite well. Quite a few things (well, ok, two) I started this year are about to “fall to the ground and die.” I would like to hide that. But also, I guess I can just keep it out there and when my cheeks get too red, point to God and mumble something like “it was God’s idea.” Maybe with failure comes freedom, I hope so.
I think God is able to help us find our way to freedom, no matter what. Feel free to come and hide out with me, although it’s probably not nearly as bad as you think. 😉
Sandra Heska King
Gut check… stamp our name on our words as a public testimony to God.
Oh my! Thank you, Sandy!
Great news! Congratulations!
After I read this one word in your post—“cheesecake”—I can’t get my mind off it. Maybe I should go make one now. That would make a yummy difference right here where five people are.
I like all those yellow stars. One star for every little thing.
You know how to make cheesecake? I have always held you in high esteem, Monica, but…cheesecake? You never cease to amaze. And yes, what a world of difference a cheesecake can make in the lives of those we love.
So good, and all so true. I can’t wait to read it! Also, I totally want to hide. It’s so scary putting a book out! I have to keep remembering that God will use our “fishes and loaves” to bring relief for those who need it.
Yes. The fishes and loaves. With our little offerings, God can do great things. Thanks for reassuring me that these feelings are normal, and that I’m not alone. That is such a huge encouragement to me.
Can’t wait to read it.
My experience is that almost every project that God and I do together is bigger and scarier than I can handle….. but if I just keep moving forward, God helps me through the scary, and then somewhere in the middle there is a sweetness… there is fun… and there is learning. Lots of learning.
I’m so excited for you. 🙂
Lots of learning. That is so true!
A friend of ours said once, many many years ago, “You know it’s God’s idea if it’s too big for you to have come up with on your own.”
Carol J. Garvin
I think God tried the booming voice thing and decided long ago that becoming human was the best way to reach mankind. He sent his Son. He sends us. It’s simple but also sometimes very hard. He’s got your back anyway, and I don’t think you need to fear how your book will be received. That’s all up to him. 🙂
Oh. You are so right. He is a God who reaches toward us, always. Thank you for reminding me, Carol.
Oh Deidra, I love this so much. My heart, as a sister-in-Christ, just sings for joy over the work of you & God sharing this message and I can’t wait to read it. So much of this resonates deeply with what God and I have been talking about a lot lately. Looking forward to seeing you soon and seeing these books on the shelves & in our homes. Blessings & congratulations on a job well done, servant or no servant. 😉
More and more, people tell me they’ve been hearing this message, too. That’s a good thing, I think. It’s a message we need to hear, and not just from me. Thanks for this much-appreciated encouragement.
Cool Deidra! 😉 Congrats soon it will be out and you will be ever so happy you did it! When God made me an author it felt so very good! 😉 And yes, I have worked with God on a project and wanted to hide from the results! In fact, I am working on project now, and it’s taking so long it really is taking longer because I think I am just too afraid to get it out there… I have pretty much dwindled down the fact that I believe I am afraid of being a successful writer. That it would require too much more of me… and I would have to offer more time to writing, which is what I already struggle with, long, arduous projects…”because of my attention issues” ( ADD) but at the heart of that, is my own personal struggle with myself. Not the considering all the grace God gives on everything I create by his hand… I feel the simpler the better, but we go from glory to glory… so it’s just not about me. and if He wants me to be a vessel to have His words bless someone else, who am I to argue with God? I am still struggling, but pray for me… i will get over it.. eventually…thanks for asking, girl.
Thanks for sharing your honest struggle with me, Jennifer. It always helps to know you’re not alone, you know?
I can relate to so much of what you said. I’m not quite sure what’s at the root of my apprehension, but I’m sure God is going to clue me in one of these days. In the meantime, I’m going to try to keep on keeping on.
Blessings to you on your current project. You will do it. I know those are just words, but I believe them. Please be sure to let us know when you’ve completed it!
Amen. Thanks Deidra
Finished product!! Thanks so much for your encouragment and allowing me to come back and share! It’s called “The Rhythm Conscious Life: A Self-Care Course for Steadying Your Life.”( A great course for helping writers expand their creativity. ) https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9PRG
As a performer I struggle with this conflict all. the. time. My profession can be extremely critical. I prepare so hard on a piece, and work out so many fine details…but when the time comes to present the results, I want to crawl into a hole. They call it “performance anxiety.” Really, at least for me, it’s just straight up fear. “What if I fail? What if it’s awful?” When it’s all said and done, though, and I see how much my offering seems to affect people and cause them to experience even more beauty than I imagined, it does something to me…it makes me feel part of something holy. I am finally learning to embrace that “edge” (that’s what I call it now, not “anxiety”, lol!) because it keeps my senses alert and sharp…and it keeps me humble. 🙂 I’m beginning to see this transferring to writing…let’s face it, it’s hard to “put yourself out there.” And yet, we do it anyway…that “holy” feeling? It’s comes down to…calling. Blessings to you as you step out to do what God has called you to do! 🙂
Thx Kimberly this blessed me. I’m chg my thinking… It is sorta holy…holiness can be darnright unnerving at times! But not with the peace of God present,Amen
Exactly: “What if I fail? What if it’s awful?” Yes!
I agree with Jennifer. This has blessed me. Thank you so much for sharing these words, Kimberly — straight from your heart and your experience. I’m going to read and re-read your words here. They are true and freeing. They are holy.
Amen! ( I like totally saved these words!) 😉
Thank you. This encourages ME to keep putting words out there! (((hugs)))
Um…you did awesome, and I’m so excited for your book (yours and Gods)! I’m writing a second book right now with the proposal being shopped around. And I want to hide, because I don’t want to face rejection. Publishing a book is what I’ve been chasing for fifteen years. And when I say chasing, I mean on and off chasing, because in those fifteen years I’ve also had four babies, and babies slow things down. But now it seems close, and I’m scared. I guess this is normal? I don’t know.
All I know is that I get so excited when I see friends walk this road. My book shelf is being lined with the words of people I know and admire. This fills me with joy, and with courage to keep pushing.
I think it’s normal. I do. And least, that’s what people keep telling me. 🙂
It’s funny, but the other day I was looking at a book, and I didn’t know the author. It was so odd. So many friends have walked this path, and so many who have walked this path have become friends. I never thought I’d join them. I always thought my role was to read the books, not write them. Ha!
This is awesome. You wrote this book and are promoting this book for all the RIGHT reasons. I’m proud of you!
Every book I’ve written has been a God project. The heart of it, for me, is obedience.
Criticism, I try to take it constructively even if it’s not meant to be. And anything unkind, isn’t about me anyway. (This is also a good time to give the authorship credit to God, lol)
But seriously, I think focusing on Him and the message is what get’s us through the fear. And, if I’m really being honest, success scares me more than failure.
Heading to Amazon —->
Such good words here, June. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. And, you’re right about letting God have all the credit for the authorship. Ha!
I really appreciate your honesty about the success/failure thing. Seriously appreciate that.
Me too. Anyone have any strategy about how to tune in even better to the message? I get so distracted. Pray for me. Even if there’s a bible study I can do, I will
I wish I could tell you it gets easier…. Familiar is a more accurate word. But just when you think you’ve found your rhythm or made your peace with it (whatever ‘it’ is), there are new obstacles, new challenges, new successes (!), new insecurities to face. Kind of like the jr high / high school / college thing. You’re a freshman over and over again. But you learn a lot along the way, not the least of which is that the same God who brought you through the first time will be with you the next and the next and the next — and that you will always desperately need more of Him. Can’t wait to read your new book! It sounds crazy, but don’t forget to celebrate… truly celebrate what an amazing thing it is. Imagine your 5 year-old self seeing this day coming 🙂
Yes! A great image! My five year old self knew nothing about reviews and critiques and Amazon and failure! This is a great perspective. I hope I can remember it!
One day, I’m going to have to treat you to dinner, Christin. I think we could talk for a long, long time.
Yes! I would love that — spending more time with you 🙂