The week before New Year’s my husband and I went out to dinner one night. I talked to him about writing and how I have always wanted to write a book. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but I am sure I shared all the reasons I have come up with not to write (e.g. Do I have anything worth saying? Do I have anything to say that someone else hasn’t already said or said better? I don’t know what I am doing. Would anyone read it?). Finally, he said, “Well, why don’t you just go ahead and write the book?”
That one question was all I needed to propel me to start this blog a few days later (a special thank you to my husband). A blog seemed a natural first step. It gives me the opportunity to practice the discipline of writing on a regular basis. Knowing that even a few others will actually read what I publish adds an extra layer of tension, good tension, that makes me work harder at it.
Early on in this leg of my journey I shared here how writing has been a life long dream for me (see Living the Dream). While writing in this space is definitely part of a fulfillment of that dream, if I really get down to it, writing a book has been the heart of my dream.
Last weekend as I was perusing some posts by other bloggers that I follow, I came across an intriguing piece of information. A writing conference in October (that I haven’t even decided to attend or even talked to my husband about come to think of it…hhhmmmm) is hosting a contest for aspiring non-fiction authors. The winner will receive a contract with a well-known publisher. A light went on in the back of my mind. Even if my idea doesn’t win the contest, having a specific deadline and knowing professionals would read my work really piqued my interest.
But then I thought, “I don’t know about this, maybe it’s just my flesh.” So I said what all good Christian women say when asking themselves if it’s the Holy Spirit or their flesh, “I’ll take it to the Lord.” So I took it to Him and walked away with more questions than answers, like, “Lord, when would I even have time to write a book proposal? ” and “Lord, where would I start?” In other words, I tried to tell God why it’s not really a great idea.
Fast forward to Monday morning…I woke up with a lot on my heart, but nothing on my computer screen ready to publish (I am trying to post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so that I get into a regular rhythm of writing). So I poured out my heart on my laptop (no kidding, I really cried writing that entire post about the woman with the hair and the tears and I still have more to say about that) and then I hit Publish. Immediately my heart dropped to my stomach because I had published without giving it a title. I made a MISTAKE!!!!
The next evening, Tuesday, I decided to write my post for Wednesday. I tried to prevent another hasty title-less posting accident by writing it in advance and scheduling it to publish at a pre-determined day and time. However, when I went to Preview it I hit Publish instead (they both have P’s, right???). My second MISTAKE in two days! It was immediately confirmed, I have no idea what I am doing. By the end of the week I was really asking myself why on earth I thought I could possibly write a book if I can’t even manage to publish a blog the right way?
But God…on Wednesday, while blow drying my hair and talking to Him (that’s about the extent of my multitasking abilities), He gave me my starting point, the basic layout of the book. I could clearly see it in my mind’s eye. On Friday, He answered my other big question, “When would I have time to write?” by freeing up a couple of blocks of time in my weekly schedule. But then the lies started to creep in and the insecurities of my mistakes that week rose up and began to taunt me.
So I did the next thing Christian women sometimes do when they are feeling overwhelmed, insecure and lost…I hopped online and looked for a conference where I could go and gather with others who already know what they are doing and learn how they did it! I could learn from them how to do it the right way, with no mistakes. Two particular conferences (they shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) seemed ideal in terms of content and speakers, but the more I read about them the more anxious I became. I heard the Lord whisper to me, “If I gave you the idea, the outline and the time, don’t you think I can give you the whole thing?”
He let me know right then and there this journey is about me and Him. It’s about our relationship, not about a finished product. My journey is unique and to try to do it the same way as anyone else would be fraudulent, fake, without substance. It wouldn’t be a true representation of what He is doing in my life.
The bottom line is the Lord and I will be spending the next month working on a book proposal. I don’t like not knowing what I am doing. I don’t like being uncertain of the outcome. But I love this journey of learning to depend on God; of pursuing a relationship without worrying about producing content; of learning to abide in Him and bear fruit instead of being independent and trying to manufacture my own.
John 15:4-5 – “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”