You Won’t Remember the Pain: Birthing a Book

BirthingABook

I’ve heard authors compare publishing a book to childbirth. Metaphorically, of course. But on that vein of thought, I think I’m in the throws of birthing pains, friends. Someplace Familiar is my “first born” book. She’s gestated for three years, not counting the decade or so I dreamed of her…the possibility of her.

Like all new mothers, one of my biggest struggles as I wait for the book to come to life is self-doubt. Before I had my daughter eight years ago I worried if I had the capacity to properly care for her – her body, her spirit, her happiness. I could barely handle those things for myself. Oh, self-doubt is a quiet, sly foe.

I came across this quote about birthing from Barbara Katz Rothman that made me stop and think…

Birth is not only about making babies.
Birth is about making mothers –
strong, competent, capable mothers
who trust themselves and know their inner strength.

What if we rewrote this for the circumstance of an author publishing a book?

Publishing is not only about making books.
Publishing is about making authors –
strong, competent, capable authors
who trust themselves and know their inner strength.

No child will grow up perfect and without flaws – it’s not in human nature. Likewise, no book will it make it to the digital or brick-and-mortar shelves without mistakes. There will be typos and sentences that could’ve been written better. We authors must remember that if we focus too much on unattainable perfection of our books we risk missing the lessons we learn along the way about our own abilities and strength.

These talents are God given. Placed upon your for such a time as this, in your lifetime and within your influences. You wrote a book! I mean, that’s huge. What’s more…we authors have worked hard on the books to get them to the point of publishing. No small feat.

My daily prayer as I grit my teeth through these labor pains of publishing is that God will help me focus on the journey, and find joy there where exhaustion and hard work threaten to dissuade me from noticing victory.

Once the book is “born,” my newest baby, I’ll forget the pain it took to get her here. Like my own cesarean scar from eight years ago, the memory of trauma will fade and will be replaced with joy and anticipation of what God will do with her life…how she’ll impact others…how she’ll leave the world different, better, than it was before she came.

That’s my prayer. I’ll forget today’s pain.

Join THE GRACE GIVERS Street Team

Let me start by offering a huge, heartfelt thanks to all of you who showered me with so much support and excitement over the cover reveal for Someplace Familiar.

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I’m so glad you love it as much as I do. Several of you have asked how you can help tell other about the book. I’ve got a fun way for you to jump on board!

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Do you know what a street team is? It’s a team of folks passionate about a shared interest who are willing to go to the streets, so to speak, to help promote an event, person, product, or book.

I’m welcoming up to 50 readers to join THE GRACE GIVERS street team to help tell others about Someplace Familiar. Being part of the team would include things like:

  • Get sneak peek e-book copies
  • Post reviews
  • Share posts about the book (I’ll provide images/memes)
  • Share on your blog
  • Be part of blog tour before release
  • Sign up for author newsletter
  • Engage with me on Goodreads
  • Exclusive giveaways to street team members
  • Fun challenges with other team members
  • Pray for the book’s influence with message of grace
  • Pray for and get to know new reader friends
  • And more!

If you’d like to be part of this fun street team experience, now’s the time!

REQUEST TO JOIN THE GRACE GIVERS STREET TEAM

Cover Reveal: Someplace Familiar

It’s an exciting day for me. Much like posting the first photo of a newborn into the family, it’s my true honor to finally SHOW you my debut novel, Someplace Familiar.

Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Together they must find a way to survive the destructive pain of their pasts and ultimately discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts.

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And, there you have it! So, what do you think? I’d love to hear your feedback. Be sure to visit my Facebook page tomorrow for a chance to join the Grace Givers — the street team to help launch Someplace Familiar to readers over the next few months.

Want to start supporting the book TODAY? I’d be thrilled it you added it to your Goodreads WANT TO READ list!

Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger on Goodreads

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Book Review: That’s When I Knew by Laurie Tomlinson

Before we get down to business with today’s book review, there are a few exciting things I want to tell you about happening the rest of this week:

TOMORROW (THURSDAY): Cover reveal for Someplace Familiar will take place here and all my social media channels. Once posted, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!
FRIDAY: Street team for Someplace Familiar launches on Facebook — limited to only 50 spots for those who are anxious to give the book some extra TLC leading to release day in late May.

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Now, on to a really fun(ny) book review!


Wondering where you’ve heard the name Laurie Tomlinson before? Well, this sweet and brilliant lady is editor extraordinaire for Someplace Familiar through her business 1624 Communications! She also happens to be celebrating the release of her first novella That’s When I Knew, part of the Love at First Laugh collection.

I enjoyed reading Laurie’s story of Nick and Chelsea SO MUCH.

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About That’s When I Knew

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On most days, Chelsea Scott feels like her rapidly growing planner and stationery business should belong to someone else. Maybe if it did, it wouldn’t be hovering near the red due to one costly decision. But the collaboration that will save her company awaits her pitch at the trade show she’s keynoting. When her transportation falls through at the last minute, she accepts help from Nick Pearson, who’s unexpectedly come back into her life.

The last time Nick saw Chelsea, he told her he loved her, and she ran. Twelve years later, their lives are different, more complex than the summers they spent playing baseball and eating ice cream cones at their dock with their toes in the lake. But as they spend time together on the road, their feelings for each other become clear: all those years couldn’t take away how good they can be together.

When Chelsea’s past decisions resurface at the convention, her newly rekindled relationship with Nick – and her business – are in jeopardy. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will another summer end with them apart?

My Review

This was so fun!!! “That’s When I Knew” introduces us to Nick and Chelsea, former loves who reunite quite unexpectedly years later. They embark on a stressful-turned-fun business trip that’s either going to make or break Chelsea’s career. Tomlinson had me giggling one minute and sighing the next. I especially love how real the characters are, flawed but redeemed by being loved for who they are. In fact, Chelsea reminds me of myself a little bit — a bit frantic under pressure and willing to retreat under a table with a donut when things go wrong! The story was full of just enough surprises and the sweetest happy ending all romance readers long for. Well done and two thumbs up for Tomlinson! I can’t wait to finish the rest of the collection!

Find Love at First Laugh on Amazon

About Laurie Tomlinson

Laurie Tomlinson visits the Authors' Open House at https://teresatysinger.com.Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her stories are fueled by faith, steaming mugs of tea, and her belief that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking with her two little sous chefs and testing new recipes on her husband—especially if she doesn’t have to do the dishes.

Find Laurie on Facebook or her website.

 

3 Books to Get Excited About in 2017

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I have a lot of friends who get squirmy at movie previews, itching to see what’s coming up in the world of cinema. Maybe the next Star Wars installment, super hero saga, or Oscar-worthy epic. Me? I get giddy over news of new book releases! And I’m super thrilled to share my own debut novel release with releases from some of my favorite authors.

Here are three books coming out this year that I am super excited about.

Count Me In (Emerald City Romance #1) by Mikal Dawn

16996219_651475855054351_2236377957144815235_nReleasing May 2017
MikalDawn.com
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Allegra Spencer has been living a careful life. Her safe job as an accountant is book-ended by going to church and the gym. Okay, sometimes the gym.

Fine. She goes to church. And the coffee shop.

She avoids risk at all cost, preferring to stay safe in her cozy condo. Until her accounting firm goes belly up and she’s suddenly out of a job.

Tyler Hawk had a glorious career as a star NFL Tight End. He retired on a high note and is now living a second dream of owning his own business leading others on extreme outdoor adventures. But he needs help with his books–and his heart.

When Allegra takes the job, sparks–and water–fly. Will Allegra be able to show Tyler he’s worth so much more than his star-status while being open to the most thrilling adventure of all…love?

This book and author are extra super special to me. Mikal is one of a few ladies who made up my original critique group. We’ve written our first books together, side by side. She’ll be releasing this romantic comedy novel the SAME MONTH as I’ll be releasing Someplace Familiar. God is so good. Of course, I’d support Mikal publishing her version of the phonebook. But trust me, Count Me In is sweet, funny, feel-good, and even a little surprising.

Just The Way You Are (Pleasant Gap Romance #1) by Pepper Basham

32969745Releasing April 2017
PepperDBasham.com
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Pre-Order on Amazon

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cyncial, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

Are you really surprised that I’d include an Appalachian story on the list? Pepper has fast become one of my go-to authors when I need my fix of Blue Ridge fiction. Having found success in both historical and contemporary romance novels, what could make one of Pepper’s books any better? Mix both the Appalachian and British cultures! Pepper calls this story a “Britallachian” flavor, combining two favorite settings into one book. It’s already received a coveted Romantic Times 4 1/2 Star, Top-Pick rating. Swoon! I can’t wait.

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

houseonfosterhillReleasing December 2017
JaimeJoWright.com
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Pre-Order from Amazon

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–
including her own–are lost?

It’s true that we authors have a flare for the dramatic. I admit that. However, please do not doubt how genuine I am when I say that I believe this will be THE book of 2017. I just have a hunch. I’ve always loved split-timelines, a little edge of suspense, and the cover design is EVERYTHING. But I also happen to know Jaime’s writing is some of the most captivating. It will suck you in and make you forget where you are — bring you into the lives of characters you can’t forget when you put the book down. Yes, Jaime is my friend and has often mentored me through my own writing journey. But, make no mistake, my bias has nothing to do with making the claim for The House on Foster Hill being the most anticipated debut novel. Mark my words, people: Book of 2017.

BONUS! Love at First Laugh Novella Collection

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I know, I know…the blog post says 3… but there’s one more release coming NEXT WEEK you must know about. Check out the Love at First Laugh: Eight Romantic Novellas Filled with Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever After with romantic comedy novellas from:

  • Pepper Basham
  • Christina Coryell
  • Heather Gray
  • Elizabeth Maddrey
  • Jessica R. Patch
  • Krista Phillips
  • Laurie Tomlinson
  • Marion Ueckermann

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of Laurie’s novella, That’s When I Knew and will be reviewing it in my next blog post, so stay tuned!

What books are YOU looking forward to this year?

5 Ways You Can Help Promote Your Favorite Author’s New Book

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I made a pretty huge announcement yesterday on my Facebook author page. Were you there? If so, thank you again for the overwhelming support. Isn’t it funny how sharing exciting news with your community makes it become suddenly celebration-worthy?

If you missed it, let’s recap… After many long hours, ups and downs of motivation, and lots of encouragement from friends and family, I will be releasing my debut novel, Someplace Familiar, in late May! In just a few short months, you’ll meet Livy and Jack and stroll with them through the quaint mountain streets of Laurel Cove, North Carolina. This is the first in a 4-book series, each book stand-alone, all set in this sweet fictional town.

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Of course, I’ll be sharing more about this book that’s so near and dear to my heart in the weeks ahead. The inspiration for the story, the characters, my process, and the many partners I have in my wheelhouse helping to get the book ready.

But last night’s thrilling Facebook announcement “party” left me with thoughts about how to harness all of the genuine shared excitement of readers and fellow writers. In full disclosure, you all are an author’s best asset! Have you heard the adage that there’s no better marketing than a personal invitation? Chances are, you’ve read lots of books recommended in one way or another by someone you know.

So, if you’re curious about ways you can help your favorite author promote his or her new book, look no further.

5waystohelppromote

  1. SHARE. You see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. that one of your favorite authors has a new book coming out. You squeal with excitement into your phone or tablet. You spend the morning fist-pumping because that brand new contemporary romance e-book you’ve been waiting for is on sale for $0.99. Go all “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” with that post and share! All social media platforms have Share tools built right in, so use them! Make that book news go viral!
  2. REVIEW. One of the best things you can do for a book’s success is review it! The more reviews a book receives, the more likely it is to be featured on lists curated by sites like Amazon, Goodreads, etc. Like above, be sure and SHARE your review once you’ve written it. Repost on your blog, social media, etc. Not sure what should be included in a review? The most helpful reviews often include a short plot review, your reaction (what you loved about it, what surprised you, which characters resonated with you, etc.), and maybe a comparison to other popular books so readers know what to expect. But please note, SPOILERS have no place in reviews!

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  3. CREATE. I’ve seen you guys out there….you’re so creative! Use those skills to create visuals with your favorite line(s) from the book. I’ve seen some amazing ones on Instagram lately, like the one above created by reader/writer Toni Shiloh for author Pepper Basham‘s upcoming book Just the Way You Are. Even if you don’t consider yourself handy with design, there are tools out there that make creating memes and social cards super easy-peasy. Canva and the Ripl app are two that I’ve used and find super easy and fun. These become like free advertisements for books! And, remember to always tag and/or link your creations back to the author or buy page for an easy connection point.
  4. TALK. “Hey, read any good books lately?” Yes, you have! Chat about your favorite books and authors over coffee with friends, the Sunday family dinner table, the PTA meeting, at the park with other moms, to your dentist in between opening wide, when your UPS guy is waiting for your signature, in the long grocery store line, while huffing and puffing on the treadmill, while browsing at your favorite book store, to the librarian (ask them to get it; they might just seek out the book if they don’t already carry it!), or even your babysitter while you’re trying to figure out the latest payment app she’s using now. Use your voice!
  5. JOIN. I’m not the first author to see the potential in their excited readers. And we all love feeling a part of something EXCLUSIVE. So, many authors create “launch teams” for readers to join — members essentially become an extension of the authors marketing team, agreeing to be a cheerleader for the book in a variety of ways. This can include all of the above ways to promote and more! I’ve been a part of several launch teams and have really enjoyed feeling a part of making a book release successful. In case you’re wondering, YES, I’ll be having a launch team for Someplace Familiar. Keep an eye out for the invitation!

What other ways do you help promote books that you love?


LeafKeep Reading…

250+ Author Tips Curated in Once Place!

I Gave Up Writing This Week

Book Review: Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

LeafGet EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK at Someplace Familiar‘s Cover!

On March 1, I’ll be revealing the cover art for Someplace Familiar exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. Sign Up Here to join the fun!

Disclaimer: I have not received payment for any affiliate links included within this post. All opinions expressed are mine and reflect my experience and preferences as a reader and customer only. Thanks!

BIG NEWS COMING

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When you’ve got big news to share, don’t you think it’s fun being able to do so with a group of your friends and family? I’ll be doing just that on Thursday, February 23 at 7 PM (CST) over on my Facebook Author Page.

RSVP for the event here.

There will be a few fun surprises and prizes, but you have to be present to win. After the big news is revealed, we will hang out to chat and get to know one another over some fun activities. I really hope you are free to join me!


Keep Reading…

250+ Author Tips, Plus Giveaway

I Gave Up Writing This Week

On Being Happy

250+ Author Tips (Plus, a Giveaway!)

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“Would you stop being so stubborn?!”

I uttered these words under my breath during my last editing session. My heroine was being particularly stubborn to do what I wanted her to in the scene.

What? You didn’t know fictional characters have a mind of their own? It’s true! If you’re like me, characters take on the personality you give them in the beginning and, before you know it, can take steps in directions you never saw coming. Say things that surprise you. Lead the story down unexpected paths.

When I find myself in these situations, as a still-learning newbie author, I turn to the experts. Those who’ve been in the trenches and come out the other side wiser and willing to share their knowledge.

Over the years, I’ve collected hundreds of tips for authors on everything from…

  • planning your next novel
  • plot structure
  • character development
  • writing for your genre audience
  • self-editing
  • author platform building
  • working with agents/publishers
  • developing deep POV
  • resources like stock photos (covers, promos, etc.)
  • self-publishing
  • creating an author website
  • author encouragement
  • grammar and mechanics
  • writing descriptions
  • showing vs. telling
  • writing emotion
  • story arcs
  • and much more!

Leave Your Ego Off the Page

My heroine was trying to show me a more natural arc for herself. The conflict I had her in helped develop a goal that I hadn’t seen before. After reading Character Development: 9 Tips for Convincing Arcs, a plan to proceed in writing this character became clearer. Whew!

Do you remember the famous line from A League of Their Own? “There’s no crying in baseball!” Tom Hank’s character is the rough-edged manager of an all-female baseball team. His players emotions were getting in the way of focusing on the game.

I say, “There’s no ego in writing!”

When you approach the blank page assuming you know everything there is to know about writing a best seller, you sabotage your chances at achieving that very thing. What do actual best selling authors have to say about writing? Learn how they write. How they earn faithful readers. What they do when their characters get stubborn and your momentum stalls.

Leave your ego off the page and your book will thank you.

Where to Get Help

I have two degrees in English. Thus, my shelves at home are full of books on craft, theory, etc. I’ve even collected a few favorites in recent years like this oneBut, let’s face it. These days when we’re writing on various devices and constantly connected to the internet, it’s convenient to have resources just one click away.

I’d like to think we’re friends, you and I. So, I’ve gone ahead and put together lots of references for you in one easy place.

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Follow my Author Tips board on Pinterest for 250+ (and growing each day!) excellent tips and tricks for being the best author you can be.

Sharing Is Caring (& Pays off!)

What are some of your favorite resources? A favorite book, website, Facebook group, or other tool for writers? I’d love to add more pins to my board….and we all get smarter.

SHARE your favorite resource in the comment below. One reader who comments will win a $10 Amazon gift card!  Share this post using the social share links below (tell me you did so in a separate comment) and earn an extra entry. Winner announced Tuesday, February 21.

This giveaway has ended. Thanks!


So, next time your characters get stubborn, a new plot starts forming in your mind, or your author platform seems to be falling flat, FEAR NOT AUTHOR FRIEND! You’ve now got an arsenal of help right at your fingertips. Go forth and write!


Keep Reading!

A Pantster’s Guide to Planning
Hand Me the Wrench: A Writer’s Toolbox
What’s in a Genre: Choosing Your Genre Niche

 

I Gave Up Writing This Week

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I stepped in dog pee the other morning, just minutes after grumbling at my relentless alarm. It was the perfect sour cherry on top of what was shaping up to be a top-notch-awful-week sundae. Frustrations at work…laundry held hostage in the dryer…a master bedroom that housed my 8 year old on the floor in a sleeping bag most nights…friends whose birthdays came and went too quickly without a card making it into the mail…boxes of Girl Scout cookies left to sell…graying hair in need of coloring…a thickening waistline…and nagging deadlines for editing my first novel (that needs to be successful and renowned  by all who read it – ha). It all swirled in my head with a dizzying effect.

My wet foot dripped and “You’ve got to be kidding me!” cries filled the otherwise serene, still-dark living room. Something had to give. And soon.

Later that day I sat in my car during my lunch break and brainstormed what I could do to simplify this overwhelming life. I eventually circled around to my writing. Maybe this just isn’t the season of life to realistically achieve the goal of publishing.

Mixed Messages

Part of my problem is constantly trying to decipher the mixed messages to women of our culture:

Your top priority should be raising independent, well-adjusted children.

You have both the right to be an working professional woman, and the responsibility to continue paving the way for the next generation.

While you should not feel obligated to wed, if you do then your spouse should feel desired, encouraged, and taken care of.

You need A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, and P name-brand products, but should also be able to find a way to be debt free and ready for retirement by the age of 40.

How in the world do we wade through all of these voices? While the little white ball called “balance” winds this way and that, ping-ponging between work, home, family, friends, education, professional enrichment, personal goals, and others’ expectations we grow tired. Dizzy. Unsure which way to look and for how long.

This passage from Present Over Perfect by  Shawna Niequist struck a nerve.

I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.

Can you relate?  For me, the life that has begun often doesn’t reflect the life I envisioned long ago. It’s more hectic. More demanding. More distracted. And, frankly, often less fulfilling.

My Plan for Taking Control

The lunch break in my car resulted in a plan. I didn’t want to give up being a good mom or wife or employee. My daughter needs me on my best game. My husband needs me to be less stressed and more attentive. My job deserves me to be more focused and dedicated.

So the writing can wait.

I made the decision sitting in the car that I’d find ways to write here and there whenever time presented itself. Just for fun. Maybe keep writing my short stories for my newsletters. But the book publishing would need to wait. It didn’t make the cut.

With a sigh of relief and to-do list suddenly much shorter, the week went on.

But something unexpected happened next.

The 30-Second Game Changer

Later that evening, after the kitchen was cleaned, homework was reviewed and fixed, bath time was overseen, and clothes were picked for the next day, my daughter called me into her room.

“Can I read you something, Mama?”

“Sure, but then it’s lights out.”

“Ok. I just wrote this…” She proceeded to read me a poem she’d written. It included metaphor, imagery, emotion, and a simple plot. It was good. My tired, overwhelmed heart flipped.

“Honey, that’s really good. I mean, really good.”

Then the kicker.

“I get it now. Why you write. This feels amazing. And I can’t wait for your book to come out,” she said with and understanding in her eyes that stopped me dead in my tracks.

In the simple 30-second exchange with my daughter over a six-line poem written in pencil in a ratty journal, the plan I’d made earlier in the day to give up writing suddenly didn’t make sense.

Publishing this book isn’t just a self-indulgence. Not just a hobby I’d love to share with others. It has purpose, meaning beyond my own desires. The process, not just the end result, is important for my daughter to see me go through – not for the struggle, but in spite of it. This renewed awareness of purpose in the process reminds me, too, that the story’s message of hope and grace and forgiveness (to each other and yourself) is one I believe God placed on my heart to tell others. If that’s not a priority worth keeping on top, I don’t know what is.

Life will still throw me curve balls. (Just in the last 24-hours, for instance, I had a flat tire, spilled a full glass all over the living room, and had to catch my dog’s urine in a bowl for a specimen to take the to vet.) This is life this side of heaven. Messy, frustrating, and overwhelming. But it’s also filled with 30-second blessings that remind us why we do what we do: because we are who God made us each to be.

I gave up writing this week. But I picked it right back up again.



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