Once upon a time I signed a book deal and wrote a manuscript and sent it off to my publisher. Writing over 60,000 words should feel like a lot of work, but it felt so stinking fun for me. It was fun to figure out what works, fun to see the word count slowly grow and grow, fun to know that a few someones would someday read a whole book I wrote (even if those someones windup being my mom, my husband, and a woman in Alaska who accidentally added my book to cart one lonely winter day).
Once my manuscript was submitted, there were a couple of months of nothingness while it was being edited. Then, two days ago, the edited copy appeared in my inbox and the fun of rewrites and edits began again.
Oh my gosh, I LOVE EDITING and REWRITING.
This is what I have learned about my editors: they are saints whose words encourage me and improve me one million percent. Yes, a few of my favorite words have ended up sliced and diced, but the pruning bears a gorgeous new kind of fruit. Editors see what authors can’t because an editor’s eye is not as close to the writing. For me, this book is so personal. For my editor, it’s business.
(Why do I have a sudden craving for cannoli? Is this God’s way of telling me a delicious Italian pastry can help me edit better?)
I’ve been trying to figure out why writing a book feels like the most exciting roller coaster of all time. Why is my stomach full of butterflies all day like I’m climbing up to the most thrilling ride of my life? Why does my heart beat with anticipation whenever I sit down at my computer?
Writing books is exhilarating.
For a million and one reasons, publishing a book has felt like a long road of flukey grace and undeserved mercies. I’m gathering them all up and setting them on the shelf of my heart as proof that God can make roads through oceans of doubt and discouraging setbacks. I will need them as reminders of God’s goodness when this book is done and I get in line for the ride all over again.
Gosh, I hope this fluke isn’t my last.
Here’s to all my flukey friends out there. Here’s to all of us who should never have been given a chance. Here’s to all the people who have had their friends ask them why they decided to do this new thing so late in life when they really didn’t “have to” after all the big life decisions have been made. Here’s to everyone who could coast on to the finish line but decided to find another ocean to cross. Here ‘s to the impostors and the pretenders and the show-up-ready-people who somehow find that faithfulness trumps golden opportunity. Here’s to all the late bloomers who pass midlife and finally find a way through.
I hope you read my book like that lady in Alaska and dance for joy because Jesus is always making new glory out of old failures.
But most of all, I hope you have fun on the ride.