At the beginning of book writing a few months ago, I shared that I hoped to be blogging more. I hoped that in some miraculous way that words would beget more words. I hoped I'd be brimming with thoughts and ideas and just HAVE to get them out.
Well I'm here to report that words didn't beget more words. Hayley and I turned in our manuscript for Wild and Free on Wednesday and I feel great about it, I really do. It was so interesting to watch the book shift and change over a few months time. It was especially interesting because of what Wild and Free is. It isn't a how-to book, it isn't a memoir. It isn't a collection of essays, it's really a manifesto. It's a hope and a prayer for a generation, a theory we're trying so hard ourselves to put into action. It was October 2013 when Hayley and I were FaceTime chatting and proposed we write Wild and Free together, and the idea itself has gone through so much refining since then.
So the last three months, I spent a lot of hours behind the laptop typing, but we also both spent countless hours fleshing it out. Talking about what wild really meant, talking about what free meant. Reading scripture, texting when we'd hit resistance, going on runs and asking God to sort out the confusing parts. Texting my mom and sister, nervously sharing chapters with friends and waiting for feedback. It looked like lots of hours sitting with my own convictions and asking God for hope for me, for all of us.
But it didn't look like I had a lot of words. Words didn't beget words. Writing produced a lot of emotion, a lot of tenderness, incredible tiredness, but not a lot of words.
April and the beginning of May, in particular, looked like a lot of subsistence living. I just got by. I'd wake up tired, every single day, no matter how much sleep I got. Write for an hour or so before kids got up, do school drop off and the morning routine, then head to the gym. Working out became the most "restful" part of my day because I mostly just turned my brain off. Then it was scurry, scurry, scurry for the next part of the day as I'd try to fit 8 hours of work into 5, then somehow be emotionally and mentally available to pick up the kids after school. A lot of afternoons, I'd fall asleep on the couch as the kids ate their snack or started their homework and Nick would lovingly bring me coffee and start dinner. Take care of the dog, do dinner or something community-wise for the church, kids in bed, work or write some more, pass out again, repeat.
I got through, but there wasn't a lot of margin or excitement. Just words and going through the motions. I don't regret it and I don't know that I could've done it any other way. I think I can learn from this first book writing experience and set myself up for success the next time, but I look back on the last month and a half with a lot of grace for myself and gratefulness to the Lord.
But now that it's over, can I tell you what is remaining? In the vacuum space that being done with writing has left? Passion. Hope. Burden. Desire. I've wrestled over the last few years with success and failure and applying the gospel when things DO go like I hope or they DON'T go like I hope. So I don't necessarily feel hopeful or have a massive burden or desire for this book to be successful - but I have limitless hope and an intense passion to let the Lord wring every drop of His glory and power that He can from it.
I really, really care about it and I really, really hope it's impactful. Moreover, that fervor hasn't stopped at the book - but it's started to seep into the other compartments of my life. I really, really, really want my family to be a place of peace. A storehouse of God's presence in the lives of my children and their friends and this city and His Kingdom. I really, really want our church to grow in all the ways. I want God to take that effort that we're putting forth and dump truck His favor on it. I want Naptime Diaries to be more of a blessing than we could ever ask or imagine - igniting a love of God's Word in people all over the country and the world. I want The Influence Network to grow and expand and make a palpable difference in the lives of women as we seek to equip and encourage them right where they are.
I really, really care. And I really, really hope. And I really, really pray.
Words didn't beget words.
But words begot passion.
And I'm ok with that.