Adventures in Books

The other day I rustled up my very first blog, the one I started excitedly just after I got married. I wrote about my heart and occasionally about the Lord, but I kid you not - my fifth post was about how sad I was when Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey broke up. What I'm trying to say is, blogging and I have had a long and sometimes hilarious road. 

I have loved words for a really long time. I've loved writing my feelings and thoughts and untangling the web of what I want to say through writing since I was super little. And I definitely think that somewhere in the back of my head and heart I hoped to write books one day, but I never saw where blogging and books intersected. I didn't start blogging to eventually write books. As I told you, I started blogging to process and also have a place to sort out my passionate feelings about celebrities and their marriages. 

Fast forward to October 2013. I'd just stepped down as one of the founders from SheReadsTruth and I felt some sadness about needing to do that. It seemed like an incredibly bad career move, but God had told me for sure that the women in my physical life and in our church plant had to have my heart first, before the hundreds of thousands. Joy came after the initial sadness, and peace swept me up. I've found the peace I love the most is the flavor that comes after saying a "brave no" when I trade in what the world would call good for what God calls me to specifically. 

But two weeks later, something funny happened. A woman that I've grown to respect so much, who is incredibly well known and honored in the publishing industry, asked Hayley and I over dinner - What would you ladies write about? If you had book ideas, what would they be? Hahahaha. My face was flushed and my heart started beating. I genuinely thought it would be decades before anyone would ask me that. Multiple ideas started beating on my heart like a drum and I found myself with all these rallies I wanted to lead towards Jesus - all through words. I found my fingers itching to get to the keyboard and sort out the thoughts and use this fun gift to call women with me, running towards Him. 

The book idea that eventually stayed nearest to the top couldn't be written without Hayley.  Wild and Free. Wild and Free. Wild and Free. (And here I'm reminded I should said - Wild and Free, our working title) The best way to lead a song is to sing it a whole lot privately, right? If you read Hayley and I's texts over the last two years, maybe the phrase you'd find most repeated is: Wild and Free. We preached wild and free to one another and we still do on the regular. We fight for one another to stop feeling like we're "too much" or "never enough". We've learned to constantly remind one another of how God is Wild and Jesus is our Freedom. So naturally, that was the book we felt God calling us to write. We often say that Wild and Free is a liberty hymn and a guide back home. 

That was over a year ago and it was a sweet, long road to get to where we are now. Jenni Burke was our first big fleece. There are lots of amazing Christian literary agents out there, but we didn't really want to write Wild and Free without Jenni. And I'm so thankful for the day in May when we sat on the phone and she told me that she genuinely believed in what we were working on and that she wanted to help us write books for decades. And I'm equally thankful for the day in October when we sat at a table with Stephanie Smith, our editor at Zondervan, and poured our little hearts out and she didn't just nod along, she added into the conversation and shared her heart as well.

And of course, I'm infinitely grateful for Hayley - for the very real and genuine relationship we have where we're constantly speaking these truths to one another and fanning the flames of each other's ministries. I'm crazy thankful for my husband who has heard me talk about the publishing process for approximately 1,000 hours and is always encouraging with his quiet and steadfast admonishment. And my family and friends, who have prayed or asked about what's going on or read countless book proposals. For the online friends who entered into our process by reading our proposal and giving amazing feedback or hopped on the phone with us to talk us through the particularly confusing parts of the process. For the Influence Core Team who cheered with Hayley and I last week as we signed our contracts together. All the people, thank you. 

And thanks God for using our words when we're sometimes the least wild and the least free, but the most willing. 

And that's that! I know I'm not sharing a lot about the actual book, but man - I can't wait to. For now, I'm ready to dig in and actually get it finished.  Over the next year, I'm excited to share bits and pieces of what this particular anthem will sound like. Yesterday on social media, I shared that we also each signed contracts for our individual solo second books and that is another fun anthem floating out there, waiting to be determined. We're going to get through Wild and Free first and then see what the Lord might have Hayley and I write on our own next. 

But yeah. Let's do this. Let's write a book. 
If you want to follow the process, follow the #wildandfreebook hashtag on social media. I'm sure we'll be posting lots of goodies there along the way! 

Jessi Connolly14 Comments