I am getting that question quite often these days, and rightfully so. I am writing the first book of my career. My first, so it won't be my last.
It's a big thing. A REALLY BIG THING.
I am afraid my answer to this question isn't really giving people a lot of confidence in me either.
I usually look at them with glazed over eyes, a little lost and a lot overwhelmed, and always tired. And with that look I pause and then say, "It's good. I mean it's going OK." And then I don't know where to go from there, because what I really want to say is this:
Aggghhhhh!!!!!!!! I have so many emotions I don't know which one to grab onto in this moment!
It is more work than I ever anticipated.
It's incredibly hard. When I say hard, I mean it in a 'go through 9 months of painful pregnancy where you are sick almost every day, you get painful gas and gross stretch marks, you are excited for this adventure but didn't realize you would loose your ankles, your identity, your bladder and your sanity in the process. Then you go through 36 hours of labor and 5 hours of pushing a baby out of your body that you are pretty sure isn't supposed to come through that way.' That kind of every day, all that I am is this process. That's what I mean by hard.
It's frustrating because when you have time to write, the thoughts don't come. Then when they do, you've written one page in four hours when you thought you would have the next chapter done.
I have never felt more insecure in my life! Questioning and double guessing if it's enough, if what you have written should be said a different way. Do you tell a story in a third person, first person? Do I write the story like I tell it from stage? Geezzzz, all those thoughts, then I have to spend the next half hour in prayer getting rid of those insecure thoughts that I intended to spend writing. Now I am behind again!
I always feel behind.
I always feel stressed.
I always feel pressure. Pressure that if I am sitting still, I should be writing or researching for the book. Moments of peace aren't mine to have these days.
I feel imbalanced. Every aspect of my life winding its way around this project and I don't like it. It easily takes the joy out of it and I don't want that. I want to love this, to enjoy this, to feel inspired by this. Those moments feel too few and far between.
I feel excited that what once was a dream is going to be a reality.
I feel very blessed to have a writing partner that makes this book better, and then try not to feel inadequate in the process.
I feel like I can't give the book my whole attention, or my family , or my life, or my friends.
I feel overwhelmed by people's confidence in this project, in me. Their encouragement, their kind words, their prayers, their help babysitting, all so I can write and not neglect the kids.
I feel worried about people's expectations.
I feel overwhelmed by own.
I feel scared about Henry's.
Then I pray again.
And it's better. I remember that I do this because I feel called to honor God in this and support my family and extend my ministry. I remember that I won't be defined by this moment or this project. That this project is one step in the journey of discovering myself as a writer, a speaker, a professional, a person. This is not all I have, this is just the beginning.
Then I when I wake up, I go through all these thoughts again. It is a constant picking up the stress and letting it go.
So...I am not sure how to answer that question when people ask me. I really just want to blurt out all these things and how much of a mess I feel most of the time. But I don't. I just say, "It's good".
I do believe it is good. Being refined by this process is good. Pushing at my insecurities and my stress and my life values are good. They force me to think through my choices, my identity and who I am. They force me to let go of expectations I didn't realize I was trying to live up to. They allow me to see God's goodness in this process. They give me a more aware sense of self, and this is before anyone has even read the book! I can't imagine the tough skin I am going to need when the book comes out.
So, as hard as this is, it is good. But that one word means all these things to me right now. Through this process, I am more open, vulnerable and humble and excited all at the same time. In the end, I realize why so many people equate writing a book with having a baby. It makes sense to me. The process is so much harder than you anticipated, but the rewards of self discovery and having your heart out there in print is totally going to be worth it.