On the Laboriousness of Labor for Love (a.k.a. the Birth of My Book)

A few weeks ago, I poured my heart out into the blogosphere and admitted to the world (or at least those of you who read my blog!) that I have taken the plunge and I am attempting to birth a book.

Many of you wrote back with congratulatory words of encouragement and support.   Some of you were surprised by the announcement and others of you just nodded with that all-knowing smile of confirmation, indicating you knew it was coming, it was just a matter of time.  Either way, the news was out.

I explained in my post (https://teamnilsen.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/on-birthing-a-book-despite-my-fear/) that I’ve spent the better part of 9 months clicking away at the keys and pulling back the shades to a select few to preview the baby (a.k.a. manuscript) to ask for much-needed feedback.  They graciously complied and I am grateful!

At the end of the day, however, I knew I would need to bite the bullet, pull out my wallet and hire someone of the “professional variety” to edit my manuscript; someone who would be objective and honest. Someone who wouldn’t dance around any issues, someone who would give it to me straight without worrying about whether I would invite her to the next Arbonne party.   And, I found just the one!

Three weeks ago, I closed my eyes, held my breath and sent my baby off to my new editor friend, Renee.  I knew after our first phone conversation that Renee had just the right mix of sensitivity and sensibility to provide me with the feedback I would need to take whatever I had to the “next level.”

Today, the long-awaited edit letter arrived in my inbox.  I stared at the subject line just long enough to close my eyes and hold my breath once again before opening the email to see how my baby faired in someone else’s arms.

And you know what?  The edit letter did not disappoint.  My heart kind of lost its footing for a moment, but my brain reasoned it back into the proper rhythm.  Renee cast a wide net over my manuscript.  She dove into her work with her heart on her sleeve and editorial glasses on her nose.  She analyzed each part and piece and came up with some solid, spot-on suggestions for expansion, revision, rearrangement and the dreaded – deletion.  That’s right, after nine months of crafting and re-crafting certain ideas and phrases to tuck into the pages “just so” I am told, they really “don’t fit,” and might even HINDER emotional impact.  Ugh. That’s the last thing any writer wants to hear.  It’s like a knife in the heart to think I could inadvertently sabotage my own writing.

But there it is.  In black and white.  And though some of it is hard to swallow, at the end of the day, I believe she is right!

So, now what?  In just two weeks time I am scheduled to hop on a plane and make my way to Charlotte, NC for the Proverbs 31 #SheSpeaks writer/speaker conference.  When I registered, I even went so far as to check the optional box marked “Yes! I would like to make an appointment to meet with a publisher.” What in the world?

Three weeks ago, I thought I was well on my way to crafting a decent book proposal.  I knew I’d have my work cut out for me, seeing as I’m not a professional writer with a huge platform and all, but I figured I could at least punt to see where the wind would take my proposal.  However, after receiving this spot-on edit letter, I’m left wondering – now what?

It seems the manuscript I’ve been working on needs a little, well – work!  Like I said, that is exactly what I expected.  I just didn’t realize what the work would entail.

On the positive side, Renee said she liked my writing.  I suppose that’s a good place to start!  And, I have some great ideas/themes represented in the book that, if developed even further, could stand-alone as solid ideas for other books.  Maybe I actually have some other book ideas in the hopper.  But that doesn’t necessarily help me hone in on the exact, laser-beam message of THIS book.

Here I sit.  Back at the drawing board.  Mining my mind and my heart – asking the Lord to remind me of what I know to be true – about Him and about me.  Why am I even doing this in the first place?  And these are the things I believe to be self-evident:

1. I am a writer.  Whether 10 people or 10,000 people read what I have to say it doesn’t matter.  The Lord wove this love of words deep into the fiber of my being and I will continue to write about Him and for Him.

2. There is a book waiting to be birthed.  I just don’t know the exact specifications of said book or the perfect timing of it all, but I believe the Lord will reveal that in His time. As Jeff Goins says, “The book you write is better than the one you only dreamed of writing.”

3. Whatever book ultimately emerges, my deepest desire is that it advances His Kingdom here on earth.  Period – end of story.  This story is not about me – never has been and never will be – it’s always and ultimately all about Him.

4.  I plan to continue my quest to produce a book proposal even if it overwhelms and scares the ever-living daylights out of me!  Sure, I could call up the sweet ladies at She Speaks right now and apologetically ask them to remove my name for consideration to meet with a publisher.  At this point, that would unequivocally be my version of pressing the “easy button.”  OR – I could continue to do what the Lord has asked me to do and dare greatly; be vulnerable.  They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I’m always hoping for the latter.

I hear that Lysa TerKeurst (president of Proverbs 31) is constantly reiterating to her people that “the process is the point.”

If this is indeed the case, then friends, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be – in process.  I will continue to submit this whole process to the Lord – to see what He wants to do with it, where He wants to take it and what He wants to teach me.  I will lay it, once again, at the foot of the cross.

Perhaps that is exactly the point.


  1. Kara says:

    Keep going for it! I am so glad you are speaking truth to yourself–and sharing with us the hard process! The older I get, the more I am convinced that every important thing (from parenting to evangelism to practicing medicine) includes a lot of daily, tedious, persevering work. Rewriting something you thought you were almost done with sounds hard, both practically and emotionally. Well done for seeking feedback, trusting your editor, and not being cowed with fear!


  2. Jill says:

    Oh, the fun of deleting something you slaved over. I feel you. You should definitely still pitch at the conference. You never know what God has planned, and they are not expecting perfection! Please post the dates so we can be praying for you. 🙂


  3. Keep it going sweetie. I can’t wait to hear the results of your writers conference and meeting with a publisher. I respect you and love you so much and thank God for guiding you.


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