Word of the Week

Courage comes in steps, you know?

No one does a hard thing all at once.  Life's big dreams are rarely fulfilled in giant leaps.

In the early months of 2011, I started to get a hunch that I wanted to write a book.

A hard thing. A seemingly impossible thing. Me, an author? Who would believe that?

I wasn't so sure I had the discipline to pound out all those words on the screen. I wasn't sure I had the savvy to convince a publisher to take me, a young pastor, on. Or, even that I had the guts to tell the truth the way I admired it in the works of others.

Not only this but . . .

I wanted to write a book about the one thing I didn't want anyone to know about me at the time: the I word.


Through the lens of "Elizabeth the infertile" pastor,  I knew I wanted to tell the truth about the intense physical and emotional pain of miscarriage, child loss all while being a solo pastor.

I knew I wanted to tell the truth about all of the unwanted side effects of such a struggle: depression, loss of friendships and ugly marriage moments.

I knew I wanted to tell the truth about the great mysteries of God, how hope finds us through friendship, second chances and prayer.

Most of all, I wanted to be a resource for other women, other couples or other spiritual seekers who like me faced their "dark night of the soul"  by telling my story-- that even when the worst possible things happened (and kept happening) to us I was still ok. And maybe even more than ok sometimes too.

So with all of this true: I only had one choice.  Write the book.

In the wisdom of Anne Lamott this was my plan: "Keep your butt in the chair." (Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.) And I did!  But, life is often more complicated than our intentions.

And the best things, I believe take time to unfold, especially when it comes to writing and even more when you're writing about your own life!

I completed the manuscript for this infertility memoir back in April 2013.

80,000 words on a page. My goodness, I was proud!

I thought that 2013 was my time to show it to the world. But it wasn't. And this fact was SO difficult to accept on top of so many other failures. "Jesus, you're killing me . . ." was my prayer back then. (And maybe he was but that's another story for later!)

Yet, in the early months of 2014 with new inspiration, I decided I needed to re-write the draft from scratch. Yes, THE. WHOLE. THING! I even blogged about why here. I'll tell you it's no small thing to start over, but I did and loved the new framework.

But then, life got hard. Real hard. My courage went away. Infertility and adoption failure came to bite my husband and me in the ass (again).

So the manuscript goes to live on a shelf to live for 15 months. I could not bear to look at it. It was all I could do to get out of bed each morning and try to connect with other meaningful work and people.

I might not even complete this project after all . . .

But, thank goodness for stones of help along the way. Voices who said, "Don't give up!"

Thank goodness for friends who read a draft last April and told me "The world needs your story. You must share it."

Thank goodness for this new season of life and all its unexpected joys and the gift of knowing I more than just survived a really hard chapter but I'm thriving through it.

And most of all thank goodness for this good news I have to share with you today.

I am happy to announce that my manuscript (tentatively titled) Unsilencing the Grief: A Pastor's Fertile Infertility Story is now under CONTRACT with Chalice Press, due out by February 2017.

I couldn't be happier to have found a publishing home with Chalice: a respected and forward thinking press committed to giving the church and spiritual seekers resources for the joys and sorrows of real life (my kind of people!).

I would be lying if I didn't say there's a part of me still nervous to be sharing such a personal story with the world, but I couldn't be more excited either. I'm tired of this manuscript being a computer file on my computer.

For, I want those of you who've faced seasons of deep disappointment, pain and anger to know you have a soul sister in me!

Stay tuned for updates about publication but for now, join me in saying "Thanks be to God!" that such a joyous day has come.

January 13, 2016 goes down in our household as a very good day! Let the editing begin.


Many of you know about 1) my life dream of publishing a book and 2) that I'm working on one AND currently re-writing my first manuscript.

The number one question folks ask me when I say I am working on a book is, "When is it going to be published?" Followed by "I want to read it." Which is a nice way of saying, "Hurry up! When are you going to be done?"

While I'm thankful that folks are interested in what I am doing, I have to say that the answer to the question is not so simple as hurrying up. And it's not about my procrastination. I am writing all the time. I've been striving toward all of this for quite some time now-- more than 2 years (hard to believe it has been that long).  I've been putting in my 10,000 hours with hopes of getting better at what I do along the way.

But, I am not done.

I want to tell you why: especially in the genre of memoir (which is what this book will be) it takes time for reflections to settle into their proper place on the collection of papers. I am re-writing my manuscript because the way I view the same set of experiences has changed over the last year. I recently came to some real clarity, but that took time. But, if I simply rushed a year ago to get out what I had to offer, it wouldn't have been fair to you (the potential readers) or my story.

Furthermore, the publishing industry is complicated. Sure, there are those who are famous enough to have a publisher ask them to send in a proposal or make them a verbal offer that leads to publication within the year. But I am not one of them.

So, just because you've completed a manuscript, someone in my shoes has not reached the finish line. It's only the start. There's lots of considerations to make in choosing what publishing route to take.

Do you want an agent?

What kind of publishing company do you want to pursue (small, large, well-known, secular, religious, etc)?

Do you want to self-publish?

What is your marketing plan?

All of these decisions are not ones that can be made on the fly because there's a book proposal to write. You write your proposal (or not) depending on how you answer these questions. What is included in a book proposal differs by publisher, but it's usually another 40+ page document that includes an outline, sample chapters, a marketing plan and most of all what makes your book sellable to a particular audience.

Then, once you enter into conversation with publishers, there are key decisions to make like how much are you willing to compromise of your vision based on what the editors think of your work. You also need to start making plans for what will you book launch look like, and what will your media plan be. So, those who say they get a book handed to them on a silver platter are lying or they're really cooler than I could ever be.

Most of all, writing a book is hard work. It's not about the money you will make doing it (unless you are JK Rowling). And it's not all about moment of publication either. It's about perseverance. It's about what you learn about yourself in the process. And it is about feeling so passionate about sharing part of yourself and your ideas with the world that you'll do what it takes to finally see it come together.