The honest truth? My heart has changed so much since writing the first draft of my book, A Pygmy’s Life for Me. Over the weekend, I re-sent all the work to my editor. The book, now on it’s 5th draft, has changed completely. And for the better.
But let’s rewind!
It’s taken me quite awhile to confidently be in this place. The first time I was rejected, I also received the best & worst criticism. I was told that my story didn’t have a crisis that drove the plot. OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!! I had spent all this time writing a story that essentially had no driving plot-line, no real substance. And she was absolutely right. I had written a fun story about my life as a kid, but it had no purpose.
After that, I sat down to my computer, and scrapped 7 entire chapters that were just extra noise. I began working on a plot to weave within the pages of my childhood. I was so happy with my 4th draft. I had taken the criticism and came out with a much stronger story.
I was accepted by another publishing company, but was unsure I wanted to publish with them. My Aunt referred me to a woman who has done a lot of editing, so I just sent her all 41 chapters of my 4th draft. She covered my pages in red, and sent along a few other great ideas. As long as I don’t get the same criticism twice then I’m moving forward!
Needless to say, I was a mixture of nervous excitement when I sent her my 5th draft this weekend. This book is about my life, so to willingly hand it over to anyone is quite the experience. Thick skin, anyone?? 🙂
So, let’s talk about this new story.
Thanks to that harsh (but accurate) criticism, the book is no longer just about my childhood. It is also about my young heart accepting my story exactly as is. It is about breaking free from my prison of pain. It is realizing the real, life-changing worth I have in God . It is discovering that I have experienced the deep grace of God even though my story seems so minuscule compared to others. It is a “good” kid’s story of her un-good heart.
I know I will be even more nervous and excited when I hand it over to you once it’s published, because you will have an opinion about it. Everyone will have an opinion about it! And it’s about the life I’ve lived, for goodness sake!! But that’s really the beauty of it, because the book has turned into a story of freedom….from people, their opinions & perceptions, and my own self-proclaimed prisons. It’s an entire book of my heart walking into freedom.
For me, the writing process has been healing. I’ve realized things about my life that I would not have realized otherwise. Not only am I sharing a childhood full of humor and adventure, I’m also sharing the confusion of growing up, the perplexities of chronic pain, and the vulnerability of a young heart. At times the story is ridiculous, abrupt, painful, overwhelming, humorous, selfish, sad, lost, confused, and angry. But woven in it all is my healing, growth, and discovery.
I can’t wait until you get to the last chapter. Tears crowd my eyes when I read it, because that’s the kind of heart-freedom I’ve found in God…that’s the story I’m sharing.
If I keep talking about it, well then, you’ll get everything from 41 chapters in a really long blog post. So, I’m going to stop talking…or at least try. I’m just so excited to share this with you.
I do believe it’s a story that needs told. I believe Christian kids need to hear it. I believe that people will relate to it. I believe it will help you remember what being a kid was like. I think you’ll laugh through some of it, and cringe through portions of it. I think you’ll experience the emotions of it, and feel the relief as my young heart heals. You might even do some healing yourself.
As you read it, I hope you remember again the triumphs you’ve known in Christ. I hope my answers to big questions leave you overjoyed with the life you’ve been given. I truly believe that the story I am working so hard to share will encourage your heart in God. And that’s all I want.
A Pygmy’s Life for Me is my biggest writing goal for 2018. The only deadline I’m giving myself is to make some kind of forward-movement every month…whether that be reading it, rewriting it, researching publishing options, writing cover letters, drafting submission emails, or corresponding with my editor. I am determined and committed to finish.
The heart of the story is complete, and now it’s just a matter of getting a copy into your hands. I’m working hard for that day, and I can’t wait to share this deep part of my life with you. Cottonwood Lane is a small place, but it’s made up of such encouraging people. I never dreamed I’d have such a good time growing up with so many of you.
I’ll let you know when I get my 5th draft back, and I’ll keep you updated on my next steps! Here’s to forward movement for every month in 2018…and hopefully a book in your hands very SOON.