I figured I only have a few more days before I won’t be able to write a post about what it’s like to almost be a published author, so I might as well write this now for my future self. A significant event in my life is about to happen, and I want to begin processing it.
Tonight, I ordered a proof copy of A Prayer Book for Writers. This is the first book I will have ever officially published, whether traditionally or self-published. I might feel like it’s more official if it had been traditionally published, but I felt much more peace about going the self-publishing route this time.
Once the proof comes in the mail, if it is a good copy and everything looks okay, that is when I will click the button that will make the book go live on Amazon.
It is surreal.
I remember being about five years old and having made up stories and put together a little stapled book about a princess being rescued by a hero and giving it to someone for Christmas. A tall adult leaned down and said something like, “Oh, will you be a famous author one day?” And I didn’t know what to say so I looked at my shoes and said something like, “I don’t know.” I wished he would leave me alone, because I think deep down, I knew my value had nothing to do with whether or not I was famous, and I didn’t want to be labeled.
I wish I had kept that attitude about writing–in a way, I have. Writing was just something I did, and began doing, because I wanted to. Now I take it seriously because I feel like it is something that helps draw me closer to God. I want it to be important. Writing helps me lay out what I believe so I can look at it and think, “Is that the truth? Should I believe that?” All my unconscious biases thrown on me from modern day US culture and society, how much of that stuck with me, whether or not I meant for it to stick? Writing helps me self-reflect, become self-aware, and become more mature.
I want to keep a good perspective about writing. I want to think of it not as something that has given me value, but something I do because I have value as a human being.
I don’t want to view my writing projects as “work” to earn money but as journeys to go on, uncharted lands to explore, riddles to ponder, and all this with God’s presence and guidance. I hope I never stop writing. I hope I never run out of things to write.
This project, A Prayer Book for Writers, is so significant to me that it is hard to write about. It is significant in such a sensitive way to me because of the time in my life that I began working on it, though I don’t actually feel emotions about it all the time. It’s almost like I have to force myself to feel emotions about it. “Oh, yeah, that book is important. So what?” my emotions are like. Or maybe I don’t want to be emotional about the book simply because I am passionate about it? It feels like an inevitable book, that it was inevitable that I would write it and that it would flow out of a difficult time in my life, and that it would be my first book. I feel strange calling it “my” book–or maybe I’m just saying that because I think that’s what I’m supposed to say. I think I’m supposed to say that it’s really God’s book because He gave it to me. And I believe that He gave it to me, because my soul needed this book. My soul still needs this book to exist.
Part of me wants to shrug my shoulders. “Yeah. It’s important. Let’s move on now to other things.” I’m not sure why–is part of me embarrassed about this book? It is as good as I could have made it and better with the help of other people and much prayer over it–God has been very helpful.
Or maybe that’s my new way of respecting the book without making something out of it that it isn’t. It’s not going to take away all the suffering in the world. But if it makes a few people feel less alone, if it helps a few people feel like they can hold on just another day, another week, another year, it will be worth it.
I notice that I keep changing, especially since that summer of 2018. Metaphorical masks were dismantled, my raw flesh exposed with all the wounds, I gave myself new self-protective coverings which would later need to be discarded as well, and I needed a journey. This prayer book gave me the start of that journey. But it’s not finished–it’s only the beginning. There are more prayer books coming. There are more books for writers and Christians coming. There are fantasy books, many books coming.
This is the first step.
Just now I thought of a quote from an anime–Ozpin from RWBY saying, “Knowledge will only take you so far. It is up to you to take the first step.” That anime was one I first started watching in summer 2018, along with Violet Evergarden.
I don’t want to take any credit for this book, because it was all God. He deserves all the glory. Without Him, I wouldn’t even be here. I would feel horrible if I didn’t say that God helped me write this book, because He did. We live in a culture that celebrates pride in self-accomplishment and self-reliance as though it were a virtue. People in the media sometimes forbid that God be mentioned as someone who helped, as though God exists, as though God speaks to humans today, as though God actually wants relationship with us. All that is treated as taboo, as a politically incorrect nursery rhyme to be smiled uncomfortably at and dismissed.
God wants you to know His love. If that’s not shocking enough, he sent His son to die for you to remove your shame and bring eternal life. This interrupts life. This is uncomfortable. This interrupts busyness. This threatens to interrupt the steady flow of distraction that is infested in this society, what is called normal, what is called reasonable. There is this unspoken feeling that everyone is allowed to believe whatever they want, but they should not take anything seriously or let it affect the way they live. Don’t “rock the boat.”
My God will not be silent about this. He’s about to rock far more than a boat, and I’m not even talking about the prayer book.
“He is jealous for me
Love is like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.”