Today was tough. I cried a lot and spent a lot of time just feeling really sad. And while I asked for prayer on Facebook and Twitter, I didn’t really plan on telling the whole story (or even part of it). Some things are better left unsaid.
Except when they might be able to help someone else.
I got to thinking a little bit ago that I might as well air it all out (well, 89% of it maybe) and let God use it however he’d like. I’m probably committing professional suicide, and I’m ignoring conventional wisdom to wait until the pain’s not quite so raw, but heck. Let’s roll with it.
Some back story. I got my first book published in 2006. Then 2007, 2008, 2009. January will mark three whole years without a book published. And it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve just gotten lots of rejections. On the plus side, they’re the good kind of rejections. “We love your writing, but your previous sales history is a strike against you.”
It’s nice to know I can write.
It stinks to know that my two out-of-print books have become hurdles that have proven impossible to get over. I can’t bring a book back to life; I can only work hard to sell the ones that are still alive. But even that’s not enough.
Long story chopped, lots and lots of my friends have been getting book deals lately. I’ve prayed for this very thing for these women, I love them dearly, yet it stings. And makes me wonder if I’ve had my little moment in the sun and now I’m all washed up. Pity party anyone?
I got an e-mail from a friend this morning that sent me over the edge. She had been afraid to e-mail me about her new book deal, because she knew how it might make me feel (how fun is it to be that person that people are afraid to share good news with??).
I went upstairs, laid across my bed, and bawled. Like snot-on-my-comforter bawled. And talked to Jesus the whole time. I told him that it hurt really bad but that I know he has a plan for my life. I told him that if it doesn’t involve any more books, I want to be cool with that. I want his bigger, better dreams for my life. I don’t want this to steal my Cambodia joy, that beautiful sense of purpose I feel when I’m loving the poor. I told him to take my writing dreams once and for all, because even though I’ve offered them up before, I’m pretty sure I’m still holding on, or this stuff wouldn’t hurt so deeply.
Then I e-mailed my friend and told her I was so proud of her and that her book is going to be awesome (she’s one of the best/funniest writers I know). And then I told her the snotting on the bed story.
She wrote me back and told me about a really cool message she heard this weekend that totally applied to my woes. And she ended with this: “Just know that I am cheering for you, I love you, and I see Him when I look at you.”
Just when I was done with the snot.
So I’m working on making the not-a-book into an e-book (coming soon to a computer, kindle, or nook near you), and while the self-pitying part of me wants to rip it all up, the optimistic side thinks it might just be something that people will like to read.
And if God wants to get glory through my failures or obscurity or weeping instead of my successes and popularity and happiness, so be it. I can say with 100% conviction that I want to live HIS dreams for my life more than I want any little dream of my own.
That doesn’t mean that dying to self won’t ever hurt. But I know with all my heart there’s a deeper joy around the corner.