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#SeasonSerious2016: Sophomore Hi-jinx

Since I didn’t do all the milestone posts as things were happening–book title reveal, book cover reveal, etc.–I thought it would be fun to do a series of blog posts on special topics relating to The Season for Getting Serious release to help readers get acquainted with it. 

The Season for Getting Serious Front Cover

Do you ever find yourself getting so far ahead of the process in your mind you begin to resent the process?

Everyone has heard of the sophomore jinx. If your first book or album is successful, the pressure to release something even better can cause sophomore jitters, which inevitably become sophomore slumps. The second project fails to live up to the high bar set by the first. Whether nerves, going in a new creative direction, the genre fading in popularity, or the fact you aren’t the new kid on the block anymore, sometimes second efforts tank.

Some artists are disappointed with their second efforts because they know better. When I released Altered before the Altar, I didn’t have any expectations. I wasn’t expecting people to buy it or love it. But they did.

I was told topping Altered would be difficult because it was so good. People had expectations of my work now. I had to deliver.

The weight of these expectations made me jump ahead of the process. This did nothing but slow me down. I was so concerned about the perception of my second book, it crippled me. I knew if I ever wanted to write, let alone publish, a second book, I had to do something different.

What did I do to get over the jitters and write my second book?

  • I interviewed people.  Talking with people about the book’s topics helped me organize my thoughts, see the topic from another’s perspective, and gave me gems of wisdom to sprinkle throughout my work.
  • I used my digital recorder. I wanted to keep the conversational tone of my first book. Instead of building the tone in later, I started with it by recording myself talking through each chapter. I got the tone I wanted and the passion and urgency of the message came through. I used the recorder while on my commute to and from work and was able to use time I usually “lost” each day.
  • I had a focus question. I shared my focus question in yesterday’s post. The focus of The Season for Getting Serious was built around my answer to this question. Having a focus brought everything together. I cut anything which didn’t serve this purpose.
  • I kept a cutting room floor document. Knowing my beautiful prose could be retrieved if I changed my mind helped me cut unnecessary passages.
  • I approached the book like a student first.  I studied each topic as if it were new to me. I used different methods and reread the material  until I saw things I never saw before. I developed a deeper understanding of each subject. I had to change huge chunks of my first draft, but it made the book stronger.
  • I lost it–literally. Confession time: I lost my book while writing it. Twice. This taught me to back up everything in triplicate. More importantly, it taught me the true value of what I was writing and where it came from. I could recreate much of what I’d written, but the passages I love the most were in the moment revelations and nudges from the Holy Spirit. I felt like the Spirit spoke through me and to me in those moments. I trusted God would give me the words he wanted me to say if I had to rewrite it, but I was so appreciative when I found it. I know these are the words God wanted women to hear.
  • I wrote the book I needed to read. I didn’t listen to those clamoring for a follow up to Altered. I ignored my own desire to write a book that could be used in ladies’ classes, book clubs, and life groups. I studied the topics God pressed on my heart to help me in my walk with Him. By seeking Him first, I wrote a book the woman who came away from Altered wanting a deeper relationship with Christ could dive into. I wrote a book that can be used for individual or group study by women at all different stages of life. I need  every word of this book, and I know other women do, too.

It’s too soon to say if I beat the sophomore jinx, but I surpassed all my expectations for my sophomore release. I took my writing to the next level with this book. I have the confidence in the abilities God gave me to do it again. I feel like I’ve finally fully embraced my calling as a writer and speaker, and I can’t wait to see how God uses my gifts for His glory in this new season.

XOXO,

Erica

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A Big Scary Thing

I know I owe you a post detailing how I did on my January goals, my February goals, and the ladies’ day in Brunswick, GA, but today I wanted to write about some big scary things that I’ve been thinking about. The first scary thing I did was go to a printer and get copies of A Serious Prayer Journal printed. If you saw me in Brunswick, you’ve seen this beauty, a 21 day prayer journal to help women make prayer a daily habit. The journal opens with a page entitled A Big, Bold Prayer. It’s supposed to be something you want to ask God for that scares you a little.

I wanted to start the prayer journal for myself, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on for the next 21 days. There are a bunch of topics I could focus in on, so many things I need to get done. But I kept coming back to one thing in particular: my next book, The Season for Getting Serious. I felt a nudge to put off rushing it for the ladies’ day in Brunswick and to give it the time it needed, and now I see better why I was given that nudge. This book is needs more organization, more research, and definitely more prayer to get it to where it needs to be. I have most of the pieces, but they aren’t completely formed. I think my goal to sell 500 copies was causing me to rush its release. I wanted to have as much time as possible to reach this seemingly impossible number. I hadn’t given the goal over to the Lord.

If I’ve learned anything from reading the Bible, it’s that a little is a lot. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain; a little leaven can leaven the whole lump. Christ fed thousands with a few fish and loaves of bread. I can bring a small amount of time to sell to Christ and He can make that sufficient to do more than I could ask or think if I’m abiding in Him and doing His will. The urge to hurry up is in my flesh, but the call to be still and learn of Him is coming from my spirit.

So I’m going to do a big scary thing this week. I am wiping the slate of this book clean. I’m going to look over all of the notes and scriptures I have and listen to the recordings I’ve made. I’m going to pray about what God really wants to say to the hearts of women who want to live for Him but who are struggling to make that commitment. And I’m going to work on something else in the meantime. I’m not going to watch the clock; I’m going to watch the Lord.

What would your big, bold prayer be for the next three weeks? Leave a comment below for a chance to win A Serious Prayer Journal. I can’t wait to see what God has placed on your hearts.

XOXO,

Erica

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Wind Up Wednesday: Bringing Books Back

Note: I missed yesterday. It was my intention to have a post every day this week, at least, to kick start my blogging. Let’s all just move on to a fun post, shall we?

As an avid reader and writer, I always have a ton of books I want to read. My TBR pile is ridiculous. I love reading all the books my writer friends are putting out into the world (I’m reading one, Interrupted Lullaby by Dana R. Lynn, one of my critique buddies!) that I can’t put down (though I’ve read it at different stages two or three times). I’m so proud of all my romance, women’s fiction, inspirational fiction and self-help writing friends. But this year I want to dive deep into some books that focus more on developing myself as a Christian and a writer. I know I’ll get to all the fiction my friends put out, but I want to make sure I read at least 12 books that I hope will revolutionize or completely change an area of my life.

Here’s what’s on my list to read so far, in no particular order:

  1. Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. Simply TuesdayI’ve heard wonderful things about this book, and have heard a couple interviews with Emily P. Freeman that have piqued my interest. I caught this book on sale yesterday and move it from books I want to buy to bought. Yay!
  2. A Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster. Celebration of DisciplieI’ve read this book and loved it, but it’s been years (other than a few peeks back in for my submission goal in 2013 and that palms up/ palms down meditation from Monday’s post). Not only do I want to read it again, I want to give a copy to a friend and read it with her to encourage her in the Lord. It’s be our Girl Talk thing. So excited for this!
  3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Big MagicI bought a copy as soon as it came out. I was a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s style in Eat Pray Love, but the podcast for Big Magic, Magic Lessons, sold me on this book. It’s a book about tapping into your creativity and how we are all creators. Can’t wait to let my imagination out.
  4. On Writing by Stephen King. On WritingI bought this book last year after checking it out of the library and not having time to finish it. I’ve heard many wonderful things about this book, and really enjoyed the parts I’ve read. Time to focus and read this start to finish.
  5. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. Having a Mary HeartThis one has sat on my shelf for years. Is it ironic to say I don’t have time to read a book about making time? I’ve started it and nodded along with the opening points. This is another I need to buckle down and get read.
  6. The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. The best yesConfession Time: I’ve never read a Lysa Terkeurst book. I’ve had friends who’ve raved about Made to Crave and Unglued, but I haven’t gotten around to reading one of her books. I knew I had to read her work when I watched her at the creative summit The Influence Network put on.
  7. Rising Strong by Brene Brown. Rising StrongConfession Time #2: I’ve never read a Rene Brown book. But I did hear her speak on Magic Lessons, and the moment I did, I had to have this book. This is a book about how to rebound from failure. This is something I struggle with. I hate failing. I can’t tell you how many things I didn’t do because I was afraid to fail. So I’m hoping this one has some insights I can use to conquer that fear a little more.
  8. A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer. A Curious MindI heard Brian Glazer on the radio talking about his curiosity talks and was fascinated. As someone who loves to  interview people, I’m interested in reading about how he made the most of opportunities to talk to some of the worlds most fascinating people, and how I can use a few tips to make my interviewing better.
  9. Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. Not a FanThe back cover copy sold me on this book. I’d heard all the hype about it and largely ignored it. But going through the Religion aisle at the bookstore studying covers, I picked this up and read the back and instantly knew I needed to add this one to the list.
  10. Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank. Muscle and a ShovelSo many of my friends have told me how this book completely changed their views on God and Christianity that I’ve just got to read it. It’s a true story about a newlywed couple who befriend a man that challenges their religious views. It’s supposed to be a challenging read that incites some strong feelings. I’m not one to shy away from things that may challenge my views, so I’m eager to see how this strengthens my faith and causes me to dig deeper into what I believe. We are to be prepared to give an answer for the faith that is in us, so it will be interesting to see the interaction between my faith and this book. I would love to get a small group together to read this one with me.
  11. Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo. Talk Like TedI REALLY want to be a better speaker. I know that I have messages to deliver to women. But I can’t expect people to want to hear me speak if I’m not going to put in the effort to be the best speaker I can be. I’ve long admired TED talks and find them to be wonderful. I really want to see a Christian version of this speaking series come to be. I’m anticipating learning a lot about speaking that will help me improve my presentation reading this one.
  12. Still Writing by Dani Shapiro. Still writingI checked this out of the library with On Writing and didn’t get a chance to finish it, though I loved Dani Shapiro’s writing. I bought it last year when I bought On Writing. I’ve gotten almost to Middles and I love it. I can’t wait to see how Dani relates more of the writing process.
  13. Bonus Book #1: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. Women of the WordI heard Jen Wilkin on a podcast and was really intrigued by this book. Since then I’ve seen many women talking about this book online, how it changed the way they study the Bible. I love anything that gets women reading the Word for themselves, or anyone else for that matter. I’m always looking for ways to improve my Bible study time. This should be a good book for that.
  14. Bonus Book #2: The Art of Fiction by John Gardner.  The Art of FictionI read this book some time ago and loved it. The exercises led to some great writing for me. I can’t wait to dive into it as a more mature writer.

I have a ton of fiction that I plan to read as well. I write more about fiction and my writing process on my writing blog, Copywrite1985.com.

What are you reading? I’m always looking for book suggestions, so feel free to leave your favorite reads or what you’re looking forward to in the comments section.

XOXO,

Erica

Join me tomorrow for my 10 January goals!

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Getting Serious About: Publishing a Book

DSCF0270When I was in the fifth grade we had to write an essay about what we wanted to be when we grew up. One of my best friends at the time, Tiffani, and I decided that we wanted to be therapists. But I also wanted to write. I ended up writing in that essay that I wanted to be a relationship therapist and write books about relationships. Not long after sixth grade started, I moved away and didn’t reconnect with Tiffani again until we found one another through Facebook somehow nearly two decades later. Now Tiffani is a nurse and I work as an administrative assistant in the legal department of a company. Yet the desire to talk about relationships, the desire to write, has never gone away.

Many of you know all about how I started doing interviews with married couples and posting them on my blog. You may also know that I spoke to the single women at my church during the Marriage and Family workshop about dating and purity. You may even know that I decided to write a book and have been working on it off and on for about four years. What you may not know is that the book I dabbled in for so long now has a title, a cover, beta readers, and a tentative release date.

One of the main reasons I started The Season for Getting Serious was so that I could encourage other women to get serious about their walk with the Lord. I’ve had a couple opportunities to do “Getting Serious” talks to help do just that. I’ve hosted college prep workshops, spoke at an empowerment workshop and an authentic self workshop, and taught ladies’ bible classes about topics that very much relate to helping women get serious about who they are in Christ and what He has called them to do. Yet I hadn’t stepped up and done the one thing I knew that God had called me, Erica D. Hearns, to do: write.

Oh, I wrote blogs, but no books had been written by my hand. I was dissatisfied with the books I read geared toward single women and began writing what I felt God wanted me to say to them in drips and drabs, but I wasn’t really committed to publishing it.  I wasn’t sure it was God that was leading me to want to publish a book. Maybe it was my own selfish desire.

In 2012, the guest speaker at the ladies day, Sister Felicia Carruthers, did an activity where she had us think back to when we were kids and the things we liked to do. Somewhere in the things we always did as a kid we might find our purpose. That was a simple exercise for me. I’d always written. I’d written Spiritual Adventure articles for the local congregation when I was in college. I wrote a poem for a coffee shop the Christian Student Center hosted. I didn’t minister to people by singing or going to medical school to save lives; I used my writing to promote the things of God. That ladies’ day was the day that I realized I needed to get serious about seeking publication.

Through many false starts, distractions, frustrations and tests, I kept limping forward. I gave my book to a couple of beta readers about two weeks ago. I commissioned a cover and received the finalized version yesterday. I’m amazed at how God has brought me to this point, just a couple steps away from publishing my first book. Somewhere along the way, I started to take this journey seriously. I wrote the difficult passages. I’ve put myself out there for feedback. I was able to critique my cover and propose the changes I wanted without compromising what I wanted or insulting the designer (I hope). I am making sure that my genuine concern and compassion are evident to the reader as much as the urgency and call to obedience and repentance. I’ve committed myself to publishing the book that God gave me to publish.

Sometimes, in the “busyness” of everyday life, the still quiet voice that nudges us towards doing what God would have us to do is drowned out. The godly goals and desires we have can get washed away in a sea of stress and worry. But what I try to remind myself is that someone is looking for the thing that I am procrastinating about doing. Someone needs to read this book. Someone needs to read the next one.  As Mordecai tells Esther, if I don’t do it, God will raise up someone else to do it; but what if I was placed here and given this talent for such a time as this?

So, anyway. I have a book coming out soon. I’ll release the title, cover, and so forth as the release date approaches. I’m still working out some of the kinks and getting things in order. But it’s more real than ever now.

XOXO,

Erica

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Morning Routines for Dummies

I have an issue with creating a morning routine that meets all of the criteria I have for starting the day off right; there are too many things to do and too little time. Given my particular leanings, morning is the best time for me to accomplish several tasks, most of which are too time consuming to do all of them in the morning. This doesn’t even take into account a morning hygiene routine, which we’ll come back to later. These are the things I would like to do in the morning:

  • Bible study/prayer/worship
  • write
  • edits/revisions
  • critique chapters for my critique partners
  • finish reading books to review
  • write reviews
  • Wrangle with writing synopses and query letters.
  • CLEAN
  • do laundry
  • exercise
  • use my crockpot to start dinner.
  • shower, brush my teeth, wash my face, fix my hair
  • fix or go get breakfast.
  • catch up on social media.
  • post to social media.
  • write blog posts.
  • work on improvements to my websites.
  • Look for cool things to bring to my blogs and sites.
  • Try to figure out how the heck to build my brand.
  • catch up on Netflix
  • light scented candle, put on classical music, and just exist for a few minutes
  • specialty beauty things–eyebrows, home mani/pedis, shaving my legs, facial masks, washing drying and styling my hair, any beauty treatment that is less frequent than daily.
  • Wake up my brain with word scramble.

I have two hours in the morning to get everything done except getting showered and dressed, which I leave about half an hour to forty-five minutes for (I’m not a fussy girl, apparently). I’m sure you can imagine how getting into any of the above tasks can bleed over into my getting dressed time, especially if I’m in a groove. There’s just not enough morning in my days.

I know you’re probably thinking I could shove some of these things into the evening, and I always have plans to accomplish so much when I get home. But when I get home, I am exhausted both from the early start and the hard day at work. Depending on the time of the month, I am drowning in invoices and reports. The last thing I want to do is come home and take laundry to the laundry center (it might be different if there was a washer and dryer in the apartment) or wash a sink full of dishes. I have much more energy in the morning.

So how does one solve this dilemma? If I could spend a few days just cleaning everything in sight and catching up on all of the things I need to do, I could do one or two things each morning going forward. At the moment, however, there’s just an overwhelming amount of things to do. I tried doing one cleaning thing, one writing thing, and bible study each day, but the area would be during again before I had another area finished, and the critiques would be due and it’d be time to swap more chapters, so I had to drop everything and do that, then I needed to… I can’t seem to get any traction.

The short version of this post: I am incapable of doing all the things I am better at tackling in the morning in the two and a half hours I have before work and I need suggestions on how to start making inroads into it. Seriously. I really want to get serious about this morning routine, but right now I am all over the place. Help!!

XOXO,

Erica

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No Trees, No Presents, Just Presence

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year because everyone is recognizing/observing things and doing things I try to observe and do all year long. People are celebrating Jesus’ birth today like I celebrate His birth, life, death, and resurrection all year. People are going out of their way to show mercy and grace, to be kind, to be patient, to bless the people in their lives materially, spiritually, emotionally. Some are pledging lifelong commitments to their significant others or traveling to spend precious time with family. Christmas is the time of year when everyone recognizes God’s best gifts to us: His precious son and His unfailing love for us. I’m all about the celebration!

This year has been light on presents for me. What it has been heavy on is reading God’s word. I’d fallen off track, pursuing goals that I had for the year, and wasn’t making the time to read in the word as I used to. This week, though, I’ve made it a point to rededicate myself to study. I’ve been studying recognition the last few days, and the messages have stuck with me. I feel I could write an awesome Ladies’ Day lesson on Leah, Jacob, and Rachel. I have studied what Christ has to say about it in the New Testament as well. In the spirit of recognition, I’d like to acknowledge Mr. Perfect’s role in my intense study.

I was going to glance right over the principle of recognition in my book because I wanted to get it out before the holidays. I had the money in hand to get a cover ready, and a portion of the book was given to someone to review. I was all set to go, but I wasn’t feeling sure about it. I asked Mr. Perfect what he thought I should do with my extra money. He told me to hold off on the book cover and take care of other things first.

“But I won’t have enough extra money to do the cover again until March!” “March is only a few months away,” he answered. Mr. Perfect and I aren’t married, and I am under no obligation to listen to or implement the things he said. But I felt a lot more peace about his suggestion than I did with going forward.

I was going over the notes for the next section to be reviewed when I saw I didn’t have much for the last few principles I needed to highlight in the chapter: presentation, recognition, and knowing (in the biblical sense). Looking to fill in the gaps there has led me to this eye opening study that is still yielding fruit. Thank God for Mr. Perfect’s counsel in that moment! 

Every day I study it, I am amazed at just how perfect and relevant the story of Adam and Eve is to relationships today, both with God and with a spouse. When I first thought of using Adam and Eve to branch off into each topic of the book, it just seemed like a clever device to organize the book, but now I’m seeing the divine providence and guidance in that choice. The story of their creation and the establishment of the marriage institution is the seminal text about relationships. I’m learning so much about relationships and myself through writing this book, and growing so much. I can only hope it’s half as powerful to anyone who will get to read it.

I don’t have a tree or presents to give out this year, but God has gifted me with a purpose and a renewed desire to achieve that purpose. More importantly, though, God has renewed my desire just to sit in His presence, to take His yoke upon myself and learn of Him. Before the demands of the day, as sweet as they may be, pull me away to attend to family, I just wanted to say how thankful I am to God for the gift of his Son, today and every day of my life. As the song says, life is worth the living just because He lives.

Be blessed,

Erica

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Just Dropping in

I haven’t been here in a while because I’ve been writing like a crazy person on the book. I have finally found a rhythm and a writing space that works for me where I’m guaranteed to get some words  on the page, and having that routine is helping the book to flow. It also helps that I have an outline of what I want to say in each section before I sit down to write it. Two of the things I have fought the hardest not to do turn out to help me the most, at least in non-fiction writing; who would have thought (besides everyone)?

I usually wake up in the mornings, pray, study the word, maybe pray again, then get to the writing. I tried to spend at least one hour in the morning just writing. I like to do my editing of the morning’s writings at lunchtime or after work when I can’t fit the writing in until lunch. Some days I write in the morning and at lunch and edit at night or the next morning. I don’t have a word count goal, just a time goal. At least one hour a day spent writing. It’s working for me.

The biggest thing that has happened with the book is I have decided upon a few deadlines. I have a deadline to finish writing, a deadline to finish my editing, and a deadline to turn it over to an editor I trust. I have a target date for publication if I go the self-published route. The deadlines are hard deadlines that I plan to stick to, totally doable, and scary. I was told that the deadline should make you a little uncomfortable and be a little challenging, so it is. I will share deadlines a little later.

The moment I told someone what my deadline was, I felt peace. Yes, this is the right time to get it done. Then I felt panic. Oh crap, I’m going to have to get this done! I haven’t been worrying about what will happen when I’m done writing, but once I set a deadline, those thoughts began to creep in. I began to think about the market and who will buy this book. The market is flooded with this type of book from all types of people. Most of my friends have no need for this book, so who is going to buy it? Why couldn’t I publish another book first? But this is the book that I feel needs to be out first. It’s the book I’ve gotten the furthest on and sacrificed the most to get done. I mean, I got a laptop and bought ink for my printer for this book!

I hope that you all are doing what you feel you should be doing and working hard to achieve your goals as well. I have to get ready for work.

XOXO

Erica

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There Just Might Be an Ebook in my Future Soon…

For the past few years, I’ve felt like my first book should make a statement about who I am as a person, what I believe. Even though I write fiction primarily, I wanted my first offering to be non-fiction, about a subject close to my heart that I could share with those in need of some instruction in that area. As I’ve been working diligently on a couple of projects that could fit that description at different points in the past three years, I keep going back in forth with which book I should publish first, and how.

For my non-fiction works, I have leaned towards self-publication. I don’t want to have to deal with editors or publishers who would water down or change some of the passages I write to try and make them more appealing to a broader audience, especially those focused on doing things in a godly way. I know that there are Christian publishers out there who would be able to support such work, but I don’t know if I want to be slated for release eighteen months after a deal is struck. I want to have more control over how and when these books are released. It’s not about acclaim and distribution with them, but with reaching people.

There are a great number of people who have been waiting for years for me to release a book. I have been told I should write a book since before I was in high school. Family, friends, classmates, teachers, and people I’ve done presentations for have expressed their intention to buy my first book. The first book is the one that everyone is anticipating and will get for reasons other than they like your writing. If you can’t capture them with the first book, your second one is dead in the water. I’ve seen people struggle to sell that second book, from established authors to self-publishing novices. So I want the first book, the one most likely to end up  in the most hands, to SAY SOMETHING. But what?

I’ve been working for a few years now on what started as the Marriage Kit Project. Even though I’ve done many interviews, researched tons of scripture, teased out most of the aspects of mate selection and dating I wanted to explore, it’s still not ready yet. I want to do a couple more interviews, pull a few more quotes, find a few more scriptures, and revise for my book’s life. I really wanted this to be the first book, but it won’t be ready for a while, even longer if I decide not to self publish it. So that leaves another possible project: Some College.

Some college is a memoir about my gap year. A gap year is a period of time of a year of more that a student is out of school, particularly higher education. For example, some people take a gap year between high school and college to travel. Some people take a gap year to work, pursue a dream, or to retest and qualify for a license. One of my relatives is sitting out now waiting to retake a licensing exam because you can only attempt it so many times a year. Many who are forced to take a gap year don’t return to finish their education.

My gap year occurred between my junior and senior year. It was not a voluntary one where I traveled or pursued a dream or sought to find myself in some way. I knew from the moment I realized I would have to sit out that I wanted to write about the experience. As a result, I have several journals filled with observations, stories, revelations, plans, and whatever else I thought might be interesting for the story. I even spent a long time getting some chapters written out on paper, figuring out what kind of structure I might want to use, and deciding whether or not to use whole journal entries. I even had an idea how I wanted to introduce the book and to whom it would be dedicated. But once I was taken by the marriage kit project, Some College fell to the wayside.

I recently uncovered yet another journal about this time and became taken with finishing it. There isn’t a lot of research that needs to be done since it is my story; I can just write and revise. I have a good start on it, and it’s an important story for me to tell. But should it be my first book? Should I self publish it?

I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out if there are some lessons I want to teach or if this is just me sharing my story. I’ve spent time deciding if I just want to write this for myself or release it. I’ve tried to decide if it fits The Season for Getting Serious model. Most of all, I’ve made the decision that if I’m going to do it, I might as well be honest and tell the truth of what happened. While I’m still working on The Marriage Kit book (still unnamed, officially), something in my soul says that Some College is the book that I need to put out first, the one I can put out soon. That same something is saying it needs to be out before college classes start this fall…

What are you feeling like you need to finish? How are you going to do it?

XOXO,

Erica

 

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False Starts…

I think I spoke too soon, as per usual.

After looking through the editor’s work and seeing some of the comments about the editing of the book I knew she worked on, I grabbed a copy for myself. Once I’d read some of the book, I acknowledged that some obvious grammatical errors and typos were distracting me from the content of the book. I knew that I didn’t want that to happen with my book. As a reader, I know how a bad editing job can make an otherwise wonderful book suck, for lack of a better word. I’d rather my story tanked on its material rather than its editing.

Even though I had to go back to the drawing board on editing, I did come up with a better solution for me. I realized I know a guy. The guy who runs the singles’ ministry is a college English teacher (I realize teacher isn’t the word; I believe he’s an adjunct professor? Semantics). Not only does he have a proven background in English, he leads a singles’ ministry, which means he  has extensive knowledge of the subject matter. He can copy edit and edit for content, and he would be one of few people I would trust to edit the content. I also found an advance reader, someone who is quoted quite a few times in the book herself. She’s a psychologist who attends my church and has done some pre-marital counseling for me (no, I’m not married or engaged, but I’ve had pre-marital counseling–twice. That’s another story for another day, and not half as interesting as it sounds). So the people are in place, but is the book ready?

The short answer is no. I got hung up on the writing of the chapter I didn’t want to write (somehow, I am not surprised by this). I had a goal to be done with the book by the end of March, but things picked up with the website (which is coming along well), I got invited to speak at my aunt’s Authentic Self seminar (which is in May, but I started working on right away so I could preview it here), and things at work began to change. All legitimate excuses that don’t get me any closer to a finished book. But I’m back on top of it, dear readers. The book hasn’t died on the shelf yet. I am going to finish those parts I don’t want to tackle, and I’m going to wrap up the other chapters in a way that makes it all worth the wait for this book.

Even though I feel like this project is one I’m meant to write and have gained a wealth of experience and growth through the writing of it, I find myself missing my fiction projects. I want to get conclude some of those stories. I think there is a market for them. But I realize that finishing this project is not just important to me, but to all the people who can benefit from reading it. Let’s not downplay the fact that I am known to abandon ship when the writing gets tough and move  on to something else. I need to prove to myself that I can finish a work and get it out there. I have to get to the end of writing and editing and have a finished product if I’m ever going to publish. We can’t all be Donna Tart and take ten years to finish a book.

So, keep my book and my writing in your thoughts and prayers. It is moving forward. I want to make it perfect for my readers, some of which have been waiting years to read my work. Meanwhile, sate yourselves with reading a few shorter non-fiction pieces in my Untitled tab.

XOXO

Erica

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Wrapping up Month 2

As much as I love doing these wrapping up the month posts, it is difficult for me to pick one word to describe how the month went. It was difficult last month and it’s difficult this month. There have been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of things that have fallen apart only to fall into place when the right thing came along. There has been some progress in some areas and some grace in others. If I was able to pick two words to describe this month, they would be “divine providence” or “God’s timing,” but since I can’t the word of the month for February is

DEVELOPMENT

I bet you didn’t see that one coming. It doesn’t really have anything to do with God’s timing or divine providence on the surface. But remember that God makes all things beautiful in its time. While some things turned out beautiful this month, some are still downright ugly and in the development stages. God is still working some of those ugly parts together for good for me. This is what I’m telling myself about these ugly things that I would much rather get rid of than work on like I’m supposed to be doing. Anyway.

This past week has been really rough professionally. I haven’t said that in a while. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m good at my job. I rarely have any issues with the people I work with or the work I do, but twice in the span of this week I’ve been called to the carpet on some work related stuff. Only one of those conversations held any actual instructions for progress for me specifically; I’m groping around in the dark on the other one. The thing is, though, I’ve been meaning to address BOTH of these areas; I just wasn’t aware that other people were seeing the work in progress that it was. I thought I LOOKED like I had it all together, but apparently, I do not.

In the past month I also had a mini-meltdown in a dealership over a car that I was just about to ride off into the sunset with, even though I knew the car wasn’t quite right. Everything that could have went wrong with the purchase of that car did go wrong, and I had to leave without it after spending all day there, literally [Sidenote: Why is it that the more time we put into acquiring something the more we seem to want it? I was only marginally interested in the car at first, but after having wasted an entire Saturday on trying to get it, in my mind it went from a decent vehicle to the vehicle I had to have. I wonder if this is what happens to people in relationships for years and years? Hmm…anyway]. I was so disappointed, but I knew that if I didn’t find anything better, I could always go back and get the car later.

Those were the two major bad things that happened this month. Now on to the good developments:

On Valentine’s Day, I bought the domain for what will be my new website. Right now, it’s a blog, but I’m working on it. If you haven’t already been over to Season for Getting Serious, go check it out. The next step is to buy my own web hosting and set Mr. Perfect, aka Tech Support, onto sprucing it up a bit. Then I’ll be shopping around for a logo, a professional headshot, etc. Yay for progress that has been a couple years in the making!

I signed up for a 5K in April. This is huge for me, as I am not able to run very far for very long, and I’ve been wanting to do something about my body for a while. I restarted the Couch to 5K program, and I am ready to start implementing all of the things I learned when I visited with the nutritionist one on one through a job program. I still haven’t bought that scale, but I’m going to; I promise. 🙂

On February 22, I got my new car. It is one model year and 13K miles newer than the car I had the meltdown over, and the interest rate is nearly half of the other car’s rate. My payments will be $150 dollars a month cheaper, and I have a way better radio in the car. Because I had to wait on the other car, I ended up finding a much better deal. God’s timing is better than mine. I had this car the same day, no hassle, within an hour of sitting down. I love this car.

Because of having to put down the majority of the money I received from my collision claim, I wasn’t able to get the laptop and webhosting like I wanted to in February, but I was able to keep enough back to pay nearly all of my bills for March, buy an iPod, get a kick butt DVD shelving unit, buy a couple blu-ray movies, and eat with money to spare until the next payday. I also cashed in the points on my debit card, with which I bought a $25 amazon gift card, a $25 iTunes gift card, and a $10 Dunkin’ Donuts giftcard. I also got a $15 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card for my birthday from my boss. Aside from the work struggles, the end of February rocked.

I have done a lot of work on getting my apartment together, making it look more like I have a home and not a college apartment. I still have a long way to go, but at least I now own a vaccuum and have some nice little decorating touches.

Lastly, I made some major strides on the book. I wrote some great additions to the Meet Mates chapter, brainstormed good topics for the Making Yourself Meet chapter, proofread and rearranged for better cohesion, and started culling the interviews for quotes. I think (note: think) I have outlined all of the areas I have left to work on. If I put in a little elbow grease, I can have a solid, finished (better than) 1st draft done at the end of March. The next step will be to decide if I’m going to look for an agent or self-publish. I’m still evaluating the pros and cons.

What is your word for the month for February? How did you do on your goals? What do you want to accomplish in March?