10 Things I’ve Learned As a First-Time Author

10 Things I've Learned As a First-Time Author

A few months ago, I shared here about my latest project (my first book – you can read that post here.)  Now that the manuscript has been submitted (AMEN and HALLELUJAH!), I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way as a first-time author.  Here they are in no particular order:

1. A patient editor is a God-send.  As a first-time author, I had a lot of questions.  A LOT.  Brenda, my editor, answered every question and did so graciously and with no judgment.

2. Some things will go undone around the house, such as laundry, meal prep, dusting, grocery shopping, opening mail, etc.  There are only 24 hours in a day and you just can’t get it all done.  You have to give yourself a little grace…which leads me to point #3.

3. You’ll lean on your family more, especially as deadlines loom.  Everyone in my house pitches in on a regular basis but I delegated tasks a lot more as my workload increased.  I’m so thankful for them!

4. You’ll say ‘no’ to things more than ever, even if those things are good things.  I said ‘no’ to family events, outings with friends, and a few outside projects.  It was tough but thankfully, reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes, a few years ago prepared me for this season of my life.

5. You will doubt yourself and cry…a few times.  I cannot recall how many times I cried on my husband’s shoulder and asked him, “What did I say yes to?”; “What was I thinking?”; and”Why did you encourage me to do this?”  This project challenged me like no other and made me question my sanity, my skill set, my everything!

6. You will experience supernatural strength.  As each deadline neared, I felt excited energy and a sense of being overwhelmed all at the same time.  When the clock showed an ungodly early hour, God gave me the strength to finish.  I was like the little engine that could – with His strength, not mine.

7. Work within your own rhythms.  Find what works for you.  I researched the writing habits of some of my favorite authors early on in this process.  Some of them wrote early in the morning before their families began their day.  Some had a particular writing space where they put their words on paper.  I am not a morning person, so that was definitely not going to be my story.  In addition, I varied the places where I wrote.  Later this week, I hope to post about my writing process in a little more detail.  Stay tuned…

8. Being surrounded by a few of your favorite things helps make the writing process more enjoyable.  My favorite candle, my favorite coffee, a bowl of peanut M & M’s and my Spotify playlist provided the ambiance for my writing.  Perfect.

9.  You’ll feel a great sense of relief (and accomplishment) when you click ‘send’ for the final piece of the manuscript.  You might even do a happy dance.  No explanation needed. 🙂

10.  You will develop a greater appreciation for people who write for a living.  Really, people who write for a living are my new heroes.  It takes a great amount of discipline, creativity and perseverance to push through the book writing process.  And for those of you who work a full-time job and write in your spare time, bravo to you!

I’ve learned so much more but these 10 things stand out to me the most.  I would also like to share one thing that I was reminded of:  I love creating things and infusing my own ideas into a project.  One of the challenges that I welcomed for this project was the fact that I’d be creating something from scratch.  The ideas shared in the book are some of my best ideas and show my creative side.  I can’t wait for you to see the finished book when it’s released in September 2017!

If you’d like to pre-order the book, you can find more details here.  Order one for yourself and for anyone you know who wants to share God’s truths in a fun, creative, hands-on way.

Keep the conversation going!  What have you learned as an author (either blogs, articles or books)?

My New Project!

My new resource book for Children's Ministry leaders, homeschool parents and Christian educators is coming soon!

It’s been a little quiet here on the blog because I’ve been working on a very special project that has required my time and attention.

For a long time, I dreamed that one day, I’d like to write a book.  In my mind, I didn’t see that happening for many, many years down the road…you know – when I had time to write one.  Well, I’m excited to finally share that my dream has become a present reality!

This past October, I was approached by a reputable Christian publisher to write a resource book for Children’s Ministry leaders, homeschool parents and Christian educators.  It was an opportunity of a lifetime that, after prayerful consideration and the full support of my family, I humbly accepted.

As I have written words in this space, I have been amazed time and time again how the words God gives me translates to what is shared and read here.  I have found the same to be true as the book has come together.

The resource book, which will be released in September 2017, will also feature hand-drawn illustrations by my very talented 17-year old daughter.  I am thrilled to be able to share this experience with her!

More specifics, such as my writing process, what I’ve learned, book title and other details, will be shared soon, but I’d covet your prayers as my first of two deadlines is next week – eek!!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support as I embark on this exciting journey!

Are You a Leader Who Keeps Learning?

Leaders keep learning!

When I was a girl, I loved learning and reading.  I loved going to school.  I took pride in my assignments.  As a ministry leader, I still have a passion for learning and taking pride in my work.  While my time for reading is not as much as I’d like (because of family, ministry and life), I love good reading material and sharpening my skills through conferences and connecting with other leaders.  I’d like to think of myself as a leader who keeps learning.  Would you say the same about yourself?

A few weeks ago, I read a quote by John Maxwell that stopped me in my tracks:  “If you continually invest in your leadership development, the inevitable result is growth over time.”

This could take many forms but might include:

  • Podcasts
  • Books
  • Conferences/seminars/workshops
  • Blogs/websites
  • Social media groups
  • Classes
  • Mentoring relationships

On the day that read John Maxwell’s above quote, I was having a bit of an anxious moment.  You see, I just started a new yearlong venture and was a little overwhelmed when it started on April 5th.  Ladies and gentlemen:

I’M GOING BACK TO SCHOOL!!

That’s right.  I am enrolled in Kidmin Academy, an intensive twelve-month online program that will award me a diploma in Children’s Ministry upon completion.  I am excited but nervous about what lies ahead.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Kidmin Academy exists to train and equip leaders for life-changing ministry to children and families.

Kidmin Academy uniquely couples theological instruction with practical ministry expertise from a credentialed faculty with a wide-range of backgrounds.  Our curriculum and education philosophy is unique in that it is very practical while academically rigorous.  Kidmin Academy equips pastors, church planters, worldwide missionaries, teachers, and individuals with a life-fulfilling passion for the Gospel and ministry to children and families.

I’ve only been in the academy for just a few weeks but I’ve already learned so much!  But boy – going back to school has been a huge transition for me.  This program is real school, friends.  No fluffy teaching or assignments here!

This is another faith journey for me.  I’m praising God for the opportunity to attend Kidmin Academy free of charge (thanks to the generosity of a very dear friend)!  I’m praising God for the opportunity to learn and improve my craft and use my gained knowledge to better the ministry and team I lead.  I’m trusting God to help me manage my time well to watch the teaching videos, do the required readings and complete my assignments.  I’m trusting that God will enlarge my borders and help me see one of my dreams come true.

Will you pray along with me as I embark on this new journey?  I’d sure appreciate it!

Learn more about Kidmin Academy here.

Keep the conversation going!  Are you a leader who keeps learning?  How do you do that?  Leave a comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.