Reflections over how I'm handling the fact my memoir, Blush, is about to be released and the reality that Amazon is fulfilling pre-orders a couple of weeks early.

CalebFilmingBlush

I’ve heard it said at writer’s conferences and through conversations with authors: Writing a book is like having a baby. I’ve not had the opportunity to experience the literal birthing process but, from what I understand, these events are fairly paralleled. As I write today, less than three weeks from my “due” date, I’m seeing why seasoned authors make birth a publishing analogy. Let's reflect over the past nine months, shall we?

Carrying 

Actually, the timeline stage is where the analogy between birthing a child and writing a book breaks down a bit. A human life has a gestation period of about 40 weeks, but this memoir has been cooking for much longer. For those of you who remember my post, “Writing my Memoir- Part 1,” you know it’s been about two years since I committed to finishing this book and I'd been working on it for two years prior to that! The publishing process has dominated my past nine months, but the project’s been in the works for much, much longer. Nonetheless, like a baby, book writing involves waiting for formation to occur. 

MaeReadingBlush

Labor pains and self doubt 

I’ve heard expectant moms make comments about an onslaught of pains as a due date nears. There’s contractions. Stretching. Swelling. Back and butt discomfort. If I parallel this process to book writing, the analogy continues to hold up.

The past three months (actually the entire year, hah!) have brought “book labor pains.” Between a small car accident, the impact of the racial protests on our household, my hospitalization in July due to a small bowel obstruction, needing to put our 14-year-old dog down, and my husband Mikey testing positive for COVID-19, we’ve had quite a summer. The past few months have brought lots of opposition, which I hear is common for faith-filled authors.

To be honest, these hard times have made me want to shrink and hide rather than boldly share my story. And while I’m committed to doing that, standing tall as an author, you also deserve to see the shaky knees. 

My mom has told me stories about how she questioned herself when I was born, “Do I have what it takes?” she wondered. As I became an adoptive mother, I wondered the same thing. Self doubt is fairly common not only amongst parents, but anyone who feels led to do big things.

It may not always be detected at first, but it eventually creeps in. When it comes to writing this memoir, this is something that has definitely happened to me. Can I do it? What if this goes miserably? What if I offend someone? What if it gets bad reviews? What if I’ve shared too much? What if I am an imposter, I can’t really write well? These are the thoughts, the lies, that have bombarded my mind over the past several weeks. I want to say it’s been easy, but you know me—I’m extremely honest. So friends, it’s been really tough.

During COVID-19

Add to this mental whirlwind the complexities of doing anything during COVID-19, and you’ve got disappointment and closed doors galore. When is a book signing? I’ve not planned one because I’m not sure if or when it's safe. What about my epic soft launch party I was going to host for my close friends and family… we are having to make the big bash virtual. My publisher said the book is a great candidate for some awards… yet the conferences have all been canceled this year.

I’m sure moms who are delivering during COVID-19 aren’t exactly having the birth stories they’d dreamed of either. I’ve grieved some big disappointments lately. I’ve always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, but I didn’t picture it would launch out like this.

Danielle-Ripley-Burgess-Blush-Stack-of-books

Bundle of joy 

But: Here’s the hope and why I keep the faith. (You knew this was coming, right?)

I imagine that when moms look down at their kicking, hiccuping bellies, the thrill of a new baby helps ease the labor pains. The hope of the future overshadows current hardships. Although the pains and disappointments (especially of 2020) are very real, a new life is about to be born. It's called Blush. The expectant call what they're carrying “bundles of joy” for good reason. This is how I’m choosing to see my memoir.

This book has a due date of September 15, 2020. Yet in true birthing fashion, it’s actually coming early to those who pre-ordered… a few weeks before I’d planned. When I learned about this last week, I couldn’t help but laugh and think of moms who rush to maternity wards with go-bags barely packed. The baby came early. The book's getting delivered sooner than I thought. And while it’s, once again, unexpected, the word on the street is that a little early is preferred over waiting for weeks past a due date. 

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