I've attended several writing conferences and overheard, on multiple occasions, that writing a book is like going through a pregnancy. Having never been pregnant myself, I'm not sure if this is a fair comparison. But, I will say  similarities seem to appear.

I'm carrying a message inside of me, it's a big part of me, and it has a "due date": September 15. I am being stretched, I find myself feeling tired (my hands ache from typing so much), and parts of this process are downright uncomfortable. Yet at the same time, the honor of carrying this book and releasing it into the world makes this temporary discomfort turn to joy. As this September launch date nears, I'm feeling both heavier and lighter at the same time.

Mamas who've birthed their babies, I'll let you be the judge to determine if authorship and pregnancy should be paralleled. Nonetheless, it's a great symbol for what's currently happening with me and this memoir.

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Line edit reflections

I mentioned in my last update (Part 5 if you're following this journey) that my book was headed into line editing. Can I tell you I've got the best, hands-down, most fantastic line editor in the world? Seriously. What an answer to some big prayers.

Curt Pesmen has coached me throughout this entire "I'm writing a book" process and eagerly became my line editor. This would not be the same book without him. If you ever meet Curt, thank him for:

  • The title (my initial title wasn't quite right and he challenged me to think on it more).
  • The final 8 chapters (yes, 8!). If not for him, I wouldn't have added so much additional story.
  • The peek into Mike and I's dating life (including actual journal entries we wrote to one another).
  • A whole chapter about life with Mae.
  • Descriptions that don't assume you speak "colorectal cancer."
  • Every sentence not starting with "I."

These are just a few highlights of our coaching and line editing process. He quickly understood my voice, brought it out with edits, and asked questions that unveiled more vulnerability. We've ended up with, in his words, a "powerful, engaging, revelatory memoir." God bless you, Curt!

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Copy editing: Let's go!

So get this, at 5:25 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, I emailed my full manuscript to Redemption Press. I walked into the living room, sat down, and at 5:30 p.m., I watched the game of a lifetime begin as the Kansas City Chiefs ran onto the Super Bowl field and became champions just a few hours later.

I couldn't help but hope that's the same destiny for this memoir: inspire hope and cause for celebration!

Currently, the book is in copy editing which means the manuscript is getting a haircut. Basically, it's going through spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure and consistency changes, as well as checks on things like copyright and trademark infringements. I'll be working with the copy editor for the next 6 weeks or so on this!

It's been put into the publisher's hands, which means I'm getting production timelines, emails from a project manager and paperwork requests. It feels so real. Eeeek!

Initial reads

As the manuscript began to round the final lap during the line editing phase, I sent it to a couple of people for an initial read-through. First up was Katie, who I know through her husband Will (who is designing the book cover!).

Katie and I share several commonalities (two being we both love Jesus and she's raising tween girls). She was the perfect person to read this with fresh eyes and give an honest take since we're getting to know one another. This is just part of the awesome email she sent me after finishing the book. I've deemed it, "My Why."

"After I read your story, I immediately went to both of my girls and talked about how blood in your stool can be cancer. I’m very open with them about bodies, but I never thought to be specific and tell them if they ever notice blood in their stool to tell me. So, thank you for that!"

Why did I write this book. That... that right there. Oh Jesus, I pray this saves some girls' lives (and/or colons!).

In addition to Katie, I sent the manuscript to Anjee who, thanks to working together at Fight CRC for so long, is bare-bones honest with me. She was also encouraging, and her feedback helped the final 8 chapters get another major makeover.

And then, there's a few of my immediate family members. Some of them are still reading and others have finished. I couldn't get too much further into this process without asking them to read it. For one, it's because this is our life, and a lot of it's wrapped in painful, difficult memories. I wanted them to get a running start in processing it. And two, I wanted to verify the accuracy of these stories. Good news, so far... it's all true. Whew!

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Launch Team - You In?

So friends, there's the update! More to come, things are heating up! Want to join us? I hope you do.

Mike and I just created a Facebook Group Launch Team and if you're up for offering your feedback, getting an advance eCopy of the book, chiming in on the cover, and leaving reviews once the book launches, will you join? We'd be so honored if you do!