Before hope*writers, I had written a short children’s book and it sat in a box year after year for more than a decade. I read it many times over those years, envisioning how the words and illustrations would look on each page. Being a speech-language pathologist and working with small children for 20 years, I thought about how a simple little story might help preschoolers and children with special needs learn about shapes and colors and even sequencing and rhyming. Having it published and come to life was simply a dream.
Not long ago, I Googled “how to publish a children’s book.” It was daunting and did not look promising. I wanted to write and I was writing, but I wasn’t writing a children’s book. I became discouraged, and during a day of purging paper and clearing space, I wadded up the story, and tossed it. I can still hear the words I was thinking as the story flew into the trash, “You will never publish a children’s book.”
Then one day I heard about Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, The Next Right Thing which is now a best selling book on Amazon! (Click here to check it out.). I scrolled through the episodes and stopped at one called “Quit Something” and hit play. Emily shared a story about her career as a sign language interpreter and how she was dreading telling her boss that she was quitting. Then I heard her speak these words, “There’s something strong I can’t shake, something I think the Lord is drawing me to. ‘It’s time to write,’ I hear on the level of my soul. I’m excited and also terrified. Yellow is dancing around in my head, writing is yellow, the things that make us come alive always are.” I thought, “Is this lady a mind reader?”
As I drove down the road listening, I could not believe it. I was a speech-language pathologist, my job was helping others communicate, much like a sign language interpreter. I also was considering leaving my current profession and also felt a calling to write. Additionally, she referred to the book, Essentialism by Greg McKeown which I was currently reading. I thought maybe God is really trying to tell me something. It was defintely a turning point.
From there, I followed a garden path and ended up finding hope*writers, co-founded by none other than Emily P. Freeman! This amazing group has been a foundation for my growth as a writer. It has led me to a family of writers who are not just willing, but excited to guide me. Since becoming a member I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about writing and also the much needed confidence to continue writing. Thanks from my heart, hope*writers!
Then enter, Rachel Hollis 2.0! Rachel’s first book, Girl, Wash Your Face, really got me thinking about where I was and where I wanted to go. Her second book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, gave me a plan. Where Emily is the like pink cotton candy, holding your hand and encouraging you with her warm, soft voice, Rachel is like firey red hots, all up in your face, kicking you in the pants, encouraging you to leave your pity party, get up and go after what you want. These ladies have totally different styles and I need them both. I feel like they are little angels sent from Heaven to guide me. Emily in pink ballet slippers and Rachel in combat boots!
So Emily and Rachel…..I’m following your words of wisdom. I made a decision to make some big changes in my life. Emily, I’m not going to let fear push me around, I’m going to “do the next right thing in love.” Rachel, I’m saying out loud that I’m going to publish a children’s book. (Eeek, that was so scary!) Thank you ladies, for giving me the tools to make a hard decision and encouraging me to dig deep and not apologize for my dreams. Thank you for helping me realize what those dreams are. Thank you for sharing examples from your own lives to help me better mine.
And as for that little story that I threw away, I have read it so many times I have most of it memorized and I can start to fill in the missing pieces. Who knows? The second version might even be better!
If you have found yourself at fork in the road, or even what you think is a dead end, I sincerely recommend checking out the books by these two amazing and brave ladies. I could list a thousand inspirational quotes from the books, but I think it’s better if you read them on your own and let the words speak to you wherever you are on your journey. I will share this quote from Emily, because it was the one quote that really let me put my fears behind me and step forward. “If God has something to tell you, and you continue to place yourself before him, he won’t let you miss it.”
Until next time…..be well.
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