It goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway; publishing my book was one of the most terrifying (and beautiful) things I have ever done. The whole process was more than just getting ready for this book to be printed but really getting ready for people to hold a piece of me. It was a lot more real and scary to me than it may have seemed on the outside. In the beginning stages it was great, because all the poetry I had written was just my own. But then I began editing with someone else, reading it aloud to groups of 2, 5 and then 50 plus, and eventually it was in the hands of my closest friends and people I had never talked to. It was more than just printing something good, it was publishing something so real to me. Throughout these past couple months, and with every challenge I have faced in making this thing happened, I have learned so much and I have grown exponentially. The girl who wrote those poems a year ago never imagined people, with no clue who she was, to be touched by it. These are a few things I have learned, the good, the bad and the ugly because this journey has been a beautiful roller coaster.
- Trusting the process
When all of this started I thought how fun the process of getting my book ready would be. And of course it was fun but it was also such a time of stretching and growing. Things didn’t always go to plan and I would have days when I wanted to completely give up. When things wouldn’t work or I was in times of waiting I really had doubts. I questioned if God was really in this, if all of this hard work was actually worth it, and if any of it was going to be successful. The easy way would have been to give up and just quit the whole project. But I continued to have moments in the midst of the slow and sometimes agonizing waiting process where I had to remind myself of why I was doing this. And I think this goes for any dream we are trying to accomplish. The process isn’t always rainbows and butterflies but instead usually, late nights and headaches. The Lord really challenged me during those times to really trust the process and to really trust him with this whole thing. I had to force myself to get his perspective and to be thankful for the process. He taught me to trust him with this, because there is no journey he takes us on that he doesn’t intend to see us through. The process is always worth it.
- Not everyone is gonna like it and that’s ok.
This was huge. People that I thought would totally love it and would want to support me could actually care less. In all honesty, at first that was disappointing. Suddenly, I realised it was (probably, I mean I hope) not personal. And whether or not someone liked it or didn’t like it didn’t mean I hadn’t accomplished something or that my book was terrible. Nobody’s opinion was about to take away one of the proudest moments from me. This was so relevant and it applies to everything in life. If we go around just wanting to please everyone we will never be satisfied. It is impossible to make EVERYONE happy. Originally, that’s what I expected and set out to do but I learned that it was ok not to. I had to remind myself over and over again, that I didn’t do this to get approval from everyone but I did it to share the stories God had given me to share and that was enough.
- The Reality of Vulnerability
I have heard about this strange word “vulnerability” for years. But I think when I began choosing poems for the book and editing I realised how much of my heart I was actually exposing. Even now, I have moments where I want to cringe at the thought of people reading all these poems that have always just been mine. SCARY STUFF MAN. All of these experiences and lessons I had learnt and written about had always just been mine. You see, when I was writing all this poetry I didn’t write with the intention or expectation that other people were going to read it. And I think that’s part of the beauty in it and the rawness of all the poems. Anyway, the idea that people that didn’t even know me would be reading this story made me want to throw up. However, I knew this was all part of the process; the process that taught me the real beauty of vulnerability. I experienced such freedom when I let go of all the fear of what people might think and just went for it. It wasn’t just freedom for me but being vulnerable and real allowed the people that read my poems to experience the same thing.
Of course, there are lots of other amazing lessons I have learnt while publishing this book. It’s been an amazing process and I am so thankful for the growth that has happened in my life because of it. And for all I know this is just the beginning!