For those of you who watched the seven minutes of RambleFest on Wednesday, thank you! I was so excited about the title for my book, I couldn’t wait to share it with you. And today I’m presenting the official cover…
I know! Don’t you totally love it?! I was so nervous to click on the attachment when my editor first emailed it to me. After all, what happens if you hate the cover of your own book? But I immediately loved it- the bird theme resonates with me … we are really into birds around here! When I replied to my editor, I used so many exclamation points in every sentence of the email, I’m sure she was horrified to realize she’d signed a contract with a writer who egregiously overuses exclamation points.
When I emailed the cover to my parents, my mom said, “So…are you supposed to be the red bird?” Yes, Mom, I’m the red bird all by herself on the telephone wire. The spiritual misfit.
Anyway, the cover is the exciting, fun part. And now comes the terrifying part: the revisions. I spoke with my editor for a good long time recently about some changes I need to make to the manuscript – fairly big, structural, organizational changes. When I got off the phone with her, my first instinct was to quit. I know. Nearly seven years into this process, and NOW I want to quit? But it’s true. I was at my sister’s house in Massachusetts, and after the conversation with my editor, I walked downstairs and said to Jeanine, “That was my editor. I think I want to quit.”
It was the fear talking, of course. The truth is, I’m afraid. I’m afraid I won’t be able to improve the manuscript. I’m afraid I won’t understand what my editor is asking me to do. I’m afraid to fail, to mess up, to make everything worse instead of better.
Ever been there?
My reaction to that conversation reminded me of the year I got my first real promotion. I was working in the PR department at a Community College, and I was promoted to Director of Marketing and Public Relations. I was terribly underqualified and inexperienced and terrified out of my wits. Every single morning for weeks on end I had to talk myself into going to work. I channeled Madeleine Albright, who was the first female Secretary of State at the time. “Ok,” I’d tell myself as I walked down the hallway toward my office, “Be Madeleine. If Madeleine can do her job, you can do yours.”
Telling myself again and again that I could do the job worked then, and it will work now.
Sometimes we simply need to face the fear, to talk ourselves past it, to keep moving in the right direction, one small step after the next. When I’m afraid, I tell myself I can do it, even when I don’t believe it. And usually, after a few days or weeks or months of repeating the “you can do this” mantra, I realize that I am, in fact, doing it.
So, for all you out there who are staring down the fear, telling yourself you can take the next step, repeating to yourself that you can do this thing, I am with you. I believe in you. And I believe God has your back. Just like he has mine.
Let’s do this thing.