It has been nine months. In the time it takes to birth a baby, God and I have birthed a book. And people are buying it and benefitting from it. Some are even being changed from it.
This is more than overwhelming to me, it is astounding, earth-shattering, call-the-television stations phenomenal. Teresa Shields Parker, the writer who just couldn’t find the right subject for a book, found it in herself. The process was time-consuming and difficult. I kept thinking if it’s this hard to birth one book, what would it be like to give birth to two?
Last night, I shared about the process. It was right at a year ago God tapped me on the shoulder and told me it was time to write the book, which would be about my weight loss journey.
I saw the book all laid out, beginning, middle, end, inciting incident, climax, anti-climax. This is something I’d been waiting for all my life.
I started writing. I thought I knew what I was doing. I was a writer, after all. I knew how to do this. The first three months I slogged through the process writing the early part of my journey. I really began to wonder if I really knew what I was doing after all.
Should it be fiction because truth is just too hard to write. How can I tell the story objectively. I’ll admit it. I was stuck. I felt like this book might take me the rest of my life to write. I laid it aside to ponder. Actually I just laid it down.
Then I reluctantly went to Release the Writer conference in March because it was being held close to where I live. I wasn’t going until God intervened and challenged me to go. So I did.
Wendy Walters led the conference with grace, charm and a spiritual depth rarely seen at writer’s conferences, even Christian writer’s conferences. Her connection with God’s Spirit spilled over on everyone there. His presence was palatable.
There was plenty of information, learning, bonding with others present. Most memorable were the times the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, “This is the book I want you to write. I will guide you every step of the way. I’ve given you my servant Wendy to help you with the process as well.
“You will not fail because this effort is not about you. It is about me.”
I scrapped everything I’d written to this point. It was all only preparation for what not to include in this book. I didn’t throw it away and I may use it for a later book, but it didn’t belong in this book.
I began writing in earnest after the workshop. I had my sites set on a goal for having my book in hand by Aug. 5. That was delayed a couple of months mainly because of my overly obsessive need to make sure everything was perfect before printing
I learned my obsessive need to be perfect kept me from stepping out into the deep and launching my book. I had it edited, it was ready to go. I just wasn’t ready to let it go live. Finally, I picked a date, approved the final draft and it got sent to the printer.
Writing the book was difficult but the third trimester of promoting felt overwhelming. It was launching into deep waters where I’ve never been.
In actuality it has been a series of new adventures and challenges that move me always further out of my comfort zone.
I spoke at my book launch party for the first time to a large group of people. I’ve spoken several times since and find it really a pretty pleasant experience, even though I swore speaking was not something I ever wanted to do.
I’ve done two podcast interviews, an interesting experience, but I did fine though scared out of my wits. I prayed for hours before each one.
I did my first radio talk show and it was even more fun. I have a couple more of these scheduled soon.
The end of this month I’m doing my first television talk show in Memphis, Tenn. I’m hoping it’s preparation for an even bigger audience with the 700 Club. I’ve had a pre-interview so now just waiting to hear if that will happen or not.
When I contacted an old friend who edits Spiritled Woman magazine and asked if she would be interested in a story on my book, I was shocked when she suggested I send her an excerpt. I agonized over what to send her. She said to just send her several things and she’d choose.
The article she chose scared me as well. It was a story about me being molested at age 11. And yet it got nearly 1,000 shares on Facebook. That doesn’t top the recent article she ran, a post from my blog called, “Weight Loss, Sin and the Metal Lawn Chair.” That one has gotten nearly 5,000 shares.
So tonight when I was asked what was my over-the-top dream for my book. My answers did not satisfy me. I said to be featured on the 700 Club and for Sweet Grace the #1 Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. It’s already #1 in Christian Weight Loss Memoirs, Sugar Addiction Memoirs and Morbid Obesity Memoirs. Those are the smaller categories.
In actuality my over-the-top dream is that everyone who needs to hear the message of Sweet Grace will hear and have the opportunity to get a copy. Maybe to be featured on the Today’s Show, Oprah’s Book Club and the New York Times best seller list because these are ways a book becomes visible.
There are over 12 million books on Amazon. Getting noticed by someone who needs to read the book is not an easy task. I’m learning some tricks of the trade. I’m learning how to promote, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned through this process it’s to listen to the Spirit of God and go with His leading.
Most of all I’ve learned to always stay close to God, spend time with Him. Talk with Him. Surrender everything to His care.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, He loves for His message to get out that He has the power to overcome any craving or addiction. He wants us set free even more than we do.
The baby has been birthed and is growing up. Time to begin the process again. Only this year I’m having twins!
Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor isn’t just for people who need to lose weight. The lessons in the book apply to anyone who desires freedom from any life issue. Grab your copy today on Amazon in print, Kindle or Audible. And while you’re there pick up a copy of Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction.