This morning, about ten of us will gather at the Starbucks just down the street. I will get my soy chai and I will nervously massage the handle of the mug.
Because I’m nervous.
We are gathering, this little crew of 10ish folks, to talk about writing. It so happened that Nashville has a lot of people who love to write, whether professionally or not. They like to talk about writing and words and reading and books and it’s pretty much my love language.
So we scheduled today to get together and do just that- talk about writing and faith and where they meet and how they can intersect.
And, if time allows, I may read the first chapter of my next book.
It’s ridiculous for me to be nervous- and if I had any brains at all, I would take my copy of Let’s All Be Brave and just read from that. It is already in enough hands on this earth to make it impossible for me to feel embarrassed about any of it.
But reading from a book that is already published to people who already love me? That takes zero guts.
Exposing my writing to the world for the first time takes a lot of guts (for me, at least). It could be really bad, I’m not sure. And until another human reads it, I won’t know.
I bet a lot of authors feel this way. I know some that do. There’s a little circle of us at (in)courage who write books. And we’ll send timid emails with tiny word documents attached saying things like, “be nice- you are the first eyes to see this.” Because it is scary to write and then let other people see it.
It is a piece of you, an inside look at the heart of the author; and the first time that heart spot is exposed, it makes the author recoil a bit. Each time gets a little easier, until books are on shelves and people email about the stories that they loved that were heartbreaking for me to write. And the it feels worth it.
Donald Miller once tweeted, “Every time I write a book, I have to remind myself that all I have to worry about now is the next paragraph.”
So even professional authors have worries in the writing process.
But I’m not the only one nervous at Starbucks today. First time writers will bring their poems, fiction pieces, and who-knows-what, and with fear at their backs, they will read to us.
I’ll probably tear up over the beautiful words and the brave hearts that wrote them. Because those writers will put their work, and their courage, on display.
To write is to quietly cultivate a garden to perfection and then give the world unlimited access, with their gentle petal-loving hands or their heavy flower smashing boots.
Even though this career requires that risk, I plan to work in the garden every day for the rest of my life.
In what areas are you brave on a daily basis? How do you take risks?
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