If We Were Having Coffee: Stress & Nerves & so much Delight

I just felt like checking in with everyone. I’ve been so MIA from my blog, and in some ways that’s been tremendously freeing, and in others, it’s been a little sad. I remember when I blogged every single day of 2013 (even in the midst of writing Truest, querying for it, sending it out on submission, etc.), and I wonder how in the world I managed it. These days, once a week is all I can muster.

One of my favorite bloggers does this feature, “If We Were Having Coffee,” where she just shares heart-to-heart with her readers, and that’s the tone I want to take with this post. You, me, sitting down with ceramic mugs instead of to-go cups because we’re planning to settle in for a while.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Mill City Heroes is being a beautiful beast right now. I turned in a really, really rough draft to my editor back in April, right before I closed on my house, and it was really liberating to send such a messy draft to my editor. She replied how much trust that showed, and it’s true: I do trust her. She is so amazing. The original draft she saw of Truest was the very best I could offer on my own, but looking back now? It was maybe at a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-10. Now, after Jill’s help? It’s at an 11. Not because of me. Because of Jill. So, I’m trying to have faith that we’ll work that same magic on my next manuscript. But it’s still so early in the process. We decided to switch it to a dual point of view, and that meant I spent July generating new content (about 35k words!). I am really excited about the new content, but now that it’s time to smooth it all out into a cohesive novel, I’m nervous.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m getting so excited (and quite nervous) for the publication of TruestIt’s about three weeks away now. Remember that I got my book deal at the end of 2013– when there were ninety-three weeks to go till publication. In some ways, it still feels sort of far off. I haven’t figured out yet what I’m going to read at my launch party (you should come), what I’ll wear, or how I’ll sign books. But then again, I just got my first copy of Truest— a bound hardcover with a beautiful spot-gloss title and embossed front cover– in the mail, and it was like whoa. This is a real thing. I sat down with it that night and read through a ton of it. A couple things I had changed at the last minute, so reading those scenes was like reading something I’d never seen before. So crazy. And it was really weird to stumble across a line of dialogue and think, “Oh, I don’t like that ‘but’ it starts with … alas, it’s too late.” It’s weird after revising it since January 2012 to no longer have that option, you know?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my house is coming together. It’s looking beautiful in some places and totally messy in others. My basement, which will be my new office library, is still a haphazard mess of boxes upon boxes of books because I’m having a whole wall turned into a giant bookcase and it’s not done yet. But it’s close. The contractor tried to deliver half of the pieces this week and … they didn’t fit around the corner in my basement. So now he has to disassemble them and then assemble them actually in my basement. It’ll be okay. It just slowed the process down.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I fluctuate between having tremendous confidence and none. Zilch. Nada. Tonight I read this essay by Mindy Kaling about how you have to earn your confidence with hard work. Believe me: I have worked hard. SO hard. So where is my confidence? Where is the entitlement, lol? I have busted my butt, and yet, I still doubt myself at every corner … and even in the straight chutes. My therapist and I have been working toward ending my therapy in 2015, but sometimes I’m just not sure how that will happen or if it’s a good idea.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I had my Goodreads page redirected automatically to calmingmanatee.com. Bad (or even semi-bad) reviews haunt me for a week, and I just didn’t need that. So now, if I try to look up my reviews, I end up with a big ol’ manatee offering to brush my hair and get some wine. Too good.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you what you’ve been up to this summer, what the highlights have been, what you’re looking forward to this fall, what you’ve been reading lately that you’d recommend, and how you manage to find confidence. Why don’t you start with these things in the comments?

Thanks for listening, everyone.

40 thoughts on “If We Were Having Coffee: Stress & Nerves & so much Delight

  1. Jackie! I am so excited for you and your happenings with Truest and Mill City Heroes!

    If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’m looking for jobs, that I’m ending my internship with Sun Thisweek in three days, that I’m excited to see you and other lit peeps in the fall, and that I plan to spend the fall hanging out with old school friends and my brother and his fiancé, who are getting married this coming May. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing, Jackie. I feel like we’re having coffee now 🙂

      • Thank you so much Jackie! My internship was a wonderful experience; lots of hugs and handshakes at the end, wishing me well and knowing I’ll do great. The job search is also going well, and I have complete faith and a lot of leads 🙂

  2. I’m glad we get to have a virtual coffee date! I’m most looking forward to putting this summer behind me. My husband, the sole breadwinner, was laid off without notice a few weeks after we bought our house, we still aren’t unpacked, and the software I need for my job keeps crapping out. As a once-military family, we’re used to living in a state of flux, but that doesn’t make instability any easier, and buying a house was, we thought, going to give us some stability. I look forward to him getting a new job and for our older son to start going to school every day. I yearn for a routine but as an INTP have zero luck self-imposing one 🙂
    I read Mindy’s article, too! I sometimes feel guilty about it, but having a physical reminder of my successes helps my confidence. I have nerdy academic trophies I busted my butt for and keep a file of encouraging comments from mentors and people I admire which I can rifle through digitally when the need arises. As for reading, I’ve been bingeing on graphic novels. One of my favorite novels of the summer was like an upper MG True Grit by Amy Timberlake called One Came Home.

    • Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine. That is sooooo stressful. I hope your hubby’s job search goes well and fast.

      Maybe I need to have a reminder of my successes. I mean, I have some amazing words from my editor as my computer desktop background, but … now I barely notice them.

      Thanks for the book rec. I haven’t been able to read really anything besides The Horse and His Boy ever since The Wrath and the Dawn destroyed me. I can’t remember ever having this bad of a book hangover before.

      • I so want to read that!
        If you’ve never read The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, that was my favorite book of last summer. The summer before was Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

  3. Love this idea! I just finished my internship and am headed to California to visit family for 3 weeks before my semester starts. I’m in the middle of reading ANOTHER DAY (companion to Every Day by David Levithan) and it is a flawless book.

  4. If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for showing up late (yet again!), but luckily it’s only online this time. This summer has been a lot of travel to Minnesota and not enough to the Twin Cities, probably more than our car can handle going on 200,000 miles. But we got a baby baptized and have had plenty of time with friends and family, which is very much worth it. Idk how you feel about infant baptism, but I think there’s something mysterious and beautiful about welcoming a baby to God’s covenent family. I’m trying to figure out everything I need to know before opening an Etsy shop this fall! I feel like most of my endeavors have fallen flat in the last year, so I’m really nervous and just hoping I can be successful and remain motivated. So as for confidence: I have none. I’ve never had confidence in myself and I don’t have the slightest idea how to change that.

    I’ve been reading some Agatha Christie novels lately. Right now I’m on A Pocket Full of Rye. She’s the queen of subtleties, I hope I can be foot at noticing and learn from her in that for my own writing. Is it okay to take a sabbatical from writing to read instead? I just can’t get anything down when I try to write.

  5. I’m so excited to read Truest, Jackie! I remember when you came to my high school and talked about Lights All Around. It would be the coolest thing to tell my high schoolers that I know the author of this fabulous book.

    If we were having coffee, you’d probably be bored, ha. I’d tell you I’m incredibly anxious about starting my first year of teaching English. I’d tell you about the writing project I’m working on and hope you wouldn’t laugh. I’d ask about all the remodels on your new house and tell you I love how you’re letting God work through you to do amazing things. It’s encouraging.

    • You’re such a sweetie. I absolutely remember visiting with you at your high school! That is SO exciting that you’re about to start your first year of teaching– you are going to be GREAT! Where at?

      I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROJECT. I won’t laugh– unless it’s supposed to be funny!

  6. Love the idea of “If we were having coffee” only mine would be cocoa or chia or tea. My summer has involved a missions trip, traveling, family reunions, visitors, VBS, cleaning, and painting. The biggest highlight this summer is just having my mom around because in January of this year she had a brain aneurysm. The day before August I decided that I was going to challenge myself to not eat sweets for the month and exercise almost daily which led to me running which is now causing me to consider participating in the 5k at Northwestern’s homecoming. I’m looking forward to fall weather and meeting my first financial goal by the end of the year. I’m looking forward to September in particular because 1) it’s my 24th birthday 2) I’ll be able to read Truest 3) there is a Minneapolis Kpop Festival 4) Big Bang’s MADE album is available 4) iKon is supposedly debuting (a Korean boy band from a company that likes to troll) 5) I’ll be able to eat sweets again – particularly ice cream. Lately I’ve been reading books that you’ve recommended like The Wrath and the Dawn but I’m wanting to reread The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare and Mara Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. The only confidence I have is first knowing who I am in Christ and second being comfortable overall with who I am but outside of that I’ve got none. Mindy’s essay highlighted why because I know that I have not worked hard enough to show other people that I’ve earned their attention and recognition. It doesn’t help that I still live at home, working a part time job, still completely dependent on my parents and feeling a little stuck. Just need to keep trusting Jesus has a purpose in this and need to become proactive about my passions and dreams. Last note Jackie: although I know nothing about therapy, if your therapist believes you’re able to end therapy, trust him/her, trust Jesus and trust yourself. Having followed your blog the past couple years, I believe you can do it!

    • Hi dear! Thanks for sharing!! I love what you wrote about knowing who are in Christ. That is something I need to continually remind myself of.

      My therapist isn’t telling me to end therapy; that was just a 2015 goal of mine, but now I’m not so sure! We’ll see!!!

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