A week from yesterday, I finished editing my book. At 10:40pm on Labor Day, I finally sent it off to my proofreaders and my publicist. With a sign of relief, I shut my computer.
The book is a memoir about the two years I spent overseas teaching English as a missionary, what my expectations were before I went, and what happened after I returned. I wanted to do everything perfectly and please everyone, but when things didn't go according to plan, I fell apart. Then much later, God showed me how he was redeeming my experience and working in my life the whole time.
When I woke up the next morning after sending off the manuscript, my brain actually felt lighter, like I finally had space in it to hold thought other than did I say the right thing in that chapter?
When it's finally done, it will be 20 or 21 drafts. There’s nothing in my life that would suggest that I would be able to spend 8 months writing a book, and then 54 weeks, more than an entire year editing the book.
I have dropped a lot of things to get this done. Many nights I stayed home so I could edit just a few more pages before bed. It’s been a really long process, and finally, it's almost done.
Here’s an except from chapter 1:
Finally, we arrived at our hotel at the edge of the city. The hotel was surrounded on three sides by misty green hills. After such wonderful hospitality from our hosts at the school, I felt like a celebrity guest. But I worried that I might not deserve such a gift because I had never been a teacher before, and I didn’t know if I would be any good. During training, our team had practiced teaching lessons to each other, but pretending to teach my peers was different from being alone in the front of a room full of students.
Ever since I had been accepted to the program six months earlier, I had dreaded actually being a teacher and being in charge in the front of the classroom. I worried about managing classroom discipline, being able to answer students’ questions, and having dozens of eyes staring at me expectantly, waiting for me to speak. I was certain that God wanted me to go and that’s what kept me committed in the midst of my fear. However, I wasn’t trusting God to provide; I was focused on trying to be good enough on my own.
The next morning, I woke up early to a beautiful day. After breakfast we had a twenty minute walk down a hill to the city to see the middle school and the classrooms we would be teaching in. The school stood halfway down a busy street with a guard at the school gate. Inside the school, the noise from the street faded to a percussion ensemble who were practicing marching band music.
My classroom was on the fourth floor overlooking a large sports field. I had a few minutes alone in the room before it was time to leave. I stood at the front looking out at the desks that would soon be filled with students, and thought, this is it. I’m going to be a teacher. I picked up the white chalk and wrote my name on the blackboard.
Today is my birthday, and I’m excited for what the future holds as I prepare to release my book this fall and start new projects. I had to move unexpectedly this summer away from my roommate of 5 years, but I'm hopeful that this book and my current state of transition will lead to growth and new opportunities.
*Posted on the day after my birthday because I stayed up all night reading a book and completely forgot to post this.