“Where exactly did you find the time to write a book?” is the most common question that I am getting asked these days. I usually laugh it off with a joke or two, but decided it would make a good blog post,which I hope doesn’t read too much like a Christmas letter.
Last we left off in my story I was having one of the most remarkable days of my life, in which I brought my son Carson home from the hospital. I was still on the giddy cloud of new mommyhood, when later that week I got a call from Jessica saying that we had gotten a book deal! Oh and by the way, they want a manuscript in 3 months. My first response was incredulous laughter. Really? After waiting 3 years to adopt, but only having our book proposal out for a few months, both happen in the same week. God does have a sense of humor! Well, if that week had taught me anything it was to trust in His perfect timing. The thought of all that lay before me seemed truly overwhelming, but I knew that by HIS strength I could do it, most definitely not my own.
Our publisher graciously agreed to give us a month extension, what with my new baby and all, so we then had 4 months to finish the book. Our proposal had only included one chapter, so we had a long way to go. That first month I concentrated only on my family and the holidays. Other than jotting down a few random ideas, I did not think too much about the overwhelming task of writing a book.
We started writing in January 2010. Jessica laid out a plan for us: we would spend 2 weeks per chapter. I would work on the medical part of each chapter first then send it to her, where she would add the faith based application section. Actually, how it turned out was I would write it, edit it twice, give it to Russ who would painstakingly edit it again then, I would incorporate his edits and send it to Jess. We actually did very little ‘writing’ together, though we did meet for coffee planning sessions and to review our progress fairly often.
Each morning, I would get up at 5 am, brew a large pot of coffee and write for 2 hours before work. I am most productive in the morning. On evenings and weekends, I would write as much as I could. There was a specific candle I would light when I was writing, that Jess had gotten me for my birthday from anthrolpologie. It had the most soothing scent, helping to put me in the frame of mind to write.
Those months were somewhat of a sleep deprived blur. I didn’t make it to the gym or to very many social engagements, during that time.
My home office was strewn with text books and journals as I researched each topic, making sure all was up to date. Several times during the writing process I would finish a section and a new recommendation or article would come out, forcing me to go back and revise it, which was quite frustrating.
Russ(my husband) was wonderfully helpful with editing, taking care of the kids and being his awesome supportive self in general. I remember one day at work when he sent me a funny text, after reading/editing the latest chapter he said “I’m pretty sure I’m in preterm labor, what with all the cramping and back pain I’m having.” I was having a challenging day at work and I think that text made me laugh for 5 minutes straight. He also had a full year, in his own right, with traveling to promote his board game and building the world’s largest playset in our back yard.
The writing process was tedious but went fairly smoothly until we hit a glitch in early March. Weeks before our deadline, I get a call from Jess, she was having a miscarriage and in so much pain she had passed out. I hit save on my document (I was ironically working on the book at the time of her call), and met her at the ER. She had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and was hemorrhaging. I performed emergency surgery immediately. Sadly Jess’s accountant would not let her write off her medical bills as work related expenses for market research for the book*. Geez.
Our editor, once again was understanding and allowed us to extend our deadline for a few weeks as Jessica recovered. She was a trooper and got right back to work, allowing us to submit the manuscript in mid April. I’m still amazed that we got it in mostly on time.
The summer was full of edits, focus groups and more edits. Then in the fall, it all came together. At each stage, it got more exciting: the final layout, the beautiful cover art and then watching it go on sale on amazon.
However, actually holding it in my hands for the first time was an emotional and surreal experience. Seeing the fruit of all the hard work there before me was so gratifying. I hope it does well, people like, and that they find it entertaining. More than that, its my prayer is that it TRULY does help women enjoy their pregnancy, with as little anxiety as possible.
In 1993 when Heather Patterson walked across the stage of Grace Fellowship Christian School , she had some very specific hopes and dreams. She knew she would be a doctor someday, she knew she would have a family, and she hoped that her last name would someday be ‘Rupe.’ Of all those crazy dreams going through her head, ‘writer ‘was never one of them. Over the last few years before Jess asked me to join her on this journey, I had begun writing here and there. I found it therapeutic, as I went through times of loss. Slowly, I began to find my own stride and style**. As we worked on the book, I learned to enjoy the writing part more and more, but in the beginning it was challenging. I had never attempted any writing project on this caliber before. I knew if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. I didn’t want to just throw a bunch of boring medical jargon together and attach a few scriptures to it. I wanted it to stand out as a pregnancy guide, period, not just because it has a Christian label on it. As I read the final copy, I feel that we have genuinely achieved our goal. Not by our own might, but with the help of God’s grace,strength and guidance.
So there you have it: 50,000 words in 3.5 months, while working 50 hours a week, with a new baby, a 6 year old and a partridge in a pear tree .
*This is Jessica’s joke, I stole it.
** Yes, I do realize some of you are thinking that she needs to keep on looking for her writing stylePin It