And people keep asking me how it feels.
You know what? It feels awesome. I’m super-proud of myself for what I accomplished. I think the book is necessary, and different, and beautiful. I am convinced it will help people. I learned a ton writing it.
But you know how else I feel?
Because all that stuff I learned writing it means I could write the book so much better now.
I can’t tell you how tempted I was to hold off publishing it another two months and change it dramatically.
But there lies insanity. The tipping point from good-enough to crazy-making was reached about a month and a half ago.
I released Unquiet Time as-is because it is enough. I know me, and I am meticulous, I am a hard-worker, and I copy-edited the darn thing about six times. It isn’t perfect, but it was my best effort, and it is enough.
Here’s the thing. Unless I had showed up and created this book, imperfect as I know it is, I would never have been equipped to write the next book, which will be better.
Without trying, and sometimes failing, I couldn’t have learned all the things I learned.
I wouldn’t know how images show up on Kindle.
I wouldn’t realize that I really wanted to make a printed journal, not an e-book.
I wouldn’t know that I needed to be sure about what page size I wanted to use before I picked up a pen and started drawing.
I wouldn’t realize how much re-formatting and re-formatting and re-formatting the whole book would take because of poor planning.
I wouldn’t see that if I’d been a bit braver asking for help a few times, I could have saved myself a lot of frustration.
I wouldn’t know how a little research ahead of time would have saved me days of work.
But I couldn’t learn those lessons without learning them. I learned by doing, and I got wiser. There were no handy shortcuts.
I want to have grace for myself, because for the first time, I wrote and illustrated a book.
I don’t know much about illustration. I don’t know much about handling images well for print production. I didn’t know much about Photoshop, or production formatting, or anything.
I tried something audacious, and it’s not surprising that the results were, well, less than perfect.
Me being me, it’s hard to not tell myself I could have done better.
If I’d just—
If only I’d—
Why didn’t it occur to me to—
No. None of that.
Because you know what? I did my best.
I did my best.
I’m hard at work on some other creative projects right now, but I fully intend to do more of these Unquiet Time journals in the next year. Maybe on prayer or spiritual disciplines or church or faith in general. I’m sure the itch to draw an aching and brave and incisive question will worm its way into my heart.
And when I do, I will apply what I learned. I won’t spend so much time figuring out how to do what I’m doing. I’ll just do it.
That last sentence back there? I almost wrote, “I won’t waste so much time.”
But is learning and struggling and doing our best ever a waste?
Is it a waste when we’re holding a newborn at 2 am, with no idea how to get them to sleep?
Is it a waste when we have our first shaky argument with our spouse?
Is it a waste when we work with acrylics for the first time, and have lousy technique?
Maybe this: maybe it’s an offering. Maybe we’re bringing our first fruits to the altar. Maybe the firstborn of our hearts is perfect in God’s eyes. Maybe we can acknowledge that our awkward stabs at something new are holy.
Maybe we can set them down at the altar, and watch the wild rose of fire lift them up to God.
Unquiet Time: A devotional for the rest of us is available on CreateSpace and Amazon as a paperback journal. If you want to bring your shaky questions, doubts, boredom, and wild-eyed wonder to the altar, pick up a copy here.