all writing is not created equal

I’m huddled over the laptop this week, typing out painful lines onto the screen, lines made into questions for the small group leader’s guide for Graceful. This is checkbook-balancing work for me. I can do it, but it takes me a long time.

emily freeman office



Write a line, erase two.

I’m quite honestly not very good at this.

So instead of working on the guide, I’m going to interview myself because that’s what people do when they have lots of work to finish and only a limited amount of time to finish it in.

Emily, isn’t your book already printed?

Indeed it is. It releases on Tuesday. Of next week. As in, five days from now.

So didn’t you kind of miss the deadline to put a leader guide in?

Yes, but we did that on purpose. It didn’t seem right to put a guide for leaders in the back of the high school book. The book is for girls. Period.

If you don’t like writing leader guides, why are you doing it?

I cannot in good conscience send out a book for high school girls into the world without leaving something for small group leaders to grab onto. I have been a small group leader too long to do that.

Describe the process to us.

I sit, labor, squeeze out words, read the book I wrote. Then read it again with my own questions. Then read it again and roll my eyes at myself.

Would you rather write a 60,000 word book than a 5,000 word leader guide?

Yes. True story.

Stop complaining. This is your dream job. Dream jobs take real work. Get over yourself.

I know. I’m sorry. You’re right.

Why are you telling us this anyway?

Because I have felt disconnected and crazy and I just thought you should know.

So when you finally finish talking to yourself, how can we get our hands on a leader guide?

The guide will be available to download for free from the Graceful book page. As soon as I finish it.

I’m a small group leader and can’t wait to lead my girls through your book!

Really? Thanks! That’s awesome. Say hi in the comments. I’d love to see your face.

You are really giving in to the resistance today.



  1. says

    As someone who has spent many hours with teen girls, I am so excited about this book. I know it will be a blessing to many who need it.

    And I concur with the need for a leader guide. If only “Lady in Waiting” had come with a leader guide when it first came out, I would have been spared many an awkward silence. Ha!

  2. says

    This made me laugh.out.loud… The “I’m going to interview myself because that’s what people do when they have lots of work to finish and only a limited amount of time to finish it in.” part. :) haha

    Your authenticity and your ability to poke fun at yourself is just a breath of fresh air for me — as also is your blog. I keep visiting it just to breath. It’s so clean and simple. I am working toward the same for my own. I want to feel the same “aahh”, on mine that I feel on yours :)

    I am looking forward to reading your book, as I have 2 teen girls myself.

    Blessings on your endeavors writing!

  3. Kay B says

    I received Graceful yesterday in the mail (pre-order from Amazon)! My daughter is excited for us to read it together!

  4. says

    Oh, deadlines. Love ’em. HATE ’em. Uggggghhhhhh!!!!!!

    Thank you for struggling through the process of creating a leader guide! I’m one of those who is looking forward to using it with my sophomore girls!

    Praying for you as you type – delete – type…that the Lord will blow the fresh wind of His Spirit across your thoughts and fingers.

    Grateful for you!

  5. Anna says

    I would just like to encourage and congratulate you on your very tidy work space. If you could put pictures in comments I would show you my overflow of scraps of paper… Interviewer: ‘Emily, take courage, at least you are typing this thing straight in. Some people, for some bizarre reason write it all longhand and massively increase their workload.’

  6. says

    Hilarious – and really not, poor girl. Dream jobs take real work. I’m going to pocket that thought. And real work is worth the sweat and insanity, too. You’ll get it done brilliantly in the end.

  7. says

    I feel that wrestling match with resistance. Glad for SP’s book. It really helps me realize what’s really happening.
    Love your green bb frame! Will pray now for you to boldly stand up against resistance and for resistance to flee! This IS important stuff….the lives of girls.

  8. says

    Oh my goodness I am dying here from this. Too too funny. I have felt a bit frozen and stalled out this week and don’t know why I couldn’t move down and through my “to-do’s”. Just too dang funny. And I feel better somehow knowing I wasn’t the only one.This leaders guide will be perfectly wonderful. Praying you feel re-inspired and encouraged after all this comment love you are getting from us. We love, you Emily. I love you, friend.

  9. says

    Emily, Emily, Emily…thank you SO MUCH for helping me to procrastinate on my OWN dream-job, work-in-my-pjs, cant-seem-to-focus, near-checkbook-balancing-feeling work. Instead, I read you. hahahaha.

  10. says

    Emily, this made me smile. Thank you. Praying that the Lord would help make this easier for you and give you the questions He wants to ask these girls. I love your sweet and honest spirit.

  11. says

    So hilarious! I can SO relate to your distraction methods. And “write one line, erase two”. Yet even though we squirm and struggle, God is there. At the end of the pen. (but really, at the end of our finger tips – tapping away a little black keys.) Abide. All for His Glory! Cheering you on!

  12. says

    I love the glimpse into your beautiful work space!!! It looks cozy and inviting and altogether conducive to productivity.

    If it makes you feel any better, I was so thrilled to receive my pre-ordered copy of “Graceful” LAST WEEK (I don’t even know how that happened!), so remember that many of us are already eagerly digesting your words! Godspeed, and I am certain the checkbook will balance beautifully! 😉

  13. says

    “Because I have felt disconnected and crazy and I just thought you should know.” This made me smile…I’ve been there so. many. times.

  14. Lindsay says

    I received my copies of graceful last week. So excited to read it and then give to my high school aged sisters. I LOVED gftgg – trying to give myself grace every day. Thank you, Emily!

  15. says

    The resistance never wins with you, Emily. Not in the long run.

    My college girls small group is going to do this book! I can’t wait!!

    Praying for you, sister. You made a mad amount of art this year. Cheers to you.


  16. Claire says

    You are so adorable and have such a sweet spirit. I wish I knew you in person. I teach first grade now (at church, not for a job) but I would love to go through you book with girls. I know it will wonderful.

  17. says

    Oh, Emily, this is great. You made me laugh. And I needed to laugh : ) Thanks for being real.

    I know you’ll get this done and it will be great and wonderful and everything a leader is going to need. Don’t sweat it. You can do this! I’m sure of it!

    Did you ever get the video for Graceful done you were trying to do? I think rain posed a problem on the big day? Is that right? Anyway, I’ve been formulating a post in my head to promote Graceful on my blog and think the video would be a nice touch. Grace for the Good Girl was so encouraging to my heart that I can hardly wait to tell young girls about a book touching on the same subject just for them. It really is an amazing thought that if we can touch these girls early before they get wrapped in their masks and facades . . . well, this you know. You wrote the books : )

    Can’t wait for this to come out! Really, I can’t! I’m excited for you!!!!

    Sweet Blessings,

  18. says

    Honesty presented hilariously.

    Praying you finish the thing (lovely guide) soon.

    Do you know if a homeschool mom talks to herself it’s called a “parent-teacher conference”?
    It is.

  19. says

    As someone who worked in editing Bible studies, I can tell you quite freely that NO ONE writes their own leader guides because it is too painful. Next time let someone else do it. Insist on it in your contract. :)


    • says

      I signed with an agent about six months ago and she told me the same thing. Unfortunately, I got the contract for this book before she came along. So yes, I will never do it again. For sure. I also am not sure I will write another book that would even need a leader guide.

  20. Kimberly Momberger says

    Hi there-just wanted to thank you for putting all the work you have into “Graceful” I have about 8 girls I meet with weekly. We are new to eachother, but amazingly, they are all really about the “stuff” you cover in this small group study. I am so excited to bring it to them and watch the Lord knit our hearts together as they are so willing to share from their hearts. That’s what I love about girls….they love to “share”. Blessings on you, and keep writing!

  21. Jenna says

    Hi :) I’m starting this book tomorrow with 10 junior and senior high girls. I’m stoked! I read Grace for the Good Girl for myself, fell in love, and can’t wait to start Graceful.

  22. says

    Hi Emily,

    I came across your blog today quite randomly. I was looking for more info on stitch fix. Anyway, I kept looking through the blog and discovered that you are a renowned author as well. I am a youth leader of teenage girls at my church as well and have been looking for something inspirational to do with the girls. So I drew up a plan to work through the Graceful guide. Looking forward to starting this with the girls in November. Thank you!

    P.S ordered the book today! Cant wait to read it :)

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