behind the scenes: the truth about why I’m writing on quietness

After the relief of Sunday night, I’m drawn heavily toward my sofa, toward jammies, toward snuggling children and a few weeks off. That time will come, and we’ve done it some. But the schedule is full and mostly, so is my heart.

Tomorrow I fly to Indianapolis to speak at The Influence Conference. We’ll talk about how to uncover hints of our unique design and how beautiful it can be when we dare to be who we really are.

This conference is one reason I’ve wanted to write on listening and quiet – traveling can yank the hush right out of me, and this month I’m doing quite a bit of it.

But there is more, and here is the main reason I’ve needed to write on listening this month.

Two months from today on December 10, my third book is due to my publisher. I know. I haven’t told you I’ve been writing a third book.

I’m writing a third book.

I signed with a literary agent back in February and signed the book contract in July. I’m  just about 30,000 words in. It isn’t only for high school girls or even specifically women.

This book is just for people. I don’t say “good girls” even once.

I’ve wanted to tell you about it, but it just felt like a bit much with the release of Graceful this fall. I’m still figuring out what it means to be an author of books and a writer of a blog.

I’ve mostly kept it to myself – read some books in the way of research, worked quietly on the words, listened long and hard for clarity, voice, and heart.

It took me months to say yes to this book, because do I really want to do this? I know how hard this job is. I know what is required of a writer and her family.

The first two books came as a surprise, packaged together in a way I never expected. The past three years have been consumed with work on them, talk about them, thoughts and heart surrounding that message.

I’m proud of those two books. I hope you’ll still read them if you haven’t yet. I tell my story in them, one I have already lived and am still living in many ways. I wrote them with as much heart and authenticity I could manage at the time. But those books lead up to where life sits now.

This new book? Oh, this new book hurts. I’m digging deep into what it means to live life like a poem instead of a program, a lyric rather than a list. Is it possible? Can life really look like art?

 So I hush. I have to. And I have my sights set on this:

One week from Friday, I’m flying over a thousand miles from home. I’m not speaking at a conference or a retreat. I’m not being paid to go. This one is for me, a trip for my soul to breathe.

I’ll travel alone, but there will be others when I get there. Strangers but not, because in Christ is there really such a thing? There will be a week of listening, of wise teaching, and lots of soul talk.

I will ignore my inbox. But I will still work on the book and continue to type out the words here on quietness and listening.

These kinds of posts are hard for me to write. Your turn.

This is day 10 of 31 Days to Hush. You can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated daily. If you would like to receive these quiet thoughts in your email inbox, subscribe now.


  1. says

    Can’t wait to hear you speak at Influence this weekend. Looking forward to meeting you too! The new book sounds amazing! Great grace to you as you complete it!

  2. says

    Emily, that is so exciting! Your post is so beautiful but really I want to do a loud cheer and be anything but beautiful! So looking forward to the topic!

  3. says

    Living life like a poem instead of a program, a lyric rather than a list. Those words tug at my heart, and I respond with a longing yes. Yes. That is what I want.

    Another book…this makes my heart smile. I am so thankful for how God uses you, Emily. For how He has used you in my own walk. I am praying for you as your write, as you get away, as you travel, as you quiet your heart before Him.

  4. says

    I risk sounding like the queen of know-it-all, but I think I already knew what this third book would be about. I just can’t believe you’re already writing it–I’m so excited! Amazing, is what it is. Can I pre-preorder?

    I’m actually going to be in Indy this weekend but to visit family and participate in the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk with my cutie pie niece. Wish I could sneak over and say hi.

  5. says

    Excellent :) I have yet to buy your books, Emily, but I’ve gotten so many recommendations that you can be sure they’re on my wishlist. Here’s hoping you get some real rest on that trip of yours.

  6. says

    I have never written a book, and yet I know what it is to write words from the raw of your own heart. This book…about living poetry? I want to read it. That’s my heart’s desire. To be a living poem for HIS GLORY.

    Thank you for writing this. <3

  7. Jill Hamilton says

    I have wanted to ask when the next book comes out but didn’t want to scare you. :) So glad to hear it is reality.

    Read this today and thought of you: “Logic will get you from A to Z; Imagination will get you Everywhere.” Albert Einstein.

    Safe travels, friend.

  8. says

    Bravo! I’m excited to read your third book, Emily. We need your words. Thank you for pouring out your heart like this. I’m only beginning to understand what this costs a person. May you be blessed in your time away.

    If you have time, I thought you might enjoy this beautiful piece by Michelle DeRusha. She posted it today here:

    Michelle writes about “acoustic ecologist” Gordon Hempton, an Emmy Award-winning documentary sound recordist who cares about quiet. This man’s whole mission is the preservation of quiet.

  9. says

    Living poems and art and life and wholeheartedness in Christ – oh Emily. This is what I draw from this space, from your writing, and so a book about it? By you? Celebrating with you and so excited!

  10. says

    I so appreciate your openness, transparency, and honesty. You always say the words in such a brilliant, wise way… even when you don’t feel like the words are flowing well. You have a wit and wisdom about you that is just beautiful and lovely.

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now (I think – man where has time gone?!) but I don’t post comments super often. I just really am delighted all the time to read your posts and see what is stirring up in your heart. I love the way you write, how real you are, and how in love with Jesus you are.

    I also work for a small Christian publisher, so I understand the behind-the-scenes work pouring into writing a book, this side of working with authors, and understand the pressures and fears that go into it, not as a writer, but as an editor. If ever you need to talk or seek advice from this angle, I’m always here, ready to listen and help in any way that I can.

    I’m soooooo incredibly excited for this 3rd book of yours!! I’ve been tremendously excited for your past two and I still can’t believe I haven’t managed to grab a copy of either of them yet! {*hangs head in shame*} But know that I’m excited for when I do get to read them and I look forward to reading more about where your heart is at and how God has brought you to where you are at now. Praying for you as you travel, seek quiet, as you write, and as you let God speak through you in powerful new ways. Continue to let him use you as a vessel, that you will be molded & shaped into who he wants you to be, and that he will take what you pour out and multiply it to the ends of the earth – for his kingdom and his great glory!!

    • says

      P.S. Since you don’t know me and my sarcasm, I am realizing I should clarify that the *hangs head in shame* was meant to be humorous, but is also because I reallyyyy want to read them and am mad at myself for not having gotten around to it yet. I don’t actually think you’re offended I haven’t read them yet, LOL. 😉 I know from your posts that you aren’t like that thankfully – because I’ve met a few authors who are like that! So thankful for you!!! :)

  11. says

    Emily, I am SO excited for you AND the 3rd book! “What it means to live life like a poem instead of a program, a lyric rather than a list” sounds amazing. Seriously. Praying that your time away next week provides strength and insights and the spark you need to write more and write well. My husband’s a writer and, whew!, it takes a lot out of you! But for the good of you and so many. God already knows and has big plans for what you will write, so let it flow! He’s got you covered. And so do we 😉

    In your corner cheering & praying you on,

  12. says

    Yes, Emily. Life is a poem. A lyric. Beauty abounds. I see this poem, this lyric, this beauty in all you do. Why? Because you do listen. You do hear, moreover, allow yourself to be guided by this voice of God.
    What is God, after all, nothing other than this poem. this lyric. this beauty. this you.
    Here is to the magnificent expression coming forth effortlessly. Easily. As you allow the Omniscient One to guide, guard and govern you! Rest in this truth. Enjoy this book!

  13. says

    And as usual you are in my bathtub. *grin* I am looking forward to promoting the HECK out of your new book, Em, since I suspect I may never write mine now. I can’t wait to read you. Love you so much.

  14. says

    Oh, wow, Emily! This is huge and lovely- the way that you quietly bring honor to Jesus is such a beautiful challenge to me. Thank you! And praying that God will continue to fill you with Himself!

  15. says

    You made my week. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m so attracted to the beauty of creating and art, bringing order out of chaos to reflect the Creator of it all.

  16. says

    Do you know how often I tear up when I think about how much I love you?

    I’m more than slightly ridiculous, I know. But it’s true nonetheless.

    Praying for you as always, dearest. Your words, your quiet, your soul, YOU ~ all the biggest gift.

  17. says

    Beautiful, beautiful honesty. I want all three of your books, and now. :) I think I’ll start on the first two as soon as this 31 day challenge is over. Thanks for your humble window into the life of a writer hoping to glorify God with her craft. Jesus does sweet things in the humble, and I see it in you.

  18. says

    I just finished reading “Grace for the Good Girl” and it really spoke to me. As I finished it last week and read the final chapter my eyes welled up with tears. You were able to speak what I needed to hear: “To accept the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected things in our days, knowing that God sees them and has an eternal perspective, is to say with confidence ‘I receive your timing. I accept that you know so I don’t have to. Even when it all goes wrong'” – so thank you! That book will be one that I will re-read many times – I already told my husband that I can’t wait to read it again.

    Definitely looking forward to hearing what God has you share with the rest of us in your next book!

  19. says

    I’m looking forward to reading this new book! :)

    I also lovelovelove how you say “yes” to God and “yes” to listening…it is motivating and encouraging my heart to do more of the same.

    I hope you have a peaceful and productive trip Emily <3

  20. Kelli says

    I keep being drawn back to your blog by your words that make me know beyond doubt we’d be such good friends if we lived in the same town. The idea of living life like a poem…. YES!! I am working that one out in my head right now… Loved your books, shared with my oldest college age good girl daughter. Stumbled onto your fathers blog yesterday. Oh girl, we have so much in common. Keep hushing and stilling and listening, and reminding me to do the same.

  21. says

    So, my fell open at your news and gave me some courage actually. You are such an inspiration. Can’t wait to read the next one. And praying you fill up with all that is holy and good on your trip away.

  22. Dorothy says

    Emily, I’m so excited for you and the journey as an author! God has gifted you as a writer and I love how you are embracing the task to communicate to so many. May God richly bless you as you quietly listen in the hustle and busyness of this world.

  23. says

    I’m so excited to hear about your third book! It sounds like it’ll be right up my alley. I understand about needing to quiet yourself during this season. Self-care is of utmost importance so you do whatever you need to do.

    Hope to say hi to you at Influence. I’ll be there Friday night and Saturday.

  24. says

    Oh how I love the idea of “living life like a poem instead of a program, a lyric rather than a list.” That is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait to read it!

  25. says



    You have given so much with your books. God is with you on this journey. Remember “For He Shall Give His Angels Charge Over Thee, To Keep Thee In All Thy Ways. They Shall Bear Thee Up In Their Hands, Lest Thou Dash Thy Foot Against A Stone.” Psalm 91, v. 11 – 12

  26. says

    I am SO.GLAD. to read this. I suspected another book might be coming and am glad it’s one that will reach deeper and wider. You have the gift, Emily. The real deal. And may you be blessed in your journey of 1000 miles. Sounds like a retreat center of some kind – I hope it truly is a place of retreat, refreshing, and enlivening for you after the big push for this latest book launch. Blessing upon blessing.

  27. says

    Saying a prayer for you right now, Emily!

    That is wonderful about your new book, I pray God continually… and I mean continually… blesses you with an awareness of His presence!

    I pray that is the loving, gentle, beautiful, truly awesome way you are hushed… by His presence.

  28. Lisa says

    Yeah! Congrats and all that jazz! Looking forward to more of your words – both in blog and print form. Thanks for sharing your heart, your soul, your time, and your family with us, your dear readers.

  29. Tricia says

    I’m so excited that you’re writing another book – I love this concept, the topic of your next book! You are one of my favorite writers – your words touch my heart. I’m praying for you.

  30. says

    Thank you for writing and signing up to write more. I finally finished “Grace for the Good Girl” this morning, and I was so blessed by your story. Thank you for being an instrument for the Lord.

  31. says

    Oh my word Emily I am excited that you are writing another book! But you must be SPENT! So glad you are taking time to rest soon – sounds like a retreat of sorts. A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days next to a river in a canyon deep in Texas Hill country, and it was so, so restorative. I hope the same for you.

    {I was going to send you the link to this really cool guy I discovered recently who works to preserve natural quiet and has founded One Square Inch of Silence. I thought of you and this series immediately when I read about him. But then I didn’t want you to think I was oogily self-promoting, so I didn’t send it…and now I see Jennifer Dukes Lee has linked to my blog post about it here today, so that is kind of cool!}

  32. says

    “This new book? Oh, this new book hurts. I’m digging deep into what it means to live life like a poem instead of a program, a lyric rather than a list. Is it possible? Can life really look like art?”

    Oh my goodness. That is beautiful.

    It’s absolutely ok to ignore your inbox, too. I remember Neil Gaiman saying that he doesn’t answer all his fan emails anymore, because he was starting to feel like someone who answered emails for a living, and wrote for a hobby.

  33. says

    that’s so amazing, emily-so happy for you! totally curious about the trip, but even if i never know, so glad you are giving your soul that time & space it needs to breathe.

  34. Tammy LeGlue says

    Emily, Can’t wait to read the new book. As someone who writes poetry, this line tugged at me, “what it means to live life like a poem instead of a program, a lyric rather than a list.” It did so because I have learned that when God has me write something in poetry, it’s because He either has had me live it, or is about to expand it in my life – to have me live it deeper, fuller, stronger than I have in the past. Praying for you!

  35. Jeaneene says

    I am a writer, too. I know how hard it can be when you have something to say, but the sorting, refining process is overwhelming. I hope your retreat is just that. A retreat. But not away from something or someone, but TO Someone. God bless.

  36. says

    This is so exciting! Praying that your time away is refreshing and just the sort of hush that you need. May you hear the voice of God and sense His presence in a new way.

  37. says

    1. another book? yes please.
    2. I’m loving this series of yours. LOVING!!! I feel like you’re getting so real and so true and so simple.
    3. have fun at your conference.

  38. says

    Emily so many of your beautiful words speak right to my heart and in this blog I loved where you wrote “what it means to live life like a poem instead of a program, a lyric rather than a list. Is it possible? Can life really look like art?”. Deep down I believe it can but for a long time I have felt it is the realm of authors, fashion designers, artists, muscians and glamorous people to think and talk like this. Can life look like art for an ordinary country housewife with two little children? Yes it sure can but the challenge is to make it happen and live it with authenticity and confidence. Maybe your new book will help me to do this. Love your work, thank you for being courageous and for being you.

  39. Rebecca Sarine says

    Thank you for your writing. I don’t always have a lot to say therefore I don’t comment everyday. But your words are helpful, soothing, encouraging, and lovely. Your are beautiful.

    Another book!!! yay! I am looking forward to it.


  40. says

    This writing for 31 days straight is hard, period… but you have a knack for helping others feel brave. So here I am. :)

    Congratulations on the new book! Enjoy it!
    You deserve your break. Breathe it in and savor it. <3

  41. says

    Oh, EMILY. I am so glad for you. And glad for us to know you.

    A third book? A whirlwind, that’s what you’ve been in. I’m so happy that you’re getting this week of retreat. I hope it’s full of goodness and light and lots and lots of room for your soul to breathe–room for you to focus on the art of living with God and reflecting his glory in your own art.

    You are wonderful. You are blessed. You are loved. You are appreciated. Thank you.

  42. Fly Mom says

    I just started reading grace for the good girl. I’m amazed at those who can pour their hearts out on paper. I prefer to be funny because I’m not sure I’m ready to go there yet. Blessings and prayers for your new book!

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