Annie finished off an email she sent me on January 1st of this year with these 5 words: “2011. We will make art.” I shared those words with you back in January, thinking that one post would be all there was to say about it. But then the art started seeping in from every crack in the wall, from every eye and hand I daily encountered, from every prayer and tree and common meal.
And much like Tuesdays Unwrapped opened my eyes to the hidden gifts in the daily minute, Annie’s email has opened my eyes to the art in the living. It is literally everywhere I look. Sometimes I share what I see here, and sometimes it’s just too much to put into words.
But even in all this talk about art, there have been some heavy and most difficult days. I would never want to give the impression that art is effortless. While seeing the art has been somewhat easy as of late, creating the art has not been. Living the art is one thing, making it has been entirely another.
I have finished one book to be released in September. But I am still working on it, waiting to receive the page proofs so that I can sign off and hand it over with one final period. Even though you can go to Amazon and see it there with it’s cover and it’s finished-looking self, I am still working on it, after a two years.
Meanwhile, I’m half-way through book 2, a book for high school girls similar to Grace for the Good Girl, but unique in style and form and voice. It is due the day book 1 releases. And a year from now, I’ll still be working on it — edits, re-writing, more editing, more re-writing.
Some days I feel like the most blessed girl in the world, the girl who gets to do what she’s always wanted to do and didn’t even know it, the girl who has everything like the humans in The Little Mermaid. But other days? I think I might collapse from the pressure of it all. I signed up for this, I know. But it’s a lot of work, and I think I’m beginning to feel the weight of writing two books back to back.
I’m training myself to be thankful for the deadlines, because the deadlines mean work, and the work means I’m writing, and writing is my art. Still, making art requires discipline, sacrifice, and white-knuckled resolve. And that is any kind of art, not just writing. You have to believe it’s worth it. You have to keep the big picture in mind. You have to know that you love it, that it’s your message, that it’s where your heart beats. If you wonder if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, stop wondering and start working. The work will smoke the motives right out and you’ll know if this is right for you from whatever is left over.
“The book eventually sold about 360,000 copies. It was an incredible outcome for a book that almost didn’t get published. If I had known how much work the publishing process would require—both in writing the manuscript and in promoting the book—I am sure I would not have signed up.”
Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers