For the past several months, I have mentioned here and there that I’ve been working on various projects – writing, working on my house, and doing photo shoots. These smaller projects are all a part of one big project. This project hasn’t been a secret one, but I wanted to wait to announce it until I was a little further along in the process.
Here’s the big news…
I wrote a book!
Well, more accurately, I’m in the process of writing a book. I wrote the complete manuscript and took hundreds of photos and turned them all in to start the editing and layout process a couple of weeks ago. There is still a lot of work to do, but the heart of the work is complete.
So, let me rewind a bit and tell you the story of how this came about…
I have written a book before, Inspired You, published back in 2012. I have always been very proud of that book and was even nominated for an ECPA award in the category of best new author. The book was a learning experience and it pushed me creatively more than any other project. I felt exhausted when I finished it and didn’t think I would have another book in me for a long time. Maybe ever. Over the years, I have felt a small pull to write other books and have all sorts of folders on my computer dedicated to ideas, but none of my ideas ever formulated enough to materialize into another full-scale book.
About three years ago, I started to feel the itch to write a book again. I started dusting off some of my idea folders and decided I wanted to work with a literary agent this time. I was referred to Jenni Burke of Illuminate Literary Agency, who works with a few of my published friends – Myquillyn Smith, Tsh Oxenreider, and Emily Lex. It was the best decision I made. Jenni helped me refine my ideas and put together a quality proposal and four complete chapters of the book. All of that work done in advance helped me clarify and solidify my ideas, so any publisher who picked up the project would have a clear sense of who I am and what I wanted to say in this book.
The heart of this book was inspired by you, my readers. When I moved to Minnesota, I felt a certain amount of disappointment when we bought a 13-year-old suburban home. While it was a beautiful house that was perfectly situated for my family and business, it wasn’t the old house I wanted and I assumed it would make for boring blog content. It wouldn’t be the charming old farmhouse I dreamed of fixing up, which would be rewarding to do and fun to share. Who wants to follow the makeover of a pretty typical suburban four-square, beige house? The feedback I received from my readers showed me my assumptions were completely wrong. My home is a lot like their home and the journey of customizing my boring, beige house was relatable.
That became the story I wanted to tell – a story of injecting character and uniqueness into a home that was designed for broad appeal and to be as neutral as possible. And it got a lot of serious attention from publishers, which is always a strong start for a book! I’m excited to share that the publisher I’m working with is the Worthy Publishing imprint of Hachette Book Group. They have been absolutely amazing to work with. They have respected my vision for the book while challenging me to make it better.
So, over the past few months, I’ve been writing almost every day, completing projects in my home to feature in the book, and doing photoshoots in my home as well as a couple of beautiful local homes. It has been a massive amount of work, but I feel like it’s some of the best work I’ve ever done. It was also one of those massive projects that came easily and seemed to perpetuate energy instead of sap it. Creating this book was a joy-filled process and I have been so happy and fulfilled while working on it. I’m already filling up new idea folders for possible future books! I am so proud of it and can’t wait until it’s edited, refined, printed, and available for you to purchase. That will be in the fall of 2021, so we both have a little while to wait!
Until then, I am going to be keeping some projects and completed rooms under wraps, but I will share a few sneak peeks and previews. It’s important to me that the photos and content feel fresh, even to my regular readers. I think you’ll appreciate that when you finally get to flip through the book and see completed rooms and projects for the first time.
A few years ago, I realized I was breezing through accomplishments, successes, and experiences without much pause for celebration. I was just always onto the next thing. Since that realization, I have tried to be intentional about celebrating. I have wanted a functioning antique typewriter for a while, so I decided that would be the way I would celebrate. A typewriter seems like a fitting way to celebrate a book contract, don’t you think? It would be something I could keep and enjoy for decades as a physical reminder of this experience.
I finally found my typewriter a few weeks ago… a 1932 portable Underwood typewriter, refurbished by a sweet couple in Nice, France.
It is the dreamiest shade of green with beautiful white and silver keys. I am still painfully slow at typing on it, but I have enjoyed every minute of clacking away.
In closing, I just want to say thank you! Thank you for coaxing this idea out of me by your encouraging comments that proved my assumptions wrong.
I would not have written this book without you.