An Underwhelming Announcement

So over the last four or five years, I’ve had A LOT OF THOUGHTS as far as writing a book is concerned.

And of all those many thoughts, my most recurring one has been this: I don’t really have an imagination, and I’ve never had an idea for a book, so I’m pretty sure that book-writing is outside my wheelhouse.

Only I probably didn’t use the word “wheelhouse.” Because as far as I know that previous paragraph is the first time I’ve ever used it.

Anyway, writing fiction has never been a remote possibility for me since 1) the aforementioned lack-of-imagination thing and 2) just thinking about it makes me tired. I can barely keep up with the real people in my real life; quite frankly I’m just not that interested in creating some imaginary people and then being responsible for what happens to them. THAT IS A LOT OF WORK, Y’ALL.

Well.

About a year and a half ago I started writing every now and again for HomeLife magazine, and I found that I really enjoyed the longer essay format. Now granted, I still go way over the suggested article length EVERY SINGLE TIME, but it’s been fun – and I think it’s been good for me to stretch a little bit beyond the bloggy stuff that I typically post here.

(Because make no mistake: my usual brand of bloggy nonsense? IT IS MY COMFORT ZONE.)

(It’s ALL UP IN MY WHEELHOUSE, if you will.)

(And yes, that’s totally going to become my new favorite word.)

It was last summer, I guess, when I was cleaning my kitchen and minding my own business and OUT OF NOWHERE a book title popped in my head. I thought the title was sort of funny, so I told Melanie about it the next time we talked, and then we laughed about the fact that it was a shame to have a perfectly good title and no book to go with it. Then, a few months later, another title popped in my head. And then, a couple of months after that, Alex said something on the way to church one night that struck me as SO PROFOUND – and I thought Gosh, that would make a really neat book title.

But I still hadn’t had a single idea for a book. I couldn’t help but think that the whole random-thinking-of-book-titles thing was a little weird, so I started praying about WHAT, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN back in January.

As a Christian I’ve wrestled a little bit about what kind of book I’d write if I ever, you know, wrote one. Since I don’t write devotional-y / Bible study stuff, I’ve always felt like there’s not really a place for me as far as books go. I mean, I don’t really have any perspective to offer anybody. I don’t have a lot of insight into the book of Habbakuk. I’ve never come up with any modern-day analogies that shed new light on the sinful heart of man. I don’t have any business trying to tell people how to be a better wife / be a more patient mama / run a more organized household / trim your grocery budget to $200 a month.

(I mean, I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this, but I’m just a little bit of a trainwreck.)

(In fact, I don’t have a system or a process for anything, really – except maybe for how to get some bacon off of a plate and INTO MY MOUTH.)

But back in February, through the combination of some prayer and a very odd scenario that involved about 15 or 20 birds walking down my driveway (oh, I am not kidding), I got a very loud and clear reminder that every once in awhile people just need to hear a cheerful voice. That reminder encouraged me more than I can tell you. And about a month ago – a couple of nights before the storms hit, in fact – one of those crazy, random book titles popped in my head. Within all of two minutes, I thought, Well, I believe there might be something I could do with that.

So I am.

This is not gonna be some big, major, official book-type production. AT ALL. I’m going to do an ebook – for several reasons. The first is that the prospect of writing a book proposal and query letters and all that stuff completely overwhelms me. Down the road I might not feel that way – but right now? YES. I feel that way. The second is that I would have to crawl under my bed and breathe into a paper sack if I thought any sort of self-promotion was going to be required of me (but I totally understand why self-promotion is necessary when you have a publisher and a contract and sales projections and all that – it’s part of the business).

The third is that there are some Deeply Southern stories that I’ve wanted to tell but haven’t because nobody really wants to read a 4,000-word blog post. The fourth is that I’ve never had a dream of seeing my name on a book cover – but the process of starting and FINISHING something longer than a blog post is very appealing to me. And the fifth is that – well, I don’t really have a fifth. But let’s all pretend that I do. And also smile.

I’ve been going back and forth about mentioning any of this on the blog, but when Melanie and I were talking about it the other day, she said, “I think you should say something – for accountability if nothing else.”

Oh, but she knows me well. As my favorite English professor Dr. Dazey used to say: “Sophie, you are a person who NEEDS A DEADLINE.”

So there you have it. An ebook in the works – for what it’s worth. I’m hoping to finish the first round of the writing part by the end of July, so feel free to bombard me with indignant emails if I don’t. And in the meantime, I’ll be keeping you posted.

Have a great Memorial Day, y’all.

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Comments

  1. nlynch says:

    SOOOO excited! You have a wonderful way with words and your stories always feel like “home” to me! I LOVE our Southern heritage and you do it proud. Can’t wait.

  2. Oh Sophie! I’m SO EXCITED! As a southerner currently stuck northwest of the Mason-Dixon line (Gasp!) I very faithfully read your joyful southern voice every day! You are an amazing voice of encouragement. I can’t wait to e-read your e-book!!

  3. I’m one of those people that needs to hear a cheerful voice! So I’m happy you’ve decided to write an e-book. Plus I’m a Northern girl who has picked up some fun southern sayings from you like “SWEET MERCY!” and “I’m just tickled.” When I say that stuff around here, I get to pass on a bit of the cheerfulness you’ve passed on to me.

  4. Wonderful! I can’t wait! You are a born story teller, and this sounds perfect for you. (Please add London to the international book tour when it happens!!!!) (I can provide the bacon.)

  5. Oh, yes…write please! I am already laughing hysterically just from this post :)

  6. EricaJ says:

    This is so exciting. I’d love to read any style your wheelhouse wants to put out!

  7. I just caught up on your last several posts, and “Us between We” post just nearly put this former high school English teacher over the edge in laughter. I love your writing and I am looking forward to the first installment of this e-book. From one southern girl to another, it will be a ball.
    Furthermore, regarding the way God works in our lives, I too have always wanted to write a book, and I always thought it would be of the Christian self-help variety, though I daresay I am very underqualified to write something of that nature. But…as an adult child of divorce and also dealing with an alcoholic parent, I thought I might have something to offer in how IN THE SAM HILL to handle this all and not go completely insane with fear and doubt about humankind.
    Interestingly enough, I’ve started writing for my small-town newspaper, and oh it is delightful. We are our very own Mitford here (ever read Jan Karon’s Mitford books?) and I have found my niche as the town historian of sorts.
    So.
    This is just to say that my secret writing goals are all topsy-turvy since I’ve found out how much I like the history of things around here, and I am in deep as I drive slowly down our Main Street and peer into all the old buildings – I’m sure people are beginning to think I’m the town crazy. But the old-timers that I interview are simply delightful.
    This long-windedness is just to say that I get what may or may not have gone through your head on this whole book-writing thing, and I say God surprises us in the most surprising ways. And it is always better than we could have thunk it.
    Happy book writing!!!

  8. Sophie. First, I think you’re awesome (not like God is awesome, but still.) Second, you make me snort in laughter (and while it’s not very lady-like, that in itself is funny). Third, I can hear your sweet Southern voice in your writing (you actually sound a lot like my bestfriend bestfriend bestfriend Amy (she’s from North Carolina and has some great Southernisms) and that endears you even more to me!). Fourth, I am so excited to read your ebook and please know that laughter is good medicine. And fifth, well, you know the drill. YAY!

  9. I’m so excited for you!! Will you do an “ebook signing”? I will drive all the way from Sinking Spring, OH to Alabama just for that! Promotional tour? Any excuse just to meet you :)

  10. I can’t wait!!!!!

  11. Julie in Texas says:

    So so so so so so thrilled!!!!!!!! I’ve long thought you should write a book!!

    I haven’t read your entire post yet, even, so don’t know what you’re writing about – that is how excited I am!!

    C.S. Lewis said something like ‘we don’t need more Christian books, we need more Christian authors WRITING books’.

    blessings!!

  12. I am so excited for you girl!

  13. Sign me up for a copy! This is thrilling news to me. You turn an artful phrase and do so in a kind-hearted and humorous way. Hooray for you, Sophie!

  14. Meredith says:

    I CAN’T WAIT!!!

  15. I’m a lot like you. I’ve never really felt led to write a book. My problem is writing longer pieces – not shortening them up. But I know what that “feeling” is when you get a stirring in your heart that needs to come out in the form of written word. This will be a stretching experience for you and one that undoubtedly will have lots of “God moments” in it when you are done. Go for it. :)

  16. Tressa says:

    This might be one of the best things I’ve heard lately. And I’m not even kidding! Cannot wait to read it (and hear the snappy title!)

  17. Alicia says:

    I am so proud of you! I am in awe of your bravery and I love that you are following your heart. You are a wonderful story teller and I so appreciate your Southern charm. I am cheering for you.

  18. Sophie – This has made my day and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought that I wish you would write a book. Your words paint such pictures and I can relate on so many levels, most of them aligning with my Southern heritage. I can hardly wait! I’ve long been a fan and will pray for special favor as you begin this process!

    Psalm 90:17 “May the favor of our Lord God rest upon you and establish the work of your hands, yes, establish the work of your hands.”

    Love you friend,
    GJ

  19. I just got a Nook for an anniversary gift. I do believe I have plenty o’ space for a BooMama original!!

    Triple love the idea!
    And if those thoughts of “that would make a great book title” wasn’t a little nudge from God himself, then I just don’t know what is!

    Good luck–you’ll do great!!

  20. This makes me so happy.

    ;)

  21. Absolutely giddy!!!!!!!!! You go girl!

  22. So, so excited about this, Sophie! I’m sure there is much behind your story that has the Lord’s handprints all over it. As you embark on this journey and start writing by faith, may He give you much peace and direction and joy and creativity!

  23. So excited for you AND us (your readers) about your book!!

    In the meantime, would you mind sharing how you and Melanie know each other?
    I just started reading your blog about 8 or 10 months ago. I read Big Mama too and am sure I found out about one of you from the other’s blog but the pure, unadultered version of how you became friends would be really appreciated. I apologize in advance for being late to the party;-)

  24. Terrie Cash says:

    Excited for us and for you! The end of July can’t come quick enough for us who LOVE reading your blog.

    Terrie

  25. I can’t wait!! Good for you!

  26. anotherlisa says:

    so glad mel encouraged you to share.
    praying for you.
    we have a house in maine, where we stay all summer, as well as the occasional christmas break.
    being with all those northerners, there have been a few adjustments through the years for this SEC-loving tennessee girl who now lives in houston! along the way i’ve introduced friends to your blog, and now my daughters’ yankee friends will come in the cottage and ask “what’s the latest from boomama?”
    most of them aren’t christians, so you are planting seeds and blessing lots and lots, with your stories and love. can’t wait to read more <3

  27. Underwhelming is the MOST WRONGEST WORD IN THE UNIVERSE YOU COULD HAVE CHOSEN for this news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! E-mailing you RIGHT. THIS. MILLISECOND.

    p.s. I think you should write the entire e-book in CAPS.

  28. Donna G says:

    Well. That news just tickles me. BooMama, you make me smile. And give me hope, because I know that I am supposed to write books, but the whole promotion/traveling thing makes me cringe (airport security creeps me out). So maybe I can learn from your experience!

    I like the above quote, about Christians writing books. Cuz I like to read things where I don’t have to skip parts which I have no business exposing my eyeballs to.

    Y’all may not think that Texas is in the South, but we’re darn tootin’ not Northerners or Westerners or Midwesterners, so I dunno what else we could be. At least Southern Living has it straight.

    Oh – your e-book? I’ll confess to ignorance and admit that I have no idea what that is. Do I need to ask the Boss very nicely for an e-reader thingie for Christmas? Cuz I really want to read your book.

  29. I am looking forward to reading it. I enjoy reading your blog.

    You are right about a cheerful voice. I’ve just put down a fairly good book that I am having a hard time reading because it is so darn depressing. I don’t know if I will finish it because I’m getting tired of all the gloom and doom.

  30. Canadian Cathy says:

    I am CANADIAN. CANADIAN born and bred and PROUD. And I would pre-order that Southern book without even knowing the title. You a lot funny, a little neurotic and wear your heart on your sleeve. In my head we are friends, BFF’s if you will. I think your bloggy friends should be allowed to write the “about the author” :) Good luck, I can’t wait!!!

  31. Connie says:

    I think anything you write will be amazing. Looking forward to reading your work.

  32. You just make me smile! I’d love to read anything that you write…can’t wait!

  33. So exciting! Thank you for sharing. I always love a good book!

  34. All I can say….it’s about time!!! I’ve been waiting for you to write a book for years! Can’t wait to read it!

  35. This sounds absolutely fabulous. I’ve got titles bouncing around in my head (& jotted in the notes app on my phone) and I’m in the process of taking the same plunge. I can’t wait to read what you write. :)

  36. This makes me all different types of happy. And also, I love you and your cheerful voice. Please don’t stop spreading it far and wide.

    And if you’re not into self-promotion…well, then, let me promote you!! I’d be glad to do it! :)

  37. “every once in awhile people just need to hear a cheerful voice”. Amen. Your stories bless people. Yay!

  38. Jennifer says:

    Go go go go!!! So proud of you taking this step – can’t wait to read it!

  39. I will happily read ANYTHING you write. You make me smile, laugh, and even snort on a regular basis, so I wait expectantly for what is sure to be a blessing.

  40. Standing up clapping and tickled to pieces! I can’t wait to read it.

  41. Just the other day we were in a hotel lobby where I was waiting for a real coffee cup for breakfast. I turned to the lady next to me and told her that I would wait for a cup because I didn’t really like the taste of coffee in styrofoam. I said,”And I know someone whose mama says that plastic cups burn her lips.”
    So, yes, you are a cheerful voice, one that can tell a good story that apparently sticks. :)

  42. Sarah K says:

    I, for one, cannot wait to read your e-book. I love your writing. Your blog makes my heart smile, and I have no doubt the same will be true of the book. Happy writing.

  43. Love it! I’d read it, or buy it, or download it, or whatever.

  44. Can I just say I totally relate to your I’m not this, but maybe I’m this but I’m not that-ness in your post. I get that. I have it from an artist point of view. And you are not writing an e-book you are writing a “blook”. (blog x book = blook). So enjoy it! There are no you must do it this way, especially if you don’t care if your name is on the cover of a book. Just put out there what’s in your heart.

    I’m up for some deeply southern stories and I laughed so hard at “there are some Deeply Southern stories that I’ve wanted to tell but haven’t because nobody really wants to read a 4,000-word blog post.”

    Just so you know a 4,000 word blog post is a blook.

  45. well, guess i better come out of my “lurking closet” as well and say i’m tickled pink you’re writing a book! hope you have as much fun writing it as i know we’ll have reading it.

  46. Must be something in the air…I’m finally facing my Write a Book Dream too! (http://eslmarriage.com/2011/06/08/dream-big/)

    Excited to read yours :-)

  47. Amen to needing a deadline. Imagine that business in law school.

    I hope you write the book b/c I could just listen-to the podcasts-and read -the way you talk-all day. It’s like coming home for me.