2016. This year was really something. This year, I did not do a good job of managing everything—this blog included. For that, I sincerely apologize. I was doing a lot. At times, I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I couldn’t juggle it all. Then I would feel guilty and beat myself up. But I realize now that, sometimes, you just can’t do it all. Or at least you just can’t do it all well. And I have come to accept that that’s okay…
2007. Nine years ago, I was tasked with carrying a vision that was bigger than myself: I was commissioned to write a children’s book. It was something that I had never done before, but for some reason, the people who sought me out thought I was capable. I worked on that book while I was pursuing my law degree and had gotten to the copy-edit stage (with an expectation to publish in 2012)…
2011. Five years ago, during my articling year (after a long period of silence from the publisher), I found out (in a very roundabout way) that my book deal, along with all others at this publishing house, had been canned because the company had been bought out. So, after a couple of failed attempts to pitch the manuscript to other publishers, I shelved the project.
Maybe I wasn’t a writer, after all, I said to myself.
And, in any case, I had a blossoming legal career that I needed to attend to…
2014. Two years ago, I found myself newly married…and out of work. As the Type-A person that I am, it wasn’t long before I was going half-crazy with nothing (thought-provoking) to do while spending time at home. Until I felt God telling me to “go back to the project”.
God, don’t you know I need a JOB?! Who has time to publish a book?
After wrestling with the idea for months, and with the encouragement and support of my husband, I decided to acquiesce: I went back to my manuscript, updated it, and then fielded it for feedback from some authors and teachers…
2015. A year ago, I made the difficult decision to re-write the book, on the advice of a few of my friends who work in education—who did not hesitate to let me know that “the kids aren’t going to read it” (thank God for real friends who will tell you the truth!)—and I also made the equally difficult (at least for me) decision to self-publish. I then began the process of seeking out the “right” people to help me bring the vision to life, which came with its own set of difficulties and headaches…
2016. This year, nine years later, I gave birth to the vision.
Though I’ve never birthed a child before, I feel like my experience has been what I imagine a pregnant woman must go through (based on the accounts of friends and relatives).
Nine years ago, I was nervous but also curious about what it might mean to write a book. I thought about what it would look in the end and whether people would like it. I knew it was going to be a long process, but I had no idea how long or hard it was going to be.
Sometimes your baby is born earlier than expected, sometimes overdue, but always at his or her appointed time.
During my journey, I learned so many lessons about people and about myself. I’ve learned that others will not care about your vision in the same way that you do. I’ve learned that while it is important to devote your everything to your vision, you also have to take care of yourself given that you are the vessel through which it will enter the world; the healthier you are, the safer the delivery will be.
And then there was the emotional rollercoaster. There were times throughout this process when I was so excited about the potential of what I was carrying; there were other times when didn’t think I was going to make it and was ready to abort it; there were times when I wanted to jump for joy because things were going great; and other times when I wanted to bawl my eyes out in anger and frustration (and I did—several times). And by the time I got to the end of my “gestation period”, if you will, I was completely exhausted and just ready for the vision to finally be birthed.
So, here she is, my first-born child:
What Are You Gonna Do with that Hair? A book by Ndija Anderson-Yantha; Illustrated by Kaela Beals
I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I did. Thank you, Jesus!
If you are carrying a vision of your own, trust and believe that it will come to pass!
If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time (Habakkuk 2:3 MSG).
May you birth great things in 2017 and beyond! Happy New Year!