I’m reading my book.
Not as in, my book of the month, one I pulled off the shelf at the charming but over-priced bookstore on Main Street. (Yes, my town has a true-blue Main Street, that is in fact the main street on which to be).
I’m reading my book.
I’ve finished my novel, you see. At least, I’ve gotten the words down, from start to finish, on paper. The story is there, all laid out in Calibri 10.
It’s the first step of the editing process to the read the book. According to practice, there’s no editing that actually takes place here. You’re supposed to just read, hands off, from cover to cover. I have a little notebook I keep notes in (I’ve been told by all the resources more polished and published than I that this is acceptable).
As I sit down with the same kind of little black binder I used in middle school and open my printed pages to where I left off, I have to admit I don’t feel like reading. It’s a healthy red flag–an indicator that something about this part of my book is lagging.
But I know it’s more than that. I know this part isn’t sexy. There’s nothing ‘gram worthy about sitting around and reading. Hell, there’s hardly the feeling of accomplishment. At least with active editing you can feel the story coming together as you strip her wallpaper and rearrange her side tables and tear up her vinyl flooring. The achiever in me, the same one that dabbles in a love affair with affirmation, struggles.
Still, I have managed to ingest over half my book in as little as a week, carving out time in the margins of motherhood that Ashlee Gadd speaks about so well. It’s been quiet, uncelebrated work, stollen in bits under snowed-in rooves and between the slumbering breaths of babes. It’s the faithful kind work that a younger me would have given up on. And when I think about how I have sat here consistently, day after day, and shown up for the quiet necessity of my work, it makes my recognition-craving heart swell with gratitude. That discipline can be learned, even if it was never something that came naturally packaged into my DNA. That habit exists, and a routine, no matter how banal, will see you through if you can keep up even the simplest faithfulness.
It’s a point that was best summed up by my pastor from his spot on the carpeted little stage this past Sunday. “The stories of faith that come before us show us what is possible: That the race can be run. More importantly, that it can be finished.”
Here’s to finishing, one quietly read page at a time.