Over the years, writing here became exhilarating, calming, necessary for my mental health. If I felt stressed out, I blogged. If I felt confused, I blogged. If I felt sad/happy/depressed/anxious/torn, I sat down at my computer, poured my heart into the keyboard, and hit publish.
This blog became home for me, in a lot of ways.
It's been a wild journey, this writing-on-the-Internet thing. I have been exposed in front of strangers and that has been both terrifying and wonderful. At times it has felt brave. At times it has felt stupid.
But make no mistake at all: it has elicited feelings.
I have grown here. I have grown up here. Undoubtedly, I have learned more about myself through this blog than any other professional endeavor I have pursued up until this point.
I am writing this post quickly. At the coffee shop, I am sitting at the same table where I always sit, drinking the same coffee that I always order and yet, it is different. Because for the past six months or so, I have forgotten how to do this. I have forgotten how to spill, how to allow myself to be free here, how to dump words and not obsess over them. For the past six months I have been a perfectionist. I have agonized over every comma and every word and it has suffocated me.
Two years ago, I had a book idea.
The book was called "Twenty-Something" and it was going to be a collection of essays---things I've learned in my twenties, lessons on marriage and motherhood and friendship and faith. I typed a bunch of words and printed a bunch of papers and stuck them in a white binder and put that binder in my closet.
The binder stayed there for two years. It was in the closet when I got pregnant, and it was in the closet when I launched Coffee + Crumbs. It was actually transferred from one closet to another closet when we moved last summer.
Over the past couple of months, I started thinking about that book idea more and more. I blame my 30th birthday around the corner. Turning 30 feels Big. Saying goodbye to my twenties feels Bigger---worthy of a celebration, a tribute, a book perhaps.
So I decided, one day at 3:27am while I nursed the baby in the rocking chair. I am just going to write this book. Why the hell not? Who is stopping me? I decided I would write the book, and I would self-publish it. And I would launch this book on my 30th birthday, to be released into the world as I bid farewell to one decade and welcomed another.
It was going to be a birthday present to myself.
A lot of my friends are writing books. They have finished manuscripts and book proposals and sample chapters. They know how to write query letters and have lists of dream agents. They know all the proper steps to take and they know all about the process. It's impressive. Really impressive.
I never went down that rabbit hole. Self-publishing has always appealed to me, in the same way that starting a blog has always appealed to me. I love indie artists, I love grassroots, I love organic growth. I love the thrill of starting something from nothing. I love being in complete control of the creative process.
Also? At the risk of sounding self-deprecating (which I do not find to be an attractive attribute), I never thought I could write a book through traditional publishing. Because I never thought I was that good of a writer.
Sure, I was pretty good at writing on the Internet. I can admit that. But writing a book---a real book that you hold in your hands, with an actual cover and dedication page and acknowledgments, a book that is sold in bookstores---that was Too Big. Too far-fetched. That was crazy, outrageous, too difficult, too much work, too impossible for someone like me.
I am one of the biggest dreamers I know, but that dream was off the table.
"No, no," I said, "If I ever write a book, I will self-publish."
Self-publishing is safe. I can sell my own words on my own blog and probably the only people who would read it would be my husband and my parents and my friends and the loyal blog readers who have been here from the beginning. They would probably like it. They would probably think it was worth something.
Two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a publisher.
It said, "Have you ever thought about writing a book?"
A few days ago, a literary agent asked to sign me (and Coffee + Crumbs). We spoke for one hour on the phone and everything just.....clicked. I laid out my entire vision for myself and for Coffee + Crumbs and she said, "I get it."
And suddenly, that dream that felt Too Big wasn't too big anymore. Suddenly, it was on the table, right in front of my face. Maybe this isn't outrageous after all.
Maybe this will happen for me, for us.
Maybe starting this blog was the first leap. And maybe launching Coffee + Crumbs was the second leap. And maybe this? Well. What do they say about the third time being the charm?
Maybe this is the biggest leap of all.
If you've made it to the bottom of this, thank you for being here. There are a lot of people in my life who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, and you might very well be one of those people. If that is you, there are no words to express my truest gratitude.
I should warn you: This is only the beginning. There is a good chance I could fall flat on my face, but I think I'd rather leap and fall than never take the leap.
Here's to writing, to dreaming, to every leap of faith.
May your biggest dream find its way to your table. That's all I've ever wanted for you.