On Writing a Book and Making Friends

Sometimes I get a little bummed that I haven’t been offered a book contract yet. Editors at a couple of my dream publishing houses have taken interest in my proposal, but they’ve not been able to convince their teams to take on the project. My agent, Karen Neumair, is awesome and I’m still over the moon that she is working with me to make Life Reconstructed (tentative title) become a reality.  But rejections can be deflating, and the waiting is hard. On particularly frustrating days, I wonder what in the world I’m even doing.

But a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with a lovely woman who is roughly my age and in the exact same spot that I was in three years ago. (In fact, her surgery date was on February 25, same as mine.) Talking about her diagnosis and upcoming surgery over a bowl of soup and a salad stirred up those feelings of fear, uncertainty and anxiousness that permeated so many of my waking moments after my diagnosis. I prayed as I sat there that I could be a small bit of encouragement in the very crappy place she found herself in. I left that restaurant thinking, “If I’d never had breast cancer, I would’ve missed out on the opportunity to meet Angelia. And I think she might become a friend.”

I am oh so hopeful that I will be able to complete my book with the support of experts at a publishing house who are skilled in the particulars of book writing. I long for professionally trained editors to read my words and work with me to make my book the best it can be. But just like I couldn’t make the cool kids pick me for kickball at recess, I can’t make a publisher pick me either. I can only research and interview and write and edit and write and edit and write and edit… and wait and hope. The “if and when” of this book being picked up is out of my hands.

What is not out of my hands is the ability to reach out to women who are on a dark road that I’ve walked. So I will keep waking up each day available and ready to be a friend and a resource to whomever God brings to my front door. Or my email inbox. Or my Facebook page. And I have a feeling that down the road when Angelia is on the other side of this hard hard season, I’ll be able to sit across from her at a coffee shop somewhere and connect in a way only women who’ve lost their breasts can connect.

God isn’t making this writing life easy for me. From the million hours I spent writing my 40-page book proposal, to the query letters to the one-sheets to the proposal rewrites, to pitching my book at writer’s conferences, to finally landing a fantastic literary agent was a lot of work. And the hard work continues as we work toward receiving a contract from a publishing house.

But in the hard work and the frustration, there is joy and hope. Joy that God gave me a ministry I didn’t even ask for (no one in their right mind would ever ask for this…) and hope that He will allow me to keep reaching out and encouraging other women.

(There’s also the hope that a book contract with arrive in my inbox. If you happen to be within a 20 mile radius of Huxley, Iowa when that happens, you will probably hear my screams of joy.)

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.

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