The Most Difficult 100 Pages I Have Ever Written
The final installment of The Revolutionary Series is now available on Kindle.
I can honestly say, without a doubt, that this ebook was the most difficult that I have ever written.
It wasn't because of the storyline. It’d been in my head for nearly two years. I knew exactly what was going to happen and how it was going to happen.
It wasn’t the characters, either. I knew them all. Aspects of their histories are jotted down in the countless cute notebooks I’ve habitually purchase from TJ Maxx. Even now, after the final portion of their story has been released for the world to read, they still sit with me.
For a while I wondered if the actual writing was what had me at a standstill. For the first time I was writing in third person. I’d been told repeatedly by several authors that it would be easier and I would be more productive. (Not true. Going back to first person. It works for me. 🙂)
Then I realized it was the actual story. Writing about a young woman who unknowingly entered a cult tapped into emotions I didn’t know I still had. I couldn’t write this story because the parallels to my own were unsettling.
My story isn’t exactly like Amanda’s. I didn’t lose my husband to an IED explosion in Iraq. My mother’s not a raging alcoholic. Nor do I have children.
But I have been wounded by the church. Several times. I would have to use more than one hand to count the number of times I’ve been abused spiritually. The disappointment and victim blaming was crushing. But I thought I’d gotten over it. Surely all of the prayers, counseling, and journal writing had healed the hurt of my past. Right?
Yes, it helped. But I still have work to do. Maybe birthing The Revolutionary was only part of my process.
Emotionally, I wasn’t ready to write this story. I denied it for weeks, but I knew it was true and I hated it. How could I break one of the rules I’m constantly telling aspiring writers who want to write their painful life stories? “Don’t write it unless you're ready.” After all these years I was still making rookie mistakes.
I can’t count the number of times I forced myself to write through the tears that spilled onto my notebook, even if it was only to produce a single paragraph. Those were the nights I was brave. More often than not I had to stop writing all together just to hold on to the peace I fought so hard to receive. This book took me there. Things I’d forgotten about came back to the forefront of my mind. I got angry all over again. Sometimes I doubted if I was even called to write anymore. How could I be a Christian writer if I had all of this turmoil inside of me?
I wondered, for a while, if I should just scrap the entire series and lock it away. My future children could find it one day and wonder what in the world happened to make me go to such a dark place. I have, after all, written six full-length novels. That’s enough, right? They’re still selling, which is a blessing in itself. Maybe my work is done.
But then this video came across my Facebook feed. (Watch with caution. It’s brutal).
Now, I don’t know what language is being spoken in the video, nor do I know why some of the people in it are blindfolded, but after seeing it I knew I had to finish the series. This was Amanda, being attacked viciously, with no one intervening on her behalf. I counted twenty-six slaps. Amanda got twenty-three in a situation similar to this one.
I had to finish telling her story. I couldn’t let her, or the countless others out there in similar situations down. I had to be their voice.
I had to finish the series because I knew someone out there was experiencing spiritual abuse. Someone somewhere was being manipulated under the deceit of religious obedience. Someone was being trained not to think for themselves or make their own decisions. Someone was being assaulted and bullied into silence. Someone was being sexually harassed and told they brought it on themselves because they were the one who wore a dress to church. (Yes. That actually happened to me.) Someone was labeled a witch just because they didn’t agree with the pastor. Someone was being taught not to stand up for the mistreatment of others.
Someone went to church to find God and left traumatized.
So I wrote. I pushed through my feelings and got it done. It took me nearly a year, but I got it done.
Now I can relax a little bit (I think) and sincerely apologize to my faithful reader friends who waited for so long for this book to be released. Your patience and continued support means everything to me. I really wanted to give this book to you sooner. I tried really hard, but I just wasn’t ready.