35 Days to 35: Ten Steps Back (7 more days)

I’m not even sure I know how to explain how I feel. I took the above image a few days ago, but I feel like it rings true for me right now. In a small way, I know what that tree feels like. It spent years growing out a beautiful limb, only to have it hacked off at the trunk.

One step forward, ten steps back.

I’m better now, that much I can tell you, and while the heartbreak is familiar, it just doesn’t seem to get easier to bear.

After weeks of work, and the past two days filled with such tediousness I couldn’t even bear to tell you about, I finished everything I could do on my own for the book. All that was left was a citation page that Jillian had agreed to help with, and a tweak for the cover that my friend Josh was going to try and help me with this weekend.

All of a sudden, things were not only on track, they were ahead of schedule. The book looked beautiful. I was incredibly proud. I couldn’t believe it.

I should have known. The very book I’m editing is filled with so many examples of this very thing. When attempting to fix the formatting of the drop caps, Jillian said, “I can’t believe there’s not an easier way.”

I said, “Jillian. You just read the book. When I’m involved, there’s NEVER an easier way.” We shared a nice laugh.

I should have known.

Even though I was missing the citation page, I was feeling so good about my progress, that I decided to create my account with Create Space and upload the book…just to see how it would look.


It was not good. My margins were off, the drop caps were out of place, the dpi of some of the photos were too small, and the fonts that I had chosen were not recognized. Because I edited the book on a Mac and Create Space uses PC based software.

Every bit of the work (besides grammar and revision) that I had spent hours and hours finessing and polishing, was undone. And it will remain as such until I find a way to reformat the pages.

I remembered that my Mac did have the ability to save a copy of a document as a Word file, so I thought that would be a quick fix. It wasn’t. It still did not save any of the formatting.

To ask Rachael or Jillian to come help me was pointless, as I’m still snowed in, with no reprieve in sight. This heartbreak is mine alone to bear.

Because I committed to being completely honest during this process, I will tell you that I quietly stood up from my computer, went into the bathroom and began to cry.

I didn’t even cry when the book contract was returned, so I’m not proud I did it now, but after being snowed in since last weekend, and sitting at the computer working on this for an average of eight to ten hours a day, to have it slip away in a mere moment was a lot to bear.

This was nothing like the complete breakdown I suffered editing No Lost Cause, so for that I’m grateful. It was more of a silent fracture.

I finished crying, stared dumbly into space for a few minutes, and then decided I should do my Bible devotional I brought in the bathroom with me.

My Mom gave me a devotional book for the new year called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. It is written in the style of Jesus speaking directly to the reader with scripture references at the close of the devotion.

I opened to February 19th’s entry and the message hit me so hard the tears sprang back. It read:

“You are feeling weighed down by plethora of problems, both big and small. They seem to require more and more of your attention, but you must not give in to those demands. When the difficulties in your life feel as if they’re closing in on you, break free by spending quality time with Me. You need to remember who I am in all My Power and Glory. Then humbly bring Me your prayers and petitions. Your problems will pale when you view them in Light of My Presence. You can learn to be joyful in Me, your Savior, even in the midst of adverse circumstances. Rely on Me, your strength; I make your feet like the feet of a deer, enabling you to go on the heights.” 

Exodus 3:14; Habakkuk 3:17-18

So. That is what I will do. I will praise God for the privilege of living in a country where I can pursue such seemingly nonsensical dreams such as this. I will start again. I will figure this out. And I will, with God’s help, publish this book by my birthday.

And I will begin that process tomorrow. Tonight is dedicated to more prayer, and a lot of chocolate.

It is for occasions like this that God created such a thing.

Right at 35 days before my 35th birthday, Rachael and I found out that a book we wrote about our experience making our first film “No Lost Cause,” was being returned to us by the publisher after a year of waiting for it to be printed. Instead of wallowing in our collective misery, I committed to blogging every day while I searched for ways to overcome this perceived rejection and obstacle to our goal. I currently also have about three other projects brewing at the same time, and write about the progress of each of them. This is part of that series.

Read the first entry here: https://ashleyraymerbrown.com/2015/01/23/35-days-to-35-dealing-with-rejection/

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