Coffee conversations & approaching seasons.

God is so good. I am so grateful at the way He is working in my life right now.

Last week, as I was brainstorming details for my book tour, I recalled a marketing suggestion my agent made last winter. She recommended that I pair with another YA author for promo events in order to generate more of a “buzz”.

A couple months later my mom told me about a former art student of hers, Caroline George, who was 16-years-old and had recently published a YA dystopian novel. Not long after that I received an email from her. She told me that she found out about me through Facebook and asked if I would be willing to read and review her novel and she would read and review mine.

What’s crazy is that about a week after this we ran into each other at Panera Bread. That was our first time meeting, and the last time we saw each other since earlier this week.

I emailed her last week presenting the idea of us teaming together for a book tour this fall. She loved the idea, so we then arranged a meeting to discuss the details at a coffee shop this past Monday.

10534461_10203061301986770_3625175738867943295_n

However, we spent so long talking about writing that we didn’t exactly talk much on the book tour schedule (lol). Because of that, we decided to arrange another meeting yesterday morning at Starbucks.

I know for a fact this is completely  and100% ordained by God. Caroline and I both share the same passion for writing and for inspiring teenagers to pursue their dreams at a young age (which is what our message is going to be in our book tour). Both of us have sacrificed a normal teen experience in order to write, and both of us don’t have very many friends because of that. (And the ones that we do have do not share the same passion for writing and reading as we do.) This is why meeting each other has been such a blessing for both of us, and I am so looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us in this book tour. =)

10526079_822499924451444_7785776686121507045_n

Stepping Out

This year I’ve been procrastinating going to schools and such to speak, only because I’m not the greatest public speaker in the world. But God has shown me that we’re not supposed to wait until we are completely fearless before we step out. That’s the whole point of faith: Trusting in God, despite the fact that we may be terrified. It’s about being afraid but doing it anyway. And no, it isn’t even about being completely perfect at it before you give it a try; it is about doing it over and over again until you do become great at it.

I am so grateful that God made me an artist. This is another thing Caroline and I discussed this week: how writing is not only a form of expression, but of self-discovery. As we write, we incorporate some of ourselves into our characters; and as we write, we learn. There is so, so much that I love about this craft I could write a book on it. (No pun intended.)

Christ in Me

As I was driving home from Starbucks yesterday, the song “Let Them See You” by Colton Dixon came on the radio. This song basically sums up everything I hope to accomplish in my writing career: for others to see Christ in me. This is why He gave us gifts, so we can use them for His glory and to minister to others. Not so that we may be glorified. I don’t want them to see me; I want them to see Christ in me.

So many times I have resented the fact that God has made me an introvert, as if it were some disability. But I have realized that it’s not–in fact, it’s a blessing. It’s a blessing because I can allow God to shine more easily through me. A loud, outgoing personality isn’t what is going to attract others to me, and I am thankful for that. I want people to be drawn to me because of God’s Spirit. I want to remain quiet, only speaking when He leads me so that His love can be more evident in me.

Another thing God has shown me recently is that these years of not having many friends has prepared me for the ministry He is calling me into. Yes, we are supposed to live life abundantly. However, staying at home when most kids my age were going out with their friends has taught me to enjoy the simplicity of life. Being at home has not only given me a chance to excel in my writing, but to also appreciate the small things in life. I don’t have to have a packed schedule and tons of friends in order to be happy and fulfilled. I have Christ, and He is all that I need. It’s completely about your perspective. There is so much to be thankful for in the every-day, mundane life, and those are the things that I live for.

One last thing: I have been having such fall-fever recently–which I’m trying not to, only because I want to enjoy the summer while it’s here. But I can’t help it. Fall has always been my favorite season, and it’s going to be even better since I will be on a book tour! I can’t wait to wear my favorite layered clothes, go to different coffee shops and try their pumpkin spice lattes, hold book signings, wear my favorite boots. I can’t wait for the leaves to start changing and for there to be a chill in the air. Fall is such a beautiful time of year, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God is allowing this new season of my life to occur during my favorite physical season. =)

Anyway, be sure to check my other blog {Christ is Write} on Wednesday for details on the book tour!

{Sipping on: Italian dark roast; listening to: Ascend the Hill}

Not even a moment of this.

boook

As a writer, I have a tendency to see my life in seasons. I am aware that both the good and painful times can be woven together to create something beautiful. And every moment—whether big or small—will come together to create the bigger picture, the “story”, of my life.

I want to remember these moments. How pointless would it be to read a book and completely forget what happened in the chapter before, the one that lead you to where you are now?

That is why I am beginning this blog: to document every moment of my writing journey from now on.

Yesterday, as I was discussing the details of my book tour with my mom over mochas, I was hit with the realization that I am living my dream. To be honest, I tend to forget this. I often get so caught up in the business of writing that I somehow forget this was what I only dreamt of just five years ago. I don’t take enough moments to stop and take in how far God has brought me.

No, I am not a huge best-selling author. Granted, I’ve only published one book so far.

However, this journey isn’t over yet. In fact, it is only beginning. And I don’t want to miss even a moment of this.

I do have another blog, but I only post writing tips, devotions, and book reviews. Since I am an introvert, I tend to shy away from writing personal posts on Christ is Write.

This blog isn’t going to be as structured as that one. This is going to be more of a journal (hence the notebook background). Because of that, I am not going to edit my posts much, so please excuse any and all grammatical mistakes. =)

IMG_5482.jpg.jpgFor those of you who don’t know me, my name is Tessa. I am a 20-year-old YA novelist of PURPLE MOON, a Selah Award Finalist that was published last fall by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. To read the full story on my journey to publication, click here.

I want to go ahead and make it clear that I am not, in any way, writing to glorify myself. God is the Author of my life. The characters I write should not take pride in who they are since I am the one who crafted them; likewise, I am not going to take the credit for a gift God has given me. Writers are always warned to avoid creating carbon-copy characters. Every character should have their own set of skills, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses. How boring would it be if every book we read had the same protagonist?

Similarly, God has given everyone their own set of strengths, weaknesses, skills, and hobbies. This is what makes us unique. And just like an author pens the fate of their protagonist, God has already penned our future in His book (Psalm 139:16).

Yesterday my mom and I went to Panera Bread to discuss the details of my book tour this fall. While drinking a mocha, I recalled a moment from five years ago when I was also sipping on a mocha and writing what would become the “pre-draft” of Purple Moon. I remember the rush I felt every time I envisioned my story in print. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to be able to create characters, a setting, and a plot that would actually come to life in another’s imagination rather than just my own! That alone was enough to push me to continue writing.

And I am so glad I did.

It has almost been a year since my book has been in print, and to be honest I didn’t do as many events and speaking gigs as I’d hoped I would. I thought it was fear holding me back—which it certainly has been. But now I am realizing that it just hasn’t been God’s timing for me to begin my speaking ministry. I know it is now, though.

So starting this fall, I am going to schools and youth groups to share what God has done in my life and hopefully inspire others to pursue their dreams as well. I want them to know how much God loves them, that He has a specific calling and plan and purpose for their life, that they don’t have to be anyone except themselves. I have such a burning passion to share this with others, and that is how I know that it is God’s will for me to do this, despite the fact that I am introverted. I’ve struggled with speaking in the past, but I know God wants me to step out in faith and trust in Him. He doesn’t want me to rely on my own ability; instead, in my weakness He wants me to rely only on His Strength.

 “Then I said, ‘But Lord God, I don’t know how to speak I am only a boy.’

But the Lord said to me, ‘Don’t say, ‘I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you, and you must say everything I tell you to say. Don’t be afraid of anyone, because I am with you to protect you,’ says the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth. He said to me, ‘See, I am putting my words in your mouth. Today I have put you in charge of nations and kingdoms. You will pull up and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build up and plant.”
~Jeremiah 1:7-19 (NCV)

I know this is what God wants me to do, despite the many times I have tried to convince myself that I am not capable. I am constantly reminded of the story of David and Goliath, the way that David was only a teenager and yet he didn’t even give a second thought to facing the giant, despite his lack of strength. It was His faith in God’s strength that destroyed the giant.

So that is what I am going to have to remind myself as I step out and trust in Him. I am going to focus on God’s strength rather than my weakness.

And to be honest, I am so excited to begin this book tour. I can hardly wait to teach writing to others, minister to them, travel, try out new coffee shops, and to meet new people and hear their stories.

That is why I have started this blog. To record this new journey. Because it is not just the journal of my life as a YA author, it is my journal of embarking on this new adventure: Facing my fears and following God’s will for my life, wherever that may lead. 

So I hope you’ll join me. =)