Monday, 9 May 2016

It’s all a bit harder than I thought.

“It’s all a bit harder than I thought.”

I groan when I hear myself say these words.
And not because I have a feeling my editor would point out they're not grammatically correct and I'm using superfluous words.
It's because I find myself using them so often.
It’s a habit of mine to be optimistic and dive into something with great plans, dreaming how wonderful it's going to be.

Then, suddenly I realise there is more work involved than I anticipated. 
I keep trying until it becomes clear I just can't do it.

That's when I turn to my husband and admit it’s beyond me. I don’t have the ability, time or strength to complete the project. I need some help.

And Rob helps.
Every single time.

I do the bulk of the work, but he takes on my vision and shares my dream and I end up with the results I’d hoped for. 
Often better.

Like this doll’s house for my daughter.

I had big ideas when I designed it. I had a grand time working out how impressive it was going to be.

Big ideas ...
Then I got to the hard bit. I started sawing the wood. My wrists – weak and painful from carpal tunnel syndrome – gave out on me. Rob did the cutting.

Next I realised my design for the stairs wasn’t going to work. Rob suggested a simpler way. I had to let go of one aspect of my dream. Even though my spiral staircase was going to be the star of my construction (insert the laughter of hindsight here!).

Simpler but better than I imagined.

And finally it became clear I had made some wrong measurements and the parts didn’t quite fit together. Rob was able to work out where I’d gone wrong and re-size for me.

There were things I didn’t know about working with wood. I didn’t have the skills and my imagined 'raw talent' was not enough. Rob had those skills and passed his knowledge on to me.

If I’d insisted on doing it alone I wouldn’t have finished.
Or maybe I would have, but that might have been worse.

How is your writing journey?

Have you realised it’s 'all a bit harder than you thought'?

You begin your writing journey all excited because writing is the fun bit. There are grand dreams of people loving your writing as much as you enjoy writing.

My amateur attempt at a book cover
But even if you know how to write, you might not know how to find a publisher. Or how to self-publish. How to market. You can’t move forward unless someone helps you.

Perhaps you now understand every author –including you with your God-given manuscript- needs an editor. And your editor points out you need to cut out some of the bits you love. They’re too complicated, the manuscript is too long, some of the bits just don’t fit together properly.

Or maybe it hits you that don’t have the skills required to complete the job. You can’t scrape through with your 'raw talent'. You didn’t know how much you didn’t know until you were right smack, bang in the middle of it.
Working with a professional (spiral staircase version)

It would be easier to give up.
Or barge ahead on your own and decide 'it'll do'.

Please don’t!  You are not alone.

As Christian writers we have God. 
We have each other.

We have sites like this one to encourage one another, share insights, network, develop our skills. (When Rob was seriously unwell a few months back and I thought I might lose him, I came to this site to request prayer. The prayer support and encouragement moved me to tears - thank you everyone. God knew I needed you!)

There are conferences like the Omega Writers’ Conference where you can meet those who can help you; editors, publishers, like-minded authors, those with skills and experience they can pass on to you.

We need each other. Just like I needed a professional elancer and Bookwhispers to do the covers of my self-published books (I've added pictures to show you my book-cover journey and illustrate my point).

Communicating til we're all happy
It is not a sign of weakness to realise you need help, but rather a sign of humility and strength. Because none of us were meant to do it alone.

So if you’re at that point of feeling, ‘It’s all a bit harder than I thought’, take heart. Keep going. Reach out to those who can help and the end results could be different, but far better than you ever imagined.

And the reality is far better than the dream.

Jenny is involved in the Omega Writers' Conference and would love to see you there. To find out more, go to
Jenny loves writing inspirational Christian fiction for young adults. She is the wife of Rob and the mother of Micah, Merridy, Clarity and Amelia. They live in the country town of Gundagai with lots of pets. Jenny is the author of 7 published novels. She is a primary school chaplain, enjoys inspirational speaking, and is passionate about sharing her writing knowledge and experience and encouraging others in their walk with Jesus.
To find out more about her and her books you can go to


  1. Loved your post Jenny and loved all the pictures. That doll's house is awesome. Your daughter will have hours of pleasure with it. I know, because for my 5th birthday, my parents made a dolls house for me. And how I enjoyed it. I'd decided to spend this week in 'retreat' (kind of) to seek God's heart in my writing. And then, God brought another writer from far across the seas to 'join' me. We are geographically far apart but can connect nonetheless - together! No, we don't need to do it alone do we? Thanks for the beautiful reminder. Congratulations on your books. How wonderful to see the whole series! Well done Jenny.

    1. I love how God brings the right people at the right time. May God bring many people into your life to bless and encourage you the way you bless and encourage others! You are one of the people God brought into my life at just the right time to encourage me - I'll never forget the day I first met you at the writers' conference in Brisbane. I went home uplifted because a 'total stranger' (you) had taken the time to understand my heart, to care, to pray with me. Thank you!

  2. Hi Jenny,
    What a true observation! Going through all the steps of book publication can't possibly be a solo journey. And I love your teamwork with Rob. It's a lovely tribute.

    1. Thanks Paula. And you are another person God brought in at just the right time to encourage and help. Thank you for reading my rough manuscripts of the series and encouraging me. Having you, (my author hero) like my writing and encourage me to publish was just what I needed to have the courage to believe God wanted me to go ahead. I thank God for you!

  3. Great post Jenny - so true that we can't do it alone. I love your covers and loved seeing how your original vision was improved and finished as you worked together with the designer. Glad too that Rob pulled through. God is good.

    1. Thanks Jenny. Yes, I am grateful every day I still have Rob! I am also grateful for all those who help me with my books (especially my editor, Lynne Stringer, and Rochelle Manners and the team at Bookwhispers). So many people play a part in the final product and I can see God's loving and wise hand in it all.

  4. Fabulous post, Jenny. Thanks for the reminder, and the inspiration.

    1. Thanks Iola. I've learned a lot from you, too - I went to one of your sessions at a writers' conference many years ago and it opened my eyes! I also love the experience, expertise and inspiration in the posts and comments you add on the Facebook pages. I thank God for you and expect to learn a lot more from you!

  5. Yes, it can definitely be a lot harder than we might be anticipating but we need to push through those hard times.

    1. Not always easy, but always worth it. Thank you for the major part you have played in making my books what they are. Whenever I read your edits and suggestions I always sit back and say 'Ah yes, of course.' I wish I had understood the value of a good editor ten years ago!

  6. Jenny, I totally agree we cannot do it all ourselves. We need God in the equation. Yes I understand the journey you've been on. I began longhand as I couldn't even type. Now I write my books pecking with two fingers. After praying about it, the Lord brought a friend to me who formats my books and set my Indie Press up. BTW, it's wonderful to see that pic of all your published books.

  7. I also began with longhand and know the work involved with that. It does save a lot of time being able to type it directly onto a computer. However, there's a part of me that misses the longhand - there's something more personal about it. Praise God for the help of your friend! I look forward to seeing more of your books out there.

  8. This proves that perseverance and taking advice pays off in the end - the resultant cover is beautiful. Love the way all of your book covers are coordinated!

  9. Glad you like them too. I'm so grateful for the amazing support God provided for me. Well worth taking the advice and persevering!

  10. Good on you for taking on such a creative project as building a doll's house. I loved how you linked that process with writing and teamwork. A very enjoyable post!

    1. I'm trying not to take on too many more projects that are beyond me now - for my husband's sake : ) Glad you enjoyed the post.

  11. Great post Jenny. We all need that kind of encouragement and inspiration - and help. Thank you.

    1. We really do, don't we! I really love some of your covers - particularly the 'Next of Kin' cover. Loved the book, too.

  12. Right there with you. So much I want to do and don't know how, or where, to begin.

    1. It can be exciting but overwhelming, can't it Mazzy? It took me quite a while to learn where to get the help. I'm very happy to direct you to some of the amazing support I've received or to others I know who can help.

  13. Lovely covers!
    Sometimes we just need to let go and try again. :)

  14. We do, don't we. I love the cover of your book, too. Did you get to have a say in it?