Katie Bergman: Life’s Twists and Turns Lead to Great Books

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Katie Bergman; author of  “When Justice Just Is.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Writing my own story was never part of the plan. Then again, I wasn’t planning on winding up vocationally derailed and burned out in a remote Cambodian slum, either.

But maybe it’s in those unexpected places that our greatest narratives are born. It’s when life shakes us and breaks us and takes us to the only place weBerman Mug can find healing in our struggle: by telling our story.

I wrote my book, When Justice Just Is, in the painful aftermath of my devastating burnout on the humanitarian field as a twenty-three-year-old anti-trafficking program manager.  Naturally, I was shocked by the depths of poverty, the pervasiveness of human trafficking, and the normalcy of corruption in Cambodia.  But I was equally disconcerted by the ways my justice organization sometimes operated unjustly—especially with the questionable ways it treated our staff.

My organization glorified martyrdom and demonized having personal boundaries.  It rewarded reckless bravado, promoted sixteen-hour work days, and considered self-care to be selfish. It strove to alleviate poverty while its own CEO traveled by private jet and earned up to $1 million in a single year.

All of this was confusing for me as a young, uncompromising idealist with romanticized notions of justice. I needed space to work through my disillusionment and recover from my burnout. And so, I returned to my home in Canada and decided to do something I hadn’t done in years: I wrote.

Writing about my journey to put the “human” back into “humanitarianism” was as vulnerable as it was comforting; as humbling as it was empowering. Gradually, I started sharing bits and pieces of my writing project with close friends and was surprised by how many people reciprocated by opening up about their own struggles to establish boundaries, confront limits, and implement self-care measures.

That’s when I realized that my writing project was more than a form of cheap therapy for myself.  It was an opportunity to connect with others who were feeling isolated in their purpose-driven pursuits, too.

KBergmanCoverMy project culminated not in the form of a memoir, but as a book of confessions about my own experience of brokenness within a humanitarian context.  Striving to open up an honest dialogue about the trials and triumphs of seeking justice meant surrendering to the difficult but important process of reflecting on some of my more painful memories.  Yet I needed to be vulnerable in my writing in order to start this neglected conversation about confessing brokenness, cultivating joy, and creating space for authenticity, particularly for those in the justice movement or in caregiving positions.

When Justice Just Is explores the messages I needed to hear as a young, burned out program manager overseeing twenty Cambodian staff working in over one hundred villages to prevent human trafficking—when I was wondering if my needs mattered, too.  It’s the book I needed to read when I was convinced it was never okay to have boundaries or to be less than perfect. It’s the solidarity I longed for when I thought I was the only one wrestling with the question: what happens when helping hurts the helper.

My hope is that this book will reach the people whose well has run dry in their efforts to pour all their love, energy, and time on others—and that this book will serve as a reminder that being kind to the world also means being kind to ourselves.

– WBP –

Learn more about Katie and her book, and reach out to her through:

Website: www.WhenJusticeJustIs.com
Facebook: When Justice Just Is
Twitter: @KatieLBergman
Youtube Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Vioa8Jj1o

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Mike Lovett: Living in the Waiting Room

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Mike Lovett; author of “The Country Road Through the Book of Matthew.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today! 

I’ve always known there was an author inside me. lovett mug

There, I said it.

But knowing that fact has never made the ink flow any faster.  I can remember, as a kid, writing short stories.  As a teen, I even managed to win a major writing contest.  In my adult years I became a prolific technical writer for whatever career I was in at the time.  After coming to Christ, I wrote several pamphlets that were used at my church for newcomers to the faith.  But the author in me was never able to write the book that kept stirring inside my soul.

Did I mention that I am also impatient?

I was the kind of kid that couldn’t wait for the next day.  I used to use a razor knife to open my Christmas presents ahead of time to see what I got and then retape them and put them back under the tree.  I would even get in front of my siblings at the dentist’s office because I simply could not stand to wait!

Which brings me back to the problem of writing a book.  Every time I would sit at the keyboard, I expected the book to just start flowing out.  It never did.  I would become frustrated and walk away. But after giving my heart to Christ, I began to understand that things don’t really happen according to our plan.  God’s timing controls this universe, even though we like to play like we have control over what we do.  So even though I thought I was an author, I decided to give my plans up and allow God to show me what it was that He had planned for my life.

Lovett CoverAbout four years ago, I began sharing scriptures on my Facebook page.  Each day, I would post random scriptures to share with my friends.  Soon I began adding a small devotion along with them.  Then I felt that I could reach more people by making a Facebook page that could reach beyond my circle of friends and so I began The Country Road.  About the same time, I was struggling with how to live out Paul’s admonition to Timothy that all of scripture is inspired and useful (2 Tim 3:16) and so I set out to use The Country Road to take those who were following the page sequentially through the New Testament.  After about three years, I paused one day to look back and realized something.  When I wasn’t even trying to, I had written a book!  Not just one, but several.  When I gave up what I wanted and committed to follow God’s plan for my life I received what I had been looking for and so much more!

With The Country Road Through The Book Of Matthew now in print, I look back and see how God worked things through His plan in ways that I never could.  The years that I thought I was spending living in the waiting room, He was spending teaching me and guiding me down a path that lead to this moment.  When I was wondering if I would ever write a book He was clearing the path of obstacles I never knew existed.  And while I was questioning if the paragraph I was writing every day was even worth the effort, He was compiling a series of books that allow the reader to spend time with Him daily as they stroll through the New Testament together.  Even the desire He gave me to use a Christian publisher led me to Westbow, a company that I have come to know holds the same values that I do.

So my advice to new authors is simply this.  If you feel like you have a book inside of you but you can’t manage to put it on paper, try giving it up to God instead.  Follow what He has planned for your life and, if a book is part of it, it will find its way to paper.  If not, He will always have some other way in mind for you to get out the message you have in your heart.  His ways are always better than ours.

I’ve always known there was an author inside me.

There, I said it.

But now I know that the Author inside of me is the Holy Spirit.  And I have discovered that what I once thought of as the waiting room is actually the life that He had planned for me all along.

-WBP-

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.


#FirstCopySelfie – Authors Share That Magical Moment

In February, Michael Bergman posted to his Instagram account an ecstatic shot of himself holding the first copy of his new WestBow Press title, “The Kingdom of Arke.” The photo showed the unfiltered joy that thousands of WestBow Press authors experience each year when they run to their mailboxes and pull out a package containing the culmination of a dream they’ve had for years — becoming a published author.

selfie mike

Michael Bergman, the #FirstCopySelfie “pioneer” shares the moment he held the first copy of his new book, “The Kingdom of Arke.”

Mike’s joy inspired us to call on all other WestBow Press authors to share their own triumphant moments; bringing life to a continuing phenomenon we’re calling the #FirstCopySelfie. Since then, dozens of authors have tweeted or Facebooked their photos, tagged #FirstCopySelfie, and we’ve taken as much joy in seeing and sharing those moments; as those authors felt when they laid eyes on that first published copy of their books.

If you haven’t shared your #FirstCopySelfie, what are you waiting for — we’d love to see it, and share it, today! Simply take a photo, tag it #FirstCopySelfie, and post it directly to the WestBow Press Facebook page or tweet it to us @WestBowPress. If in the excitement of receiving your first copy you forgot to capture that magical moment, grab another copy and your cellphone and re-enact that moment. It’s never too late to celebrate your accomplishment.

And why not take it a step further and put your feelings into words by submitting a 350-650 word guest post to be considered for posting on this blog? Tell us about your publishing journey. What you learned. What you’d like to share with other aspiring authors. A great experience or two that came to be as a result of publishing your book. What inspired you to write your book. How you hope your book will impact readers.

Submissions can be sent as Word documents to kgray at westbowpress dot com; and please attach a photo or two that we might include with your post. If your post makes the blog, it will include a link to your book’s page on the WestBow Press bookstore and be linked to from the WestBow Press homepage.

We love to hear these stories and to share them with readers, authors and others who aspire to publish their books. And that #FirstCopySelfie, those prove that a picture is worth a thousand words!

–  Kevin A. Gray
WestBow Press blog publisher

WBPSelfies1 WBPSelfies2 WBPSelfies3

 

 


John Stahnke & Naomi Jewell: Father & Daughter Bring to Life Story 30 Years in the Making

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Jonathan Stahnke & Naomi Jewell, a father-daughter team who co-authored, “The Blue Feather Escape.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Hello, my name is Jonathan Stahnke, and I am one of the authors of The Blue Feather Escape. Like all books, ours has a very interesting story of how
it came to be. As unbelievable as it sounds, the plot for this book has been in the making for nearly thirty years.First Time

When I was very young, my parents used to take my four siblings and myself camping in San Isabel National Forest. On one of those trips, we went walking along a dirt road and begged my dad for a story. As we walked, Dad invented a story about several orphaned children who lived in a forest and became friends with a mysterious bluebird. This was the first telling of what became known as “The Bluebird Story”, and it wasn’t long before the impromptu tale became a staple on all of our camping trips. I loved the story so much that even after I grew up and started my own family, it lived on as I told it to my children.

Blue FeatherWhen I was about thirty, I decided to develop my dad’s short oral story into a novel, which proved to be a bigger task than I anticipated. I had to do a lot of research and write more than ten drafts. After a few years, though, I discovered that while I am a great story-teller, I’m not a good enough writer to be published. And so I was stuck. But, thankfully, Providence intervened and provided me a much needed co-author, Naomi…

Hi! My name is Naomi Jewell, and I am sixteen years old. Now, it probably seems to you that since I published a novel at such a young age, I must have loved writing my whole life. My fingers must have been born holding a pen, I must have spent my whole childhood making up stories, my parents must have been shocked at my amazing abilities…
Ok, you can stop thinking that now. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth! My poor mom (who has home schooled me my whole life) tried everything she could think of to get me to put ANYTHING on paper. And it worked. Once. In the first grade.authorphoto

But from then until I was about thirteen, I was adamant: writing was pure torture!!! And if it was up to me, that is where the story would have ended. You never would have heard of The Blue Feather Escape. It would have been left on the laptop to live out the rest of its days in silence. But, fortunately, God had a better plan.

It took two years in a homeschool co-op writing class to change my mind. But by the end, I had discovered that God had given me a very unique gift for words. Also right around that time, my dad, Jonathan, was discovering that he didn’t have that gift. As a story teller, he is simply brilliant, more so than I could ever hope to be. But it didn’t take long for us to decide that putting the story – a story I had heard ever since I could remember – into words would be my job.

Fast-forward about ten months and a couple heaps of hard work later, and there we were, opening a box postmarked “Bloomington, IN”. Needless to say, it’s a very unbelievable experience to open a box and find a book inside. Well, not just any book, but a book with your name on it!

Check out Naomi’s blog at http://naomijewell.blogspot.com/ and Like Naomi and John on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JSNaomiJewell/

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length.


Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes