This morning, about ten of us will gather at the Starbucks just down the street. I will get my soy chai and I will nervously massage the handle of the mug.

Because I’m nervous.

We are gathering, this little crew of 10ish folks, to talk about writing. It so happened that as I got to know the crowd at Crossroads Edinburgh, it ends up that many of the folks like to write. Or read. Or talk about writing. Or talk about reading.

So we scheduled today to get together and do just that- talk about writing and faith and where they meet and how they can intersect.

And, if time allows, I may read the first chapter of my next book.

EEEEEEK.

It’s ridiculous for me to be nervous- and if I had any brains at all, I would take my copy of From Head To Foot and just read from that. It is already in enough hands on this earth to make it impossible for me to feel embarrassed about any of it. [Except the story on pages 61-62. I actually am still a little embarrassed about that.]

But reading from a book that is already published to people who already love me? That takes zero guts.

Exposing my writing to the world for the first time takes a lot of guts [for me, at least]. It could be really crappy. I’m not sure. And until another human reads it, I won’t know.

I bet a lot of authors feel this way. I know some that do. There’s a little circle of us at (in)courage who write books. And we’ll send timid emails with tiny word documents attached saying things like, “be nice- you are the first eyes to see this.” Because it is scary to write and then let other people see it.

It is a piece of you, an inside look at the heart of the author; and the first time that heart spot is exposed, it makes the author recoil a bit. Each time gets a little easier, until books are on shelves and people email about that story on pages 61-62 and I can laugh it off.

Even last night, Donald Miller tweeted this:

“Every time I write a book, I have to remind myself that all I have to worry about now is the next paragraph.”

So even totes profesh authors have worries in the writing process. Huh. Makes me feel a bit better, I’ll have to say.

But I’m not the only one nervous at Starbucks today. First time writers will bring their poems, fiction pieces, and who-knows-what, and with fear at their backs, they will read to us.

I’ll probably tear up over the beautiful words and the brave hearts that wrote them. Because those writers will put their work, and their courage, on display.

To write is to quietly cultivate a garden to perfection and then give the world unlimited access, with their gentle petal-loving hands or their heavy flower smashing boots.

Even though this career requires that risk, I plan to work in the garden every day for the rest of my life.

And you are welcome. [Just don’t wear boots. Okay? Okay. 🙂 ]

. . . . .

We have a super fun giveaway today – involving WORDS and COURAGE – and it is open until MONDAY MORNING!

Kathleen from Printable Scripture is offering today’s winner a $31 voucher to her store. I personally would go for this one. Obviously.

But if you win the $31 voucher, you can have whatever you want!!

And for the rest of us, you get 31% off your order until October 31! [See what she did there?] Wowsers, right? Just use the code ANNIEBLOGS2011 when you check out at Printable Scripture.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us your favorite author!

[You cannot say Annie Downs… seriously. Don’t. I’ll punch you right in the email address.]

You have until I wake up Monday morning [around 8am Scotland time, 3am EDT, 2am CDT, midnight PDT] to enter.

Happy Saturday… now, who is your favorite author? 🙂