Dear Bloom Book Club (and every other reader of Let’s All Be Brave)

on November 13, 2014 in (in)courage, Let's All Be Brave with 8 comments by

bloomthanks

The Bloom Book Club officially ends today.

Over the last month and a half or so, hundreds of women across the internet have been reading Let’s All Be Brave together, discussing it on Facebook and on the Bloom Book Club page, and watching videos where I sat on my red couch and talked about my book with two friends.

Today, many of those women are going to write about their experience with Bloom and Let’s All Be Brave, so I thought I’d throw a post in the link-up as well. And if I can do this without crying, it shall be my greatest victory this week.

(And while I am directing this at the Bloom Book Club members, it’s honestly how I feel about every one of you who has taken time to read Let’s All Be Brave. So, it’s for you, too.)


 

Dear Bloom Book Club friends,

The day I turned in Let’s All Be Brave to my editor was one of the most depressing days of my life. I had read the manuscript over and over again, I knew I had worked very very hard on it, but it wasn’t great. Seriously. It wasn’t. And it broke my heart. I knew what God has placed in me to share, I knew what I dreamed that He could do with it, but I had just emailed off a 200+ page document that was mediocre writing AND emotionally expensive.

(This is why we have editors, y’all. Because my editor and I worked and worked and worked until this book was better than mediocre.)

I just prayed that God would use it, somehow, this book I had long dreamed of.

Even once the book was finished and ready to be printed, I wasn’t sure what you would think. Memoir writing from a 34 year old single gal can be a bit of an eye-roll and can flop and I was scared. So scared. Especially the day before it released.

And then it released, and most of you liked it. And you emailed me. And you told me what God had done in your heart when reading the book and every email is salve on my heart. For real.

And then Bloom Book Club.

And then I get to meet with hundreds of women online for the last few months and hear as they discuss the things they are wrestling with and feeling challenged by and I just put my hand over my heart and I tell God that I can’t believe He lets me be a part of your story and I thank Him that He took my mediocre writing and spun it around into a special thing that matters to some people on this planet.

Friend, thank you for being a part of the Bloom Book Club. Thank you for being excited when they picked Let’s All Be Brave and thank you for reading along. Thank you for your comments and your emails, for the things you like about the book AND the things that rubbed you the wrong way, and for turning the next page until we said goodbye at the end.

I guess I just want you to know that on the other side of this screen, on the other side of the book club, on the other side of the words on a page, sits an author who is so deeply grateful for this opportunity, for the friendships forged in this season, and for every.single.email, every.single.kind.word, every.single.page.read.

Thank you so much, sweet reader friends. You have healed me.

I am braver because of you.

. . . . .

(And to the Bloom Book Club staff- Jess and Ang, Robin, Saul, Crystal, Sally, and any others that had a hand in this- THANK YOU for trusting me with your people and believing in the words I write. The time and effort and moola you put in to see this book club through to the end is such a gift to me and I love you each to pieces.)


 

To keep you updated: minimal tears, just misty, really. So today’s blog post wasn’t near as weepy as I expected.

Huzzah! 🙂


 

8 comments

  1. posted on Nov 13, 2014 at 6:53 AM  |  reply

    Dearest Annie,

    While I wrote and wrote for 31 Days of Writing, your book helped me be brave enough to go the course. And while I didn’t participate online, except for the first session and the last 3, I kept up with reading and watching the videos. Every. single. one. resonated in my heart and seeds of courage sprouted in my heart.

    Last night, at my small group, we studied Psalm 69. Our church is doing a series called In the Midst–based on 5 Psalms and focusing on the deepest lamentations of our hearts and souls while we are in the midst of pain, suffering, confusion and how–even when we don’t see Him–God is right there. As we talked about Jesus last night, I read parts of your chapter “Jesus” to the group. It was the perfect illustration of how Jesus Himself stood in the midst.

    Your book, your words, your heart, were a gift. And it is a gift that will linger and become a reference whenever I need encouragement to be brave. Which, as you know, will be every day.

    Thank you for being brave enough to write. Thank you for being brave enough to tell your story by talking to Angie and Jessica.

    Debbie Putman

  2. Pat S.
    posted on Nov 13, 2014 at 8:05 AM  |  reply

    No, Annie. Thank you. It was an amazing book and you are an amazing communicator. Keep ’em coming.

  3. posted on Nov 13, 2014 at 8:14 AM  |  reply

    Sweet Annie, good morning to a heart that is so open an genuine. For doing one of the most brave things this world contains: sharing your honest self with even one person – and you’ve done it with thousands.

    I wanted to post on my blog, get the thoughts out as best as I could and dream on page and be honest about my lack of dream-effort on page. I should have done what the dedicated bloggers do and write days before and just schedule it’s effortless release the morning of.
    ….but I didn’t do that. Life was experienced in other areas and I took thanksgiving in unexpected friend time and laughter and even sleep. Because that’s so precious and rare for me that I’ve learned to abide by it’s signals that it’s ready to welcome me.
    And now, at work, I’m blocked from my site (thankfully, not yours!), so I won’t reach the morning desired deadline I aimed for. But I will write. I will post. I promise.

    Because your words MATTER. Present tense. Yes I’ve finished the book and yes the binding is closed (for now). But it will be opened again. And even if it never were, the words are teeming, breathing, reaching. That’s the power of words. And your words, my writer friend, they are effervescent. Present tense effective and living and stocked full of “matter”.

    So thank you for bravery. For cheering on strangers as we read and wonder and fear and tremble and hope.

    When I write today – because I will make the time, even if it has to be end of buisness today as I settle in bed. It is happening. – when I write, I will let you know. I’ll tweet you and wink and say ‘yay’.

    Thank you Annie. And those lovely Bloom ladies for gathering us around a red couch of wonderful.

  4. posted on Nov 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM  |  reply

    Annie, thank you for sharing your stories with us. They’ve breathed life and light into lots of spaces that needed some airing out and freshening up. I will definitely be reading Speak Love in 2015. It’s on my list.

    Keep loving and laughing. God has bigger plans for you. xo

  5. posted on Nov 13, 2014 at 2:26 PM  |  reply

    I was so excited to be a part of this book club, because I love this book so much! Overcoming fear has been a huge part of my life. It is only recently that I have been able to discuss and write about fear and bravery and what that looks like. Your book came at the perfect time for me! I am inspired by your story and enjoy watching you smile. Your spirit of joy and bravery genuine and contagious. Thank you!

  6. posted on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:06 PM  |  reply

    Annie,
    Your book has opened dusty places in my heart that I had thought I had hidden away. Your words called me out of the shadows of depression and hopelessness. Thanks for being brave and sharing them with us.

    I can’t wait to read them again! 🙂
    Larissa

  7. posted on Nov 13, 2014 at 8:00 PM  |  reply

    […] was a such a pleasure to read Annie F. Down’s new book “Let’s All Be Brave,” and to be part of the Bloom book […]

  8. posted on Jan 08, 2015 at 9:49 PM  |  reply

    Annie, Annie, Annie… I am a bit late (fashionably so, though, right?) and just finished your Brave book and the Bloom videos today and just want to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your heart even when it meant letting it break all over again. God has been nudging and nudging me to keep going on working on a memoir kind of book myself of my experience as a missionary mom (though I can’t really imagine anyone will ever see it because YIKES) but your book has been one of the voices He has spoken through to tell me to keep going and start sharing. To be brave. So thank you. 🙂 Can’t wait to see what’s next that you’re working on. Thanks for saying goodbye at the end and for caring about us on the other side of the pages. If you ever come to Fresno, California, you have a friend here. 🙂 Blessings!!!

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