Behind the Story of Transforming Tragedy #2

In November of 2016, I had a phone call with speaker and author of the book Launch, Jeannie Burlowski

A mutual connection had given Jeannie’s name and email to me, thinking she might be able to provide some insight to my speaking and writing endeavors.  In her email back to me, she expressed her willingness to speak with me and informed me of a thirty-minute appointment she had open.


I wasn’t quite sure about the call.  I didn’t know what she meant by appointment.  While I never turn down an opportunity to gain insight for growth and development, I didn’t have the funds to be paying for it.  What I had in mind was to seize an opportunity.  But there was hesitancy because I thought, What if she asks me for payment?  That’d be awkward.

Some individuals would probably just decide to politely cancel the call.  It’s way less embarrassing dealing with those things through email than direct conversation.  But, oh how glad I am that I didn’t go that direction.  The phone call was certainly insightful.  Through the conversation I gained ideas for approaching speaking commitments, I gathered names for editors and I heard about ways to sell my book.  However, one of the most profound things Jeannie shared with me was something she identified just in talking with me over the phone.  Keep in mind, I had never met this woman.  We were states away from one another, but she pin-pointed what would be my greatest challenge in writing my memoir.

“Heather, you’re a people-person.  You would prefer speaking over writing because you enjoy the instant connection with people.”

What?!?!  How in the world?!?! She described to me a T!

Each time I’ve been asked, “What was the hardest part of writing a book?” I answer, “Being alone.”

While attending She Speaks in the summer of 2016, a conference for speakers and writers hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministry, I heard this: “Some people are more speakers than writers.  On the other hand, some people are more writers than speakers.  But you’re never one without the other.

Why do I write?  I write to connect with individuals.  I write to share a bit of hope, a dose of inspiration, a serving of encouragement.  In a day when everyone is spreading messages, I am compelled to contribute what has been entrusted to me for the benefit of others.  But you better believe, Jeannie was right.  I’d rather be physically present with people, to look upon their faces, and speak that message into their lives.  

There is an instant gratification we get from personally connecting with one another.  

Writing doesn’t offer that.  Writers write without knowing whether anyone will read or connect with their words.  There aren’t any head-nods of agreement.  There aren’t any echoes of laughter or gasps of astonishment.  There are no tears.  There are no hugs.  We experience the message completely independently—me as the writer, and you as the reader.

Do I ever know if the message was received?  Sometimes.

Do I ever have the gift of knowing it resonated with readers?  Occasionally.

It’s what makes writing a discipline.  It’s what made writing my memoir the greatest stride of obedience I’ve ever experienced.

In order to pursue what the Lord had laid on my heart, I had to physically disconnect.  I had to turn down the invitations for lunches, parties and pedicures with friends.  I had to say no to coffee with my mom and breakfast at our favorite café.  I had to intentionally limit my shifts in the NICU and my commitments for speaking opportunities.  And then, if that wasn’t enough, I had to recount my most painful memories to bring the readers alongside the horror that was once real-life.  

Why in the world would I do that?  

For you.  For your coworker.  For your small group friend.  For the teenager wondering if they’ll ever be enough.  For the mom feeling like she never gets it right. For the imperfect dad.  For the hurting marriage.  For the individual wondering if life could ever be better than the disaster they’re walking right now.

My awareness of what could have been my biggest distraction kept me focused, determined, and intentional on composing what is now, not only my memoir, but a powerful message.

And guess what? On the other side of that emotionally challenging project has been the gift of countless moments with incredibly special people.  I’ve taken a much-needed break from writing.  I’ve taken the time to reconnect and refresh. And I have oh so much more to share.

Thanks for joining me while I enter back into the writing waters, getting my feet wet again.

I have so many people and so many stories, still to share, from the amazing things God worked together while He worked my book together.

Please join back with me for them! They are inspiring stories behind the story.




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