It’s a nostalgic season: this past week made it a year since I published my first book: The CHASE
In 365 days, it’s been followed by 3 more, and I’m working on the 5th book as I write this.
When I think about writing, I often tell myself that I do not have much to say, and that I’d rather just keep writing. In a lot of ways, writing is me – it’s something that I do everyday, and the books are a natural spill over of a long-time culture of journaling. For me, journaling, has ranged from sitting with the Holy Spirit to distill His thoughts about a certain topic, working through personal confusion about something, or responding to a compelling idea sitting on my inside.
The ABC of Love is my longest book published so far, and it was drafted in one (3 hour) sitting. The Diary of The Holy Spirit was written over the course of 3 years, but Dear Abba took 6 months to write. One of the most powerful lessons I have had to learn on this journey, is that it is less about the accolades and methods, and more about what God wants to accomplish with my pen.
When you step into the space of understanding what needs to be accomplished, you start to focus less on the methods, length or process, and more on becoming the right person, so that you don’t end up preaching a message that you are not living. A number of times, while writing, He’d remind me of who I am writing for: people like me, who are where I have been, and like me, have no one to turn to. That’s who I write for, in the hopes that by journaling my steps, their journey can be shorter, less painful, and more enjoyable.
Another powerful lesson that I have learned, is that methods can vary. It doesn’t have to follow a certain process. (and when I say this, it’s both the writing and publishing). There’s the part of locking in on God’s wisdom to accomplish maximum results in the shortest possible time
…where He hands you your unique blueprint and roadmap to getting His message out. It is His message, after all. I’m just the Scribe.
When I wrote the first book (The CHASE), it sat in my phone for 3 years. I told it as a story at a literary event the week after writing and then forgot about it. A few people had reached out to me about how much that short story impacted them, or helped them, even up to 2 years after the event, but I didn’t take it serious.
3 years after the event, I had received a mandate to write, to Scribe, and I was starting to pull concepts together from my life’s experiences, and Bible study journeys. Then the Holy Spirit says, “actually, your first book is The CHASE“. I’m like uhhh?
You see, I’d watched my father publish book after book, and in my head, I was doing the maths of printing and I knew that I didn’t have money to do that kind of thing. Besides, having grown up in a world where books used to be hundreds and thousands of pages, mine wasn’t even up to 100.
So I argued, stalled, and struggled.
But I am my Father’s daughter, last last. 😀 So, when one morning, I woke up, and instead of Bible study prompt, He said “publish today”, I obeyed. I sat with my phone, and designed my book cover. Borrowed a laptop and did the book planning. Converted to PDF and sent it back to my phone. Uploaded it to Okada books, and I was live! 36 hours. I rejoiced like crazy.
Then, the Holy Spirit is like “Diary of the Holy Spirit” next. I’m like okay. Little less fear. Nah! I don’t think I was even afraid. I had this “let’s do it!” attitude. But the enemy is a bastard (pardon my French). That night, on my way back from church, I was robbed and beaten and left with a broken arm and a bleeding head. The phone that contained the book in question was stolen – and along with it, the completed handwritten manuscript of what I thought would have been Book number 3 (Personal Development According to Colossians).
I was livid. I don’t think I have ever been that angry at the devil in my entire life. The anger was what kept me awake and probably alive that night – and probably saved my life (as I waited to safely access proper healthcare).
In the months that followed, I questioned a lot of things, doubted God’s love for me and asked Him plenty of questions. “How could He?” “Where was He?” But in my anger, I turned to God and began the most powerful series of letters I have ever written in my entire life. I bared it all. And you know what? He answered. Every single one. As I navigated the terrible situations and complications that came with living with 1 and half hands in a new city, and no home yet, I would write to God, and He would answer.
One fine morning, I was at my job (which I refused to quit despite the terrible pain I was in, often needing to work longer hours to get my work done), I found the Diary of the Holy Spirit, backed up on my boss laptop. 😁😁😁
I was like, ooobi😜. I did the same thing – designed a cover, planned my book, and uploaded to Okada books. This particular one ehn, you should have seen me dance in church, cradling my arm. Then, to show the devil fire, I woke up one morning, and as I did Bible Study, the Holy Spirit is like today is the day – and we wrote The ABC of Love, as a sequel to The CHASE. I only got up once to drink water.
This one took a bit of time to type – I was one-handed. To avoid stories that touch, I snapped every page of the journal and uploaded it to Google drive. It was on this project, that I had a bit of spare change to engage a graphic designer for the book cover. But we finished it. It went up, on Okada books too. I started to look at Amazon, and Amazon decided to pull the “Nigeria not supported” drama. So I followed God’s prompt to set up my own website. Let’s not digress.
Remember the letters I was writing to God? One day, my arm came out of the cast. 6 whole weeks before the doctors expected. My shattered bone was perfectly healed. No tears, or internal injury. My head wound was neatly sealed. No infections, no drama.
Then God is like “type Dear Abba“. Fear gripped me. I fought it. I’m like no. I cannot put my personal foolishness on display for the whole world. You love me, yes. But I don’t want to share this story. So we went back and forth. I was typing the book o (as per Abba’s daughter. I don’t know how to be disobedient). But I didn’t want to share. Christmas day, I finished typing, wrote preliminary pages, did book planning. I did not announce. A few people close to me knew that I had finished a 4th book, but no one had a hint of its content. 1st week of January, I paid for the design, with my last salary. Paid for the 3D mock-ups too. My website was ready, so I put the book up. But I never announced (that’s a disobedience that I am still rectifying).
Over the coming weeks, I shared the book with specific people I got to minister to, who were dealing with a deep sense of loss, and finally, in April, I announced it.
A part of me still hurts from losing Personal Development According to Colossians. I found the complete 1st chapter, but the remaining 6 or 7 chapters need to be re-written. I haven’t been able to beat that particular block yet, so I went back to the first assignment – Mission
ImPossible (my story of building business from the scratch up with nothing but faith). From time to time, I’d often share updates and excerpts from the books on a dedicated Instagram page called booksbyhadassah
I don’t have all the answers, but God does. I don’t always know what to say/write (even in my articles and newsletters), but He has a message. And if He chooses to use me, then I’d be a willing vessel. I love Him, more than I love me. And the best part? He loves me so much, far more than I can ever describe, far more than I could ever love Him.
I am Hadassah bath YHWH (born Jane OLUWADARE)
I am the Father’s daughter