I have started researching and writing a new book this month!

Three years ago, I completed my MFA with a thesis manuscript about leaving fundamentalism. It’s a narrative of my time in Nepal with Teen Mania Ministries when I was just 16 years old, and how, as an adult, I tried to make sense of the complexities of that experience.

I love the book that I wrote, and I would love to see it published. Unfortunately, I get the same feedback about it that some of my other friends have gotten about their narratives about faith communities: not Christian enough for Christian publishers, too Christian for non-religious publishers.

In light of that difficulty getting someone to take on Teen Maniac, I’m tackling a new project. I’ll save details of it for later, but I’m committing to writing a draft this summer.

Writing a whole draft of a book this summer? With my four-year-old and my three-month-old at home with me? I think I can do this.

I feel like last summer was completely lost to me. I was pregnant and sick, and all I wanted to do was lie on the couch and let Ruthie watch movies. (That’s pretty much what I did.) My husband Chalupa was home the entire summer, sick as he could possibly be. He never slept, and I took him to the Emergency Roon a half dozen times in a few short months. Things in our house were tense and difficult.

I am anticipating a better summer.

Chalupa is still dealing with the aftermath of last year’s intense illness, but he’s on the right track and able to be a much more active parent than he was last year. Ruthie isn’t dealing with quite as much intense attachment to me as she was last year after I got back from two weeks in India. She likes long movies and is learning to play on her own a bit, and she doesn’t mind if I leave the house every few nights to write. Neville is a happy baby who is content to sit beside me while I write, as long as I take regular breaks to tickle his belly and boop his nose.

Knowing that I have written a book before gives me the encouragement I need to think that I can draft another in the next twelve weeks. I like thinking back to sitting in the Dover, New Hampshire Starbucks with a stack of journals and my tiny little netbook, drinking a cup of coffee and writing, writing, writing.

I’m ready to have a project like that again.

The school year has ended. My freshmen have finished their first year, and the seniors I got to know in my nonfiction course have walked across the stage in their caps and gowns to shake the university president’s hand. My days are open and flexible and free.

Once I feel more confident with the material, I’ll start telling you a bit about it. What I can say now is that it is a topic I think is important but rarely discussed in a public way. In the meantime, wish me luck and focus and the ability to write both the book and update the blog with as much vigor as ever.

What about you? Do you have any writing or creative goals this summer? Tell me about them!