Fourteen years ago, the phone rang, piercing the silence inside my tiny apartment. Lee was at work, and I was preparing dinner, because we were newlyweds, and making food was still exciting to me back then.
I answered the phone, and her voice came across the line all buttery and warm.
“I hear you like to take tea,” she said, and I could hear the smile behind her words.
That was the beginning of one of my most cherished friendships. For the next year, Wendy was my confidant, my cheerleader, my prayer partner, and my sweetest friend. Our love for tea and scones wasn’t our only commonality, either.
We both shared a passion for encouraging other women through our creative pursuits. I was a writer and a singer, she an actress who penned poetic prose in her spare time.
In those early years, before children rounded out our families, Wendy and I dreamed of all the different ways we wanted to work together in some creative capacity. But as time marched on, babies entered the picture, and our husband’s jobs moved us to different coasts, the dream of working together felt a bit lofty and ambitious.
Until last summer
At our 4th Annual Creative Retreat, Wendy and I began to speak earnestly of our dreams to work together creatively. We spoke in depth of our heart for creative women, and for mothers living this creative life with little ones in their midst, and the time felt like now.
We put together a book proposal, and we met at the Allume conference in October where we found an audience with an agent who caught our vision and agreed to represent us in our writing pursuits.
So we started writing and praying for the right publisher, and the right timing, and the right audience, and…
This week Wendy and I signed our first publishing contract with Kregel Publishing, with a release date set for September of 2016.
A real book!
A real book written for women…
Written for creative women like us…
Creative women who are wondering if their creativity has a place in this intense season of motherhood.
Our book (which is tentatively titled at this point) is coming together beautifully. It’s been as much of a journey this past year writing this book as the past fourteen years of dreaming and living it have been.
Our goal is to encourage other creative moms to use their gifts and talents to make an impact in the world.
We’re writing this message as we live it ourselves, seven children between the two of us, while our husbands travel, and the intensity of living creative passions next to the hustle of growing families sometimes overwhelms us.
Next week, Wendy and I will be together again for our 5th Annual Creative Retreat, exactly one year after this long-held dream took root. Our goal is to finish the rough draft of our manuscript, and after our week together is over, our husbands and children will join us, and we’ll all celebrate as one unit.
Because they are friends who have become family.
I’m not going to lie, my friends – this has been such a journey, and it’s not over yet! This is only the beginning of the exciting things to come. Because not so long ago, I surrendered this longing I held in my heart – a longing to see the words that flowed from my fingertips in print – and I committed to write simply for the joy of it.
But still I hoped. I longed for the day when I could sign my name on the line that validated my gift of words. And I realized that it’s okay to want it.
[Tweet “It’s okay to toil toward a dream, because there’s beauty in the journey, and victory in the labor.”]
Today I placed the signed contract in the mail, and a long held dream finally grew wings.
There is a lot of work still to be done, and so much to learn, but isn’t it exciting? This life of living and dreaming all wrapped up tight with friends and family is a privilege, and I’m thrilled to share this journey with so many of you as well!
Creative Moms, don’t miss the release in fall 2016, sign up for email updates here at kellistuart.com, or over at wendyspeake.com, and we promise to joyfully prime the pump in the next 15 long months with posts purposed to bless your creative hearts. We are really excited about the community of creative moms that God is going to knit together in the coming days!
I’m writing a book!
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Let me be the first one to congratulate you…
Seriously though, I’ve said it before, I’m as excited for you as any sister-friend could be! This has been a long dream of yours and I’m cheering you on.
I love that I’m doing it with you first. And I love that it all started over tea and scones. 😉
Woohoo! I am thrilled for you both and can’t wait to share the excitement over at GSD’s too!!
Thanks, Kristin! It’s such a blessing to have a team of dreamers encouraging us! 🙂
Love this! Thanks for sharing some of the background here – it’s fun to hear about. xoxo
Thanks Kristin! Thanks for celebrating with us! 🙂
So excited for you, Kelli! What a wonderful new adventure for you. Keep up the great work!
Thank you, Shay!
How fabulous! Congratulations and blessings all the way to your published book and beyond. I love that you surrendered and returned to the joy of writing. That’s a great encouragement for all of us writer gals. Thank you!
Oh it’s so hard to let go and just enjoy it all, isn’t it? But there’s so much freedom in just writing for pleasure, too! Thanks Elise!
Congratulations Kelli! So excited for you and Wendy as you pen the words the Spirit gives you to breathe life and encouragement in other creative moms. Can’t wait to read the book!
Thank you so much!
Kelli! So thrilled for you and Wendy. You two inspire me to keep going and not give up with my creative dreams. Thank you in advance for the gift that your book will be to the hearts and lives of creative moms like me. Let me know how I can help with Launch.
Thanks, Katie! Wendy and I so appreciate your support and encouragement. 🙂
Sending congratulations from Munich – I’m a friend of your Mom.
What joyous news. Blessings to you as you continue on this journey.
Yay! Thanks for the congrats all the way from Germany, Susan!
“Isn’t it exciting?”, you asked. That’s the understatement of the year! It’s beyond exciting! I’m so thrilled and ecstatic for you and Wendy. What a joy and blessing you (and your words) will be to your readers! Congrats, friend!
Thanks, Tammy. So glad we’ve been able to walk this road with you these last five years!
Congratulations, Kelly & Wendy! I’m so excited for and inspired by you both. I love this: “I surrendered this longing I held in my heart – a longing to see the words that flowed from my fingertips in print – and I committed to write simply for the joy of it. But still I hoped. I longed for the day when I could sign my name on the line that validated my gift of words. And I realized that it’s okay to want it.” What a perfect balance of surrender and desire. I know God honors both and am thrilled your day is today!
Thanks for celebrating with us, Kim. And I agree… Kelli has lived funny balance out with such perseverance and joy.
woot woot woot!!!!
And another WOOT! 🙂
Congratulations to you and Wendy!!! Celebrating this dream with you today!!
Thank you so much Christine!
Yes ma’am! Rooting you on!
Yes ma’am! Thankful for your encouragement, friend.
This makes my heart sing. Already you have inspired me (mum of 3 kids) to believe that there is value and necessity in carving out time to create (to write). I am so pleased that your words will find their way to many others. x
Thank you for this comment, Catherine. Wendy and I have been so very inspired by the many women we have interviewed and observed as we’ve put together this book. It’s a privilege to share this message with you all!
Congratulations! I am so excited for you and I LOVE the whole concept! I’ve heard, “You do what?” so many times (accompanied by blank looks) over the years when I tell people I’m an artist and writer….how wonderful now to have a community of creative women!! You and Wendy just ROCK!
Thanks, Rachel! We think that YOU rock! You inspire us. 🙂
Thanks for encouraging us with your enthusiasm! Yes, there is a great big community out there to embrace. Will be fun to share it with you when it’s time!
Count me in as someone you’ve already inspired! I can’t wait to march into a bookstore and buy your book!!!
Aw, thanks Spring! That means a lot! 🙂
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