taking a leap.

a leap-2Once upon a time, I sat down at my computer and started a blog.

I had no idea what I was doing.

Over the years, writing here became exhilarating, calming, necessary for my mental health. If I felt stressed out, I blogged. If I felt confused, I blogged. If I felt sad/happy/depressed/anxious/torn, I sat down at my computer, poured my heart into the keyboard, and hit publish.

This blog became home for me, in a lot of ways.

It’s been a wild journey, this writing-on-the-Internet thing. I have been exposed in front of strangers and that has been both terrifying and wonderful. At times it has felt brave. At times it has felt stupid.

But make no mistake at all: it has elicited feelings.

I have grown here. I have grown up here. Undoubtedly, I have learned more about myself through this blog than any other professional endeavor I have pursued up until this point.

***

I am writing this post quickly. At the coffee shop, I am sitting at the same table where I always sit, drinking the same coffee that I always order and yet, it is different. Because for the past six months or so, I have forgotten how to do this. I have forgotten how to spill, how to allow myself to be free here, how to dump words and not obsess over them. For the past six months I have been a perfectionist. I have agonized over every comma and every word and it has suffocated me.

***

Two years ago, I had a book idea.

The book was called “Twenty-Something” and it was going to be a collection of essays—things I’ve learned in my twenties, lessons on marriage and motherhood and friendship and faith. I typed a bunch of words and printed a bunch of papers and stuck them in a white binder and put that binder in my closet.

The binder stayed there for two years. It was in the closet when I got pregnant, and it was in the closet when I launched Coffee + Crumbs. It was actually transferred from one closet to another closet when we moved last summer.

Over the past couple of months, I started thinking about that book idea more and more. I blame my 30th birthday around the corner. Turning 30 feels Big. Saying goodbye to my twenties feels Bigger—worthy of a celebration, a tribute, a book perhaps.

So I decided, one day at 3:27am while I nursed the baby in the rocking chair. I am just going to write this book. Why the hell not? Who is stopping me? I decided I would write the book, and I would self-publish it. And I would launch this book on my 30th birthday, to be released into the world as I bid farewell to one decade and welcomed another.

It was going to be a birthday present to myself.

***

A lot of my friends are writing books. They have finished manuscripts and book proposals and sample chapters. They know how to write query letters and have lists of dream agents. They know all the proper steps to take and they know all about the process. It’s impressive. Really impressive.

I never went down that rabbit hole. Self-publishing has always appealed to me, in the same way that starting a blog has always appealed to me. I love indie artists, I love grassroots, I love organic growth. I love the thrill of starting something from nothing. I love being in complete control of the creative process.

Also? At the risk of sounding self-deprecating (which I do not find to be an attractive attribute), I never thought I could write a book through traditional publishing. Because I never thought I was that good of a writer.

Sure, I was pretty good at writing on the Internet. I can admit that. But writing a book—a real book that you hold in your hands, with an actual cover and dedication page and acknowledgments, a book that is sold in bookstores—that was Too Big. Too far-fetched. That was crazy, outrageous, too difficult, too much work, too impossible for someone like me.

I am one of the biggest dreamers I know, but that dream was off the table.

“No, no,” I said, “If I ever write a book, I will self-publish.”

Self-publishing is safe. I can sell my own words on my own blog and probably the only people who would read it would be my husband and my parents and my friends and the loyal blog readers who have been here from the beginning. They would probably like it. They would probably think it was worth something.

I hoped.

***

Two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a publisher.

It said, “Have you ever thought about writing a book?”

Huh.

***

A few days ago, a literary agent asked to sign me (and Coffee + Crumbs). We spoke for one hour on the phone and everything just…..clicked. I laid out my entire vision for myself and for Coffee + Crumbs and she said, “I get it.”

And suddenly, that dream that felt Too Big wasn’t too big anymore. Suddenly, it was on the table, right in front of my face. Maybe this isn’t outrageous after all.

Maybe this will happen for me, for us.

Maybe starting this blog was the first leap. And maybe launching Coffee + Crumbs was the second leap. And maybe this? Well. What do they say about the third time being the charm?

Maybe this is the biggest leap of all.

***

If you’ve made it to the bottom of this, thank you for being here. There are a lot of people in my life who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and you might very well be one of those people. If that is you, there are no words to express my truest gratitude.

I should warn you: This is only the beginning. There is a good chance I could fall flat on my face, but I think I’d rather leap and fall than never take the leap.

Here’s to writing, to dreaming, to every leap of faith.

May your biggest dream find its way to your table. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.

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49 Responses to taking a leap.

  1. Callie says:

    Go you!!! Ashlee this is amazing! I started reading this and a knot grew in my stomach thinking you were going to quit this blog.. I started thinking totally selfish thoughts like “no! Whose blog will I hit refresh on now?!” But then you’re looking at a book?? A book!!! Amazing! Well done you xx I would buy it. It won’t just be your fam. You got this. Go you! Xx

  2. Marisa says:

    Wow! Congratulations! Life can unfold in such a funny way. I’d totally buy and read a book that you wrote. How exciting!
    Marisa´s last blog post ..3 challenges for the week (2)

  3. Andrea says:

    Congrats! This is really exciting to hear! I hope the book concept remains the “twenty something” theme as I am in my last months of my 20s too. And I g.e.t. i.t. It feels SO big. SO monumental and I love thinking about reading words that would help me make sense of these last 10 years!

    Excited to hear how successful this is! (Because you/it will be!)

    • Ashlee says:

      Thanks, Andrea! I’m not sure what will come of it….but I’m going to write the book anyways because I need to get it out of my head (and I owe it to my blog, I think). Thanks for reading and supporting me!

  4. Michele says:

    YAY! Go, Ashlee! Like Callie, I was nervous that this was going to be a post about pivoting away from this blog. I’m so glad to see that it’s something very different – and so exciting! I can’t wait to read what you come up with.
    Michele´s last blog post ..Stitch Fix Review #2 – November 2015

  5. Meg says:

    AMAZING Ashlee!! And you are right- NOTHING is stopping us from doing the things we dream about .. its a great lesson and one I need to learn sometimes myself … way to take that leap- enjoy the fall!!!! 🙂

  6. ashley says:

    ASHLEE! I am so excited for you! AND I am so excited to be a small part of your mission with C + C!! Congrats, Lady!! What does this mean for Coffee and Crumbs? And you? I’m SO happy for you! And you’ve encouraged me to keep dreaming as well!!!

  7. Vanessa says:

    So incredible Ashlee! Congrats!!!!! You deserve it <3

  8. That’s incredible! Congrats! I can’t wait to read it!! 🙂

  9. Danielle Vaticano Roe says:

    Seriously, Ashlee?! How do you do it?! Goosebumps…EVERY.TIME! I am beyond excited for your new opportunity and cannot wait to see what leaps your inevitable success with a BOOK will lead to! Thank you for being a true inspiration and dream seeker!

  10. WOW! What a wonderfully written post about your dreams coming TRUE!! good for you. can’t wait to see what is next.
    Trina LJBaH blog (@LetsBuildaHouse)´s last blog post ..Dinner Party: Serving Wine…Only Wine.

  11. Holly says:

    WOW!!! Congratulations!!! I love reading your blog, I love C + C – and I can’t wait to see what happens next for you 🙂 Oh, and I will totally pre-order your book the first day it’s possible. I’m so excited for you!
    Holly´s last blog post ..Interrupted

  12. Melissa says:

    ASHLEE! I am so freaking excited for you! It’s been such a wonderful gift to watch you grow and become the woman you have become. I can’t wait to see where this goes for you and the C+C team 😉

    Love you friend!!! XOXOX

  13. Nicky says:

    Congratulations, Ashlee! I love reading your work and look forward to seeing what becomes of this. Way to go!!

  14. michelle says:

    Ashlee!!! This is such a big deal, so proud of you! I feel honored to call you my {blog} friend and see how you’ve grown since I’ve been reading since the beginning. Bravo Mama!
    michelle´s last blog post ..Weekend Baking: Gingersnaps

  15. Paulette says:

    Hey Ash – I am so excited for you. Especially since I have been saying for years “You should write a book.” Can’t wait to read it!!

    Love, Mom

  16. Kristin says:

    Congratulations! What an amazing opportunity! God is so good! I hope that it’s all you ever dreamed of and more!

  17. Jessica R says:

    Omg… Omg… Oh. My. Gosh!! This is so exciting! So BIG. HUGE even!! Congrats, Ashlee! You have worked so hard for this and we are so happy for you! You’ve earned every bit of it! Go Ashlee! Keep up the great work! Can’t wait to read your first book 🙂

  18. Sonya says:

    I know I’m pretty new to your blog. But I feel like it’s a comfy place to come and be. I am SO thrilled for you.
    This part: “May your biggest dream find its way to your table. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.” Essentially, like God talking right to my heart.

  19. Keely says:

    Girl, I’ve been reading your stuff for sometime (4ish years) and I really like it. I’ve started to read C and C when I find the time and I think it rocks! In fact, it’s made me cry more than a few times. It speaks to my mommy heart.

    I really loved your recent post about saying your dreams out loud, it’s led to some real clarity for me. There is so much truth to following your heart despite all the self-doubt. So, CHEERS to you and kicking ass at following that dream.

  20. Wow, Ashlee, this is huge! I am so proud of you & happy for you, but I am not at all surprised – you are incredibly talented in so many ways, & this is something you can absolutely handle – & blow out of the water. Can’t wait to read the final product, my friend.
    Kate @ GreatestEscapist.com´s last blog post ..A Byline Worth Humblebragging About

  21. Ashley M says:

    Congratuations!!! I would definitely buy it!

  22. natasha {schue love} says:

    So very exciting!! You are such a talented writer…I always look forward to your posts so I cannot wait to read entire post!! xx

  23. Briel K. says:

    How exciting! Best of luck on this new endeavor!

  24. Laura says:

    Woot!!!!! So stinkin’ happy, so stinkin’ proud of you mama!
    Laura´s last blog post ..fun refuels the spirit

  25. SK Bell says:

    Congratulations!! I am so happy for you and I am definitely looking forward to it.
    I have gone the self-publishing route for many of the reasons you listed above. And I love it, but I also don’t love it. ;] I hope you’ll consider sharing the actual process at some point when the book is done, maybe by e-mail if not in a blog post. =]
    SK Bell´s last blog post ..Tot Travels: Missoula, MT

  26. Diana says:

    So proud of you, friend!! Big things are coming for you!!

  27. Amanda says:

    Congratulations! So very exciting. You are a fantastic writer and will put together an amazing book. Not everyone has the gift!
    Amanda´s last blog post ..T-H-A-N-K-F-U-L

  28. Megan says:

    This is awesome and SO well deserved! Very happy for you, lady. Love your writing and would most certainly buy your book, right out of the bookstore! 🙂

  29. I am amazed. And beyond excited. I don’t think I’ve ever commented, or maybe I did years ago. But I can’t help writing to you after reading this today, just when I was feeling uninspired, looking for something to push me forward.

    I found your blog 4+ years ago, when I was pregnant with my second child. I use to write back then (mostly in Spanish) but lost that habit somewhere along the way. I admire how you’ve been able to continue to blog all through motherhood, not only blogging but pursuing your dream of an online magazine. I know you will write this book and it will be great. Congratulations! I am truly looking forward to reading your book.
    Joanne Rodriguez´s last blog post ..Regreso a casa, Parte I

  30. Danielle says:

    This post had me teary eyed. I remember when I first found your blog, I had a newborn and was beyond exhausted and I sat and read and read your words because i felt like you got it, you understood and expressed all the things about motherhood and marriage and life that I was feeling but didn’t know how to express. I’ve been reading and loving your blog for three years now. I am so excited for all your dreams turning into realities and I believe your book will reach the hearts of many.

  31. LeeAnne says:

    Congratulations! Coffee & Crumbs (and your blog) are the only two “mommy blogs” in my RSS feed. I just love how authentic the writing is. Nearly every post moves me. I am not surprised that publishers have found you. I look forward to reading more of this beautiful prose–both online and off! Thank you.

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