Written by Melissa Face
When my daughter asked me if I liked her more than coffee, I had to laugh. She laughed, too. Even at age three and a half, Delaney was aware of her comedic abilities and the unparalleled satisfaction of cracking people up.
Delaney wanted to know where she ranked in terms of my favorite things. So when she asked me about coffee, I had to pretend to be unsure. While she was still sitting in my lap, I knew that she had given me a fun idea for an essay.
Starting To Write Essays On Parenting
And that’s all it was at first. “I Love You More Than Coffee” was a blog post about a day when everything I tried to do as a mom backfired. It was a day that every parent has experienced, even though the details are different: a child spills breakfast, makes a huge mess in the bathroom, stresses you out to the point of tears, then melts your heart by saying, “I was just trying to be a big girl.” And all the while, you just want to sit down and drink your morning coffee (or read the paper, take a shower, put on makeup, etc.) or do whatever it is that connects you to your identity outside of motherhood.
When I first posted that essay on my blog, I received favorable comments from my friends and moms who “got it”. Not too long after that, I decided to compile my parenting essays into an anthology.
I began by organizing them chronologically and removing some with repetitive themes. I pitched the idea, title included, to a publishing house that a friend recommended. It is a hybrid press, which means I had some upfront expenses, but I was fine with that because I wanted a beautiful cover, professional layout, and a quality first product. I have all of those things, plus connections to several distributors.
Releasing I Love You More Than Coffee
My debut collection, I Love You More Than Coffee: Essays on Parenthood, was supposed to be published in April of 2020, but didn’t release until September 1, 2020 due to the pandemic. Even then, many bookstores were still closed and the market was even more crowded than usual.
I knew that getting the word out about my book would be a challenge, but I wasn’t feeling deterred. From that point forward, I saw myself as both author and publicist. I contacted bloggers and offered to guest post, and I contributed parenting articles to different publications. If someone would allow me a byline and a short book plug, I was in.
Along the way, I set up my own “coffee tour” that coincided with Mother’s Day, and I signed books at coffee shops that would allow me a little space and a table, and I held virtual author chats with a few libraries throughout my state.
My Life As An Author
Today, I am about a year and a half post publication, and I am having the best time. I love every part of the process, and I am constantly thinking of new ways to reach readers.
Some of the highlights of my journey include visiting my book in the Local Authors’ Room at the Library of Virginia, moderating a panel at bbgb bookstore in Richmond, VA, teaming up with a local coffee roaster who created a label to go with my book, chatting on the Latched Mama podcast, and the many events I’ve done at coffee shops and other venues.
I have felt supported by my hometown, current county, and even “mums” in Australia! That was also a huge bright spot – getting a message from a mum who had read my book at her local library, Werribee Library in Australia. I didn’t know my collection was available there, so I was ecstatic!
Why I Write
I am often asked about my intent and if I meant for my essays to help other moms. I honestly didn’t. For as long as I can remember, I’ve written as a way to cope, sort, and figure out parts of my life. Being a new mom required a lot of coping (and coffee), so I wrote about my newborn not sleeping, my forgetfulness after delivery, and sending my daughter to school for the first time. I wrote all of those emotional experiences so I would feel better and have something to do at 2 a.m. after the baby had fallen back asleep, but I hadn’t.
Writing did make me feel better, but I was surprised (and still am) that moms have related to so many parts of it. That is incredible, and I am so grateful for it. And maybe I should have thought about others, but I didn’t. It was a pretty selfish project, but I don’t think I’m alone in that respect. I think many artists create in an attempt to heal themselves or deal with an emotion, and the beauty is that we often can relate to their experiences and we all benefit from that expression.
Continuing To Explore Motherhood Through Writing
So far, I have written and published only nonfiction. The majority of my work is about parenting, and I am having to be more careful than I used to because my children are now eleven and eight. I read essays to my kids before submitting them to publications, and I get them to approve quotes before I post them on social media.
Besides the topic of motherhood, I have also written about my childhood, my first dog, and other members of my family. I tend to write upbeat pieces, and I’m inspired by the beauty and joy in everyday life. I especially like to celebrate the people who mean a lot to me and share their stories in a way that makes them proud. In addition to my own collection, I have contributed stories to twenty-five volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul, and my essays and articles have appeared in Scary Mommy, Richmond Family Magazine, and Tidewater Family Magazine. I almost always have a couple (or 12! haha!) projects going at once, but I love it, and I feel so much joy from my writing life. It fills my (coffee) cup.
Another pot is brewing in 2022, and I’m looking forward to announcing my second project: a guided journal that will invite moms to share their own experiences and capture memories that they can reflect on down the road.
Find More From Melissa Face:
I’d love for you to join me on my writing and parenting journey on Facebook and Instagram @melissafacewrites
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