The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately...We've written a book!
So if you follow us on social media, you might have seen at the weekend that we announced we've written a book together! We wanted to firstly say a massive thank you - we’ve been so overwhelmed by all the encouragement and love we’ve received over the last few days.
It has been a secret we’ve had to keep for a while so we’re excited the news is now public. We recently sat down with a friend to talk about the journey, what we’ve learnt and how we hope people will be impacted by the book. Enjoy!
GETTING A BOOK DEAL
Did you always have a plan to write a book?
Ruth: As an Editor, I’ve always been on the other side of the writing process so if you’d asked me a few years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be in this position. However since we started The Afolabis, more and more I have loved the opportunity to write in a personal way, share experiences and learn from others.
At the beginning of 2017 Ayo and I had spoken about writing a book but it was a plan we had for much later down the line - around 2019! Ayo is always encouraging me to live in the moment so I had actually decided we would put the idea on the backburner - but life can be unpredictable sometimes!
Why did you decide to write a book now?
Ayo: Ha it’s a question we asked ourselves a lot during the process especially given how busy wedding planning has been! We actually got approached by our publisher (IVP) in October as one of their editors had read some of our content and also Ruth’s magazine.
Together, Ruth and I then prayed about the book and felt that although in many ways althought it seemed crazy, strangely it was the right time for us. I think given the timing, having a publisher approach us also gave us some confidence that we’d be able to manage it along with everything else. The subject matter of the book is something we are both passionate about too so it felt like there was perfect synergy.
PASSION AND PURPOSE
What is the book about?
Ayo: So the book is called MORE Direction and it’s part of an 8 part series. It’s about the pursuit of purpose and the direction through which we achieve that purpose in a world where there are so many paths to tread but where the one thing we are all searching for is direction. Our book explores the different ways in which we can find and forge our individual path forward.
Why are you passionate about subject matter?
Ruth: The only way I know how to write well is about topics where I’m currently navigating a challenge or it’s something I’ve gone through. Finding my direction in life is something I think I’ve wrestled with in different ways in different seasons of my life so it’s a very personal subject. Equally, we’re both motivated by a desire for people to discover and live out their purpose as it’s a big way we can make a difference in our sphere of influence when we’re confident in who and what we’re about.
In what ways do you hope the book will impact people?
Ayo: My hope is that through our stories and vulnerability shared, we offer a perspective on direction, and the different aspects of direction. Whether it be learning to pause in the busyness of life or finding God’s direction for your life, we hope readers will be inspired and encouraged in their own personal journeys. We also hope, the very thing of writing a book will encourage people with their own dreams!
THE WRITING PROCESS
When did you find time to write?
Ruth: Haha - the bags under my eyes show that it was during sleeping hours lol.
Ayo: Over the intense writing months life was busy! I would wake up at 7am for work, get back in around 7 or 8pm, take an hour break and then write from 9pm-2am and back again. Over the Christmas holidays, we also did a lot of brainstorming and planning together.
Ruth: It was a very crazy few months juggling wedding planning, work, running the blog, friend’s 30ths/kids birthdays/weddings and also investing in our own relationship so I can’t lie I’m happy we’re now through that!
What did you find most challenging?
Ruth: For me it was the discipline of writing consistently. I found that there was never whole days I could block out to write so it had to be continuous even in small chunks. On the days where I wouldn’t write, there would often be a nagging feeling. So there was that and also having to keep it a secret!
Ayo: The timeline! Our total writing time was just over two months. The discipline I had to show to stick to the task of writing was a challenge. I now understand that to accomplish some things that are seminal moments in your life, you may have to go through a period where you’re out of sight and largely in the wilderness. That’s not a bad thing but it can be hard which is why it's important to have your eye on the prize.
What did you enjoy most about writing?
Ayo: I studied history so I love research and looking at the context of something. Particularly as the structure of the book meant that we could look at examples of those in the Bible who had navigated different seasons of understanding the direction of their lives, I loved extracting and learning these lessons even for my own personal life. Although often feedback can be challenging to receive, I actually enjoyed seeing every draft improve as we got such detailed feedback from our editor.
Ruth: I was grateful to not be the editor on this occasion! And yes like Ayo said having feedback from our amazing editor was really helpful.
You obviously worked together in many ways already but how did you find working together on this project?
Ayo: Ha should I go first?
Ruth: Lol probably best!
Ayo: So I think working together on a project like this was very interesting. Obviously we’ve been working on our platform together for the last year so we already so we’ve had an idea of how we both work.
Ruth: Which is very differently ha!
Ayo: It’s probably good that in these early years we’ve learnt how to work together as we’ll be doing so for the rest of our lives! The interesting point is that we have two very different styles of writing so combining that into one coherent body was an interesting process (and why it was great to have a publisher!).
LIFE LESSONS LEARNED
What did the process of writing a book teach you?
Ayo: It taught me about discipline - as that was a huge aspect of actually being able to write it. As Ruth said, this was something we’d said we wanted to do in the next couple of years when we’d settled down but God obviously had other ideas!
The process taught me a lot about God’s timing - which is apt given we’ve spent a lot of time discussing, deliberating and writing on God’s direction in this book. Being in a place where we’ve accomplished something that we’re really proud of, God’s timing has brought the dream forward. As well as us sometimes perceiving something as slow or as a period of ‘waiting’, God’s timing can actually be quicker - in this process His timing fast-tracked the fulfilment of our dreams. So I think for me it’s really taught me that His ways and timings are better than ours.
Ruth: Technically, a writing a chapter of a book is very different to writing a blog post or a print article. I wish I had spent more time reading widely and understanding what makes great books over the last few years but moving forward for any dreams I have, I want to spend my time working to develop my skill set all round to help accomplish them.
What advice would you give to anyone who has a goal they want to achieve but doesn’t yet feel prepared or qualified to accomplish it?
Ruth: I mentioned before that we’d previously discussed writing a book. The way my personality and mind is wired, I always have ideas and there are always lots of things I want to do. But the process of writing the book has taught me that the easy part of having a dream is speaking it out loud - the hard part is hustling and sacrificing to make it happen. My advice also - in the periods of waiting in life, let’s not use them to get disheartened or discouraged or wishing our dreams would happen - instead they are great opportunities to use to prepare.
Ayo: A lot of the time, our feelings of inadequacy or being ill prepared are actually a comfort zone that we’re hiding behind. Had we have accepted the notion that it was too soon for us to write, we wouldn’t be here as soon to be published authors.
For many of us, there might be things that we think we’re not quite ready to do yet, but we’ve been given the talent, passion and ability to do those things, so we shouldn’t hide behind the false notion of being incapable.
MORE Direction will be published by IVP and will be released in July 2018. We can't wait to share more details with you guys about how you can purchase your copy!