My Word of the Week: Surprise

sur·prise –  noun \sə(r)-ˈprīz\

: an unexpected event, piece of information, etc.
: an unexpected gift, party, etc.
: the feeling caused by something that is unexpected or unusual


Just last week as Ann Kroeker and I were talking with our publisher, L.L. Barkat, about how to get the word out about our upcoming book, the words “secret” and “surprise” and “idea” and “early” kept coming up. What if we just published the book early and didn’t tell anyone?

We all liked the idea, actually. It would be like letting the little book find its way in the world naturally as people discover and hear and share.

But what we didn’t realize is that the surprise was really for us! Without telling, our publisher flipped the switch to publish our book and make it available to the world sometime over the past few days. Then, she told lots of our friends about the news, still without letting us in our the secret. Her plan: as soon as Ann or I discovered that the book was available, she would have everyone who knew about it would start sharing the news on social media, congratulating Ann and I, and surprising us like crazy!

Just as predicted, yesterday I stumbled onto the live Amazon page after following a link at the bottom of an article. I blinked, did some clicking around, and realized the book was available. I texted Ann. I emailed L.L. And within an hour or so, the notifications from Facebook started pouring in. I had “secretly” started slipping the Amazon URL onto our various online places and updating the official publish date to October 24, 2014—which happened to be my birthday. When I saw the first notification from my friend Sheila, I thought I had accidentally broadcast the news, when in fact, she was the one broadcasting the news to Ann and me. The book is here!

My laptop went wild with dings and pops, the little Facebook notification number reaching up into the 90s at some points. Throughout the evening, friends and family chimed in congratulating us on the book’s launch, the launch that was supposed to be secret.

Turns out it actually was.


Ann and I have a few surprises of our own to share over the next few months as we watch this little book find its way into the lives of many writers. We wrote it because we want to see writers at all levels find their way to what’s next, because we really believe there is a “what’s next” for all writers at all stages. This book started out as a workshop a year ago, when twelve women joined us for twelve weeks to see where their writing lives would go. The biggest surprise of all was how much Ann and I were encouraged to take our own next steps.

Many of you reading this are not writers. Some of you may secretly want to be, and if so, then this book has something for you. But even if not, the book may have something for you as you discover more about the writing lives of its authors. Or, the book may have something to offer you as you explore how to take the next step into your own passions and interests. At the very least, the book offers a way for you to encourage the writers you know to walk bravely into the surprises awaiting them in their own writing lives.

I’m not usually one for surprises. I like to have a plan and a map and a to-do list. I like to know where I’m going and what I’ll be doing when I get there. But yesterday made me laugh and marvel and appreciate all the ways the best surprises are the ones that remind me of the people who make the writing life worth it.

Including you.




AUTHOR: Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig
TITLEOn Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts
: Follow the link above to order it from Amazon.

Photo above by Claire Burge, via T.S. Poetry Press, used with permission. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.

*This website uses “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.


Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.

  • L.L. Barkat ,

    Hee hee hee. 🙂

    Well, the best surprises aren’t planned. This one barely was. Dreamed up in a night, it unfolded in a day. And totally not the way I thought it would.


    • identicon

      Charity Singleton Craig ,

      This makes it even MORE fun! It was kind of surprise for you, too, Laura! Yes!

    • Deidra ,

      It was so fun to watch the surprise unfurl! Reminds me of the time Beyoncé dropped a new project without notifying the entertainment mags, only this time, the story had a twist and the writers didn’t know the project was being dropped! You are rock stars!

      • identicon

        Charity Singleton Craig ,

        This is the second time someone compared me to Beyonce! (At least that’s how I’m interpreting it!) I think my cool factor is going up exponentially with every Beyonce reference! Surprises are really awesome.

        And YOU are the rock star, Deidra. You are LIVING the writing life as we speak!

      • Sandra Heska King ,

        This just makes me all kinds of happy.

      • Ann Kroeker ,

        Lane, I think there can be more than one of us writing about the surprise–it sure got me and would work for my week, as well!!

        Charity, I loved sharing the surprise with you, and I’m glad you were the one to stumble on it and have the delight of the notifications and interactions! Due to family circumstances, I wasn’t able to even see what was happening until late in the day, so if this had only been for me, I would have spoiled the fun. 🙂

        You’re a joy to partner with in this venture, and I’m so glad we both were inundated with all the attention–it doesn’t happen much in life, so I’m going to relish it, laugh, “like” and then, turn it back around on someone else. That’s what our book is about, and our editing and coaching careers. We want others to enjoy the spotlight as they move forward with their own writing lives, right? I hope all this love we’ve felt comes back to each person.

        • identicon

          Charity Singleton Craig ,

          The joy is mine, partner! This has been a fun ride, and I suspect it’s just beginning for Kroeker and Craig. I also relished the love yesterday. I am not often surprised, and they got us both good!

          Maybe a good metaphor for this book launch would be a mirror. Each of us holds it up, and if the spotlight begins to shine too brightly, we deflect it on the other, or even better, some writer out there who’s wondering if she will ever be published or if he should finally take the plunge and go full time. I love that we have this unique opportunity to come alongside people in their writing lives.

          Thanks you for going with me.

        • Lane ,

          Last night as sleepland was invading my body, I thought, “Surprise! That would be the perfect word to write about tomorrow for Charity’s word of the week link.” I see you beat me to it. I’m so delighted for you and Ann. Your teaching was inspiring…your book is on order and I’m expecting it to be inspiring as well. Enjoy the thrill of it all! Surprise!!!

          • identicon

            Charity Singleton Craig ,

            Lane – Don’t let me steal your fun by being the only person choosing “surprise” this week. It actually chose me, and I suspect that word is choosing you and Ann and so many others.

            I am so thankful for your part in our workshop last year — you brought such wonderful gifts and perspectives. If Ann and I could offer even a small part of that experience to each reader, that would be our hope.

            Thanks for stopping by1