On Redefining (Book Title & Blog Redesign Reveal!)

When I started this blog almost two years ago, I called it How to Talk Evangelical. It felt like a natural stepping-off place from my completed manuscript, which had the same name.

I’d finished that manuscript in grad school, and it had a complicated, grad-school-inspired structure. The book was punctuated by glossaries of evangelical terms that formed a vehicle for me to talk about my experience. The terms themselves became the spine against which I built my story, and it seemed only right to continue that structure as I made my foray into the blogosphere.

It felt doable to me. I didn’t know the first thing about blogging, but I knew about writing. And it was easy to think about choosing just one term at a time. Riffing on it. Redefining it and letting it hook into my own life and then turning it entirely on its head.

So that’s what I did. Over the last couple of years, we’ve covered some of the most cliché of the clichés here: God doesn’t give you more than you can handle and I’m feeling led (to break up with you) and the truth in love. Using the metaphors and terms and language of the evangelical world, I began to work through some of my complicated faith baggage, and you came along with me. We’ve been sorting it out together, it feels like. Untangling.

But then one day I got a new agent, and she looked at my book and said, “You might consider making the structure a little more…simple,” and I spent a few days panicked and crying.

And then I sat down, calmed the heck down, and tried it. And it turns out that the terms weren’t the stabilizing backbone of my book after-all. The story itself was strong enough to stand on its own. The language of the evangelical faith was part of it, to be sure, but it wasn’t the whole thing as I once thought it was.

typeset book

I got the typeset pages for my first book from the publisher this week. We have a title. It’s not How to Talk Evangelical.

The book will be called When We Were On Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over.

We’re days away from an official cover, which I will reveal as soon as I possibly can.

In the wake of all the changes to the book, I’ve done a redesign of the website. If you look at the URL bar, you’ll see that the page is no longer located at howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com – though that address will still get you here.

Instead, the address is simply my name: addiezierman.com.

Over the past few months, I’ve been veering a little anyway. I’ve still been tackling religious terms and the various aspects of Christianese…and I’ll continue to do much of that in the months and years ahead.  But also, the content of this blog has expanded as my own life has cracked open and spilled over into other things.

And I wanted to stop defining myself by the evangelical terms and start defining myself as just…well…me.

You’ll notice the new header (if you’re reading this in an RSS reader – which I hope still works – click over to check it out) and some new tabs. I’ve created a page for the new book, and I’m beginning to put myself out there for speaking engagements.

You’ll also notice eventually that I’ve integrated Disqus for keeping track of comments. It sucks at first because it’s one more login and password to remember…but once you get that figured out, it’s so much better. You no longer have to subscribe to the whole thread to get the response to your comment. It just comes to you…like magic. And that’s important to me, because I spend a lot of time responding to comments. I really want people to, you know, read them.

I’ve also lumped my freelancer self in here too. Frankly, I no longer have the energy to maintain two separate sites and two separate email signatures. This is me, y’all: a Jesusy, angsty technical-writer-turned-book-writer with a blog. I talk a lot about the kids and a lot about the ducks, and it’s all just me. Just Addie Zierman…with a tiny subtitle about talking evangelical, because alongside all of it, I’m still learning. Still figuring out what it means to speak good, true words into a word that is hurting.


My brilliant designer, Hannah Rose Beasley did an amazing job with this site, and I’m super excited about how it turned out.

As I understand it, your email subscriptions and RSS feeds should still work…but if you don’t see anything come through in the next few days, please take a second to resubscribe. I don’t want you to miss anything, and there’s so much goodness coming. We’ve got another edition of the One Small Change series tomorrow…plus a cover reveal for When We Were On Fire in the very near future!

You can also keep up with me on Facebook here (be sure to hover over the Liked button on this page and select Show in News Feed so that the Facebook Algorithm of Doom doesn’t edit me out of your life) or on Twitter here.

My Facebook “Likes” for each post didn’t transfer over, which totally hooks my false self. But then I think of this beautiful quote from Glennon Doyle Melton, and I think this is a good thing.

Sometimes we’re so busy responding to strangers that we forget to respond to the people right in front of is. And we forget who we are a little. And instead of feeling grounded into our real lives we start feeling untethered, like satellites out in the cyberworld. As if we actually ARE our profiles and our worth actually COMES from how many “likes” we have. No. There is no THERE there. There’s not and there is never, ever going to be.

Also, since this is a brand new website, my “Most Popular” posts didn’t come along for the ride. If you’re interested, they were (as best as I can remember):

It’s all a little different, and it makes me nervous and excited all at once.

Thank you for coming along with me into this new phase of this blog…and of my life as a writer. I’m so grateful for you all.

69 thoughts on “On Redefining (Book Title & Blog Redesign Reveal!)

  1. So sleek and so shiny! I love the new book title, I feel like it captures the imagination, and speaks to the “on fire” part we all have. Congratulations!

  2. I absolutely LOVE the new title. It’s fantastic and I would like to preorder one right now, thank you very much.

    And the new blog is just beautiful, as is the picture of you. Makes me want to sit down with you and laugh about something ridiculous the kids did today.

    1. I’ll definitely let you know when you can! (Actually, I think you might be able to on Barnes and Noble…and it looks like you can preorder the ebook on Amazon…but I thought I’d wait until the cover is set and everything looks right in ALL THE PLACEs before I start encouraging people to buy it!)
      Someday friend, we will sit down and laugh like crazy!

  3. I think it’s brilliant, and I love the new look as well. But the best part of all, the very, VERY best part, is this:

    “And I wanted to stop defining myself by the evangelical terms and start defining myself as just…well…me.”

    God doesn’t screw up, and he made you you. That’s quite an endorsement!

    1. Thanks so much Katie. Yes, the old site was fine, but I cobbled it altogether myself. But I love the work Hannah did here. It feels so much nicer. 🙂

  4. Addie,

    The website looks great! I am looking forward to reading your book. I appreciate how your respond to your reader’s comments. I know that takes a lot of time and effort but I am sure everyone is like me and really feels honored that you do that. “Don’t Change the World” from May 2012 is still a favorite post of mine.

  5. Your site is beautiful. The title could not be better. So crazy excited for you, Addie. It’s been such joy to learn with you in the process and I’m so excited for your book. So much love to you!

  6. Oh wow, what a perfect title. Really love the concept of basing it around each term, but as soon as I read it… yes. Can’t wait.

    1. Yeah. The terms are still in there…one at the beginning of each chapter. But it no longer incorporates a glossary feel quite as much. Which is good, in the end. Because it’s not a glossary. It’s a story. 😉

      1. Not a glossary. A story. I like that. If only more people approached their thoughts on faith that way… 🙂

  7. I love it–the design, the title, “just you.” So many exciting things ahead!

    P.S. I’m really glad you switched to Disqus! I always have a hard time remembering to come back to check for a response to a comment, and I don’t like subscribing to entire threads. Great way to keep the conversation going!

    1. Yeah. I think Disqus will be good. I know I never remember to check other blogs when they don’t have Disqus. And I spend TOO MUCH TIME on responses for that to happen here. 😉

  8. Oh, I LOVE the new website. AND the title. And the clubbing of all your different personas on one space. Nobody has time for multiple signatures, please! 🙂

    I want to hear about the kids, and Jesus-y things, and heavens, the ducks! Tell me more about the ducks! 🙂

    Sounds like harvest time ’round here, Addie.

    Revel in this special time.


    1. Thanks so much sweet Tina. We have these ducks on my pond that I’m a little bit obsessed with. I probably write about them too much. But I do love those ducks. 😉

  9. Love it all, Addie. As a Minnesotan — whose parents had the “How to talk Minnesotan” coffeetable book and everything — I was quite partial to the original title, but I will grant that I am among a pretty small demographic of people who would get the in-joke! The new title is fantastic. I’m so excited for you!

  10. Eek! I love it. Your header is sophisticated and adorable all at the same time. And I’ve already said this but the title is awesome and I can’t wait to see the cover.

    Looking forward to the big, bad rollout…. 🙂

  11. I love all this! The new design here and I LOVELOVELOVE the title of your book. It’s maybe the most perfect book title ever.

  12. This makes me so happy for you, Addie! The site is beautiful and I can’t wait for the book.

  13. The simplicity of the new font and blog design is easy on the eye. Well chosen, Addie. Looking forward to your new book.

  14. Love the new look, Addie. But as an older reader, I’ll just say the typeset is small for tired eyes. :>) LOVE the new book title and so look forward to reading it. Good things are happening for you and I am glad!

    1. You know, I noticed it was a little small too. I’m glad you said something! I emailed Hannah about it yesterday; maybe she can make it a little bit bigger. 🙂 Thanks Diane!

  15. Addie, everything is coming together! Beautiful website, beautiful book. As it should be, on your 30th birthday! Thanks for being a wonderful writer and a blessing to me. Happy birthday!

  16. Bit late to this conversation. All has been said and I fully agree! Just to reiterate:love the new website, blog, new look you, new book title, and all that’s still to come will be amazing. Congratulations, Addie!

  17. I see disqus has advantages for some people, but on each blog I read that moved to discus it slows comment loading by what seems like a factor of 5. For this post it first gave me the “discus seems to be loading slower than usual, reload” error message. The on the second attempt it took 20 seconds to load.

    It took 3 attempts of reloading to log in to disqus as well

  18. P.S. this may be my first comment here. I’ve been reding almost a year & I love your work

  19. never got around to saying how much i appreciate you & the book and the site, etc. etc. etc. ALL of it, basically. =) Also, I SO relate to the end part of this post! When I moved to a new site under my name, I lost my (better) popular posts, FB likes, the whole shebang. I’m still at the mercy of facebook to merge my new page wtih my old with over 1,000 “likes” on the line…and sometimes I just feel like “just whatever, man.” (lol) I want to be perceived as successful online and all that jazz and then other days I remember the truth of that quote…and it doesn’t really matter long term to my husband and children or even *gasp* ME! Anyway, it’s encouraging and scary and free’ing to let go. thanks for being a good example to me! =)

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