IN APRIL, in the early days of Covid, I made the rather impulsive decision to up and self-publish my first novel. I had great support from a handful of writers I deeply respect and who are renown. I had full reads and good interest from multiple literary agents even if, to date, there had been no offers of representation. I believed in the work and wanted to see it in the world. Plus the timing just seemed right. Historical fiction that takes a reader to another place, another time? Yes, the pandemic seemed to say—yes to a story about people whose lives intersect in Virginia’s mountains during the Civil War; yes to a tale about people who are doing the very best they can amidst great controversy and challenge; yes to a sweet reminder of the power of love and its ability to heal and redeem.
Then a funny thing happened. Just as I got my proverbial ducks in a row–the beginnings of a website in place, a strategy for the book’s launch developed, a trio of author endorsements secured–the editor with whom I was working on some final details suggested a plot change or two that, properly addressed, would require significant rewriting.
I fretted over this decision, of course I did, having motored down the self-publishing road far enough that I had some good, strong momentum. I mean…I had committed. I had decided. I had a team, for heaven’s sake.
But you know what I did. I don’t even have to tell you what I did, given the slightest consideration for making the novel better. SEVEN YEARS+ IN, I stopped, punted, and got back to work on the manuscript.
IT HAS BEEN ONE of the best and also hardest things I’ve ever done. May I just be painfully frank about that? Reworking a novel you truly believed to be finished? During Covid? The attention and imagination such work requires has provided a welcome distraction from the insane modern-day cycle of bad-upon-bad-upon-bad news, I am thankful for that. But it has also required a level of discipline I’m not certain I knew I possessed. It has proven humbling, too, a reminder of the importance of pushing and playing both in equal measure when you’re engrossed in a creative endeavor that has come to mean way more to you than it probably should.
The venture has borne fruit of another kind, as well, which is actually the reason I’m writing this post. All the while my peeps and I have carried on with development of the author website that, at some point in the future, will feature the novel. We plan to launch within the next week or so, and the site will serve as home base for all things writerly regarding my work. It will also host The Daily Grace blog which will move and live on there featuring an expanded focus on living a creative life.
I do hope you will come with me there! And I hope that in doing so you will find much that inspires and encourages. I deeply believe we are all innately creative–every one of us–and I know the world is hungry for what only we can offer when we embrace that beautiful gift. I also know grace is all around and to live in it, fully realized, we only need look for it.
I am so thankful to you for your love and support and encouragement over the past ten years of writing this blog. I look forward to seeing you soon at our new address on the interwebs!