“Did you grow again last night?”
This is a phrase I always thought was a joke as a child. Now, as a parent, I realize it is a sincere question. The answer may really be yes. It’s exciting to see my son grow and change every week. Even though he’s well on his way to three, he’s still noticeably changing from one week to the next.
My professional life changes like my son grows.
The growth spurt started with SIX DEGREES.
Then I had this personal metamorphosis, which necessarily transformed my professional life. I went to conferences, befriended wonderful human beings like Victoria Clayton and Shawna Ayoub Ainslie, did some interviews, some talks, and I noticed a shift in how I thought about writing and publishing.
It became very clear in The Compassion Letter (which makes me so happy just thinking about it!). Then a reader, who I’ll call S, contacted me about my Khloe Alwell series and the conversation made me recognize how far I’d come.
If you’ve followed me for the long haul, you know that Khloe was the beginning of my publishing journey and the books reflect this. Since writing THE BROTHERS, I’ve become a master wordsmith. I can always learn more, but I definitely have a knowledge base from which to draw. I have a firm grasp not only on structure, but voice and style.
Talking with S however, was something more. I realized my shift on the business side of writing.
I felt genuine gratitude for this woman contacting me. I was so grateful she took the time to speak with me about some items in Khloe. There were still little things awry. I have let the series sit for a while (not the covers, obviously, but the books themselves…).
Then I thought, “You know what would be great? If I go through Khloe, chapter by chapter, with my readers in mind.”
I don’t mean to focus on whether a reader of a certain gender, sexual orientation, age, race, and cultural background enjoy this book. My intention is more than that – I want to serve my readers with my fiction.
Not too long ago I made a lovely connection with Abbas Mohamed through my compassion work (He’s one of the founders of The Compassion Crew which does workshops on different aspects of compassion.). We had a great conversation that left me feeling really excited about the ways we may work together. Quite unexpectedly, Abbas messaged me about one of my Friday Fiction posts, “Asleep In The Rocking Chair.” It really resonated with him – the idea of a parent holding a certain memory in their heart, no matter how much time had passed. He felt it very strongly and I was very touched that he took the time to share his response with me.
When I wrote that piece, I thought specifically about how best to communicate the truth of parenting in the space of a blog post. I was thinking, “I want you, dear reader, to feel what Sybil feels.”
I guess it worked.
After talking about Khloe, I came to understand I was finally ready to revisit Khloe with the right question in mind, “How can I best serve my readers with this word/sentence/paragraph/chapter/novel?”
This is the only question that really matters to me.
I have so much love for everyone who takes the time to read my words. You truly are a blessing to me. If this is true, I owe it to my dear readers to serve you. Each letter, word, phrase, and sentence should be a message of care and love from me to you. My message should mark your heart in the best way, filling you up with that love.
Before, I didn’t know how to communicate this message. I was clumsy, beginning, and unfocused.
Please forgive me.
I promise from now on to keep you in mind, no matter the form of my work. Each piece is a gift, given from the bottom of my heart to you. Even this blog post. Especially this blog post.
So dear ones, have an amazing week! I mean it.
- Between Chaos and Order: The Need For A Middle Way - June 18, 2018
- Spiritual Mamas: Intuition, Spirituality, and Motherhood - June 4, 2018
- Neither Selfish or Selfless – Only Loving! - April 30, 2018