Friday, September 29, 2017

The Hills & Valleys of the Writing Life

Edie here. Today you are in for a treat! One of my all-time favorite YA authors has agreed to share some of the things she's learned while traveling this writing road. She also has a new book, The Revisionary (don't you LOVE the title!) and I've shared all the information about it after the post. Please give her a warm TWC welcome!

The Hills & Valleys of the Writing Life
by Kristen Hogrefe @kjhogrefe 

Driving home during one of my Sunshine State’s summer downpours, I heard Tauren Wells’ “Hills and Valleys” on the radio. How well those lyrics fit the writer’s life!

Our writing journeys are often a series of highs and lows. I love seeing the wide-eyed excitement when my writer friends post that they’ve signed with an agent or contracted with a publishing house. I remember the almost surreal feeling when I signed a three-book contract with Write Integrity Press and celebrated with a friend over coffee.

Then, the demands of perfecting a proposal or the grind of deadline writing sets in. We grit our teeth, excited to make the most of the privilege before us but also wonder when we might find some relief from the pressure.

To our delight, hilltop moments dot the writing landscape. We reveal the brilliant cover design, return the last galley to our editor with all edits approved, and receive our first raving review from an advance reader. Then there’s release day, launch parties, and congratulations from friends and colleagues on a job well done.

However, valleys don’t trail far behind. Maybe we receive a low review, or someone posts negative feedback that slices our heart in two. Sales may not peak the way we’d hoped. The deadline for the sequel weighs us down amid all the other demands of life.

If we get caught in the emotional yoyo of the writing process, we lose sight of our purpose and ride waves that crest and crash one after the other.

We know where our attention needs to be, but Wells’ words provide a much-needed reminder. On the mountains, we’re to “bow” or recognize that we didn’t get there on our own two feet. God “set” us there and allowed us to experience his blessing on our work. In the valleys, we’re to “lift” our eyes to the One who remains with us even in the dark places.

The contrast paints a beautiful picture of the proper perspective: Bow our heads when we’re high. Lift our eyes when we’re low. Both actions focus our attention on the Lord, our Constant through the journey.

Whether you’re on the mountaintop or in the valley, keep these steady truths in mind:
  1. God’s help and grace have brought you to this place. (2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:13)
  2. Everything God allows is for your good and his glory. (Romans 8:28, I Corinthians 1:31)
  3. God is faithful to complete the work he’s begun in you. (Philippians 1:6, I Thessalonians 5:24)
  4. When God is your guide, you never walk alone. (Psalm 23:4, Psalm 42:8)

Yes, he’s God of the hills and valleys.

Where are you in your journey? What advice can you share about riding the highs and lows of the writer’s life? Join the conversation!

TWEETABLES


The Revisionary
by Kristen Hogrefe

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she?

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in her quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might not be the real villain.

Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.

Kristen Hogrefe is a YA novelist and speaker. She also serves as a mentor for Word Weavers International and teaches English for Alpha Omega Academy. Her new release, The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press), is the first book in her YA trilogy The Rogues. The novel is a dystopia of a different kind—one where characters look back to their civilization’s heritage for hope to move forward. You can find Kristen outdoors in the Florida sunshine or online at www.KristenHogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly.    

15 comments:

  1. Amen and Amen Ms. Kristen and Ms. Edie. There's always a reason for God putting us where He does. Our task is discovering why so that we learn the lesson He wants to teach us. Well done!

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  2. Thanks, Jim! Yes, God knows what He's doing, even when we don't. :) Blessing to you!

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  3. Thank you for your post Kristin. It is a few hills and lots of valleys.

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    1. It sure is, Jann! I'm grateful God is constant regardless.

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  4. I love that song! Good reminder...

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    1. Me too, Jennifer! Thanks for your comment. :)

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  5. Thank you, Kristen! Reassuring words! I read twice so they'd sink deep.

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    1. Thanks, Emme! Blessings to you in your writing.

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  6. Thank you for this, Kristen. As a debut author this journey, or as you call it--this "privilege before us"--is new to me. Looking back over the last six months, I see now that I was so concerned about honoring that privilege that I put a lot of pressure on myself. I was afraid I wasn't doing something I should be doing. I didn't know how long to promote and when to return my focus to my WIP. I was afraid to quit promoting too soon or to get back to my WIP too late. My small press took a chance on a new author; I didn't want to disappoint them, but I also didn't know what they considered "success." So while I was on the hilltop and should have been enjoying the view, I focused on trying to avoid the valley. Ultimately, I failed to lift my eyes to the One who set me on the journey. While the journey has been mostly wonderful (in spite of me!), I'm glad I've reached a place where I can breathe. I'm also glad I have a little experience behind me now so the next journey won't be filled with as many unknowns, and I can do a better job of keeping my focus in the right place. Thanks for your encouraging post and for prompting me to reflect.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Karen. I understand how you felt. A small traditional press signed me for The Revisionary, and I did put too much pressure on myself to "perform" well, too. Then, one of the editors with Write Integrity shared something that really helped me refocus. She said not to get so bogged down with numbers but to remember every book sold is a life touched. Because writing is in many ways a ministry to me, I also like to think of I Corinthians 3:6 and apply it to myself. God planted the seed for me to write, I am to be faithful and "water" that calling, and then trust Him to give the "increase." God uses our writing to reach the people He wants us to reach, and I'm sure He's using you. Blessings on your writing journey!

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    2. 1 Corinthians 3:6 is perfect. :) Thanks for sharing your experience and these words of wisdom.

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    3. It's my pleasure! I'm glad we writers can encourage each other. :)

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  8. Kristen, Thank you for sharing your wisdom. As another first-time book author, I have had a few set backs. Everyone has been gracious to me as I come away from on that seemed to never end. I enjoy the fact that you share scriptures with us.
    Thank you, Edie for all you do to help us.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, setbacks are part of writing and can certainly be discouraging, but we can grow through them and use them to encourage others who come behind us. Blessings to you in your writing!

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