As usual on a Monday morning, I’m sitting at my computer but beyond my desk is a window offering a view of our front yard. In the spring, I’m often struck by how quickly things seem to be growing. When the leaves on the bushes fill in, the color green floods my office. Farther out, the trunk of my favorite tree looks sturdier than ever! It’s in that sort of young adult phase, sapling years far behind and now offering strong branches and a trunk that withstands the best of the northern winds.
My own young adult phase is certainly far behind me – I’m at an age when I don’t think of myself as changing much. I guess if you don’t count the gray hairs that seem to be appearing every day, most of my changes are pretty gradual. But I think it’s important to keep growing, spiritually, intellectually, even physically although it might be mostly a fight against decay!
I was reminded just this morning about the changes a writer goes through during the course of a career. If I still had a copy of that first book I wrote back when I was ten years old, I’d probably cringe at the mistakes I made. But I wonder if I would see some of my own voice, unchanged through the years?
That prompted me to take a peek at my first Christian novel, published back in 2006 (Pieces of Silver) to see what differences I might find. It’s rarely a good idea for a traditionally published author to look back at something that was signed, sealed and delivered long ago – there’s no hope of changing it now. Every time I read something I write, whether it’s the second or the tenth read-through, I always spot things I’d change, edit out, improve.
But I did recognize my voice between the sentences demanding another edit. It’s largely the same voice as with my latest release (The Cranbury Papermaker). It simply sounds like my writing, even after nearly ten years of growing and learning more about the craft.
Change is inevitable, for good or ill. Healthy things grow and improve, while things that are neglected eventually turn chaotic or end. I’ve nurtured my writing so I’m hopeful it’s changed for the better through the years, even though that core voice remains largely the same, or at least similar to the sort of writing I’m still producing that (hopefully) entertains others.
It’s like my tree. It’s still my tree, with the same sort of leaves and symmetrical shape and lovely colors, but it’s growing each and every year. Bigger, stronger, a more visible presence in my yard that offers comfort in its shade and enjoyment from its beauty.
Here’s to change! Think about some of the ways you might have changed over the years. You might be pleased to see the growth!