Music has always been a big part of my life, as a performer and a listener. I was your typical Band kid who played not just one instrument, but several. I also discovered I loved to sing. Most of my singing took place at church so I felt that I could use my voice to glorify God. I frequently sang solos at church, and as my friends and relatives got married, I was often the wedding soloist.
At times I’d get tired of always being on the stage, performing, when I could just be in the audience, enjoying stress-free. I put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver a quality performance. If I was singing for God’s glory, I certainly didn’t want to mess it up!
After decades of singing in a church choir, practicing and singing every week, I moved into a new stage of life. Not only did I move away physically to a new area, I took an intentional break from singing. My husband and I settled into our new home and began to establish our new life, friends and activities. Eventually God led us to a new church, and I was thrilled to discover that the services are filled with lots of singing.
I remember standing in the pews on the first day. I was excited about getting back to singing my favorite hymns and praise songs. I’d missed the songs, and I’d missed singing! I always loved singing loudly and strongly, sending my adoration heavenward. I listened to the musical intro swirl around me, excitement in my heart. I opened my mouth to sing the first verse and …
My voice wasn’t there! It crackled and popped. I cleared my throat and tried again … nope. A sound came out but definitely not the trained choral voice I remembered. Try as I might, I couldn’t get my voice to respond. It wouldn’t hit the right notes … or any note at all!
This discovery was very disturbing. I thought I’d always be a singer. But apparently not. Musical skill is like a muscle. If you don’t work a muscle regularly, it goes soft.
I’m happy to report that I didn’t give up or walk away. Now, after several months of singing at church several times a week, my voice is starting to get back in shape. No, it’s not as strong or reliable as when I was performing weekly, but it’s not a complete disaster either. I feel like if I wanted to dedicate the time and hard work to weekly choir rehearsals and performances, I could probably restore it to its former quality.
Writing is also like a muscle. In the twenty-two years that I have been writing novels, I’ve written and published twenty-six books. That’s a lot of sitting at my computer and working that muscle!
I decided this is the year I would Preserve My Legacy. What does that mean? I set aside the year 2021 to go back through my backlist of books and make sure that any of my books that a new reader picks up, it is truly my finest offering. After all, my inspirational romances are my ministry to the world. God deserves to get my finest work and best effort. So instead of writing new books this year like all my previous years, I went back and revitalized my first series, Pawleys Island Paradise. I invested in beautiful new covers and I re-read and polished all six books to a shine. I completed that task in the first quarter of the year, and I fell in love with those books all over again.
Then I revisited my backlist of books and I pulled three out that I had written earlier in my career. By making some edits and revisions, I figured out how I could present them to my readers as a trilogy of heartwarming inspirational romances, even though they were originally written as standalone contemporary romances. These books are my Big Apple Blessings series. The first one released in June, the second in October and the final one will release in February.
I’m glad that I spent 2021 preserving my legacy but when I think about that writing muscle that is now soft, I worry. I have spent a full year revising and editing and publishing and promoting and marketing. But I haven’t been WRITING.
I have a new book in my heart, knock-knock-knocking away at my brain. Soon it’ll be time to start getting the words down and building a new story. My writing muscle will most definitely be out of shape. Like my voice, it’ll be a little hoarse, a little unreliable, a little weak. The words surely won’t flow from my brain onto the page with the ease that they used to when I was writing regularly.
But like my singing, I will stick with it. With God’s help, I need to keep working the muscle, getting it back in shape by sheer determination and perseverance. And when I have the finished result ready, I can’t wait to share it with you!
Questions to consider: What skill or talent do you have that you let go soft? What skill do you want to re-work so it’s back in shape?