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Change is a Good Thing

By Shelley Shepard Gray

A funny thing happened on the way to writing my twenty-fifth Amish romance for Avon Inspire. I became rejuvenated.

For a variety of reasons, I had to switch editors after I finished my last contract. When I started working with Chelsey, I must admit I was a little nervous. I write four books a year for my publishing house, which means things are on a tight schedule. The writer-editor relationship is key, since we’re often discussing books that are due, books that are in the publishing process, or books that are on store shelves. That’s a lot of emails and phone calls!

I also know by now my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I had come to terms with the things my previous editor had wanted me to work on. Some were easy fixes, other bad habits were far more painful to let go of. What was I going to do if Chelsey had a whole new laundry list of ‘Shelley problems’? I knew I’d do my best to write the best book I could, but I wasn’t so sure how that ‘best book’ was going to be received. Would she hate it? Would she want to change my voice?

Even after all this time, I realized that I still carried around a whole host of insecurities about myself. Then I remembered how it felt when I made the jump from writing secular fiction to inspirational fiction. It felt like I was starting over. My writing felt fresh.

Change, I remembered, is a good thing.

Perhaps Chelsey felt this way, too. When I got ready for our first planning phone call to discuss this year’s series, I found myself preparing more for that phone call than I had in ages. I even had notes neatly typed up! Obviously, I was just waiting to sound ‘smart’ when she asked me things. But within five minutes, it sounded like Chelsey had done some prep work, too. She asked me questions. I answered them as best I could. Our conversation was friendly yet professional. Then, as the minutes passed, it slowly became turned relaxed and productive.

I knew then that everything was going to be just fine.

I turns out that my new editor does have a fresh perspective on my writing. Oh, she loves revisions! But I can honestly say that this fresh perspective is just what I needed. She’s challenged me and encouraged me and helped me become a better writer.

Go, Chelsey!

But I’m also starting to think that I should give myself a little cheer, too. Change isn’t easy, especially when the change means altering something that already works. But the results have been so worth it. It has allowed me to look forward to another day in front of my computer. It’s even made me want to start dreaming about all kinds of new books to write. In this difficult, volatile business, that is a gift in itself.

Promise of Palm Grove Shelley Shepard Gray writes Amish romances for Harper Collins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire and historical romances for Zondervan. Her novels have been Holt Medallion winners and Inspirational Readers Choice and Carol finalists. Shelley’s novels have appeared on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

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3 Responses to Change is a Good Thing

  1. I just started to read your books and I love them so much. your stories are not only interesting but you don’t over due on the adjectives like some writers. I like adjectives but some writers go to far that you say to yourself just get to the point already. Thank you for sharing your talents with us!!!!

  2. Hello. I have not read any of your books but plan to go to our local library tomorrow to see if I can find them. I love Amish stories. They feel close in heart. Does that make sense ? Sincerely, Mrs. Allen

  3. Loved this post, Shelley! Thank you for giving us a peek inside your world. Warmly, Suzanne