I’ve been grappling with the issue of identity recently. I finished my ARC of Rachelle Dekker’s debut novel The Choosing (which we’ll review on the blog in a couple of weeks), and I just can’t get it out of my head. (Pre-order it–it’ll rock your world.) The novel centers on Carrington, a girl living in a dystopian world where women are only valued if they are chosen as wives. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll say that Carrington’s journey begins to teach her who she is, and what her value is apart from the constructs the system tries to impose on her.
And this has made me think a lot about the hashtag we’re using: #yourbookisbeautiful. It’s an acknowledgment of the value that is inherent in your novel, apart from the reviews you get. Now, here at Quill Pen, we don’t think that means a book is ready to be released to the public after you finish the first draft. A project that is so deeply a part of you deserves to be carefully refined, and embarking on a journey with a professional editorial team and a set of beta readers allows it to be a communal process. Humans are social creatures, and great books aren’t crafted in isolation. But just because it isn’t ready doesn’t mean it’s inadequate.
I’m passionate about my job. I love pushing my clients to take their manuscripts further than they could have ever imagined, and nothing gets me more excited than seeing them realize that they have written a truly good book. But I’ve begun to realize that the book was beautiful the first time it came across my desk, even if it’s not yet ready to take to print. Even with all its rough spots, it is a gem. How silly of someone to look at a budding flower and compare it unfairly to other flowers that have already blossomed. The bud may not yet be ready for a bridal bouquet but that doesn’t mean it’s unworthy. It’s still in progress, just like you, your book, and your writing career.
All of this is to say, don’t let a bad review or the words of someone who doesn’t believe in you shatter your dreams or define your identity. You are beautifully and wonderfully made, and, as we always like to say, #yourbookisbeautiful.