May this always be true: The best I could do is no longer the best I can do.
If this is true, it means improvement is happening. And that’s what we want, isn’t it? Growth?
I’m not the same writer I was five years ago. Honestly, that’s a very good thing. When I was starting out as a newly published independent author, I made mistakes. A lot of mistakes. I’m still prone to mistakes today, but, boy, things were kind of rough back in the day, which makes me feel very appreciative of all those positive reviews these strangers left on what was not my best work.
There’s a reason I’m rambling on about writing growth. I have been meaning to start re-promoting one of my favorite novels, which I published in 2014 – The Reach of the Banyan Tree. It was my third and longest novel at the time – a multi-generational, historical romance novel mixed with war, adventure, and contemporary intrigue. I’ve always loved the story behind this novel. It covered all my old stomping grounds from my ten years living in Vietnam.
Finally, I was ready to start re-promoting it, but something happened. I started reading through the beginning of this novel and, honestly, I cringed. No, I didn’t really write like that back then, did I?
I read more and sighed deeply with one simple realization: I did not want to promote this book if it’s going to make readers think that that’s the way I currently write. I didn’t want to give that impression because there were many problems with the way my prose flowed in 2013. So I had a decision to make: keep as is and no longer promote it or do a complete re-edit and revision.
Yep, what you know what I chose. Over the last two weeks I did a thorough read and re-edit – getting rid of all those narrative issues and those needlessly wordy sentences. Oh, and those adverbs. There was more, but you get the picture.
Once the ebook was reformatted, then came the paperback. I came to realize that I didn’t even know what a drop-cap was back in 2013 when I was putting this together. So you know what I had done? I used some sort of anchored text box to make drop caps at the beginning of each chapter. They looked terrible.
The final re-edit isn’t perfect. I didn’t have unlimited time, but I’m much happier with the result, and I am now happy to start re-promoting it.
This whole process gives me hope that the best of my writing is yet to come. It’s exciting for me to see what’s brewing in the mind which will one day be a whole host of new stories. Let’s hope they are crisper than ever before.