With a new book release just around the corner, the time has come for a new headshot. I am NOT a fan of having to get a new headshot, but I believe it’s a good idea to have an updated picture for a brand new book. And a selfie from my iPhone won’t do for print and digital use. It has to be a high resolution photo.
The good news—my husband agreed to take my picture. He has a real camera, and he recently completed a couple of photography classes at the University of Arkansas. I’m all for saving money.
The husband rate is good 😉.
In my other life (the one that involved debits and credits), needing a headshot was never on my radar. But since I began freelancing and blogging, it’s a real thing. And this is my third headshot in six years.
I compared the three pictures, as one does.
Of course, I’m older. My body has begun to shift and sag as though it’s settling in to become someone altogether different. And you know what? I’m okay with it.
Opening a jar of pickles suddenly requires a guttural sound followed by, “John, can you open this?” (I blame this on my broken wrist which will never quite be the same.)
More gray, less blonde. Meh.
Less freckles, more brown spots. I call them natural tattoos.
I could go on with things I see that may not be so apparent in these pictures because of “photography skills”. Mostly, when I look at these photos, I think about the changes the photographer’s lens doesn’t capture.
Lessons and Changes
I’ve learned to accept rejection for what it is—someone else’s opinion and nothing personal.
- Since 2014, I’ve submitted 58 stories/essays/etc. to various literary publications. 52 were rejected. Of the 6 pieces accepted; 3 happened during the past six months. Persistence is key.
- Negative book reviews are part of the process too. Not everyone likes every book. Over time, authors grow tougher skin. It’s a survival mechanism, I suppose. Plus, life’s too short to fret over such first world problems.
I’ve learned to show up for writing practice.
- I’ve filled at least a dozen journals with words, lots of nonsense, maybe even some decent stuff. Practice has led to:
- several hundred blog posts;
- two whole books, parts of others, my first play;
- articles in 20 different local-ish publications.
Reading is the best homework!
- I’ve read approximately 360 books over the past six years. Different genres and writing styles. Classics. Bestsellers. Indies. Translations. Books that have made me more empathetic to people who are different than I. Books that have made me think about style and word choice, formatting and voice. Yes, I read to be entertained, but also to learn.
I’ve pushed myself.
This is a big one for me.
- I’ve spoken at fifty+ book clubs and to several organizations.
- Taught several workshops on blogging, writing, etc.
- Re-worked pieces after rejection and re-submitted (often to be rejected again). Yes, the very definition of insanity…
- Started a publishing company.
Don’t think for a minute any of this comes naturally to me. I am a homebody. An introvert. I would rather piddle around at home than put myself out there and risk being told my book is boring or my article is dull.
And believe me, people love to share opinions on my hair, my clothing, my writing style, my everything. Haha. Whatever.
Personal, not so Private
I look back on all the changes in my personal life during the past six years, and feel both grateful and a bit overwhelmed. But all those crazy, messy, glorious days helped get me to today. Each came with its own blessings and lessons, even those that may not have seemed obvious at the time.
Like what? Well, off the top of my head…
- I broke three bones; had one surgery.
- Became a Master Naturalist and a Master Gardener.
- Walked a whole bunch of miles around the neighborhood; hiked trails in the Ozarks.
- Had three colonoscopies.
- Celebrated our daughter’s marriage; gained a new son.
- Moved from Dallas to Fayetteville which involved purging a bunch of stuff.
- Increased my circle of friends.
- Planted a butterfly garden.
- Asked for help.
- Learned to say no. A lot.
I tell you all this not to pat myself on the back or complain or make myself feel better about anything.
The point is, as I prepare to push my second book out into the world, it’s interesting to look back and see the road I’ve taken, to think about the things I’ve learned, the mistakes I’ve made, and to wonder about what’s to come. And to tell you—if you want to take your writing to the next level, you can!
If you come to Grace Grits and Gardening only to read about gardening or to check out my most recent Sunday Letter, you may be highly disappointed by this post (and by the ones that will follow in the very near future).
My friend Dorothy recently reminded me that there is a season for everything. And for the next month or so, this is the season for bringing my new book, Gene, Everywhere, into the world. AND I have exciting news coming soon about The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee!
Maybe everything led to this point? The pushing and sagging and teeth-grinding and laughing and wondering and writing before sunrise and not-going-to-the-gym (while wishing I would) and planting tulips and all of it?
Things are about to get busy, that’s for sure.
One thing I know—everything is more do-able and certainly more fun with friends. My immediate goal is to bring you a bit of insider news each week, right here on the blog.
- Book cover reveal!
- Pre-order will begin!
- Virtual Launch Party! (remember the one we had for Gracie Lee?)
I hope you are getting excited. As evidenced by all the silly exclamation points scattered throughout this post, I am.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.