The Graceful Exit

It occurred to me recently that many folks who read this blog don’t know its history. It was started in 2007 by five women who had their first books coming out, and for a year, they blogged together about their experiences. Then, after all their books were published, they decided to do a rather unusual thing in the blogoverse: they picked five more women debut authors, and entrusted their blog to them. So began a tradition of “passing the baton” from debut author to debut author that is now in its tenth year. Former Debutantes are running around the publishing world by the dozens, many of them on their fourth, fifth, even sixth books. They write across many genres: literary fiction, memoir, biography, YA, middle grade, romance, historical fiction, and more. They share a kinship with their Debutante sisters that never wanes even as years go by, and offer a supportive sorority to each new class. I am proud to count myself among them.

Blogging about my experiences this year has brought me many gifts. It’s made me look at my debut year with more mindfulness than I usually bring to my life (I’m not a journaler), which will make the memories sweeter and more vivid. It’s taught me to navigate the world of social media with more confidence (though I doubt I’ll ever get around to Pinterest). It’s enabled me to put the challenges that come with the publishing journey into healthy perspective. It’s helped me honor the joys for the rare and remarkable things they are. It has brought me many new friends, especially Jennifer, Aya, Louise, and Abby, but also other writers, published and unpublished, whom I’d never have met without it. A year ago, I stood at the door of a party, holding an invitation, but not sure I belonged. Today I’m in the room, sitting at the bar, laughing and talking with good people. This blog helped me cross the threshold. I will be forever grateful for the experience.

For those of you who have followed the five of us this past year, I know I’ll see you ’round the Internet. I’ll be starting my own blog soon, called “Books I Wish I’d Written,” which will focus on reviews of books I love with a bit of a craft slant. It will live on my website, and I hope you will check in there once in a while, and comment so I know you’re there and can say hi. In the meantime, I’ll be doing my usual spastic/sporadic attempts at Twitter, plus Facebook.

For those of you who are aspiring authors, who I hoped learned something about the business from the words we wrote here: keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing. I’m saving a spot at the bar for you, and the bourbon is top shelf.

Any Debutante worth her pearls knows how to make an exit, so with no further ado, I shall wave my gloved hand and attempt to curtsey without knocking off my tiara. Thank you, and goodbye.

curtsy

 

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After a decade practicing law and another decade raising kids, Heather decided to finally write the novel she'd always talked about writing. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and the Tin House Writers Workshop, all of which helped her stop writing like a lawyer. She lives in Mill Valley, California, with her husband and two teenaged children. When she's not writing she's biking, hiking, neglecting potted plants, and reading books by other people that she wishes she'd written.

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This article has 6 Comments

  1. Hi Heather, I will miss hearing from you here on the Debutante Ball which I love, but will follow you on your website, FB and Twitter! And I am looking forward to reading The Lost Girls…it sounds eerily creepy good! Best of luck to you!

  2. I am fortunate to receive the benefit of your wit and wisdom up close and on a daily basis, but want to say that your posts all year have been inspiring and beautifully written!! Congrats on a great year on the Debutante Ball!

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