Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Leaving a Writing Legacy

This week, I’m giving a speech about the legacies we leave our children. It’s made me think of what kind of writing legacy I’ll leave. If you’re new to writing and not yet published, you may think it’s too early to consider a writing legacy. You’ll worry about that after you’re published. I disagree, and here’s why:

There are published authors who regret having certain books in print. They may regret the format of the book. Perhaps they self-published or published with a less reputable publishing house and the manuscript didn’t receive the editing needed. Perhaps the book was the first of the series and wasn’t marketed well. Now the rest of the series—along with the author’s dreams—seems dead on arrival.

Perhaps the author regrets the content of the book. Maybe she rushed into print at the first opportunity—and wouldn’t 99 percent of all unpublished writers do the same?—but the author didn’t research as well she should have and mistakes are in print. Or perhaps she regrets writing steamy paranormals now that she’s writing inspirationals.

So, think carefully about publishing opportunities and establish boundaries and priorities from the start.

Jane Austen left a fabulous legacy that most of us would trade our IRA’s to have. Yet, she had no idea that, almost two hundred years later, her novels would be held in high esteem or even that she was leaving a writing legacy. Austen was writing popular fiction of her day.

According to Wikipedia, “Austen’s works brought her little fame and only a few positive reviews.” Come on, Jane Austen! It’s hard to believe she wasn’t revered soon after she was published. But that encourages me. You never know about my books or yours . . .

Let’s all write to leave a legacy we can be proud of—and one without regrets.



Eileen said...

I truly agree with this attitude, Roxanne. So often we want to get on the wagon too soon. Great post!

Lisa Jordan said...

Wonderful post, Roxanne. Thanks for sharing.

I've read about Christian fiction authors who regret choices they've made in the past. Like other mistakes we've made, those choices shape us into who we are today.

If we keep God at the forefront of our writing, we have a better chance of leaving a legacy that glorifies Him.