One year ago today, I released my first novel. Entitled, Stronghold, the book follows a Christian believer who seeks to overcome temptation by imagining his soul as a fantasy realm wherein warrior angels and demonic powers battle for influence and territory. The books came from a very organic personal experience, and it's development was the rare instance of inspiration that writers crave but few experience.
Stronghold's completion seems just as fortuitous. Though I had composed the first draft while still gainfully employed in California, I completed it during the huge amount of time provided by my nine months out of work in Delaware. Had I obtained a job immediately upon our arrival to the East Coast, Stronghold might still be in revisions (and my second novel might not have been started).
The emotional roller-coaster since Stronghold's publication has been exhausting. Participating in written and audio videos has been encouraging, but sales not so much. The initial swell of pride after completing the book was replaced gradually with the realization that it may not be as good as I had thought or, at least, has not connected with readers as I'd expected.
The experience has been as much of a disappointment as it has a personal triumph, but I have an aching suspicion that's the point. Perhaps I am supposed to realize that my writing, while valuable, may never be able to support us. Maybe I need to see that my experiences and ideas are far less accessible than I assumed. And God might have led me through this for the simple purpose of reminding me that I must take joy in his salvation and find true personal fulfillment in him alone, regardless of accomplishment or lack thereof. Then again, maybe it's a combination of all three.
The bottom line is really this: a year after publication, Stronghold has failed to perform in any capacity to the levels I had expected, but that's okay. God is still God; God is still good, and I am still his spiritual son--sealed with his Holy Spirit. This is enough. Stronghold's existence (and performance) is a bonus.
As I reflect on these things, I am deeply motivated. I have written a novel. I CAN write another. And that one can be better. That one can find it's audience. But even if it doesn't, I am still in my Heavenly Father's loving hands.
And that's a good place to be.