Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Not A Solitary Endeavor by Heidi Chiavaroli

One thing I’ve always loved about writing was the solitude of it all. Never a big fan of school group projects (I always ended up shouldering the brunt of the work while the others coasted along) I was happy to entertain a career in writing. A solitary career.

By myself.


Yes, I work better alone. That’s why I write. All by my lonesome. Me, myself, and I.

Or so I thought.

With my debut novel just released, I can’t help but acknowledge the simple fact that although I spent hours alone at my computer to get to this point, there is no way I would have reached the height of my dreams—having my debut novel release with my dream publishing house—without other people investing in my career.

Writing, it turns out, is not a solitary endeavor after all. Far from it. It is absolutely a team effort.

Here are a few on my team:

Critique Partners and Writing Friends: I have had several critique partners over the years and have appreciated them all as we’ve gone through different stages of career and life. I cannot recommend anything as much as I can recommend a good critique partner. Not only does my CP improve my writing with honest feedback, she encourages me on those days when I am tempted to give it all up.

Another dear friend, when she noticed something of potential in my writing, was kind enough to offer recommendation to her agent.

Writing is a lonely endeavor. Without others, we may be tempted to quit, to feel lonely with just that screen and those uncooperative words before us. I would suggest joining a writing group if you don’t have a critique partner. I highly recommend ACFW ( I found most of my valuable friends—friends who share a passion for both writing and Jesus—there.

A Good Agent: There are so many opportunities and paths to publication today, and many of them don’t require an agent. But I cannot imagine navigating this career without my agent as my advocate. She is not only an encourager and friend, she possesses wisdom I will never have. She opens worlds of opportunity and helps me avoid pitfalls I never would have seen coming. But beware—there are a lot of not-so-credible agents out there. Do your research and talk to other authors before signing with any agent.

Editors: Like my agent, my editors have wisdom to know what will work and what won’t. I cannot believe how they have helped me to improve my story. Quite simply, I don’t have all the good ideas. Their insight, their brainstorming sessions, make a book all it can be.

Marketing/Graphic Design Team: Alone, I simply don’t have the means to make a beautiful cover. I don’t have reach that extends beyond my small fan base. But my marketing team has increased that exponentially. They have the know-how and the resources to promote my book in a way I cannot do—you guessed it—alone. J

Book Buyers: Yes, these are part of my team, too. An important part! From the individual who orders online to the amazing team of buyers at Christian Book Distributors (I met them and I can absolutely confirm how amazing they are!), every buyer is a part of my team. Buyers help you get the word out, they can leave reviews, and be part of the all-important launch team.

And the list doesn’t end here. Those who have helped me with research, my family, my friends, my church. This is one big team I am so, so proud to be part of.

As I held my book for the first time in my hands—the cover more beautiful than anything I could have come up with, the pages freshly printed, the thoughtful endorsements on the first page, the story so much stronger than when I first turned it in—I was hit with this overwhelming gratitude that I am not alone.

And I am blessed for it.

If Jesus, who is and was God himself, enlisted the help of others to carry out His mission, how dare I think I could ever go at my teensy-tiny mission alone? Life—no matter what we set out to do—is not meant to be lived alone. Sure, we need our solitary time, but that should not be the goal. Our goal—in writing and in life—should be to engage others, to live fully with them, to work as a team for the mighty purpose of carrying out the greatest mission of all.

Who makes up your team?


Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston's Freedom Trail. She writes Women's Fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Visit her online