I am truly happy when I read about a fellow writer's success. I've been there through their ups and downs. When they thought they were a crap writer and then the next day they realized, like we all knew, they aren't.
And after I've finished reading the post and have done a happy dance for them (I actually do these happy dances. Luckily no one else is witness...) I start thinking about my own journey. All the rejections I've received. The 'nice tries' and 'its not what I'm looking fors'. And I think. Will this ever happen to me? Will I ever be able to write this post?
And now I get to write my second one... the first one being here, two weeks ago.
That's why I'm afraid you'll hate me.
And I think that's why I've put off writing this post until the very last hour. (Jen's had hers written for awhile :) and I'm sure hers will be ten times better than mine so be sure to pop on over and read it.)
But here it is. My second time writing THE post. What did it take (at least for me) to get here? (In chronological order)
1. Declared myself a 'serious' writer July, 2011.
2. Found Theresa, critique partner extraordinaire.
3. Edited and revised MS #1 (YA Dystopian).
4. Queried MS #1 to all form rejections except one partial request. Then rejected.
5. Decided YA Dystopian wasn't what agents were searching for so I wrote 'for the market'. Wrote YA Contemporary, stand alone.
6. Received a few requests but all ended in rejection.
7. Thought I'd try my hand at a YA Thriller. Theresa told me the MC was too old and though good, the book I'd written wasn't YA. Want to stick with YA so it is on the shelf and I plan on reworking it into the YA age group.
8. Cassie Mae asks for a critique partner on October 28th, 2011. I respond, so do others, and the Falling for Fiction critique group is born.
9. NaNoWriMo (November edition) arrives. Decide to again write for the market with another YA Contemporary, stand alone. Got bored with it ten days in.
10. Get the idea for FRACTION OF STONE (YA Fantasy) on November 10th, 2011 while on an airplane. Finish the first draft on November 20th, 2011.
11. January, 2012: Theresa tells me this is our year. I agree with her, but do I believe it?
12. FRACTION OF STONE is sent out on submission. A number of requests but ultimately all rejected, most with "Epic Fantasy is a hard sell for me right now." FRACTION returns to the hard drive where I think it will stay.
13. Finish a YA Science Fiction, send out to CPs who awesomely tell me it needs higher stakes.
14. While conducting major revisions on the YA Science Fiction MS, Jen Morris asks if I would like to work on a collaboration project, "Just for fun." I say yes as the post we collaborated on, which you can find here, was a blast to write.
15. Middle of May, 2012, ALREADY THERE (YA Contemporary), the collaboration project with Jen Morris, is complete and sent out to CPs. Major revisions are needed (including deleting the first FOUR chapters.)
16. Thanks to a push from CPs, FRACTION OF STONE is sent to a few small publishers.
17. Middle of July, 2012, submissions to agents begin on ALREADY THERE.
18. July 18th, 2012 receive an offer to publish FRACTION OF STONE, from Sapphire Star Publishing. You can read the post about it here.
19. July 31st, 2012, a week after we started submitting ALREADY THERE, Jen and I are offered representation.
WHAT??? (I still have this reaction when I think about it.)
In summary, what did it take:
- 1 Year
- 6 Manuscripts (Two rejected, One not the right genre, One in major revisions)
- 8 Critique Partners
- 17 Writers I have critiqued for
- Countless number of rejections
- An obsessive nature about my writing career. I was going to do this, no matter what it took.
So with all that, I can say...
|My beautiful and talented collaboration|
partner, Jen Morris.
What have I learned?
1. Write what you want to write. Twice I tried to write what I thought would sell. It can't possibly be your best work if its not something your heart is in.
2. Write, write, write. The only way to get better at writing is to do it. I know I still have a long way to go. I am confident Brittany will help me grow as a writer.
3. Critique! I am so adamant about this one. Not only does it help your fellow writers but it truly helps your own writing.
4. Don't give up. Sounds kinda cheesy but its true. Keep plugging away.
5. Take opportunities offered to you. Guest post on someone's blog? Short story for a contest? Bloghop to meet more writers and read their writing? Someone asks you to do a collaboration project 'for fun'? Do it!
Maybe now that I've offered my little bit of what might be obvious advice, you won't hate me? In any case, make sure you visit Jen's blog. I am just as excited for her as I am for myself.
And thank you, thank you, thank you, to all my CPs, my family and friends (who also include my CPs and you wonderful writers/bloggers out there) for helping me through this journey. Also thank you to Sapphire Star Publishing and Brittany Booker for taking a chance on me and my work.