Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rekindling the flame

I look back now and realize that I was scared to finish my first novel. I knew it at the time, but could not face it. It was intimidating to reach a goal I had set for myself, because what would be left for me to do? Well, let me tell you I found it!

In November of 2009, I succumbed to my dear friend Sera's perseverance and joined NaNoWriMo. I attempted to write a novel in a month. It was a new and different personal challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Plus, it took me away from my first novel and gave me the break I needed.

In December, I took a creative break. November zapped me mentally and Christmas presents needed to be purchased. I figured I had overflexed my creative muscles. I gave myself a well deserved break.

And then, I became hooked on Facebook. It's all good, though, because I made a connection that will prove to be worth my while. I met a Young Adult Novelist who was going to hold an on-line class. I was pumped!

I sent in my application and waited. Right around Christmas, she asked me if she could critique my novel instead. THAT was a present I hadn't expected!!! I jumped at the chance, made a few quick revisions and mailed it. In the mean time, I also decided to attend the 2009 SCBWI (Society of Children's BookWriters and Illustrators) Conference in NYC.

Things are happening, that's easy to see. I just wonder if my mind can keep up with all of this.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keeping it Going

That winter I wrote diligently. Every night, or close to it, I clacked away on my computer and allowed my characters to sweep me away. My page count (at the time, I didn't know much about word count!) went up and up and up. I shared my chapters with fellow writing group members and began to fall in love with the process.

And then, success of all things, interrupted me! In writing class, my instructor (and great friend Sera) assigned a project. We, the students, were to submit a piece of our work for publication. In class, we have many projects and she wanted us to put one of them to good use. We learned about query letters, perfected our pieces and submitted.

At this point, I must admit that I am one of those people who don't know it can't be done. See, I loved this one nursing journal and my favorite columnist had retired. I thought I'd offer to take her place. I mean, why not? What would it hurt to ask, right?

Sera thought I was crazy. She didn't say so at the time, but even if she had, I would've ignored her. It's just in my nature to go for it.

I sent the query and sample on a Wednesday, I think. On Friday, the editor of the said publication responded. She loved the story and though they weren't looking for a columnist, they did need a blogger for their website.

I had no idea at the time what a blog was, so I began some intense research. In no time, I accepted and began posting. Better yet, I started getting paid!

So, for six months, I stressed myself out perfecting my blog. I left my novel behind.

It took nearly a year for me to revisit and complete it. But I did, in September of 2008. It took two years, but it was worth it. I had set a goal and accomplished it. Along the way, I learned a lot. I am still learning.

Now, I just have to figure out what to do with it!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The First Step

It was September 2006. I sat at a blank computer screen. The novel was in me, I just didn't know it yet. I started writing a story about myself. I was seeking answers to mistakes that I have repeated over the course of my life.

I began typing, remembering the feelings of starting high school. But the details eluded me. I had a vague sense at best of what happened when I was fourteen. I told myself that it did not matter. This book was for my eyes only. This story would be read by no one.

Within two weeks, I met another mom at my kickboxing class. We began talking. My heart froze when she told me she was a writer. Did she know about the writing class that had been advertised at the Y? As fate would have it, yes she did. She was already in it.

I began going to that class in October and have been in it ever since.

Over time, something happened to my writing. Suddenly, I found that making things up, while using real emotion was much more fun and interesting. Other people in my class actually wanted to hear what I wrote.

The evolution of me as a writer began that month, as did the evolution of my story. It began taking shape as a real novel. Words that might be good enough to share with the rest of the world began flowing out of my heart and head.

Something was changing and I didn't know if I was ready for it. I still don't, but I'm willing to ride it out and see where it goes.