I was just over at Shannon Messenger’s blog and she has the coolest post up right now. It’s her year in writing, and she gives a brief summary of what 2009 has meant to her as a writer, month by month.
So I’m stealing her idea, because (as I told Shannon) she is cool. And very pretty. And I like her. And I’m pretty sure that linking to her blog clears me of any blog-related offenses regarding copyright.
Anyway, here is my Year in Writing, a la Shannon. Hope you enjoy!
After weeks of querying, Alanna Ramirez with Trident Media Group asks to see my full manuscript! I freak out because I’m not quite done with editing, so I spend a frantic 48 hours sweating over my novel and tweaking plot points like a mad woman. Alanna reads it, sends me an email telling me it needs to be longer, and then asks if she can call me to discuss it further. When my phone rings, I’m so excited and nervous I can’t remember my name or what my book is about, but Alanna offers me representation anyway. I am convinced that I will be published within the year and hope that I will be able to quit my teaching job and become a full time writer!
February – March.
Revising, revising, revising. My book is WAY too short and I eventually double its length. I begin to see the many flaws in my writing (lack of any details about anything, for example) and start to correct them. Finally, with the manuscript now appropriately lengthened, I send it back to Alanna. She says we are ready to start submitting to editors. I stop breathing for approximately 3 months.
The first rejections come, but they are encouraging. Many of the editors have some great suggestions for me, and I do not lose heart. I will be published by Christmas, I can FEEL it! I sign my contract to return to the school for the following year, but secretly, I believe that I’ll have to leave at Christmas due to book signings and talk show appearances.
More rejections. Still encouraging, but I’m frustrated. Some of the rejections go like this: “Wow, what a great story! Anne’s writing is beautiful and the world she has created is fascinating. The characters are believable, and I was sucked into the story from the very beginning. Unfortunately, we cannot accept the manuscript at this time. Best of luck!” Urgh. Soooo close.
I turn 26, my husband turns 23 (that’s right ladies, be jealous, I’ve got a younger man!) and we celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. I continue to receive cheerful and optimistic rejections from editors.
I go to the mountains with the women in my family. While the trip is fun, I can’t help but feel disheartened. I was sure I would be well on the road to publication at this point. I had this image in my head of my mom, aunt, sister, cousin, and grandmother, all in the mountains together, talking about the crazy deal I had been offered by so-and-so publishing house! How famous I was about to be! How fast everything had happened, and wasn’t it so wonderful?
School starts and I go back to work. My students want to know everything about my book, and I am encouraged by their enthusiasm – but also embarrassed that I don’t have anything exciting to say. “Still waiting” becomes my motto. Alanna tells me that since most of the editors are pointing out similar issues with my manuscript, perhaps we should work on the things they suggest, regroup at the end of January, and then start submitting again. I am discouraged because so many of them have already rejected me, and I wonder if anyone will take a second look at it.
September – November.
Nothing happens. I revise. I begin to wonder if this is worth it. What if I do all this work for nothing?
Thanks to a combination of encouragement from my husband, my family, my friends, and my Twitter buds, I dive headlong into editing over Christmas break. Things are going really well and I feel like my book is a thousand times better already. Still a lot of work to do on it, though, but I have faith that eventually, it will be published!
Happy New Year, everyone, and may 2010 bring us much writerly success!