Thoughts On Writing

In Which I Shamelessly And Blatantly Steal Shannon’s Idea

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!

12 thoughts on “In Which I Shamelessly And Blatantly Steal Shannon’s Idea

  1. I'm sure you'll get there, good lady. Encouraging rejections are far better than form rejections, right? 2010'll be the year for you.

    Happy New Year, Anne! It's been fun getting to know you this year. I'm looking forward to more of the same in the next. 🙂

  2. It's so exciting to see such progress in your work!! It must feel great to see it becoming stronger. I can't wait until I can buy it off the shelves 🙂

    All the best in the new year for you!

  3. Thanks, guys! Encouraging rejections are definitely better than form ones, and yes, it is nice to see the manuscript getting better. Thanks for the support and well wishes!

  4. I know exactly how you feel. My first year spent with my first agent went pretty similar. Unfortunately, it ended in us parting ways and my book not being published. However, it lead to me writing four more books and landing an amazing agent for a new series. Success doesn't come as quickly as we hope, but with hard work and dedication, it does come. I have a feeling yours is approaching this year. . .

  5. Oh my gosh, Heather! Here's hoping my year doesn't end that way. You are very patient indeed to wait that long and go through so much – not that I wouldn't do the same, but I would rather not! Thanks for the encouragement. I hope my success does come this year!

  6. Aw, thanks for the shameless plugs–I wouldn't have minded even if you didn't link me. REALLY enjoyed your post and thank you for sharing. It's good to see the endurance and patience you practiced all year–I have a feeling that's going to fill my 2010. But maybe by the end we'll both have book deals. You never know….

  7. That's quite a year you've had. Well, 2010's here with a whole bunch of good stuff waiting for you, I have no doubt!

    I'm totally stealing this meme, btw :).

  8. Anne, I have faith in you! You are a very talented writer (I got a sneak peak, thanks so much for that) and I'm excited to shamelessly plug your book to everyone I know when it comes out. I will be first in line to get an autograph from the world's newest JK Rowling!

    Happy New Year, friend 🙂 Thanks for letting us in on the process.

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