Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Blah Blah Blah

2014 was a bumpy year in authorville. The second book is doing well but I'm struggling to get a third off the ground. I've been all over the place in terms of characters, plot, form, bouncing from one idea to another. I wrote an entire ms that's not quite right, along with giant chunks of two others. Maybe I wrote too much. You know, sometimes you ought to tell yourself to change out of the sweats and look up from the keyboard because this sh** isn't going anywhere.

Thankfully, I had an epiphany on Thursday, December 18th. Sorry for waiting to tell you about it :)

The afternoon began with 90 of minutes helping 100 kids (grades K & 3) make "Candy Trains," which are very messy gingerbread house type dealies. I left covered in frosting.

Isn't he darling?
From there, my third-grader and I raced to a local Panera Bread Bakery,
went inside, ordered fast, and met with a high school senior I am tutoring in writing. I ordered something delicious but full of onions. Translation: Bad breath to go with the eau-de-frosting I already had going on.

Dashed to my son's baseball clinic and thought about calling it a day. That was where my delightful husband turned up and said he'd take the boy home and I should go into Seattle for the SCBWI Holiday Meeting & Cookie Competition. I don't know why I went, but I'm so glad.
  • Even though it took 90 minutes of driving in the pouring rain to get there.
  • Even though I really smelled interesting.
  • Even though my cookies didn't win.
It was wonderful to connect with my tribe, to hear stories of success and frustration, to admit things you can only admit to other writers. Then Martha Brockenbrough gave an inspiring presentation about the writing life in which the vital point was that THE ACT OF WRITING HAS VALUE even if a given work doesn't find its way into a binding. There was lots more but here's my take away.

1. Yes, it's worth doing what I'm doing.
2. (And this was more of an indirect lesson) I HAVEN'T BEEN WORKING HARD ENOUGH.

I've gotten cocky. A few nice reviews, and a couple of award noms (no wins) made me think I could send something imperfect to an editor. I've realized that, for whatever reason (and I know some people can sell books on a three-sentence pitch and a promise), I need to stop rushing, stop waiting for gratification because it "feels like time" to have another book in the pipeline.


I think, finally, I am.

PS: My friend Dawn won the Best Tasting Cookie Prize!

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