I looked back on my winter break goal list and am sitting here smiling, enjoying the first real snow of the season, and feeling accomplished. Nope, I didn’t complete every item on my to-do list, but I sure did a lot. Since I’m devoting this blog primarily to my writing journey, I’ll focus on that for my supportive readers.
Two great things happened this winter break. First, I finished another novel! I played with a very different genre, but it feels as exciting as my last book that I completed over the summer. Clearly, I only need more breaks to be so productive.
Second, my first book finally received full manuscript requests! For those who don’t know, the road to publication is long and full of detours and road blocks. I’m sure those details need no explanation. It’s tough. But if you love it, you stick with it. Most agents/publishers want a query, a one page letter summarizing your project, and a sample chapter or two. The vast majority of those get rejected without anyone reading your book. It’s heartbreaking. But I finally broke through another ceiling, and my confidence is higher than ever. Agents have started requesting my full manuscript. They’ve liked the project synopsis and my writing sample, and I’ve sent in the full work. That gives me great hope that it’s a book worth pursuing. Perhaps it will need more revisions, and that’s fine. I love it more every time I revise. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll get that phone call, the one where a professional wants to represent me and take on my book as their project. That’s the dream call I’m waiting on at the moment, if the representative has what I’m looking for also.
It helped to detach and to write something different. Last summer’s book is a thriller, a horror adventure that is pure fun. I find myself laughing and getting pumped every time I look at it. Book two is a character story, a coming-of-age youth tale about love and heartbreak. Sure, it’s been told a thousand times, but I have my own unique twists and turns. It makes me laugh out loud at parts and, I must confess, there are chapters that make me cry. If it can do the same for its readers, I’ll be beyond happy. What is art if it doesn’t evoke a physical response in the receiver?
I sent my last book to a friend who asked to read it just today. I’m on the full revision process now, and it helps to have trusted friends read and provide critical feedback. From there, I will revise and send out to possible agents and publishers. Who knows: By this time next year, perhaps I’ll have two books on the shelves in completely different genres! What a dream! But that’s what I recommend for all my students and friends: Dreams and goals, no matter how big or small, keep us moving forward.
I feel very good (my head is still very humble, I assure you), if for no other reason that I’ve “completed” two manuscripts in one year. That’s my new goal: a book every summer and every winter.
I created a new writing space at home too. Perhaps I’ll post about it with pictures. I got a brand new computer and redesigned a room as my home office, my personal writing space. I received an antique computer as a gift from the sweetest person I know who said, “Every great author should have a typewriter.” It’s meant to inspire, and the day I opened it, I received my first request for a full manuscript from an agent. I’d say it’s working! I also have a ton of pictures and collectibles, all things meant to motivate. It’s a terrific room, a room I hope where I will produce a dozen more great works.
There’s one other cool thing I discovered this break. I went through some old college notebooks (yes, I’m the nerd who saved EVERYTHING). I took a creative writing class in college, and I re-read all of my stories and feedback from my professor. One comment from her read: “I think you’re meant to write novels!” I had forgotten about that comment, but it was a pleasant surprise to find. I hope she’s right.
If you’re a trusted friend, I’d love to have you read either of my manuscripts and receive genuine, critical feedback. Just let me know. I'm still shy and don't like the idea of forcing a book upon someone to read.
If you’re an online supporter, thanks for that. I hope all of your dreams come true, and that someday, we both get to talk about this exciting process, this journey of writing and publication, AFTER we’ve had successful books. I love nothing more than doing something that may inspire others. We learn so much from all of our journeys to success. I hope I’ve inspired several in my teaching career and my fitness and martial arts endeavors. I hope to inspire current and future writers as well.
Wish us all luck on this beautiful ride.