As a teacher, January 1 always felt like the middle of the year, not the beginning. The first day of school marks the start of my “year”. But I won’t be breaking out any confetti come August 19. I’ll have to transition from uninterrupted hours of creative writing to squeezing it in between generating lesson plans and IEPs that don’t land me in a due process hearing (been there, done that… successfully, I might add).
But with the start of my year, I get to reminisce on my writing season. Previous ones mostly consisted of what I wanted to accomplish in the future. But this year, I can actually recall accomplishments. The title of this blog is “A Writer’s Bumpy Path to Publication”. Nice to know this year’s path ended with a lot fewer bumps. So here are a few things I consider achievements:
1. I Created. I finally let my first manuscript go. Writers will advocate for working on that next project while waiting for a response from an editor or agent. It was hard for me to move on from the high of actually completing a manuscript to starting a new one. After all, should I ever get a book published, being a one-hit wonder just ain’t gonna get it.
2. I Published. While stuck in that can’t-come-up-with-a-new-book-idea-that-makes-sense purgatory, I concentrated on the shorter form until something clicked. From that exercise, I had two of them published with a third pending. Sometimes you just need to take baby steps to the finish line.
3. I Conferenced. I’ve done three conferences so far this “year”. I don’t care how much you publish, there’s always something to learn about the craft. I take advantage of as many learning opportunities as possible.
4. I Networked. From those conferences, I met a bunch of amazing writers with a wealth of information to share (see #3). Even had a few brief correspondences with published novelists who took the time to read my work and offer positive criticism.
5. I Transitioned. While historical fiction will always be my first passion, I had success experimenting with other genres. I’m finding short suspense pieces are fun to write. The longer piece I’m working on, though primarily historical, has a fantasy element I’m playing with. This has helped with my writer’s block and gave me permission to try something new.