My Five I’s

eyesAs 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.


About Michelle McGill-Vargas

Michelle hails from Gary, Indiana where she enjoys writing historical fiction, flash fiction, and short stories. Her writings have appeared in "Lutheran Witness", "Splickety Magazine", "The Copperfield Review", and "Typehouse Literary Magazine." She served as vice-president of the Indiana Writers' Consortium. Until the day her historical fiction manuscripts get published, she pays the bills as a special education administrator with a background in deaf education. In October 2018, she will be a contributor to Concordia Publishing House's quarterly devotional series "Portals of Prayer." Visit her blog at
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9 Responses to My Five I’s

  1. Mari Barnes says:

    I LOVE this post. All writers, especially indie authors, should keep your 5 I’s in mind. It’s vital to recognize and celebrate our achievements.

    • Thanks, Mari. Glad to see I finally figured out how to post it correctly to Facebook 🙂 I took me a while to get to the point of celebrating small writing accomplishments. Otherwise, I would have put down my pen a long time ago!

  2. Taunya says:

    Very proud of you sis. Cant wait to read more of your stories.

  3. Mari Barnes says:

    How about guest posting in November? I’d love for you to share something about your suspense stories.

  4. Helen Brandt says:

    I’m so happy that you are following your dreams and having the joy of seeing your work in print. How exciting! God’s blessings. Love from your Godmother Helen

  5. MIrel says:

    Good post! May you continue to celebrate many more accomplishments, including getting to see your novel in print! I love historical fiction, BTW. When and where does your novel take place?

    • The completed one takes place in 1876 in a section of northwest Indiana (Tolleston) that would become my hometown, Gary, Indiana in another 30 years. The second one I’m working on is 1920s Gary, Indiana during a brief student boycott of school integration.

      • Mirel Abeles says:

        Sounds good!

        נשלח מה-iPhone שלי

        ב-Sep 4, 2014, בשעה 14:16, Michelle McGill-Vargas כתב/ה:

        > >

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