Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Oh-So-Close: 2011 in Review

    In March, my family and I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Loaded down with 30-pound backpacks, we hiked for four hours, winding around wind-blasted outcrops, uneven terrain, and narrow trails (especially when the mule trains passed). Hiking out two days later was even more arduous. It snowed. Ice covered the last mile of trail. That 30-pound pack felt like someone had loaded it down with granite cobbles. It was hard, physically the hardest feat I've ever accomplished, but I made it.
   Similar to hiking the Canyon, my writing life has been a challenge. It's filled with valleys and summits. Not so much a Point A-to-Point B journey, but more of a mixed-up alphabet soup of highs and lows and in-betweens. I've accomplished much this year but as always, there's room for self-improvement in my writing life. Looking back, here's what I see:

 The Good:
  1.  First and foremost, I found an agent! Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger called in May after reading my middle-grade manuscript, THE UPSIDE OF DOWN. I was beyond thrilled and love working with her.
  2. I started this blog. Through it, I've met some amazing writers, improved my craft, and added dozens of books to my reading list. 
  3. Two writing projects (actually three, but it's just an idea at this point) continue to inspire and excite me.   
      The Bad:
  1. A first draft. I have one at present which is REALLY BAD. On the bright side, it is a COMPLETED first draft. I just haven't had time (insert: too many good ideas to get down before I work on revising). Okay, so a completed first draft is good news, but its so bad the stench is almost unbearable. 
  2. My Toshiba laptop died a slow, agonizing death. I nursed it as long I could because I Don't. Like. Change. I bought it in 2006, so it was a dinosaur in tech years. My shiny new Mac is still showing me the ropes. It's a patient teacher. I think we will be great friends someday. 
One inch at a time...
    The Oh-So-Close:
  1. Once again I signed up for NaNoWriMo and once again, I fell short. Maybe next year...
  2. A manuscript that had been at a house for two years which I'd revised per an editorial letter was left in limbo when the editor left. 
  3. The 'I really love this story, but - ' letters. There were a good share. However, since I'm a glass-half-full kind of person, I have to look for the positive: those 'buts' came with a detailed amount of feedback.
      Looking back, 2011 was a productive year. Maybe I didn't accomplish everything that I'd set out to do. Maybe it will take another year or two or even three to conquer those hills. It's all about moving forward, moving up, whether it's by small steps or giant leaps.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from Here's the Story

 'May you have good health, happiness that multiplies, 
an endless supply of hope and dreams,
 and peace of mind this holiday season.' 

See you in 2012!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Five Tell-Tale Signs You're A Middle-Grade Writer

  1. The gossip you hear from your twelve-year-old is infinitely more interesting than that from your peers. 
  2. The largest genre of books on your bookshelf are written by authors whose last names are Riordan, DiCamillo, Spinelli, Wiles, Creech, and the like. 
  3. You listen to that Bieber guy for inspiration, snack on seasonal candy while writing (jelly beans, candy corn, Christmas Nerds, etc), and edit with a glitter gel pen. 
  4. Ok, maybe, just maybe bodily sounds and gross humor have some merit.
  5. The jokes you tell get a bigger reaction from the youth group you lead than your co-workers.
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