Following My Own Advice
I did something really cool last week, I followed my own advice. You’d think that’d be something fairly regular, right? Right.
In all honesty, I usually do listen to myself; after all, I have come a long way from my friend Doubt being in the driver’s seat. But sometimes Doubt sneaks its way back in, especially where my writing is concerned. I don’t mean the actual writing down the story, as long as I stay out of each character’s way that works fabulously. What I’m talking about is the following through and ACTING on my dream of becoming a published author. That is when Doubt walks back in, drops its suitcases full of old baggage just inside the door, plops down on the sofa, kicks off its shoes, grabs my cozy blanket, and gets comfortable while it waits for me to un-invite it, again.
Well, this week I politely asked Doubt to leave and submitted a twenty page critique to an agent I would very much like to create a writing partnership with.
Here’s the backstory: In July of 2012, I attended the Romance Writers National Conference in Anaheim, CA. (Segue here: If you are a writer of any kind, but of course, especially romance, THIS is the place you want to be. It’s a fabulous organization that totally supports writers and their craft. Check it out at http://www.rwa.org.) I have been a member of RWA since the early ‘90’s and have attended numerous conferences, but this one was different, because I was different. Happy, joyful, magical…. I went a day early and participated in the Young Adult RWA (YARWA) Chapter’s conference. Here, a panel of Agents spoke on writing Young Adult romance novels, and writing Young Adult in general. YARWA held a raffle and I won a ‘First Chapter (up to twenty pages) critique’ of my Young Adult novel.
Wow! I was beside myself with joy especially since I had just completed writing my first Young Adult manuscript. What a gift this was, this opportunity to get my writing in the door of one of the top agents in the business without having to query her first.
The RWA National conference just got better from there. I had gone by myself and ended up running into some friends from the Reno RWA Chapter that I had been a part of for years (it had been at least nine years since I’d seen or spoken to any of them having moved to California and we hit it off again as if no time had gone by.) Then there was an opening for an Editor Appointment. I met with her and not too shakily presented my pitch (a very quick summary, with a hook, about your book) and she said, ‘yes,’ to my Romantic Fantasy (and even asked for the whole manuscript!) and THEN I met another editor and she said, ‘yes,’ too and to send her the first 50 pages.
I mean, really, it couldn’t get much better than this. I was in heaven and came home super jazzed. I decided my 100,000 word Romantic Fantasy manuscript really needed some serious editing/rewriting before I sent it to the editors. And so that’s what I did, I took the summer and rewrote In the Path of the Wolfe. And the book is sooooo much better as a result of this extra TLC. But, I am only human, and it was very challenging to rewrite this novel and rewrite my Young Adult to get it ready for the contest and, and, and….
Long story shorter, I never did submit the first chapter critique… until last week!
I tell my students all the time, ‘If you don’t ask, then you already have your answer, ‘No.’’ I decided to follow my own advice and ask the agent if she was willing to accept the first chapter critique even though it had been nearly a year and a half since I had won the raffle. All she could do was say, ‘no,’ right? But by my NOT asking her, I wasn’t giving her the chance to say, ‘yes,’ either. I wanted that chance.
And guess what? She said, ‘yes,’ THE VERY NEXT DAY!!! With some serious help from my home team, I revamped my already good twenty pages and made them great—the best I could make them and then, SENT IT OFF.
And then I found a typo in the email. It said, ‘Dear My.’ instead of ‘Dear Ms.’ I instantly emailed back and apologized. She told me not to worry, that it happened all the time. And then in my adrenaline induced excitement/nervousness/ohmygod what have I just done-ness, I FORGOT to actually ATTACH my twenty pages of writing!!!
Ugh, head to table! Being a geek strikes again… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thankfully, I was able to find the humor in my mistakes. I figured, oh, well, if (when—positive self-affirmation insert) she did say, ‘yes,’ to a writing partnership, she might as well know who she was going to be working with—a goofy, loving, funny, girl who wants to make her dream a reality.
But guess what? My dream already IS a reality thanks to you, my Beautiful You friends. I just hadn’t realized it until this very moment. By writing to you and posting on my blog, I AM a published author. Here and now, I claim this and accept this with the utmost gratitude and humbleness. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart and to the tips of my soul for giving me this opportunity, for sharing in the experience, and for helping me to be a better me and giving me the courage to step out of my own way.
I couldn’t do this without you. Well… I could, but I wouldn’t want to.
If you want my advice, take your own advice once in a while; you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how ‘on’ you are about your own self.
So, here’s to you. Here’s to continuing to cultivate good enough-ness in all that you do, in all that I do, in all that WE do. Just think, with each (baby) step, we are not only healing ourselves to wholeness, but the world too.
Blessings, and Happy Cultivating!!!