November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
Though I am not participating in the project this year, I have (finally) completed my first book – a children’s picture book. My 720 word count story hardly compares to the 50,000 word minimum required for participation; however, it was enough to motivate me to not only complete my story, but to actually submit to a publisher.
I’ve always considered myself a writer, just not a professional one. My short story, “Bartenders Are Gods” was published in Industry Magazine years ago, but beyond that – nothing. I did once submit a blog post to the Elephant Journal only to get rejected. I’m not going to lie, it hurt. I think the fear of further rejection has kept me from submitting my work elsewhere. Until now. Today is the day to “live out what’s in my heart.” It’s not too late to follow after what I really want, and getting published is what I really want.
In the last five years of writing this blog, I have learned quite a bit. Though I will occasionally write short story fiction, I prefer to write stories about my life, hopefully told in a humorous yet relatable fashion. I always thought my first book would be the same – just a longer version of my blog, told in an Erma Bombeck-ishy way. Never would I have thought I would pen a children’s book.
I awoke one morning with what I thought was a brilliant idea. Taking that idea and running with it wasn’t too difficult either. It wasn’t until after I completed my first draft that the hard work began. The editing process is brutal. I fell in love with my protagonist. Everything she said and did was important (to me.) How could I choose what gets to stay and what has to go? Watching your ideas disappear from the screen as the delete button gets pressed over and over again causes the kind of anxiety you never knew you could feel. And the formatting, OH MY GOD, the formatting. Of course I wrote my story before doing any real research. You type up a WORD document set in default, thinking you’ll just send it off to a publisher (who will most certainly adore your story) and before you know it, you’ve got a book deal! Oh the naiveté…
Now that the research is behind me, stalking editors and literary agents social media accounts, Googling EVERYTHING, and narrowing down my options to the one publisher (who is accepting unagented work) that I think is the best fit for me and my story, I am ready. Ready to break down my wall of fear like the Berlin Wall was broken down exactly twenty-seven years ago today. Ready to submit my work and ready to wait. Ready to start my next project. It’s possible (likely, even) that I will get rejected, but I’ve decided that I would rather try and get rejected than not try and always wonder. I don’t want to live a life of, “what if?” Do you? I hope not. It’s a new day, a new era. We elected a new President last night. Please try to let go of your self-doubt…
…”You matter. Finish this year with a bang, so next year will begin with true fireworks.”
November is the month of now or never.