Thursday, April 28, 2011

Y is for...


It has been one year since I attended my first writer's conference and got the fire in my belly to start writing for real.

It has been one year since I started my manuscript in earnest.

This year, I finished my first novel.

This year, I finished editing my first novel.

This year, I started this blog.

This year, I joined three writer's groups and I actively learned about my craft.

When I made this decision to really get into my writing, I hoped I'd be finished with a novel. I hoped I'd be able to pitch at this year's conference. But I didn't necessarily think those things would come to pass. Yet here I am, with a finished novel. I didn't sign up for a pitch appointment since I wasn't positive I'd be at a point where that would be worthwhile, though I did end up being finished. That's okay, though. I'm proud of how far I've come in one year. Plus, I can put myself on a wait list tomorrow in case someone cancels a pitch appointment. Apparently, there's a good chance that will happen, so we will see. Either way, I'm okay with it. Why? Because I feel I've had plenty of accomplishments to tide me over for next year.

When this conference is finished, I will sit down to figure out what my goals for the next year are. I'm thinking I will make a goal for words written, as well as for submissions made and queries sent.

Speaking of which, I entered a one-line pitch contest a few weeks ago. I came home from the conference today feeling good and checked the winners. I didn't even make it into the top 20. I was a bit down, but I spent some time with the kiddos, who were in a super good mood, and I sat down to print up my handouts for the classes this weekend. That was enough to lift my mood up a bit. After all, it was my first pitch of any kind for this book. I'm going to get plenty of other "no's," though I would hope the first person I pitched it to would love it as much as I do. That's not realistic, and I well know it. (It doesn't stop an optimist from hoping, though!).

Here's the thing, the agent the qualifying entries were presented to is at this conference. Funny, huh?

When it comes down to it, though, I tried. I entered the contest. I made my pitch. I did it. I can do it again. This week, I also sat down and wrote my first piece of flash fiction and submitted it to an anthology (I will be posting about that anthology so others can submit some time next week when the challenge is finished--I believe it closes some time in June, so there's time. If I don't post it next week, feel free to remind me and give me a virtual boot to the booty).

What have you accomplished this year? If you came up with an idea, wrote short fiction, a poem, an article, a flash fiction piece, made an outline, wrote any number of words this year, submitted anything, entered a contest, made the effort to work toward your future success or did anything to learn about your craft (like reading blogs and putting yourself in touch with other artists). If you did any of these things or anything else I've forgotten, take a moment to celebrate with me. Take a moment to be proud of what you have accomplished, rather than beating yourself up. Taking any step, even a tiny one, is progress.

This isn't just for writers, either. Consider anything you've accomplished in your life in the past year and celebrate it. Take this one day and find a reason to be content, and try to push your worries to the side for one day. You deserve it.

I can't wait to see where I am and what I've accomplished by this time next year, even if it is just a folder of rejections. Because each of those rejections is an effort I made toward achieving my dream.

Dream with me!

Happy Writing!

P.S. I do intend to pass along helpful information I've gleaned from the conference, but not until next week. Stay tuned!


  1. So far this year, I finished the first part (of three) in my current WIP. I also entered a pitch contest. It's not a lot but hey, it's still something.

    Congratulations on all you've accomplished!

  2. Wonderful post!

    I entered two contests this year so far, and didn't win anything, but I agree with your attitude. I was bummed at first, but I'm still glad I tried, and I will try again. It was a great learning experience in both cases.

    I'm excited to see what the rest of this year holds. Looking forward to reading about your experience at the conference!

  3. Have a great time at the conference!

  4. M.J., awesome, congratulations! And thank you!

    Julie, so true and congratulations!

    Andrew, thank you!

  5. Thanks for writing this reflection on your first year pursuing your writing goals. While I know that what you say near the end of the post about every little step being progress and the importance of celebrating any accomplishment is oh so true, I have yet to put that into practice. At the end of many a year that has gone by, I have beat myself up by focusing on everything that I didn't accomplish, worrying myself about falling short of my goals, instead of focusing on the things that I did accomplish.

    I still have a ways to go with acting on the knowledge and changing my perspective regarding progress, but it's great to know that there are people (like you, Shannon!) out on the world who serve as a reminder of what can be done to measure accomplishments, no matter what those accomplishments may be.

    The Madlab Post