Sunday, September 25, 2011

My 2011 Writing Goal: Query Something, Dammit

I wrote this a few months ago, when I was experimenting with a different blog... but it still seems applicable.

Starting a blog seems monumental.  Though I suppose it is only monumental if I continue blogging for the rest of my life.  (Damn, that’s a hell of a commitment… maybe it is better not to think of it that way.) 
Question: Why start blogging now? 
Simple Answer: It is time to take a serious jump at this crazy goal of becoming a published writer.  (Yay!  Clapping is appreciated.  Champagne also works.  ;) )  Blogging, I hope, will help me stay focussed along the way.

Extended Answer: More than ten years ago, in the summer of 2000, I submitted a manuscript to Harlequin.  (God, I don't think my co-workers were even out of high school then.)  It was the first time I’d ever written anything so BIG.  I finished it.  Yay!  I edited it to the best of my abilities.  I had someone read it.  I edited it again.  Then I printed it off, packed it up and sent it to New York. 

I had no idea what I was doing.

In my own defense, I’ll just say that I was at a cross roads in my life - with that whole “Let’s see what happens" approach to life.


(Image: © Rouge617 | Dreamstime.com)
Can you guess what happened?
I received my manuscript back with a nice little form letter saying “no thanks.”  (I'm pretty sure I still have the envelope, my m/s and the letter in a closet downstairs somewhere.)
My next step? I enrolled in a master’s degree in a completely unrelated field. 
Over the years, I thought about that fork in the road.  A lot.  It haunted me.  I finished my degree.  It haunted me.  I moved to a new city.  It haunted me.  I started my new career.  It… well, you get the picture. 
I thought about “what could have been.” 
Writing became a compulsion, an addiction of sorts.  I couldn’t stop.  I wrote at my lunch break.  I wrote at the local coffee shop.  I bought books on writing.  And, I did what addicts do - I joined a support group.  (http://www.albertaromancewriters.com/)  
At the meetings and workshops, I met people who understood me.  They shared my obsession to always have a pen and notebook handy.  They knew how ornery characters could be.  They didn’t think it was troublesome that I had voices in my head… voices that belong to characters living their own lives, struggling with their own problems, and refusing to shut up. 
My fellow ARWAnians also taught me a lot.  I see these years as my apprenticeship.  You know – that whole “write a million words” thing.  And, I have written and written... and written some more.  Over these last ten years, I've reached "The End" on seven stories and have several others in various stages of completion.

And, (drum roll please) it is now time to jump into the exciting and crazy process of trying to get published.  <gulp>  (Yes, my lovely, supportive family and friends, this is finally that moment!)
I am stating right here, right now: I will send out at least one query before midnight on the eve of my birthday.  (Okay – that may not seem like a particularly aggressive goal, but after an apprenticeship that’s lasted over a decade, I think it’s pretty spectacular.) 

Hey, who knows, maybe I'll even send out more than one query!  ;) 

Oh, and I have prosecco chilling in my refridgerator ready for that moment when I "hit send."

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