5…4…3…2…1…

The purpose of this blog was not only to document my journey as a writer, but also to discuss the path to publication, whatever that ends up being.

Everything I’ve written to this point has been a step on the path, a mile on the road, or whatever “journeyish” metaphor you like.  I’ve had moments along the way where I’ve thought, “this is gold…this is the most brilliant arrangement of words anyone has ever strung together! The readers will weep with joy, underline this passage, and refer to it daily! ”

There have also been moments where I thought, “Oh yeah, I forgot…I don’t actually know what I’m doing!”

This, I’ve learned,  is COMPLETELY NORMAL! I have to say that it does give me some comfort that other writers experience this phenomenon.

I’m taking another step in the process tomorrow. I’m submitting my full manuscript to a professional.  I feel somewhat like Neil Armstrong because this isn’t a regular step – it’s a giant leap for me-kind.

I’ve been given the opportunity as a part of an SCBWI retreat (Writers: Join! Go to events! It helps!) to submit directly to an editor, which is not the normal process.  I’m very thankful for this chance and I’m going to take it.  My manuscript is as ready as it can be and I’m anxious to hear what the editor has to say about it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I’m nervous.  Back to the Neil Armstrong metaphor –  When I was a kid and learned about the moon landing, I wondered how the astronauts kept from hurling in their space suits when they blasted from the Earth. (I was prone to motion sickness as a child.)  I imagined them ripping off their helmets and losing their Tang into airsick bags.

That’s kind of how I feel right now.

Either I will be get a great response or I will get a less than great response that will contain helpful feedback to improve my manuscript. I know this and I appreciate this.

Yet already, I find myself clamoring for the airsick bag.

But, the countdown has begun and it’s time to take off.

I’ll let you know when I get to the moon!

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Every Writer Has A Story

Every writer has a story.  I’m not talking about the story they’re currently crafting on the page. I’m talking about the story of how and why they came to be writers.  For some writers, the story begins in Kindergarten. For others, retirement. The circumstance and motivation is different for every writer.  The passion, the unwavering drive to create a world and weave characters within it, is the same.

I’ve told bits and pieces of “my story” on this blog before, but I thought I’d share where and when my story started today.  I’m taking  a look back before heading into the next phase of this journey – querying agents.

Like a lot of writers will say – I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Back then, I don’t think I had a lightning strike moment where I said, “I SHALL WRITE FOR A LIVING. LET IT BE SO!” No, nothing like that at all.  I just remember being carried away by the books I read and wanting desperately to be able to create that sensation for myself and others. I had a huge imagination and it needed somewhere to go.

In fifth grade, my class was given a writing assignment to pretend we had a time machine and travel to the past OR to the future and write about what you find there.  Every kid in my class wrote about going to the past.

Every kid except me.

I knew why they did it. It was far easier to write about Lincoln being assassinated or Columbus discovering America because we learned about those things in history class and they could easily give the facts by rote.  That was boring to me. Why would I waste my time writing something that has already been written? So I took my time machine to the future.  I wrote about flying cars and shiny surfaces and friendly aliens who came to help our planet.  (And this was before I started watching Doctor Who!)

My teacher raved about my paper. She made certain to praise me for choosing the future instead of the past.  I have to admit it, I was proud of that paper and the big red A+ I got on it.  It made me feel like maybe writing could be “my thing.”

The following year in 6th grade English, our assignment was to write about something you’d experience at the County Fair. (Down South, y’all.)  I wrote about going on the Ferris Wheel and looking down at the people below.   One of the lines I wrote went something like : Below me people bustle from rides to games to booths like ants scurrying across a picnic table in search of food.

(And this was before Veronica Roth wrote the best Ferris Wheel scene ever written in Divergent. Ferris Wheels-we must think alike, right? Right?)

I remember the line because my teacher, Mrs. Johnston, thought it was literary genius! (What sixth grader uses bustle?)  She read my paper aloud to the class she was so excited by my little sixth-grader work. When she returned my paper, that line was underlined in red. The top of the page read, “Michelle, you’re a writer!”

So, thank you Mrs. Johnston.  Maybe I am.

That was the start of my story. Thanks to a wonderfully supportive family and friends (including my biggest cheerleader, Lori, who will NOT let me give up no matter what I say or do) I’m off now to put the finishing touches on my WIP.  If all goes well, I’ll be querying agents very soon.

I’m anxious to see how the next chapter “My Story” goes.