I've always read.
I've always written.
It's Kind of a Funny Story (Vizzini.) This past weekend at an SCBWI event, I sat in the audience, listening to the same story over and over. It was how many of us came into this industry, wearing our rose colored glasses not expecting to see The Fault in our Stars (Green.)
I decided to sell my business and stay at home with my Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Taylor.) She was two months old and I was going to write and publish picture books. What could be more inspirational than my very own Stargirl (Spinelli.)
I didn't realize my inspiration was going to be hidden by Thirteen Reason's Why (Asher,) I would never be able to manage these two full time jobs at the same time. Bottles, diapers, adorable factor and sleepless nights had made me The Giver (Lowry.) This baby of mine had become my Bookthief (Zusak.) The isolation and game change from career person to mom had me feeling like The MazeRunner (Dashner.)
Plotting my own life like a good novel. I wanted to add a special gift to my personal conflict of this story. I broke my ankle and The Perks of being a Wallflower (Chbosky) had new meaning. Now, armed with crutches, baby, and my pencil in hand... picture books were bound to flow, Oprah would be calling anyday now.
I managed to write a few manuscripts and to learn about SCBWI. The next five years passed and my writing career was not moving. Kindergarten offered new hope. It was time to put together All the Broken Pieces (Burg.) Six whole hours a day to myself, seemed Almost Perfect (Katcher.) I focused on craft, joined critique groups, read more books, attended SCBWI events, and learned the industry that I wanted to be part of.
I give my writing the same respect any of my friends give to their careers. I write for six hours a day. My office is my sanctuary, my assistants are covered in fur and have wet noses. I play my Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (Cohn & Levithan ) and I get down to the business of writing books for children.
I read to my daughter.
I read for myself.
I found myself reading more and more Young Adult stories. I started toying with short stories. Wondering if I could actually connect them together with a plot line? I studied plot, character development, dialog and grammer. I kept hearing about this undefinable thing called "voice." It seemed like the Same Difference (Siobhan) to me.
A year later my story was plotted out and was 45,000 words. I thought this was an accomplishment on its own. (Celebrate all moments along the way) I was in three critique groups, attending conferences, writing retreats and kept revising my story. Now, my characters were telling the story. Perfect (Hopkins.) VOICE- celebrate this moment!
My manuscript was The Chosen One (Williams) pulled for a private consultation, an editor loved my characters voice! (celebrate!) But, my story needed to be 25,000 additional words and then she'd love to read it.
I wasn't quick to claim the title of a writer. I felt like a poser, I kept it Hush Hush (Fitzpatrick) because I was unpublished. Somewhere along the way, I found the magic of my own Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants (Brashares) with my writing and illustrating friends. I can depend on them and we are always there for each other.
I added the 25,000 words and continued to revise. There are moments in a writer's life where you Lament (Stiefvater) Shiver, and feel Lost (Davies.) We strive for more than, Almost Perfect (Katcher) we need to tell our story the best we can. The Chocolate War (Cormier ) and a glass of wine will sometimes help ease this gnawing desire.
I'm starting a second novel while revisions of the first are twisted in my head. The new work flows like Delirium (Oliver) and I wonder if this is how it feels Before I Fall (Oliver?)
There are moments I feel like I'm Going Bovine (Bray) or on a Highway to Hell (Clement-Moore) trying my best to sort through the work I need to do.
Just Listen (Dessen) as my character's voices rattle about in my head and they Speak (Halse-Anderson) to me. They keep me on my task, they're Why I fight (Oaks) and keep my butt in my chair working on rough drafts and revisions. With all this Surface Tension (Runyon) publication seems like a foreign concept. But, it's The Call of the Wild (London) that my stories make it into the hands of children who will relate with them. My writing is Forever (Blume) and I hope to see you Along for the Ride (Dessen.)