Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010: A Writing Year in Reflection

I've been thinking a lot lately about my writing journey.

First, there's how grateful I am to be a part of this writing/blogging community. There's how grateful I am for a husband who encourages my writing, and for the best writing group ever. And I'm also enormously thankful for my agent, Holly Root.

Like Elana Johnson, I've been shocked when a writing partner or Holly has suggested a tough change that I was somehow able to pull off.

Once in a while, things have moved fast. More often, though, it's been slow. I'm learning to be patient.

Here's how it all went: In October 2009, I queried Holly at the Waxman Agency. A week later, I was thrilled when she requested the first three chapters! But, while I sent them within seconds and checked my email every five minutes, it was February before I'd heard back from busy Holly, who'd requested the full.

Another agency was talking to me about revision and representation, and another was expressing interest, but I was hoping, hoping for Holly, whose Twitters are witty but clean, whose client list is chock full of talented writers who adore her, who is kind and bright and professional.

After two straight months of revising per Holly's brilliant suggestions and polishing every Wednesday night at writing group, I got an exciting email: Holly loved the changes; she wanted to call me, and at 6:12 the next morning, she did--with the loveliest, most cheerful voice--offering representation!

Long story short, I queried in October, signed in June.

And since then, I've completely revised the story again, which I've recently sent back. And every time, the story gets stronger and richer and deeper. I want to listen to what Holly tells me. I want to apply her wisdom, her creativity. To not let her down. To learn.

It's winter again--all white today in Ashland. And this is the time of year when I usually start writing something new. So while Holly reads my latest draft, while I send her thoughts of gratitude and hope from triangle pose in yoga, I might whip up some nice Ghiradelli hot chocolate for myself and plunk away at the keyboard about this wild new idea I have...

I hope this inspires you. To keep writing, to keep querying. To join a writing group. To know the process is long and hard but really rewarding.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

*sigh* Lucky, lucky girl. Holly wasn't interested in my query letter. Maybe chapter books are too young a genre for her, maybe it just wasn't good enough. Don't know. BUT...this is my year. Right? Right. Together, Jennie, we move forward. Together, we'll face whatever else faces us! Love ya, bff. :-)

Catherine Denton said...

Jennie that is a fabulous year!! Lots of work, but still! Good luck on your new story.

Robin Mellom said...

Woohoo! I think 2011 will be your year! Enjoy the new project...I'm sending good tree pose vibes your way.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Thanks for the pep talk, Jennie. I needed it. I haven't been writing.

Happy New Year!