Tonight I learned that I have learned a lot about the book industry in the last year since I first resolved to finish my manuscript and get serious about my writing. Last January ('08) I joined SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.) Then in May, I went to a conference and then in the fall, I attended an author/editor critique day. I've developed a recent writing partner relationship and have allowed other people to critique my work. Throughout all of this, I was subscribing to writing threads, reading books on writing, reading books on publishing and slowly researching question after question.
Tonight was a wonderful validation. I still learned a couple of new things and was reminded of several more, but as I sat there, listening to this woman who has published 22 titles, I was amazed that I could actually answer questions she couldn't-- not because I'm so smart, but because I've worked hard and done my research in the field that interests me: middle grade and YA fiction. She published non-fiction for grown ups...there were a number of people in that room who wanted to write fiction and they had only the vaguest ideas of what they wanted to write, but many mentioned writing for children or young adults. That class might have been, for them, a first step, an active risk, to show up at all. I applaud them all.
I'm still pretty wet behind the ears myself. I may have finished a manuscript, but it's full of plot pot holes the size of Nebraska. I am working on another story and have ideas for marketing, but it's not done and making time to work on it continues to be a challenge. But tonight made me stop and look back and realize-- I really have grown! Yay! My new year's resolution for last year set in motion a chain of events and choices that have led me to a much greater awareness of the world of writing. Even if I'm never published, that's something I can be grateful for every day-- because despite all the grim odds, I get to write, people!