When you’re up high, let’s say on a ladder, people always tell you, don’t look down. But do me a favor, will you? Take a minute to glance over your shoulder. That’s right, look down the ladder the today. Here’s why . . .
When your sole focus is looking up the publishing ladder as you struggle to climb rung by rung, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never reach the top. But let me encourage you to hold the rung a second. Pause. Even for a moment. Stop craning your neck upward and turn. Look back down that ladder. You started at the bottom, maybe this year or maybe years ago. Now, see how far you’ve come!
Today, before you uncork some bubbly or sing that silly “Auld Lang Syne,” make a list–not a mental list, a REAL list on paper or screen–of all you’ve accomplished this year toward your writing goals. You have so much to be proud of. (I know, I should have said, You have so much of which to be proud, but that sounds kind of snooty for my purposes, and using proper grammar wasn’t one of my goals for 2013!)
Sure, there’s a lot more you want to do (same here), but treat yourself to a moment to appreciate how high you’ve already climbed. Take a deep breath. Enjoy the view!
My “rungs” for 2013 include:
January – Attending the annual SCBWI winter conference in New York City. Amazing!
February – Seeing my non-fiction article “Sculpting Lincoln” in Highlights for Children magazine.
March – Participating in a writers workshop at Vermont College of Fine Arts and receiving encouragement from incredible YA authors Cynthia Leitich Smith, Lauren Myracle and Candlewick editor Andrea Tompa.
July – Celebrating with my dear friend Kelly Barson on her debut novel “45 Pounds More or Less”–and being honored to be included in her acknowledgements page–a first for me!
November – Being selected to be part of the SCBWI – Eastern New York Falling Leaves master class workshop in Silver Bay, New York, and meeting five amazing edtiors, along with more than 30 encouraging writers.
– Enjoying another year of mutual support and feedback from my wonderful critique group (aka, Church of the Word!).
– Toasting the first anniversary of “Frog on a Dime.” I started with zero followers and now have 1,043. (Not record shattering, but hey, it’s progress.)
– Finishing through Lesson 8 of 9 in my Institute of Children’s Literature writing class. My second middle grade novel is almost done.
– Gathering ideas and details for my third middle grade novel that’s bubbling to the surface (Finally! Phew.) Exciting!
I’m wishing I could say my second novel is completely done. I’d like to say I have an agent and a two-book deal a publishing house. But those rungs are just ahead of me (fingers and toes crossed). I’ll be delighted to put those on my 2014 rung list.
What’s that? You say you submitted your work this year, but only have a stack of rejection letters to show for it? Well, that’s VERY rung-list worthy. (Honest. I’m not just saying that to give you something to put on your list.) You submitted your work (it’s virtually impossible to receive a letter of rejection otherwise!) You wrote, revised, researched publishers and took the leap to share your work for consideration. Okay, so you didn’t get the desired response, but you’re now ready to narrow your search and target new houses for submission in the new year. That’s great. Rung it up!
Happy New Year! Let’s “rung” it in together. Umquam porro. Ever forward, my friends. Ever forward. Rung by rung.
A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin. ~ Edmond de Goncourt