Here’s what my 2011, personal and professional (they’re all jumbled together) looked like. It’s not short, but still sweet, and I went by the numbers. I’m very thankful for everything that happened this year, but it’s important that people know that this blog post isn’t just about what I got done. This is a chance to take a breath, look back, and hopefully encourage any writers who are where I was a year ago (aka beating one’s head against a wall). It’s also a big wet thank-you smooch to everyone who has helped me. Happy New Year!
3: number of books contracted…one co-authored short novel (Long-Distance Lovers), one novella (Love My Way), and one full-length novel (Bring Me Back)
2: number of new works close to submission…one novella (Title TBD, but I’m accepting suggestions, I am suffering from a case of writer’s title block), one full-length novel (Hiding in the Spotlight)
175,000: number of words I wrote this year. Not including emails and blog posts and queries and synopses. 175K words of fiction. It might be more. I cut a lot.
187: number of times I doubted what the hell I was doing. (Not an exact count.)
1: number of writing conferences attended…Writer’s Digest Conference in January.
5: number of agents I pitched at the WDC Pitch Slam in January for Bring Me Back.
187: number of times I considered running out of the room or simply throwing up during Pitch Slam.
43: number of queries sent for Bring Me Back. I sent a grand total of 89 between fall 2010 and 2011.
0: number of agents who signed me as a result of Pitch Slam or querying
4: small press submissions for Bring Me Back, one of which turned into a contract, from Turquoise Morning Press. (SQUEE).
1: number of agents and/or publishers I needed to say “yes” for Bring Me Back.
1: number of agents and/or publishers I needed to say “yes” to me on anything. My first book contract was from Ellora’s Cave. (MORE SQUEE).
0: number of hours I now spend worrying about not having an agent. I have accomplished plenty on my own, thank you very much, and when I look back at 2011 and forward to 2012, I can say it’s all mine.
1: number of critique partners I need. Karen is my everything when it comes to getting my words on the page and later getting them into shape. I love her for this.
1: number of full-time cheerleaders I need. My friend, Sara, is the perky one on the sidelines with her hair in pigtails, waving pom poms like a crazy woman. I love her for this.
1: number of incredible men I need by my side. None of this (and I mean zilch, zero, nada) would be possible without the boundless encouragement and support I get from my hubby, Steve. I love him for this and lots of other things, like being the best dad ever to our two stupendous-in-their-own-right children.
Countless: number of friends and fellow writers who help me be a better writer or be a writer at all. You know who you are. I would name everyone, but I would invariably forget someone and then everybody I forget would have to get a hastily written apology note. If you’re wondering, “I wonder if she means me?”, the answer is “Yes!”.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Probably. I guess what worked for me was to keep trying. As hokey and trite as it sounds, persistence really does pay off .