Over at Bartography, Chris reflects on his writing projects over the last year. Got me to thinking about my past year.
It's funny; I'm an illustrator, but this past year, I've spent much more time writing than drawing or painting. Really. I wrote something every day this year. In fact, on most days, I wrote several things — blogs, poems, text for cartoons. Many of those things simply sat on my computer desktop, to be thrown out when clutter prevented me from finding a needed file. Others, I turned into blogs, picture book manuscripts or cartoon strips.
On the writing side, this year has been one of tremendous growth for me. I received my first bit of success by winning Lee & Low's New Voices Honor. I received my first rejection (as a writer) from an agent and an editor. I joined a writing critique group, took an online children's writing course and read at least 300 picture books and YA novels. And wrote about 7 picture book manuscripts.
I wrapped up 2005 by stating that in ’06, I would 'take the show.' By that, I meant I would accomplish much by setting my goals high, and that I would end the year with something concrete to add to my resume. But, I underestimated the time it would take to develop a strong, marketable manuscript, and the time it would take to get someone interested in publishing that work.
I work at a newspaper. I witness reporters come in by 9 a.m. and leave 8 hours later having researched, written, and have had edited, several stories — big people stories. So the idea of taking months, even years to write a picture book took me by surprise. I figured something in that process must be broke. Not to sound condescending, but honestly, I just didn't know.
I'm not complaining, I love to write, I've learned a lot and I respect the process. What I've learned — and am continuing to learn everyday — will be the foundation for a successful writing career in the future; I'm convinced of that. But, for 2007, my highest priority, besides continuing to write and grow, will be in convincing an agent or editor to give me a chance to prove myself on the writing side of this business.