These past two weeks have been full of writing highs and writing lows for me.
Right now, I'm winding down (or trying to wind down) from a crazy, fun, inspirational, busy day at the SCBWI Midsouth Conference. I thought I'd take a moment and reflect on the past couple of weeks, writing-wise.
1) Today, I found out I received an honorable mention for the first ten pages of my most recently-completed middle grade novel. You guys - I got an AWARD! At an SCBWI conference! They called my name, and it literally took me a few seconds to process it. It's not a huge award, but still - they picked me! Even more awesome, the award comes with an invitation to submit a full to the editor who judged the competition. I can't use enough exclamation points to describe how I feel about this!!!!!!!!!!
2) I participated in #PitMad on Twitter this past Thursday and got three requests. One of those agents has already asked for a full. (Excuse me while I squee! and re-enact my happy dance from Thursday)
3) I got the world's most awesome rejection yesterday (this was from a query unrelated to the #PitMad requests). I don't feel comfortable posting specifics online (in order to respect this agent's privacy), but it was the most ego-boosting rejection I've ever received. It revived my belief in this particular manuscript.
4) Conferences. I love, love, love conferences. The energy, meeting other writers, talking about things only other writers get (ie. awesome personalized rejections). Being here is one of the best things I could do for my writing. I challenged myself by signing up for a pitch session with an agent, and I'm so glad I did it. She was friendly and encouraging, and so much fun to talk to.
1) I entered a few online contests, and haven't made it past the first round yet. I've gotten some very useful feedback on my work, met some fun & talented writers, and I'm proud of myself for putting my work out there. And, God knows, I've gotten tons of rejections on my writing before. I have a thicker skin than I used to, but - I won't lie - rejection does still hurt a little. It does, however, make me determined to enter more contests!
2) A critique. I signed up for a paid critique session with an editor at this conference. And she was...very honest (though quite nice about it & full of helpful suggestions). I always appreciate honesty in a critique, as opposed to the ever-so-unhelpful "This is nice." But still...ouch. And to show how subjective this industry is - the ten pages from this critique are the exact same ten pages that won the honorable mention from a different editor (see #1 in Writing Highs).
I know this industry doesn't get any easier. If anything, it gets harder. Once you break in, there are revisions stacked upon more revisions. Then the submissions process. Then, if you survive that, more revisions. Then stress about marketing your book and fear that it won't sell. Then the pressure to write something just as good, if not better. And on and on and on.
And, the highs will always trump the lows.