You know that feeling when you are equal parts excited and nervous? Because you’re looking forward to something and dreading it at the same time? Because you want to be there but you also want it to be over as well? We’re such contradictory creatures!
Well, that was me last weekend when I went to the second Kidlit Vic conference, held at the State Library in the city. I was really looking forward to meeting writers and publishers but also feeling dreadfully nervous because I had a fifteen-minute manuscript assessment with an editor.
I shouldn’t have worried. I went with my friend, Renee, and met a lot of other writers – lovely, friendly, passionate, committed writers. A bunch of us went out for dinner afterwards – I only knew Renee in the morning, then suddenly I was part of a large group, eating Malaysian food and talking publishers, deadlines, writing around children and children’s books.
For the assessment, I had to send in ten pages of my manuscript back in March. For six weeks, I sent Renee the same ten pages, each week a little more polished and refined. She did the same to me.
So the editor had read my pages and was ready to meet with me to discuss them. Fifteen minutes. A literary critique on a double-sided piece of paper. My ten pages covered with a mix of ticks, suggestions, deleted words.
The editor said those magic words, ‘I loved your writing. Please send in the rest to me when you’ve finished!’
Those words are magic to me because ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer. And I am a writer, because I write almost every day. But I want to be a published writer and to be traditionally published, someone of literary merit has to believe in you and your writing. The editor’s words and her critique gave me validation.
So last Sunday night, I wrote out a writing plan for the week. Twenty to twenty-five hours of writing. Eighteen chapters – the first third of my book. A bit of rewriting. One new chapter. Developing a couple of characters. Finalising the arc for one section. So far, I’m ‘almost’ on track. Another day or two to finish up.
I’ve skimped on the housework a bit. Given the kids more screen time. Pulled out a meal or two from the freezer. Been super-efficient with a paid writing job. Planned a bit on my phone when waiting for kids. Read less, written more.
Because anyone who says ‘Send me the rest of your story’ is given priority!