|parting is such sweet sorrow,|
so I decided to be goofy instead.
This writing game thing? It is hard. I aint gonna try to fool you. Hard to put yourself out there - to craft your best words, your best story, pour your heart and soul into it -- lay it out there for agents to pass on, editors to turn down, and when you get past those hurdles, out there for all the world to critique.
Or, I guess, in some of our cases *coughs*, a large handful of people to critique.
There are five star reviews, and one star reviews, there are writers who outsell and outpace you by vast strides, and readers who will never even hear of your book.
We must write, ultimately, for none of that. We must write because the images pop into our heads, beg to be considered, dissected, turned into meaningful prose. We write because we're compelled to, and because connecting with even one reader who feels your story in their soul is the most amazing thing in the world.
It is hard, but, oh, is it rewarding.
My personal journey has been filled with way more rejection than success. One of my favorite blog posts I ever wrote, was one when THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO (then, Frankie Sky) was just going out on submission. I compared my writing life, on those hard, unknowing days, to a game of Chutes & Ladders. (Later, I compared a great writing day as a game of Candy Land, too.)
As I started out the summer saying, the hardest part is often that so many of us write in a vacuum. We're alone in most of it, until we reach out to a trusted friend or mentor to read. And then, in our pages, they hold our heart in their hands.
So, to my dear Teachers Write campers, on this last official Friday Feedback of the 2013 Summer, I wanted to thank you all for sharing your heart here, putting your words out, asking for connection and allowing for critique. If you'd like to do it one more time today, I'm ready to read and type!
But I wanted to offer you a parting gift, too - though it will probably be more useful to the writers in the bunch who hope to be published one day vs. those who participated in TW solely for the altruistic reason of believing that to teach writing better, we must do writing better first.
So here is my offer (shhh, it's secret, don't tell the others...): to any of you who have been regular participants on Friday Feedback (defined as posting here at least twice this summer, or more), when you are ready to submit your manuscripts out into the world, I will be happy to either a) review your query for you (I let you in on the fact that I have been called the "Query Queen" by some...) or b) have a brief phone or Skype chat with you and try to answer your querying/publishing questions. That is my Friday Feedback parting gift to those who have shared their words here.
If you wish to take me up on this now, or at any time in the future, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have used a "screen name" here throughout the weeks, and I'm not well-versed in your real name, remind me of both, and tell me a bit of what your manuscript excerpts you posted were about. Those are the pieces I remember most easily. The details of the lovely bits you shared.
So, with that said, I'm ready to read and give feedback. Post away, and remember the RULES.
One last note: If you think you'll miss participating in Friday Feedbacks during the school year and would like me to continue the feature once per month, please let me know in your comments. If there are enough of you, I will. If not, I will see many of you at NCTE! or next summer!
Good work! Keep going!
p.s. my second novel, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO is now available for pre-order! The hardcover price is good. . . less than the current hardcover price for THE PULL OF GRAVITY up on Amazon, go figure.