photo courtesy of freephoto.com
This February will be the four-year anniversary of when I started my novel. Yes, you read it right: 4 years. No, I'm not kidding.
At that time back in 2007, I was just starting to write again after nearly a decade's hiatus. A fiction writing course in college discouraged me so much that I quit completely. I finished college, went to grad school, threw myself into my career, met my husband, got married, and had a baby. It wasn't until my son was about two that I started to think about writing again. But the thought scared me so much I didn't even want to try. The only way I could convince myself to pick up a pen again was to promise myself that I was just doing this for my own enjoyment and no one would ever, ever have to read it but me.
That first, slow draft was truly awful. But the past four years of blogging, reading and learning have gradually improved my understanding and skill. Now I'm seriously thinking of submitting my pitch to the Amazon Breakout Novel contest this month. I never would have imagined myself trying it four years ago. I have no expectation of winning, but the deadline is what counts. I think I can be done in time if I push myself.
Some superior literary types are shocked that I have been working on the same book for so long. They screw up their faces and study me like an embodiment of literary incompetence, then say "But you're going to finish it soon, right? Don't you want to work on something else?"
Well, no. I don't want to work on something else until I'm satisfied with this one. Conventional wisdom says that you have to write at least three books before you can consider yourself a real writer, so many people dash off those three books just to be done with them. But that means that they are basically "throwaways." Why bother? What I've chosen to do instead, is write this novel over three times. (Or is really 2.5? or 4? I've gone back to the beginning so many times I've lost count.)
Each time it gets a little better. Each time I get closer to feeling that I really know what I'm doing. And that it might, in fact, be publishable. Even if I publish it myself. Enough people seem to have enjoyed the bits I've given them to read that I have the confidence to share it in its entirety.
And that, my friends, is definitely worth a four-year investment of my time and energy! Of course, I never would have come this far without all of YOU encouraging me along the way.
So, to celebrate my 4th anniversary, I am announcing the
"You've Come A Long Way, Baby, Contest/Blogfest."
Here's how it works, kind of the standard contest thing:
1. Post in the comments that you want to participate in the contest, and become a follower. That's easy, right?
2. Sign up in the Mr. Linky thingy if you want to also participate in the blogfest.
+1 entry for being a follower by Saturday, Feb. 5th.
+1 for promoting the contest on your blog
+1 each for tweeting or posting on FB
+2 entries if you put up a sample of your own early-in-my-learning-process, sort-of-awful-but-I-don't-mind-embarassing-myself writing.
+1 more for a rewrite of it, showing your improved skills.
The prizes... I haven't figured out yet, but I'll come up with something good, I promise! I know Starbuck's will probably figure into it somehow, and chocolate, of course, and maybe even a subscription to the "Bookmark of the Month Club." (Okay, I don't know if there is a "Bookmark of the Month Club" but there should be.)
So, sign up now! I hope you will share a little in the comments about your own writing journey. I look forward to reading about it, and your writing samples, and promise to post my own on Feb. 5th.
You've Come A Long Way Baby Blogfest/Contest
Saturday, Feb. 5th"
p.s. I have no idea why Mr. Linky looks so wierd, but the links appear to be working despite the red X's.