10 Year Plan

I recently completed a class at BYU from Rick Walton (www.rickwalton.com www.rickcreation.wordpress.com http://blog.biguniverse.com/author/rickwalton). Those of you who know Rick will know this was an incredible class!

I met Rick a couple of years ago at the WIFYR conference at BYU (http://www.foryoungreaders.com/) where I realized he was the Children’s Book Writers Guru of Utah. I had just moved from Ohio where I’d served on the board of the Northern Ohio SCBWI, and I wanted to connect with the local writing community here. I’d completed a MG historical fiction novel and shopped it around without success; and I had a contract for a PB with Open Book Press, a small press in California that subsequently ceased publishing.

After WIFYR, I signed up to do an internship with Rick. I learned tons about writing picture books. I spent a year concentrating on PBs. I learned enough to know how to write them, and to know that I can’t do it well. I returned to my MG novel and it won an award with the Utah Arts Council, but I didn’t want to write historical fiction anymore. I struggled to find my writing niche and my next project, until Jane and I hit upon an idea. (More about that later.)

Back to Rick’s Children’s Book Publishing Industry class, it was like attending a writer’s conference each week. I mention this because I will be regularly making references to things I learned from that class. One thing that really helped me came from a guest speaker who said that people used to ask her, “How’s your book coming? Have you gotten published yet?” She came up with a response that I like. She’d say, “I’m on the 10 year plan, and I still have “x” number of years to go before I get published.” She explained that she’d heard another published author say it takes 10 years to learn enough and write enough to get published. The idea stuck, but, I’m sorry to say, the name of the person who said it has escaped me. (Help me out here, if you know who I mean.)

 Today, I decided to see how long I’ve been at this writing game. I discovered that my goal to become a published writer officially began on April 11, 2000. I’d done a few things before then: taken a couple of community school writing classes, entered (and won) a few writing contests, published a couple of PBs with a small publisher that was supposed to pay me royalties but was mostly a vanity press so I got paid in books, and read tons of children’s books; but April 11, 2000 was the day I began my quest in seriousness. That was the day I began an online writing course with the Institute of Children’s Literature. Maybe I’ll go into more detail about that in another post, bBut, the point is, I realized that I hit my 10 year mark this year, this month, actually this week.

I’ve worked hard to learn the craft of writing. Over the years I’ve taken classes, attended conferences, retreats, and workshops. I’ve read a ton more children’s books. I’ve sold/published a few magazine articles. I’ve written and rewritten many books. I’ve had my share of rejection letters. Some even “good” rejection letters from agents and editors, who seem to like “how” I write but didn’t want what I’d submitted.

Now, Jane and I are writing a YA fantasy together. We’re at about 60,000 words and we’re drawing to the climatic moment of the book and then we’ll wrap up the ending. But, the idea has grown and turned into a 3 book series.

It’s time to be successful. Follow along and let’s see how long it takes. 10 years and counting….

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