Wow, it's the last day of the year. What a year it has been for my writing life. So, with any end of the year blog, I'm thinking a recap is what's on tap for this post. This one should be lengthy...
The first two months of the year were slow for writing. I found myself not even thinking about it very often. I did manage to make a connection with a potential publisher at the end of 2010, but after having been turned down before, I wasn't quite sure about how that would pan out. I decided not to get my hopes up about anything with the book. If all leads failed this year then I would self-publish and see how that went.
In February, I was encouraged (AGAIN) by my writing partner to see if I could participate in the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. I had been told in 2010 to look into participating, but I looked at the National Writing Project website and was intimidated by what I saw. Those people on there were real writers. It was NATIONAL, and I was nowhere near that league. Basically, I didn't believe in my own talent and decided to not look further into that situation. Yet, in February, after another conversation with my writing parter, I gave it some thought.
In March, I attended the Michigan Reading Association's annual conference. I always enjoy going to that conference and getting inspired by the writers that attend. I would see their Made in Michigan badges and listen to their thoughts on writing. In the past, some of the writers were kind enough to sit with me and talk to me about what it takes to become a published author. This year, I didn't meet a lot of published writers. I did manage to meet people that also directed me toward participating in the Writing Project. When four strangers told me that I should give it a shot, I finally decided that it was time to get serious about listening to my writing partner and applying to the Eastern Michigan Writing Project.
In April, I filled out the application for the EMWP and sent it in. I was contacted for an interview and instantly became nervous. I mean, I was confident in my ability to share my passion for writing, but I know there are a lot of people that are passionate about writing. I guess the interview went well because I was accepted to participate. Later in April, we had our first meeting for the EMWP. I met some great people and received a green and black composition book that served as a catalyst for my writing.
That green and black composition journal was just what I needed to break out of my writing funk. I started writing in it more and more. Characters were being developed. Chapters were being written. Progress was being made. By the time June rolled around I had momentum.
In June, I started the EMWP. I still wasn't quite sure what participating would do for me. I kept trying to ask people that had participated in the past, but they couldn't answer my question. It didn't take long for me to figure out what it would do for me and what I could do for others. We were a family of writers that spent a month together. We were sharing ourselves and our writing with each other. We were making each other better. We were cheering each other on. We were self-assessing our own writing dreams and goals. WE WERE WRITERS WRITING!
When the EMWP ended in late July, I was 80% finished with my second book. Having time to write and share chapters was a motivating factor. I managed to finish The Misunderstanding of Alexander the Grate on 05 August 2011(and turned into the publisher in September). On 12 August 2011 I finished Wrinkles Wallace: Fighters of Foreclosure. I finished Wrinkles Wallace: Power of Parents on 02 October 2011. Lastly, I started this blog and Wrinkles Wallace: Rights of Writers on 03 October 2011. I finished WWROW on 28 October 2011. Then I wrote a picture book that I finished right before October ended. I was in a writing zone that was amazing for me. Finishing five books in six months was something I did not expect to do. I also managed to visit four schools as a writer.
Meanwhile, I kept in contact with the publisher. We were sending emails back and forth about our thoughts on working together. During a dinner meeting in November, we were able really talk about our visions for the partnership. I felt so close to being published, but I had to try to contain my excitement in case things did not manage to go as I wished. It was like holding my breath.
In December, I went to Cleveland, Ohio to sign my book contract with Meridia Publishers. I woke up early in the morning and made the drive while replaying events that lead up to that day. I thought about how I wrote the book in the classroom. I thought about how I used the book as part of my Culminating Project for my degree. I thought about not winning the Michigan Elementary Middle School Principals Association contest back in 2009, but how I managed to do an article for a local newspaper. I thought about how attending the MEMSPA banquet set me up use my writing to help me make a better living. I thought about how the EMWP helped me to really establish myself as a writer. I thought about my family and friends that have supported me and my writing for so long.
When I finally did sign the contract, I felt like a new chapter in my life was starting. I know there is so much to do to get this first book where I want it to be. I also feel great about having the next three books in that series already written, another book from a different series finished, and two picture books already written. And, the feedback that I've been getting has been fine. Readers and listeners are asking the questions I planned on them wanting answers for. Honestly, I feel really great.
So, on this last day of December, 2011, as a writer, I find myself further ahead than I ever dreamed of being. Yet, in the back of my mind I still feel like I have so much more work to do. I have to make the connections and speak to the people about the importance of making sure my books get into the hands of young people. I have to use 2012 to set up things for 2013. I have to give my gifts and talents to the world to make it a better place. Basically, 2012 has to be a great year. I have to make a tremendous amount of progress in the area of exposing what I've already created. I'll have to use more technology, do more traveling, and really working to take this grass-roots project to the next level.
I'm up for the challenge. I hope you continue to travel on this journey with me. I thank all my readers and subscribers for caring enough to see what I've been up to with my writing. I can't express how lucky I am to have this audience. May we all have a GREAT YEAR in 2012!