October was relatively busy.
I wish I could say that I plowed through the rest of my revisions but sadly that didn’t happen. I’m almost there but in the interest of full transparency I still want to do another read through before sending out to beta readers.
Call for Beta Readers
Speaking of beta readers, if a middle grade adventure set at a boarding school in a rainforest sounds right up your alley and you’re willing to beta read for me and offer critique – then drop me a line (with your email address) in the comments!
New Online Writing Course
I like to think that I am a reasonably rational person with a methodical thought process, but sometimes I do some spontaneous mess and then wonder why I have no time and am forever stressed, overwhelmed (insert all the synonyms here). With all that I have going on, I signed up for an online writing course with University of Toronto. I swear the Internet is the devil. I must have clicked on something that led to something else that landed me on a page about a course about writing for children and I was sold. Willpower where art thou?
Now I’m trailing two weeks behind on course assignments and cussing myself on the regular, even though the course is great but I’m not participating in the online discussions as much as I’d like and with everything else, it feels like I’m running through life wearing too big pants without a belt.
A Writing Conference
I was fortunate to be selected to participate in a writing conference hosted by the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature (RUCCL). I participated in 2017 and I tried my luck again this year and my writing submission was accepted!
The RUCCL conference celebrated its 50th conference this year and I was pumped for the opportunity to meet other writers and have my writing submission critiqued by an agent. I designed my own ‘writer’ business cards and booked a local hotel in New Brunswick, NJ for the event back in August.
But by the time the conference date rolled around in October around I was in such a funk about my writing that I almost didn’t go. I ended up forfeiting the hotel reservation (non-refundable) and woke up before the crack of dawn on the morning of the conference, took an Uber to Penn Station (NYC Subway is a nah before 6AM for me), and boarded a NJ Transit (ran on time…hooray) to New Brunswick, then took another Uber to the university (now you see why I had a hotel).
The format of the conference consisted of a Five-on-Five concept with writers, agents and editors. How lucky was I to have Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) at our table! It was such a treat to hear her talk about her writing process. Her motivational advice for writers like me who were feeling less than confident about their writing was exactly the punch to the reset button I needed.
One-on-One with an Agent
My session went really well. The agent provided really useful feedback on my pages and told me I could send him my full manuscript when I was ready!! Does this technically count as a request for full? I’ll take the win!
You can read up about RUCCL here. Next conference is slated for Saturday, 24 October 2020.
If you haven’t heard of #DVPit, it’s a Twitter event created to showcase pitches from marginalized voices who have been historically underrepresented in publishing. I participated once before in 2018 and a few agents favorited my tweet but then I totally panicked and never submitted anything because I didn’t think it was good enough. Months and a new draft later, I tried again and some of the same agents liked my tweet again! I am now sorting through the list and re-reading my first 50ish pages and working on my query. I can do this. Seriously.
2019 Reading Challenge
I set a modest target of 40 books for 2019 and I’m currently at 37/40. Not too shabby!
I’ve been reading everything, from middle grade to YA, to Adult, Women’s Fiction and and memoir. No doubt I’ll smash this target but I definitely had periods where I had reading fatigue and some of the books were tough to get through. Whatever my final total is in 2019 will be the target for 2020.
So, that’s about it. Oh, I almost forgot, I decided to forgo NaNoWriMo this year. No way I can pull that one off, but good luck to all those churning out 1,666 words a day until the end of the month.
Until next time, Happy Writing!!