FWIS: the beginning

there are these two ladies:

jessica corra

bria quinlan

and they are awesome. we all connected on twitter, but since then, i’ve met bria in real life because we’re both in the great state of massachusetts. we’re working on getting jessica up here for a visit, but until that time, we’ve settled into a nice little routine of google chatting, emails and of course, twitter-ing.

we’re all writers, but we’re each in a very different stage of the publishing process (jessica’s book AFTER YOU comes out from Dial Books For Young Readers (an imprint of Penguin) in spring 2013, bria is agented, and i’m at the bottom of the curve), so it got us thinking — what does the world look like from from where we each stand?

and thus, a monthly column was born. we each write about a topic from our unique perspectives.

today’s topic: how we got to where we stand today.

*waves* i am at the beginning. *waves more*

despite having my MFA in creative writing and having one finished MS under my belt (and locked securely in a drawer where no one will ever read it again), i didn’t truly get serious about obtaining the holy grail of getting published until recently. for the first time in my life, i had trouble sticking to deadlines because i was the only one who knew about them. there was no accountability. no one to push me. no one to read my work.

i had to press pause while i evaluated this goal i’d always dreamed of.

i have such amazing memories of reading throughout my childhood that i’ve always wanted to return the favor. i wanted to pass along that reading experience to generations younger than me, but was i cut out for it? did i have a story to tell? characters to breathe life into? did i have the right motivation? did my words work?

after a month long pause, i decided that YES, i did want this, but i was going to have to start from scratch. first came alexis and her critiquing skills. then came bria and her disaster drafting. and deadlines. and accountability. then came the epiphany. and another one. and here i am, today.

at the starting line.

my main goal is to finish the manuscript i’m working on now. that’s it. to start and end a manuscript. to know i can. i officially started work on this manuscript in september 2010, but really, truly began in earnest in september of this year. i’ve got 35K words and lots of good habits and my next (more specific) goal is to finish this by the end of november. then i’ll let it marinate before i go back to flesh it out and revise and edit and revise and revise and revise.

depending upon what shape it’s in then, i may turn to the next step — looking for an agent — or, most likely, this manuscript will end up next to my other one locked away in a drawer. i believe this MS is here for practice. like all things in life, in order to get good-er, you have to practice. and the only way to practice writing is to write.

i plan on doing just that.

so as i stand here the beginning, i’m filled with excitement (at the possibility of reaching my goal) and a touch of frustration (at how difficult, how far, how tough that goal is), but ultimately, this is a hopeful place to be in because the only direction from here, the bottom, is UP.

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15 Responses to “FWIS: the beginning”

  1. Linda G. Says:

    I love beginnings. *happy sigh* So exciting! So full of possibilities! Pure potential.

    Enjoy the beginning.

    In fact, enjoy every step along the way, because too often we focus so hard on the next step that we can’t appreciate the place we are now. Which, I think, is a darn shame. So don’t forget to sniff those roses before you continue along the path. :)

  2. Karla Nellenbach Says:

    Hey, I’m at the beginning, too, but at least we’re in good company. Right? :)

  3. briaq Says:

    You’re at one of my favorite parts of the writing path so far… just writing whatever the heck you want without little voices in you head asking if it’s write for your other books/brand/genre/agent/etc – It’s a wonderful place to be!
    Plus, enjoy it, because you won’t be there long ;) I know the book is going to move you along the path… whether it’s an agent or focus or just showing you *what* your path is.
    Ok, do you owe me words from last night? ;)

    • abby mumford Says:

      you know, this is a funny place to be. all the things i say i need (deadlines, an audience) are also the things i’m afraid of. it’s a catch 22.

      but for now, i’m enjoying only having pressure from myself because it’s giving me time to learn and grow and develop myself and my talents. also, there’s you and your accountability. (i unintentionally did a #1k1h last night, which was my exact goal for yesterday. i had to hit 35K, so that i wasn’t lying in this post when i said that’s where i was!)

  4. Adriana Kirilova Says:

    Ooooh, I love your monthly column idea, and your first posts! I already read Bria’s, I’m off to Jessica’s next!

    Reading your post makes me want to write. BECAUSE IT IS EXCITING TO BE AT THIS VERY EARLY STAGE WHEN ALL THE WORLD IS IN FRONT OF YOU FOR THE TAKING! (See? The excit-o-meter switched to all-caps! :))) As you said, there’s no where to go from here but up, and up you will go! You will you will you will!

    Don’t I look good in my cheer-leading uniform? :)

    • briaq Says:

      I love your excito-meter!

    • abby mumford Says:

      it’s a good thing this post makes you want to write because i do believe you’re standing at the top of a very busy NaNoWriMo month.

      and yes, please keep wearing that cheerleading uniform. (i swear, i don’t mean it as creepy as that sounds.) i’ll even put mine on for you.

      RAH RAH RAH. go fight win. WRITE LIKE A MOTHER EFFER. *shakes pom poms*

  5. NaNoGarMo Says:

    Moomfy, love this column!

    Adi is a very good cheerleader!! I need to take notes from her.
    I’m doing the same thing on the inside since I’m not great at emoting. But inside there is glitter and unicorns. FYI

    • Adriana Kirilova Says:

      NaNoGarMo. Honestly! You’re killing me with your awesome! :) You need to start selling merchandise! And/or you need a PR job with the department of sanitation. Because you’re making me excited about garbage!!!!

    • abby mumford Says:

      pebbsie, i love your comments and your commenter names! to further adriana’s comments, i can clearly see you, your glittery insides and your witty words working miracles over at the department of sanitation.

  6. abby mumford Says:

    and a big THANK YOU to all my commenters who are commenting not only on my post but each other’s comments.

    come ‘mere you guys, *big squishy hug*

  7. Alexis Gunderson (@AlexisKG) Says:

    Lines that are dead! Yes. Never fail to motivate.

    Glad you are pushing yourself! I feel weird and outside it, not being up in Boston where all this evidently whooshing productivity is and having to sit on my hands waiting for something to beta read/crit, but I am excited all the same! I, meanwhile, have managed to talk myself down from starting my next Major Project for NaNo, and instead of picking up Zinc like I intended, took out a year-old short story yesterday to pick at.

    I have a problem.

    Now if only I could be you! Or have a good taskmaster; my current company is…not so persuasive. *glares at cozy cuddling dog on bed*

    • abby mumford Says:

      to keep you in the loop (cause you’re in it even if you say you don’t feel like you are), my plan is to have a full MS for you by mid-December. i plan on finishing in a couple of weeks, taking a break, and then revising and then sending it to you. finally!

      a good taskmaster is hard to find. perhaps you could train that dog. :)

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