Monday, September 6, 2010

A Sense of Accomplishment

What have you accomplished lately?

This past weekend (a holiday weekend here in the US), I finally finished writing the rough draft of my first novel, a middle-grade fantasy.

Millions of people write children's books. So why is this such an accomplishment? Not because I'm a brain aneurysm survivor (although I'm happy I finished it in September in honor of Brain Aneurysm Awareness month). No, it's because I started the novel in 2008, wrote a couple thousand words, got stuck and put it away for six months, went back to it in 2009, wrote a few thousand more words, got stuck...

I didn't tackle it head on until January 2010, when I was challenged by a member of my critique group (to whom I owe undying thanks) to write 1000 words a week. That's all.

No big deal, right?

For me, it was. I'd been spending two years writing a few dozen 500-word picture books.

Well, something clicked this time and I steadily added to my word count. In eight months, I wrote 33K words. My total now stands at 38, 496.

Of course, it's just a rough draft. I've got a lot of revising to do. And it's so full of plot holes, if it were a ship, it would sink.

But it's FINISHED.

It may never be published, but so what? Plenty of authors never published their first book.

T.A. Barron told me in September 2008, when he visited the bookstore, that his first novel is still in a drawer and it's going to remain there.

Even the wonderful Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli had at least three novels rejected until he finally scored with Space Station Seventh Grade (shown here with newer cover).

Tell me about YOUR accomplishments this summer (or winter, if you live in Australia). Did you finish a novel? Or start a new one? Did you write something special? Did you read more than you did the summer before? Did you raise money for your favorite cause?

Feel free to share. We can all use some good news.


  1. Yay!!!!! Congrats on finishing, I'm so excited for you to have reached this milestone! It's a big one:-)

  2. Thanks, Frankie! And I know what YOU'VE accomplished this year. Getting an agent is a huge milestone too.

  3. That is awesome Joanne! I think finishing a first draft is the best feeling ever. I haven't done much this summer, besides grow a baby and read a ton of books, but I guess those things count. :)

  4. Those certainly do count, Natalie! Thanks. And best of luck with the baby. Hope you are getting enough rest.


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