Hi, friends! I know it’s been ages since I last posted a writing journal. I was trying to wait until I finish my current round of revisions just so I’d have more to talk about. But I have some exciting news and I feel great about the point I’m at in my writing. My last writing journal was in October as you know. It’s been nearly four months! Those four months have already brought so much change and progress including finishing my draft, getting a literary fellowship, and working through revisions. I hope the last four months have brought wonders for you all, too.
Let’s talk about the end of 2020 first.
I spent November dragging my feet through the last two chapters I needed to write. Something felt off about them. I learned that I don’t enjoy writing slow-paced scenes. But, in December, I decided enough was enough. One night I sat down and said, “Tonight is going to be the night I finish my draft.” And I was right. On December 27th, I finished writing the latest draft of my YA manuscript (#CtCEWIP). This was more or less the third draft and the first draft after I uprooted the plot in 2019. The ending clocked in at 57,241 words. I felt so elevated when I finally typed those words—the end. I’d spend the last 3.5 years prior writing and rewriting and dreaming only to finally reach the finish line. I poured so much love and work into this draft. To finally see it shaping up into the story I want to tell is an incomparable feeling.
I also want to note that next month, it’ll have been four years since I started writing #CtCEWIP. I was eighteen back then. I’ve grown as a person and as a writer. Everything I’ve learned along the way has allowed me to make this WIP into the best version of itself that it can be. If I had decided that I was done at any point before now, then I wouldn’t have done the story justice. So December was a personal milestone.
So what’s happened between December and now?
A lot, actually. I want to talk about community first. Writing can sometimes feel like clinging to a life jacket in the middle of a stormy ocean. It’s lonely. It’s life-changing. And the one thing that makes it better is having friends right there along with you. I’ve leaned on the writing community for years now and even more so in the last couple of months. My online friends have been my cheering squad, my support system, and some of my closest friends. They’re actual angels and I don’t know what I’d do without them. My book certainly wouldn’t be anywhere close to the point it’s at now. This is all to say—find your community!
In January, I put a call out on Twitter for beta readers. Two lovely people volunteered! On top of making new friends, they’ve also helped me to stay on track for finishing this round of revision.
#CtCEWIP was originally set in 1997…you read that correctly. I couldn’t begin to tell you why eighteen-year-old me thought that was a wonderful idea. Halfway through the draft I just completed, I decided I didn’t want to set my book in 1997 anymore. It didn’t feel authentic for the story I want to tell. Maybe I will write the 90s book of my dreams one day…But #CtCEWIP isn’t it. So the revision I’m slowly working through now is about turning it into a contemporary story and checking for consistency in plot details. When I finish revising, I’ll send it off to my lovely beta readers. They’re the first people who will read my WIP all the way through—no one else ever has before. I’ll be honest that I’m nervous. I’ve kept this story so close to my heart for years, but I know it’s time to let it fly. After I get their feedback, I’ll decide what to do next. I’m sure it’ll go through at least a few more rounds of revisions and edits. Then after that? I might actually dive into the query trenches. We’ll see.
That was January. February has already brought some exciting news as well.
So, I have one more big thing to announce. I’m thrilled to say that I was selected to be a part of a literary fellowship under the guidance of Emily Forney at Bookends Literary Agency. This incredible opportunity is a dream come true! I look forward to working with Emily as well as the other fellows in this program. What I don’t often talk about publicly are my hopes for my career in publishing. Aside from being a writer, I’ve also considered being an editor. I love bringing stories to life. Editing allows me to fine-tune amazing stories and advocate for other writers. Agenting, though I’ve only considered it in fleeting moments before, is something I believe might allow me to do to the same on a more personal scale. Over the next four months, I look forward to seeing where this fellowship takes me.
I have high hopes for 2021. I know 2020 brought a lot of pain and hardship. It wasn’t an easy year. And 2021 isn’t going to be easy either. But I’m clinging to hope nonetheless. And I’m still trying to push myself closer to my dreams. That’s all we can do right now. I can’t wait to see where the rest of of the year takes me in regard to my writing journey.
So talk to me about your goals for this year. What writing have you been doing lately? Do you have any projects you want to start or finish? I want to hear all about it. I’m wishing you all the best luck with your writing.