Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Writing Adventure

I wanted to post this because I remember once thinking, "Hey!  I want to write a book!" and found it so helpful visiting other authors' websites and reading their experiences.  One of my favorites who was extremely helpful was Veronica Roth.  Click HERE for her post that helped me out A LOT.

Also, there are so many ways to do this.  Some people self-publish and do awesome.  Different things work for different people and I am certainly no expert.  I'm completely a noob.  But here's my story...

I've mentioned before how I had an idea that turned into a character and kept growing into a story inside of my brain.  I shared this with my mother-in-law and how writing was bringing me happiness and she was the first person who really sparked the idea of writing a novel.  She believed in me and gave me faith to believe in myself.  On my birthday she gave me the book White Bees by Amy Jo Wilde and highlighted one of the acknowledgement quotes at the back of her novel:

And thank you to God for whispering into my heart the simple word, "write..."

Oh, how those words stirred my soul.  

I began writing a little bit everyday.  It was like exercising.  There were days where I was NOT in the mood and it sounded more like a chore than a pleasure, but I kept at it.  And I became stronger because of it.  Even if I was having writers block, I noticed after about 20 minutes of tasteless writing, I would eventually get in the zone and my fingers lit up on fire and pitter-pattered across the keyboard.

I didn't write The Echoing in chronological order.  If I was in a depressed mood, I would write a sad scene.  If I was feeling goofy, I'd write a funny scene.  If my hubby happened to look extra handsome that day, I found myself focusing on the make-out scenes.  LoL.

H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICK-YES!  This is definitely a kissing book.

When I had really, REALLY bad writer's block I would find ways to get inspired...
Taking hot showers with the lights off, surrounding myself in nature, the rain, or going to the beach would always help.  Pretty much anything involving water.  I genuinely believe water has some sort of energy in it that helps us unlock our creativity.


Eureka moments were so funny!  I would drop whatever I was doing, shout out in triumph, and sprint towards my laptop to get it out of my brain as fast as I could.

I would keep my notes on my phone and reach over multiple times during the night to record my "light bulb" moments.  Drove Mitch nuts.

Revising was super fun!  The 3rd and 4th draft were my favorites to go through.  The first draft was just... embarrassing.  The second one helped fill in the holes.  But after the bones and organs were functioning and in place, I was able to go in and massage the words into the little details and really turn it into "me".

Beta readers.

More editing.

Then, when I felt like it was polished, I sent it off!  ...which probably goes into my top three scariest moments of my life.  You feel naked.  In front of a stranger (and this was pre-pregnancy, so I wasn't familiar with this type of experience).  I felt so insecure taking this hidden part of me that no one knew and sent it off across the Internet desert to some blah-blah-blah literaryagent@emailaddress.com and hope that they would be nice to my sweet baby.

AAAAAAAAND I got rejected... A. LOT.

And then one day, the beautiful email finally came...

"Dear Jessica,

... We would like to publish your book!  Congratulations!"


Tears.  Forgot how to breath.  Danced with the baby.  More tears.  Uncontrollable laughter.  Apologized for scaring the baby.  Called the hubs.

My advice for sending out a query letter: First, be ready for the rejections.  If you do your research, the Internet prepares you for this very well.  It's still hard no matter how ready you are for it though.  Have a good family of cheerleaders to back you up because you're gonna get down on yourself.  Mitchell was amazing at this for me.  And, second, send it to people who are very passionate about your genre and what you're writing about.
When I first sent emails out, I was sending it to any agents or publishers that fit in the YA fiction genre.  But when I worked with Cedar Fort (Emma was my main editor and she was just lovely) I felt like I was in such good hands with someone who believed in me and believed in my story.  It's so important to work with someone who is just as excited as you about your book!  If I could have gone back and done this part again I would have researched better and found very specific people who catered to my story to save myself a lot of reject letters.  Everyone was so nice, but it was always "this story isn't a fit for me" which was so true, and so right, and I'm so glad I didn't get a chance to work with someone who wasn't quite the right "fit".  It's all about the passion from everyone on the team.

Two more revisions through CF editors.

Goes to press in one week!!!!!!

CALENDAR TIMELINE
The first word of my first draft was typed on November 30th, 2013.  
First draft was finished March 5th, 2014.  
Sent revised draft out November 15th, 2014
Got my acceptance letter November 17th, 2015
Comes out to purchase Aug 9th, 2016


This adventure has been so. stinkin. fun.  

And ultimately, for me, it was all in the hands of God and having Him open the right doors of opportunity that I needed.  


Anyone who has ever thought "what if" about writing a book, DO IT.  And START DOING IT NOW.  Because it can be quite the process.  But it is so fun and so totally worth it.