Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 5 Writing Celebrations of 2015

       Yes, I've been on hiatus for a while (and will continue to be so, see #1 below for my very good reason why). But as it's the end of another year, I feel the need to take stock. One of my favorite posts from last year was Top 5 Writing Celebrations of 2014, which was a great writing year for me. 2015, well...not as great in terms of writing, though I do have a few moments of honorable mention:

5. Starting a new project. I'd been working on The Sleepers and a couple of picture books for so long, that it felt really great to set all that aside and begin research and drafting on a new middle grade novel. My critique group loved the idea, too! Sneak peak: an alternate history set in the 1960's in which females, not males, are and have been the dominant sex. 

4. SCBWI Illinois Spring Thaw. Although I've been a dedicated attendee of Prairie Writer's Day, I found a new conference that offered a smaller and more intimate setting. Here's my full account of the day. Hopefully I will continue to attend in years to come!      

3. Finally reading my book aloud to my students. See the full post here, but this was so fun to hear my story come to life, and the 4th Grader reviews I got made all the hard work worth it! 

2.  Querying my MG manuscript The Sleepers. Although it resulted in a round of resounding "no thank you's," it felt very good to finally put my work out there and give it a try. Round two of querying still on deck.

 1. A big celebration, though technically not a writing celebration. The Very Hungry Author is still quite hungry; just more in the physical sense rather than "hungry to chase my author dreams" sense. I've been busy on another little project.

       That's right, this author is pregnant! When I found out over the summer, I was sure that my due date/deadline in March would motivate me that much more to write, write, write because, of course, once the baby is here I'll be sleep-deprived and barely able to form coherent thoughts. Not to mention, baby's schedule and needs will all of a sudden take a major front seat to MY schedule and needs. 

       I was wrong.

       Evidently, my brain and body can only work on one major creative project at a time (I've always been bad at multi-tasking). My biggest effort in this area in the past 6 months has been one revised query and an earnest attempt to attend my monthly writing critique group meetings. 

       My favorite thing lately is the tremendous guilt I feel when eyeing my stacks of manuscripts and inactive blog, or seeing that my also-pregnant critique partner is still writing, or noticing how successful everyone else is being in their writing careers (like my old time BFF-turned-inspiration Jessica Lawson, who has her 3rd MG novel Waiting for Augusta coming out in spring 2016!) 

       Alas, I'm trying my best not to feel too guilty, as I've been told I'll have plenty of mom guilt over other things as soon as baby arrives. I suppose this is one of those sacrifices I hear about that parents make for their children (did I mention I also gave up my writing office to be a nursery? My desk has been relinquished to the basement). I'm going to count "lack of writing motivation" as my worst pregnancy symptom, in which case I know I can consider myself incredibly lucky because so far I have somehow avoided most of the very unpleasant things that expectant mothers have come to expect. 

       But, I'm not done! Just on a little break from the blog for now, and planning to continue my writing projects. Stay tuned! And, if there are any mommies out there with tips on how to carve out writing time with an infant, I will be happy to hear them.

Happy New Year to all! 
May your 2016 be filled with new adventures, lots of love, and not too much guilt over resolutions not achieved!