Aug 31, 2010

Stepping Stones

It's not always easy to see how one step relates to another when in the thick of picking your way across the stream. When I look back, the connections often amaze me.

Moving to Central Oregon led me to Pine Mountain Observatory. Its stepping stones out into the galaxy and beyond spark my imagination and wonder. I use that fuel the rest of the year in my writing.

During a meeting with other volunteers / friends one winter, one mentioned to me the existence of Central Oregon Writers Guild. I went home and looked it up online. There I found the fellowship of other writers. An important support group. From them I learn a whole lot about the publishing world, took my writing from novice to more professional, learned about platforms and marketing and get the encouragement to go after what I want. I got more involved and became the group's blog director.

From this group I learned about conferences, workshops and Second Sundays. At Second Sundays I found the courage to stand up and work on reading aloud to an audience. This won me fans, advice and another great group of writers who support and encourage me.  The first time I got up to read, the woman who organizes my town's writers conference, Nature of Words, was in the audience. Kindly, she told me to never take no as an answer [wish I had that choice] and said I 'must' go to Willamette Writers this year.

I went home and looked up Willamette Writers online. I found out when the next conference was [beginning of August] and joined Willamette Writers. When registration opened for the conference, I signed up and committed to four face-to-face pitches with agents and a publisher who deal with science fiction.

Having a deadline helped me get the spit and polish on my first novel done in a timely fashion - even with two complete redirects of the plot. I felt confident at the conference. I learned what it takes and what agents and publishers are looking for in my genre. I have a lot of pluses in my column. I'm proud of what I wrote. I check off the pluses in my favor everyday and armor myself for what's next at the same time. I don't know where this step will lead, but I know it is not the end. It marks a beginning. We'll see what type eventually.

Every rejection leads somewhere, too. Maybe we don't see it. For me it usually leads to learning and growing and trying again. It is merely a bump not an insurmountable obstacle. Turn to your support systems, take a deep breath and go at it again. And again. And again.

You know when something feels right. It beats in your core. Sings. You don't mind the work and the effort. It's more like fun and play than work. That's how you know it's right.

Anyway, I just want to encourage you to be bold. It's amazing where one tiny step can lead.