- First author who gave me great advice -- Gillian Richardson (thanks!)
- First submission and first acceptance in the field of children's writing -- Appleseeds Magazine
- First "doesn't fit our needs" rejection letter -- Odyssey Magazine (but I'll submit again)
- First writing critique group -- AWOL (thanks for the tips!)
- First writer's conference -- The Writer's Digest/Book Expo America Conference. http://www.writersdigest.com/bea/ (It was a great learning experience! Though a more local SCBWI conference is likely to give you better hands-on workshops).
- First person I interviewed for nonfiction -- NASA Mars Mission Scientist Virginia Gulick (thanks for taking the time, Ginny!)
- First cool place I visited for research -- The US Space and Rocket Center (Check it out at http://www.spacecamp.com/museum/)
- First time I actually said, out loud, "Hi. I'm a children's writer and I'm supposed to meet with (so and so) here for an interview today" -- 2005, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center -- and then I handed her my business card, another first... It was a momentous day!
- First friends who I trusted to read and critique my first novel manuscript (note: letting friends read your work is scarier than letting strangers read it) -- Karin Shank and Joan Stradling (thanks guys, for your insight!)
- First agent who invited me to send my novel synops for consideration and then said it didn't fit her agency's needs -- Nadia Cornier (no hard feelings though - I still think she's hilarious! : ) Until recently Nadia had a great blog which shared helpful and funny tips about agents and publishing. She's now compiling the advice from that blog into a book which will raise money for charity. So, when it comes out I'll post the info. here. I suspect it will be worth reading.)
Anyway, I've celebrated a lot of firsts so far, and I'm looking forward to many more to come! I encourage all new writers to keep track of your firsts. They're great mile-markers on the road to success!
Above is a photo of the first two pages of my first magazine article for kids, published in Appleseeds Magazine, 2005. Big thanks to Appleseeds' Editor Susan Buckley for taking a chance on a new writer, and special thanks to Associate Editor Annabel Wildrick who was so helpful in answering questions throughout the process! That one first has led to various other publications.