Saturday, May 26, 2007


So, in my first entry on my first blog I talked about first lines. And these three firsts got me thinking about all the other firsts that are such an important part of building a writing career -- first submission, first rejection, first acceptance, first paycheck, first writer's conference, first crit group (not in that order, hopefully,) and many other firsts. These, I believe, are the stepping stones on the writermorphosis - the journey toward becoming a serious writer.

Each of my firsts has given me a little more confidence; a little more vision; a little more understanding of the writer's life and how it works. So, I want to take a moment here to celebrate some of the firsts I've experienced so far:

  • 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. (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

  • 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.