Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Print Icon

The other day I finally got to click the print icon!

I sat entranced as page after page of my manuscript (182 pages in all) flowed out of the printer in beautiful, crisp succession.

I am one of those writers who never prints the story until it’s complete. It stays on the computer until the first, and often even the second draft is completed. So for me, printing is a sign of progress; of having written the words “the end.”

I finished the draft of my current novel (POCL). So, I printed it. And I sent part of it off to my critique group for review.

I must say that there’s nothing as great as that feeling of making progress; of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel; of getting to the next stage in the work.

And so, today, on Writermorphosis, we’re celebrating “progress.”

Sometimes progress is just getting to the end of your current chapter. Sometimes it’s sending out that manuscript that’s been loitering in your bottom drawer for years – wrapping it in a manila envelope, writing a publisher’s address on it, and lovingly scooting it into the mail slot, fingers crossed, nervous ball in your stomach…

I’m part of a wonderful, and talented critique group called the Goalies, and we’ve been enjoying a lot of progress too. We meet monthly to critique each other’s work, boost each other out of those occassional writing doldrums, and celebrate book sales and other good news with home-made cookies and fun.

And lately, we’ve all been making great progress! The beautiful thing about a critique group is that each member benefits from the success of the others. When one or two people achieve success in the group, it gives the whole group new energy and enthusiasm and a new desire to finish our current works. We stop lolly-gagging around and actually submit our manuscripts to the world.

Lately, I’m so thrilled to report, that the Goalies have had cookies coming out of our ears. We’ve each been lifted forward by the enthusiasm of the group. We’ve have at least 2 members with recent books out, and four or more of us who’ve, this month, clicked the print icon for our current YA and MG manuscripts as well. Over the past year we’ve had members win writing and illustrating awards and members receive positive feedback from publishers. Some of the most joyous days of all are the ones where we get an email from one of our groupies (like we did the other day) saying “I got a positive note from (such and such) editor and they’re wanting to see more of my manuscript!”

So congrats to everyone in my critique group as we move forward together. Let’s spread the cookies all around and maintain our enthusiasm for the future! And for those out there in the rest of the world, I hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled for the Goalies . This group of writers is on the move. (Hooray!) And I hope that your critique group is making progress too.