Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How I Found the Write Path Blogfest

This is a letter to myself that I wish I'd had at the beginning of my writing journey. I'm part of the How I Found the Write Path blogfest. Want to read the other letters? Visit So You're a Writer and you can. 



Dearest Robyn of eight years ago, *groan*

I recognize the sparkle in your eyes, and that boundless energy coupled with your zest for writing. I notice you have some manilla envelopes on the desk addressed to agents and publishers, too. *shakes a weary head* It might be awhile before you need to worry about mailing those manuscripts off. I wouldn't put a stamp on them just yet. 

I can see the excitement on your face when you write and read your stories. You think NO ONE has ever written such beautiful wordage. You believe that the first agent or editor to lay eyes on your stories will JUMP at the chance to sign you to a thirty-year contract. Oh my. Bless your heart, girlfriend. You have a FEW things to learn.

First up, buy a pencil sharpener and a lot of erasers. Purchase plenty of composition notebooks, copy paper (not the thick kind for agent and editors, the Dollar Store brand for printing, reading, and shredding). 

Invest in some critique partners and beta readers who for the most part. are as inexperienced as you. Have a couple GO TO peeps who have realized their dreams already. They KNOW way more than you do right now and will happily help you along your merry way. But don't forget to give way more than you get. That's the writerly code. Always pay it forward. It’ll make you feel good even on those days when seven rejections pop into your inbox. Oh, and don't look at me that way. The rejections will come. Please buy writing how-to books, lots of them. If money is tight then just wait and buy SAVE THE CAT. Read every picture book and MG novel you can. Learn the writing terms and abbreviations (you'll thank me for this one), what genre is, and study word count expectations for what you're writing at the moment.

You'll throw stuff (your hubby learns how to duck), you'll cry long, slow tears, that never seem to stop washing down your face. You'll scream, "I QUIT!",  more times than I can tell you. I dare say you will even throw notebooks in the trash, delete stories, and start to pitch your writing books in the garbage. But then something will call to you. Or should I say someone. Your characters who live inside your head will beckon you to let them whisper in your ear. Then you'll be off on another adventure. Scribbling and scrabbling, typing and deleting. Yes, Robyn, you'll be dreaming with that faraway look on your face and your head in the clouds. AGAIN!

Then the cycle will begin anew. Many, many, many times. Your heart will break with each and every rejection. You'll notice friends snagging agents and book deals. A lot of them will stop emailing and conversing with you. But that's okay. They have their journey, and you have yours. You'll meet new friends, and that's where you'll learn THE code. These new writing pals will be everlasting friends who ALWAYS know the right words to say to bring you back up. They also always give the best critiques because they want your success as much as you do. Pretty cool, huh? I know you can't wait to get where I'm at right now. But remember this. You HAVE to go through the storm to find the rainbow.

Your sunshine, your kaleidoscope will come what may. Through all the hard times, those easy days (when those words won't stop pouring out of you), and the moments when you think you'll never laugh like that again. You will find peace with yourself about this weary/lively road you've taken. There will be rocky times ahead even now. But you want this so bad that you can taste it. It burns inside you. This flame will never be extinguished. So write on. You'll learn so much it will feel like your brain might burst. Never fear. It won't. Keep on keepin' on, you keeper of the writing flame. You WILL have your day in the sun, and it WILL be worth all the toil and trouble, tears, and gut-wrenching pain you'll endure. That's when you will thank me for mailing this letter to you. Now where did I put that stamp? 

Love,
Robyn

Robyn Campbell
Picture book and MG author
Robyn Campbell http://robyn-campbell.blogspot.com/
I give my permission for this to be used in the "How I Found the Write Path" e-book

Thanks for reading. What would YOU tell your writing self at the beginning of YOUR journey?

37 comments:

  1. I've had my share of tears, but I don't think I've ever thrown anything!!! Oh, our suffering husbands...

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  2. There will always be friends with us on the journey to encourage us. Agree with your choice of just one book - best writing book ever.

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  3. Yes, our poor suffering hubbys. Hahaha.

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  4. Alex, I LOVE THAT BOOK!!!!!! For me, YOU are one of those friends. :-)

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  5. Beautiful letter, BBF! it's all part of the journey- and we have all been there. Write on, my friend! You are doing everything right! xoxox

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  6. Oh wow, this such an awesome letter! Very cool that it will be included in an eBook! I haven't read Save the Cat yet. Guess I better get it. Your writing rocks, as reflected in this letter to yourself. I love the last sentence about the stamp! Haha! Great touch!

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  7. That was beautiful, Robyn dear! Such raw emotions nearly all writers have felt and fought with. I'm glad you listened to your characters calling and are still writing! xo

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  8. BBF, mwah! Thank you. All part of the journey. Writing on, writing on! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo SWAK!

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  9. Lynn, :-) I WISH I could slap that stamp on and mail it to me. (I'd probably make lots of money if I could.) :-)

    Save the Cat is sooooo good! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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  10. Cheryl, :-) thanks, pal. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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  11. Teresa, :-) I guess you're right. We all do go through it (most of us). I was kinda wishing that I could be one of those writers who skipped all that. *wink* I'm glad I listened, too. I might not have ever met you, if I hadn't. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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  12. Great pep talk! That's the kind of reminder we all need sometimes. We CAN'T quit, even though sometimes it feels like the only thing to do!

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  13. Oh! Robyn. I want to get save the cat. is it ever as good as they say?

    I didn't go through all you're going through because I didn't know the usual journey. I just kept writing query letters till one year I went to Museonlinewritersconference and met my publisher and pitched.

    I by passed agents altogether. I did not know about them and now I"m glad I 'm published by a small press. I"M On Phone relations with the CEO and the assistant to CEO replys to emails within a day.

    YOU"ll get there my friend. Pass the stamp.

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  14. Nick, thanks. This journey we're on is NOT for the faint of heart. More like for those with nerves of steel. :-)

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  15. Clar, you did take a slightly different road than most. But you still had to find a publisher. BTW, that' a great relationship between you and the CEO of your publishing house. Lucky ducky! I hope you're right about me getting there. Before I'm in a rocking chair, I hope. :-) Save the Cat IS as good as they say. YES!

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  16. Oh, Robyn! I feel like I was in the room, watching your every grimace, and I saw the hubs duck, but his expression was priceless! I walked on the farm with you, and you gave me a hug before you went back to write. But the best was seeing you throw your head back in laughter, the tears rolling as you wrote the next amusing line, the smile. Mwah!

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  17. Save The Cat might be the best book ever - I've read it lots!

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  18. I had visions of FOREVER stamps to be on the envelopes so they could be mailed anytime in the future. I love your letter. Keep writing my friend.

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  19. While your mailing, please mail the beginner me a copy, too!

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  20. What a terrific letter, Robyn! You said it all and so well too. I love the passion :-)

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  21. I related to all of this. Fantastic letter, Robyn.

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  22. Hi Robyn!
    What a beautiful and candid letter!
    Keep on writing, my friend! *waving madly*

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  23. Yes! I'm a huge fan of SAVE THE CAT, too. :D

    Thank you so much for participating!

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  24. Hi Robyn .. sometimes I'm glad I came to writing later in life - when the delete button is just a stretchy finger away .. or I can copy and paste relegating poor words to the bottom .. just in case?!

    I'm sure I've got Save the Cat somewhere .. I know I bought it because it was so highly recommended ...

    Or perhaps Save the Cat was hubby shouting as your next throwing object was tickling through your brain?!

    Cheers and yes - it's a great camaraderie in blog-writing land .. Hilary

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  26. Robyn, you're living your very own Groundhog Day. I know it gets hard. Your post is heartfelt and honest. I love it.

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  27. I think I would tell myself to have found you sooner!

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  28. Robyn, this is such a thought provoking post, I love the letter. You certainly put a lot of effort into this, and it shows in the presentation.

    I learned a lot from this post, thank you.

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  29. I thought I commented on this, but apparently not! I like this idea, and enjoyed reading your letter. I missed the 'fest, but I should give this a try one of these days.

    Love and hugs, amigo! :)

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  30. What a beautiful letter to yourself. I enjoyed reading it. I don't think I've thrown anything, but I've definitely cried, screamed and threatened to quit. Thankfully, my determination won out. ;)

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  31. Hey, Robyn... God always hits the publish button with every thought, word, and prayer that you utter... do we utter thoughts?... Anyway, the angels rejoice! You are so special to Him. He has a Plan!!!

    Bless you!!!!! xoxoxo

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  32. Great letter to yourself, Robyn. Good luck with all your writing endeavors.

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  33. I'm not sure how I hadn't seen this yet, but I'm here now!

    Wonderful letter, Robyn. Oh, woe for the cycle. LOL And I love THE code! So perfect and true.

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  34. Just coming by to wish you well and to say hello.

    I hope you have a nice weekend.

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  35. Hi Robyn, Just wanted to stop by to see how you are doing and wish you a good week! (((((Hugs)))))

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