Thursday was a weird day. I ended up feeling under the weather. I think I picked up a little bug somewhere along the way. Fortunately, I felt better throughout the day, but I also didn't sleep well, so that didn't help. Between that, my recently-acquired road anxiety and my first pitch appointment coming up that very day, I was a bit of a mess.
The pitch was...not great. (lol) I did ramble a bit, so that was my fault. The agent decided to pass on my story, which was okay, and she was very nice about it. But a comment she made about it stuck with me and gnawed at me all day until by that evening, it was a very sore wound.
Thursday night I sat back and watched some well-known, well-loved, well-received authors interact with each other and their readers. And I suddenly felt very alone, unseen, and unworthy. The agent's words came back to me about my work and it hit me that I was never going to be able to do what they were doing. I was never going to be able to write stories with the depth and emotion of theirs. I was never going to be able to speak to audiences with such engaging and thought-out answers. What was I even doing there?? (For the record, the agent never said anything rude or mean! She just stated an opinion about how I wrote something.)
That night, before going to sleep, I was feeling very emotional and strained. Like I always do, I had to pour out my thoughts onto my journal before I let it all consume me. Once I did that, I determined that this was not going to dictate my whole weekend. Friday would be a better day.
And it was.
Thursday afternoon I got to hear the keynote from Frank Peretti himself! (NYT bestselling author of This Present Darkness) His speech on short-term and long-term mindset and goals was so good, and he was SO entertaining! I could've listened to him for hours.
Friday was the first full day of workshops and they were amazing. Allen Arnold started his three-part session about creating WITH God, not just for Him. He also spoke in depth about how we are sons and daughters of God, created in His image, thus made to be creative. Very inspiring and motivating. Nadine Brandes had a great class on The story of Behind the Story-all about how life makes us better storytellers and there's no greater story than the one we're living now.
But it was Nadine's first class that really made an impact for me. "How to Pitch Your Book Without Sounding Like A Robot" wasn't technically supposed to be an inspiring class. But she spoke at length about confidence and said "If your confidence is in your writing, you're going to be a wreck." (DING DING DING! That was the bell going off in my head.) My confidence MUST come from Christ.
How did she know, months in advance when the schedule was put in place, that I would need to hear that message in that very moment??
She also had some practical help for pitching a story that I was able to use a couple hours later, which I went to a couple hours later. And it went much better. (Sigh...)
Also, while I was waiting for my pitch appointment, (the agent was running behind) a kind, friendly lady sat with me and chatted casually for a few minutes. It was a much-needed, much-appreciated distraction, and as soon as I track down her last name, I will let her know!
The Awards ceremony was that night, and despite all the stress my costume had caused me, it worked out so well and it was a lot of fun checking out everyone else's costumes and being catered a delicious meal. Even though Emily didn't win her category (Flash Fiction) I loved hearing her name called as a finalist. And she got a pin!
Saturday was a good day overall. No appointments to worry about. Just lots of classes and another powerful speech from Frank Peretti. (We are the church. And the church is going to be sifted.) The Book Festival was amazing. Lots of authors there signing books and doing pictures. I got to talk to several and found myself FINALLY coming out of my shell. Why it takes me three days to feel comfortable, I don't know. Just me and my introverted, awkward self, I guess. But I had fun. I even got a chance to meet and speak with my editor. Earlier that week, I was ready to contact her and tell her to forget my book, just send it back! But by then I was feeling a bit better, and she even said she was enjoying it so far!
We came home Sunday and it was very bittersweet. I wish I'd had more time to connect with people. I wish I'd shared more of myself. But I loved everything I learned, even in those low times, because it all worked together to help me grow. I will face discouragement, but if I keep my confidence in Christ, because I am His daughter before I'm a writer, I will get through those low times.
So Realm Makers was everything I'd hoped it could be and more. I hate that it's over and that will be at least a year before it happens again. But in the meantime, I will cherish the memories I made, apply all that I learn, connect with new friends, and remember Whose I am.
And yes, I will keep on writing.
In His Grip!
Hey, friends! How's it going for you this summer? Hope you're taking time out to rest and refresh, and maybe take on a fun project or two. I've been busy, busy working on curriculum and looking forward to my first in-person Realm Makers conference next week., where I'll get the opportunity to share about my latest writing.
I don't usually share much about my stories to anyone outside of my immediate family. It just feels funny, like I'm exposing a secret part of me. Some of that stems from fear, I'm sure. Fear that people will think it sounds dumb or childish. And part of it is the perfectionist in me. I don't want to share anything until it looks good enough to be shared.
But I've worked hard on this story and I'm ready to give you all a peek into the characters that are so dear to my heart. :)
Here's a quick little blurb:
He's known nothing but darkness for twelve years. Now it's time to let it consume him.
In the Gateway of the Slate Mountains, nestled between the Old Realm and the New—where Stewards carry weapons of light and Shadowmen manipulate darkness—Mason Grey seeks to fulfill his vow of vengeance using his unique ability to read and control the minds of others. In hopes of earning the title of Shadowman, he infiltrates enemy forces on special assignment from the emperor. But his plans are derailed when he finds himself laid up in the home of a chatty peasant girl named Seria Gayle, who mistakes him for the very thing he despises most—a Steward knight.
Just for fun, I always model my characters' looks after actors and actresses! It makes it so much easier to develop their personality and describe their physical attributes. (Bonus points for anyone who can identify these actors and their roles!!)
I hope you enjoyed this inside look at my latest project! I can't wait until you have the finished product in your hands! Right now it's still in content editing by the lovely Sara Ella and I'm SO looking forward to getting her feedback.
In the meantime, I'll be pitching this story to a couple agents next week (say a prayer for me!) and then sending more proposals afterwards. I'll keep you posted!
This is a very nerve-wracking time for me, and I'm not used to being so open about it. Pitching and querying opens up a slew or rejections from agents, editors, and publishers, and who wants to share that? In the past, I always just saved the letters and hid them away. But I invited you to join me in my journey, and that means sharing the lows as well as the highs. So I'm just surrendering it all in God's hands who knows best.
What projects are you working on? A growing garden? Remodeling the bathroom? Trying a new recipe? Every piece of work is something to be celebrated, so I want to hear about it! Drop a line or two in the comments.
And while I wait, I'll just sit and stare at my picture and Chibi figure. :D
In His Grip!