Writers, like cheerleaders, need a solid base underneath them. My rock is The Hubster. He holds me up high and steady. My first reader. Usually my most critical because he can't stand YA. This is a good thing. If the story can suck him in, I'm on the right path. He also has questions. Questions that need answering. Also, a good thing. Because we miss things. The picture in our head doesn't always make it to the paper. Sometimes there are things missing - from the background, from the foreground, from the face...
While it's fine to have that one rock solid person beneath you, look at how much more you can do with a BIGGER group!
You can build higher. And you have people you trust to catch you if you fall. Then launch you right back up there!
Which brings me to my expanded Cheer Squad.
I got my first rejection. It was the classic mistake everyone makes in submitting too soon. But it was one little contest that promised a short critique of everyone who submitted. The Top 3 winners got to submit a full manuscript. It was my first complete book...and a first draft. There was NO WAY I would win. I just wanted the feedback on the first three chapters from a professional. Silly me. I placed in the Top 3. Then I panicked because I knew what I had was not worthy of the editor or the publishing company, but it was too late to back down. I sent it off, then beat myself up mentally for making the mistake others had warned against. What was done was done. Back to the rejection email...
It stung a little. Very little because it was well written and not much in it was a surprise. The editor took the time to give me great feedback that will help strengthen my writing. I printed it out and slid it into a frame. Silly me. I can't help it. I'm still proud of it, rejection or not.
I also sent the email to my cheerleaders (without the editor's email, name or publishing company on it - simple cut and paste of the content so that they can see what we'll be working on in critique group).
One of my cheerleaders took that rejection letter and pulled out only the positive, emailing it back to me like this: Let's count her words "wonderful" "intriguing" "promise" "sucked me in" "great" "strong, capable, knowledgeable, and intelligent" " easy charm" "winner" "you write it well" "lovely intriguing story" "fantastic potential". And such helpful advice - such solid concrete direction. You book is going to be even more excellent with this review. I can help too! You will be published. You are just steps away!
How AWESOME is that?!? Because now I can do this:
She flipped me right back up. (Amanda, you ROCK!)
Still have work to do, but keep soaring. And I'll keep flipping you right back up there until you have that trophy.
Until WE have that trophy.
Because as writers, we never do it alone. We have our cheer squad helping us along.
I am an Humane Education teacher & writer living in Burbank, California. I left television production almost a decade ago to pursue my passion - animals. Along the way, I snagged myself a super handsome, extremely patient and very supportive husband. We rescued three cats - Ol' One Eye Pip, Eowyn the Snow Leopard and Wednesday the Butt. We also ended up with an American Staffordshire Terrier pup, Lily. I co-founded my own non-profit (Paws and Learn Humane Education Center) and spend three days a week in the schools educating kids about kindess to animals, dog bite prevention, city wildlife, pet overpopulation and responsible pet ownership. I love my job, but I also love to write. I spend my spare time writing and daydreaming. I love the outdoors and enjoy hikes with my hubby, friends and our dogs! Life is what we make of it and I am making the most of mine.