Writing Timeline

My friend Crystal commented on my very first blog post and set off a fit of nostalgia. In response, I offer you my writing timeline ...

July 21, 2007: The day I hit the floor in my laundry room and submitted to the call to write. It was time to stop telling stories in my head - stop reading the words of other people - time to put it on paper.

If you google the date, you might discover the catalyst for the face plant.

I spent that summer and fall reading everything I could about writing. Most helpful was James Scott Bell's PLOT AND STRUCTURE. When I finished it I actually emailed Mr. Bell, who answered. We've emailed four or five times in the past two and a half years. I plan to ask him if I can post our exchanges. Not only is the man brilliant, encouraging and kind - he's hilarious.

The next twelve months involved more than a few false starts, including one manuscript that exceeds 60,000 words. IT WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY, yet it's invaluable, because I learned so much about what NOT to do.

July 17, 2008: Emerson showed up in my brain and started talking. I was neck deep in trying to figure out the problem with the other manuscript (Hint: Plots are good. A book should have at least one...). I almost didn't listen to her, but thank goodness she's a persistent little thing.

July 27, 2008: I wrote my first blog post, titled "INSECURITY." Click the link to read. I'd just trashed the plot-less manuscript and had more self doubt than I knew how to handle.

August, 2008: I attended the Killer Nashville conference and received my first professional critique. On the trashed manuscript nonetheless.


If I hadn't already started on HOURGLASS I might have given up.

October, 2008: I attended the Midsouth SCBWI conference and developed a writer crush on Bruce Coville. I actually told him I wanted to put him in my pocket and bring him home. He laughed. A lot.

I didn't tell him I wanted to stick a straw in his brain and suck out all the genius.

'Cause that woulda just been weird.

May 18, 2009: I emailed ten query letters.

May 28, 2009: I accepted representation from THE Awesome Agent Holly Root at Waxman Literary.

The next few months were filled with summer vacation and rewriting my second half. Awesome Agent Holly didn't love it. All she said was, "So ... about that second half ...." Then she made three points and left me to work the story out on my own. I submitted my edits to her just after Labor Day.

October 2, 2009: I turned thirty-mumble mumble. I met Holly when she came to Nashville for another client's signing. She became Generalissima.

Because she is that fierce.

Shortly after that, I received Holly's notes on the full manuscript. Of course, I agreed with all of them. Because Generalissima Holly is a genius. One shouldn't argue with genius.

November 12, 2009: HOURGLASS went on submission.

I cleaned. A lot. I also forgot to eat meals. My iPhone became an appendage.

December 11, 2009 at 3:06PM: I received an email from Holly with the subject line, "Done Deal."

The query and submission process went INSANELY fast. IN. SANE. LY. fast. For this I am grateful.

Up next in the publishing timeline?

Summer. 2011. Egmont USA.

I don't think it can come fast enough.


  1. I can't tell you how excited I am to hold Hourglass in my hot little hands. :D I've been so looking forward to meeting Emerson properly. Success couldn't have happened to a more deserving chica.

  2. Thank you for this. It makes me feel better about my own timetable. I just hope mine doesn't end with a blog entry that reads, "Received my 100th rejection letter today. Time for a bonfire!"

  3. awesome. thanks for sharing. to think i was reading and had no idea of the turmoil/excitement going on last fall. you hid it well. =)

  4. Great post. It is so very validating. It is nice to read someone who has "been there." It gives me hope that I will get where you are! Congratulations on your success. Savor it.

  5. Amazing how it can go incredibly fast and yet every day seems like a year! I love the timeline :)

  6. Wow I love how quickly that went--it's inspiring!!! Thanks for sharing. I'm so excited!

  7. That was really fast when you look at it on a time line like that. I'm sure it didn't FEEL fast :)

  8. This sounds a lot like my journey in my TV writing career. So much of writing is just showing up, day after day, planting your butt in the chair and slogging it out. Congrats on your perseverance and success.

  9. Wonderful timeline. Inspiring to say the least. I'm keeping track of my own timeline, in the belief if I work hard, write better, someday I can look back and see just what exactly I accomplished. (Hugs)Indigo

  10. Ha, I rock. You rock.

    Oh and I just bought that book for my sony reader. Thx :)

  11. Kait - THANKS! It's fun to think that people know her name.

    DL - I heard a story about a best selling writer who used to bring her 1000 (seriously) rejection letters to conferences and dump them out of a box onto the floor during her talks. 0_o

    Kristin - I think I developed a split personality over the past four weeks!

    Renee - Thanks, and thanks for the link too. ;)

    Heather, Frankie and Sherrie - Somebody up there knows I'm not cut out for high stress waiting. There's not enough Tylenol PM in the world.

    Jayne - Butt. In. Chair. Amen.

    Indigo - I'm grateful for the record keepers that are email and blogposts. It was awesome to go back and see the journey. Enjoy it!!!

    Crystal - Your next writer crush will be James Scott Bell. Trust me.

  12. Wow! That is an amazing timeline! You got an agent superfast after submitting and your book deal in a month! This book must be awesome! Can't wait to read it one day!!!!

  13. I'm just beginning my journey. What other books would you recommend? I'm writing middle grade fiction. Thanks for the inspiration

  14. i don't know why the 30th anniversary of the completion of the Aswan Dam got you writing, but i'm glad it did.


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