I have been on a print journey since September of 2007. One fall day, I woke up with an idea for a series of books (which will probably never see the light of day). And I was obedient to this idea, a slave to the concept that I would someday become an author.
And because I know I’m not the only one out there who has been on a quest for an agent and someday a publisher, here is a little bit more of the back story. A short timeline from idea to agent.
September of 2007-2009- I wrote and re-wrote the first book of said series
September 2009- Joined SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and attended my first Mid-South Conference
October 2009- Joined a critique group in Bowling Green
July of 2010- I started my first realistic fiction manuscript SOME SECRETS BLEED
March 2010- I sent out my first ever query letters on the series book to the faculty of the conference
September 2010- Attended my second SCBWI Mid-South Conference and got an honorable mention in the fiction contest for SOME SECRETS BLEED
(Met Kelly Sonnack for the first time)
June 2011- I queried a handful of agents on SOME SECRETS BLEED
July 2011- I joined a second critique group in Nashville
August 2011- Attended my first SCBWI National Conference in Los Angeles. I had a critique on that series book with Beverly Horowitz, who told me to go write the book I HAD TO WRITE
August 2011- I started TWENTY-THREE- the book I had to write
September 2011- Attended my third SCBWI Mid-South Conference and pitched TWENTY-THREE to Erin Murphy
Between August 8th-October 18th- I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote TWENTY-THREE, following the request of Kevan Lyon
November-December 2011- I started two next realistic fiction manuscripts to explore which would become my next project. I decided to pursue one called Unit 42
December 2011- I queried Kelly Sonnack
January 5th-12th 2012- The week all the amazing agents read TWENTY-THREE
January 12th 2012-– Court signs (agrees by phone) with Andrea Brown agent, Kelly Sonnack
Upon getting my dream, dream, dream agent, what did I do???
-cry tears of happiness.
-cry tears of fear.
ALL OF THE ABOVE.
Since I am a youth minister and I make no apologies for the fact that I use the lens of faith to understand my life, the first thing I did was sit down with God and process how I felt. And in a moment of transparency- I’ll share with you my journal entry from that evening.
January 12, 2012
There is a moment of fear, terror really, that follows the moment of peaceful success. Yes. For this very breath and second, I hold this accomplishment, this achieved goal in my hand, but my fingers are not yet conditioned to hold on. What if I can’t maintain? Why does this thief by the name- SELF-Doubt- sneak in and so quickly make my heart beat fast with fear instead of excitement?
All I can do is pray.
Oh God, Father, Abba, Creator, when you breathed into me to bring me to life, that breath contained words. Words of a future, a plan for me, a good plan for me … I story I would tell that you’ve been telling: LOVE IS REAL. LOVE IS REDEMPTIVE. (As I'm fond of saying, Everything has redemptive possibilities.) Help me to believe those words won’t run out. Help me to believe that you gave me a lifetime supply instead of 80,000. Help me to know I won’t let you down.
I am happy.
I am scared.
Of failing. Of succeeding. Of only succeeding once. Of letting people down. Especially Kelly. Of not enjoying the moment in front of me because of future fears.
I said yes today to a career in books. Today, I make the first step toward being an author. I might have my name on a spine someday. But I know, God, that it is your name that rightfully goes there. You did this. Not me. I prayed and words came. You came. I trust you to keeping coming and breathing words, poetry, dialogue, life into me.
I trust you to help me believe this prayer. Even now- when it’s hard. Help me rise to the occasion by falling on my knees in thanks and praise. Give me the patience and faith to believe without seeing- because right now, I don’t know how to write what is next. Or I’m scared that I’ll never write better than now. And God, that sucks, because the whole goal of my life is to always be on a journey toward better. What if I can’t?
Be the whisper. The whisper that says, You WILL. You can. You have to... Not because I’m pressuring you, but because you’ve got the creator in you. THE CREATOR. And I like to share.
Share with me.
Share the words of a 1000 books
Share the words of a 1000 books that matter
Share the words of a 1000 books that matter and are beautiful
Share the words of a 1000 book that matter and are beautiful and connect me to people in need
And now God, if it’s not asking too much, I pray for the people around me. Kelly. Give her the plan for me. Give her wisdom and favor. Build and multiply her career. Tell her how to challenge and encourage me. For Twenty-Three. For Book Two. For books two to a thousand. And for the way she leads her other clients, especially Jess and Sharon, give her a vision beyond our todays into our tomorrows. Please give them all ten times their hopes and dreams.
And the people around me- the creative folks who share their lives with me- my mom, dad, Adam, CJ, my amazing, amazing critique groups, Ruta, Jess, Erica, and all the cheerleaders (Katie, Leah, Brooke)- the professionals who have encouraged me (Sarah, Kevan, Erin, Tina, Tricia, Emily) Bless them. Bless them more than you bless me. I need them all. Raise them up. Let them have their dreams come true the way mine started coming true today. I wouldn’t be here without them. I wouldn’t. This I know.
And it is You – the path-crosser of destiny, friendship and love - who puts me in their life’s way. You told them to chant move, keep going, you can, you will, just move on the path toward your dream.
And I move.
Today, I move toward the unknown to me and the certain for you. Oh, how I’m scared. Oh, how I’m grateful.