I've been trying to get my picture books published for a few years. I keep toiling away, messing with a each word until I'm finally satisfied that the book delivers just the right giggle at just the right moment. I've sent nearly a hundred queries to agents and editors so far.
So far, I've collected a bunch of NOs.
Still, I write. I wake every morning at 5 AM and keep that first hour of my day clutter-free and dedicate it to my writing in some way. I'll work on a new draft or write a slice of life like I'm doing now, or research where to send my latest manuscript.
While I'm still trying to get one of my manuscripts transformed into a book, I also started to write essays. Each of them has always been a slice first, a quick sketch on an early morning here on my whateverings blog. Then the idea sits with me all day and I think, "That's good enough for a wider audience."
So I toil away, pick at the essay and think about my reflections and work on it some more on the following mornings. Two years ago I sent a 430 word essay called "Windstorm" to a local magazine and they accepted it. I was beyond thrilled! My best friend framed it--my name on the byline for the very first time! And then I submitted another one to the same magazine, they accepted it, and I got paid for it! Wow.
Then I got curious: where else could I write? Two weeks ago I wrote here about my worst moment ever as a mom--I broke a door out of anger and frustration and depression in front of my kids--and worked on that with the goal of sending it to The Washington Post. I sent a quick email with a succinct pitch to the editor. She zinged right back with a "send the whole essay" response. I contemplated waiting a while to send it so I could live in the hopeful world of "maybe" a little while longer. But I didn't. I sent it to her.
Then I went to pick up my son from my good friend's house, where he was playing with her son. I stood in her kitchen when my phone sounded, telling me that I had just gotten an email. I checked it. It was a yes! My essay was accepted!
I find the format and community here at Two Writing Teachers just the right spot for testing out ideas, dipping my toes in the waters of a particular subject, and for that I'm so very grateful.