My Own Favorite by Donna

Last week, the Muses featured some of our favorite inspiring blog posts from all across the web.  This week, we select our favorite of our own YAMuse blogs to re-post.  Today, as I hit "send" on my draft of the dreaded Book2, this one seemed particularly meaningful...

How to Be An Overnight Sensation in Twenty Years or Less

When people approached me on my recent trip to NYC for BEA to talk to me about my new book, they almost all expressed surprise that SKINNY was my debut novel. Mostly, I just smiled and nodded because, honestly, it was just too hard to explain.

SKINNY is my first novel...that was published.

They didn't know (and I didn't tell them) about the many, many picture book manuscripts, the early reader series, and the two completed young adult novels that didn't sell.  I also didn't tell them I wrote and submitted my first children's manuscript, a picture book, in 1992.

Twenty years ago.

Many times over the years I was close. Dream crushingly close.  I had some small successes.  There were agents...submissions... but, ultimately, rejections.  Lots and lots of rejections. I raged, and then grieved, the really tough ones. I gave up many times. Sometimes for years.

Eventually I picked myself up, applied what I'd learned, and wrote the next thing. It was the writing itself that drew me back.  I wanted to put words on the page.  I wanted to create characters and stories. Maybe I would never be an author, and maybe no one would read it, but I would always be a writer.

So then I wrote the next thing.

And the next.  And the next.

And, eventually, I wrote SKINNY.

Hopefully, I'll write many more publishable novels that connect with readers.  I wish I could say it was easier now.  It isn't.  Perhaps I'm a better writer now, and I've learned much about publishing, but it's never easy to share your heartfelt writing with a larger audience.

If you are in the midst of rejection, you don't want to hear my story. You especially don't want to hear that it might take time and that you might have to face many more setbacks.  At this moment, it's hard to think of the next thing.

That's okay.


Then grieve.

Then open up your computer and write something wonderful that never would have come out of you without everything that came before.


Donna, I ADORE this post. I so so so SO relate to it. 20+ years and counting . . . and in just the last 3 years all the angst and hard work and head-banging and picking myself up over and over and over again is paying off. Just sold my 4th book to Scholastic and am working on editorial revisions for the start of my YA trilogy with Harpercollins which debuts Fall 2013.

It *can* happen and yet so many people never know that - because they give up too soon.

Of course, if I'd known 20 years ago what it would take and how long and how much dang hard work, I'm not sure I would have stuck with it. But I was stubborn and held on to the mantra I heard and read from other writers, that those who don't give up will usually end up with successes. And I *couldn't* stop writing so there is that, too . . . ha, ha.

I'm really looking forward to reading your book. Congratulations!!

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