Okay, the last time I blogged here it was January. So?
That so? reminds me of all the retorts of my childhood. While we neighborhood kids mostly played together, drew with chalk, played Red Light, Green Light 1-2-3 and Giant Steps, we did have our less sunny moments when we’d shout:
(the widely used) Get off my property!
Ew! That’s corroded! –used to describe anything disgusting.
And, my personal favorite: Ew, you’re corroded.
The rambling intro of this post notwithstanding, this was the first year I decided to try to act like a semi-disciplined writer. Sometimes just walking the walk can get you there, right? (This reminds easily-reminded me of my almost-successful college plan to trick a good friend into believing we were boyfriend and girlfriend, but I’ll save that for another day. Or no day.)
I came up with a good way to stick to the writing task at hand: an electric throw blanket. I’m not saying it’s magic or anything, but it is. The only time I use this blanket now is when I’m writing or revising in the chair in my bedroom. Because it was a cold winter and a long one (that seemed to start in October with the storm named Sandy), I got a lot done. A kind of magical amount for a not-accustomed-to-discipline writer like me.
The big news of the dormant-blog time period is that I sold my second novel, SCREAMING AT THE UMP. I started writing it shortly after parting ways with my first agent, many years ago. Though I wrote primarily picture books, it seemed most people found their agents with novels. So that’s what I decided to try and it worked! Erin Murphy signed me on the basis of an early draft of this very book. We subbed it years ago, had nothing even close to a nibble, and decided to put it in the drawer.
I wasn’t too depressed, as I soon learned that WATER BALLOON, my first novel, needed years in a drawer before I was ready to revise it properly. Last year I decided it was time to give UMP a chance.
There were years—researching, writing, revising—that went into the years-ago draft, and then a massive revision late last year, under my magic blanket. Since then, it’s been fast. It sold in March and I’ve already seen its likely cover. (Very cool and excited to share as soon as I get the okay.) As someone accustomed to picture-book publishing, it’s just crazy, this swift pace.
And the best part is I already know how I work. So instead of starting from scratch when I get back to the writing board, there’s about half of a first draft of a new novel, NEVER HAPPENED, sitting in a drawer, hoping this time counts as its time in the drawer. Because a girl could get used to this publishing novels thing.
So? So now it’s late May and three days ago, the weather switched, overnight, from winter to summer. We used to have something called spring, but it’s a fading memory. Still, the May scent of peonies is delicately emanating from the oversized floppy flowers in our kitchen. The school year feels over even though the kids still have a month left (!). And in three weeks, I’ll be celebrating the release of BOGART & VINNIE: A COMPLETELY MADE-UP STORY OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP, illustrated by the great Henry Cole, which I believe was the very reason I started this blog.
So? So, I imagine I’ll be posting a bit more.
Until then, friends, enjoy what passes for spring in your neck of the woods ….