If you're ever feeling discouraged about the project you're working on, I highly recommend going to a party so that a bunch of friends, strangers, and acquaintances can rally behind you and tell you how great you're doing. It sure worked for me.
A few days before Christmas, we went to Aspiring Writer Friend's annual White Elephant holiday party. As I was sliding into my slinky cocktail dress, I realized it was exactly one year ago that I started telling people about my book project. I announced during the party a year earlier that I had hoped to write the whole book in 2007. I realize now that was a lofty goal. But instead of feeling bummed that I didn't meet my goal, I actually feel energized and proud of all the work I have accomplished in the past year. Despite the fact that Preschooler in Chief was hospitalized for two months, I made some real strides. I also was a little naive about the whole book-writing process and didn't realize I should not be writing a book until I had written my proposal. But even with those setbacks and realizations, I managed to write my proposal (which is 27 pages long), and type a rough draft for about half of the book.
If you want to take a glass-half-empty approach, no I didn't write the whole book and no I didn't published anything in Brain, Child magazine (another one of my 2007 goals that went unachieved). But I prefer the glass-half-full approach where I can celebrate my accomplishments and feel proud of the work that I have done. I did write and submit an essay to Brain, Child, even if it wasn't accepted. And I did write a huge chunk of my book. And talking with people who were genuinely excited about my book was a huge boost. They really helped me see how far I had come. One woman even talked about how she couldn't wait to see my book in the window of a bookstore someday and how she was excited for the book-release party! I definitely had not allowed my brain to get that far ahead of myself, but it was fun to have so many people believe in me, to feel excited about my project, and to basically give me a gust of energy.
I also had an opportunity to have lunch with my friend and published author, Courtney Macavinta, a couple of weeks back. Her advice was sound and her encouragement was contagious. I feel fortunate to have so many people in my life cheering me on. It's humbling and motivating. As I get ready to launch myself into 2008, I'm ready to take the next step of finding the right agent. It's a little daunting, but I'm not afraid. And I haven't forgotten about my Brain, Child goal either. I've decided to resubmit my essay now that it's 75 percent shorter than it was originally. They publish more 1,000-word essays than 4,000-word essays. What's the worst that can happen? They reject me? That's not so bad. It just means I need to keep trying. I know how to do that.