Are We There Yet?


I confess. I’m an amateur. Truly, and I can’t get it together enough to write my blog in a timely fashion. Sad face here. But I think I have a fairly good excuse as far as amateurs go. If I held a professional title, I don’t think it’d fly, but maybe as an amateur…

Here’s the deal. I’m getting ready to attend the Mt Hermon’s Christian Writers’ Conference next week, and the pressure is on to get together the two manuscripts I am entitled to submit. Which means editing ad infinitum because I’m terrified they won’t be good enough, until I’ve taken out whole sentences and then put them back again in a new order, then removed parts and reinserted until finally I’ve decided it was better the first time, or maybe not, but I’ve got to quit somewhere.  My actions replicate my favorite quote which I’ve placed strategically on my note board over my desk at eye level in an attempt to keep myself from doing exactly what I’ve been doing, or at least encouraging me that even professionals do the same.

“All morning I worked on the proof of one of my poems, and I took out a comma; in the afternoon I put it back.”  Oscar Wilde

Next I plow through an extensive Excel spreadsheet with numerous authors, agents and editors to decide who I’d like to torture with the honor of said submission, by having them read my amateur scribbles. The question arises(with a gulp), “Am I ready for an agent?” A new friend who IS a professional (read published) author suggested a few months back that I should pursue seriously the agent realm, but I confess that I just didn’t feel good enough yet. Now with the potential of submitting my work to a real professional agent as part of my conference tuition, I have decided to bite the bullet and go for it. Obviously, the worst that can happen is that they will kindly (everyone at this conference is extremely kind and encouraging)tell me that I need heaps more work before I can consider myself agent ready. Sigh…a writer’s life is not an easy one and fraught with rejection as I’ve experienced.

Back to my excuse…

The learning opportunities seem endless as I diligently read all the workshop descriptions and teachers’ profiles trying to get a sense of which will be the most helpful for me at this point in my amateur “career.” I can only take one out of the ten listed for each of the seven sessions and only a handful don’t really apply to my genre of writing. A plethora of rich instruction from amazing authors and editors! What’s an amateur to do??

Then someone mentioned packing. Packing???? Oh no, you’re right. I’d forgotten that for six days away from home (I’m participating in a Head Start program for new writers which adds two days to the actual conference), I need something to wear there. Oops. Last year, I drove back and forth for four days…no big deal, but really late nights, so this year my husband thought it would benefit me more to stay. What a darling man! Except for the part where I have to add packing to my to do list!! Oh, and then of course there’s the fact that the one who usually makes meals for the family, which consists of at least three children and sometimes the additional grown ones with granddaughter, will be gone for six days being fed for a change by others (bless you!). Meaning I need to plan for my family to eat while I am off being somewhat pampered (even though I will be slaving over words not a stove).

Now you begin to see how a blog with pretty meager readership gets pushed out of the way. Not very professional of me, is it? But that is why I am still an amateur writer I suppose.


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