I had a hard week. It was the kind of hard week where I didn't write much at all and I actually wasn't sure I would ever feel good about writing again.
A big thing happened this week even though I can fit it into just a few words.
My agent, Danielle Smith of Lupine Grove Creative, shut down her agency.
She was accused of fraud, ended our contracts, and that was that.
I signed with her at the end of 2016 so it was less than two years that I was one of her clients. In that time, I thought she was sending my picture books to editors but after checking with the few editors whose names she specifically shared with me, it seems as though they never saw my work. That's pretty bad, right? I mean, I was shocked and heartbroken. I've cried and cried and cried. But in talking with her other clients, it seem as though she did this to most of us and to some, on a far larger scale. That's really bad.
I spent most of the week consumed with listening to stories from other clients, shaking my head as I tried to understand why (I'm not sure I'll ever know why), and figuring out what my next steps will be. I've lived a year in these last few days, having gone through so many emotions.
I was supposed to be adding words to my work in progress, my shiny new draft I've been so excited to get to. But I didn't get far before I got the news from Danielle.
It's been a really hard week but I have a plan to start querying again and to keep writing (which I'm so so so glad I have been doing all along) and to move forward on my journey as a writer. The kidlit community has been extraordinarily kind and has offered support in a variety of ways. Personally, Anne Ursu, Laurel Snyder, Katherine Locke, Josh Funk, Kate Messner, and Brooks Benjamin have been so helpful in talking me through plans, thinking about agents to query, working on my query, and getting my work ready to send out. I cannot thank them enough. So many others checked in on me and offered words of encouragement that truly meant a lot.
I'm outraged at Danielle and what she put me and the other creators through. As mad as I am and always will be, I do appreciate the feedback she gave me on my picture books and I sure do have an unbelievable story to tell.
My advice this week is as much for me as it is for you and your students.
I'm telling myself to keep going. We have one more week of Teachers Write and I hope you are telling yourself and others here in our lovely community to keep going. And when you're working with student writers this year, I want you to remember these two words:
Photo Credit: Brittany Thurman
Just why are these two words so important? Because writers are notorious for having an idea, for starting, and for giving up. I bet you can talk to tons of people who will tell you they have an idea for a story or who started something but never finished it or even for those who wrote something but then never did anything with it. No matter where you are in the process or if you're starting fresh on a new idea...keep going.
Sometimes, all we need to hear is a vote of confidence. It can even be a whisper. But those two words make a difference. I believe in you and what you have to stay, so I hope you keep going.
And if you ever find yourself in a situation where someone makes you feel as though you shouldn't keep writing or your writing isn't good enough or there's no reason to keep going, don't listen to them.
Believe me. Keep going.
Finally by Saturday night, after listening to the playlist I made for my work in progress over and over again to try and get my mind off all the jaw dropping, blood boiling stories I've heard, I pulled out my notebook and started writing. Characters I've been trying to seeing better in my mind came into crystal clear view.
The loss I experienced this week reminded me of other times in my life when I've been disappointed. I pinpointed times when I've been so heartbroken for different reasons and I forced myself to remember the hurt I've felt before. In remembering, I realized that every single time, I found a way to keep going.
So that's what I'm going to do and I hope you do to.
I can't wait to hear how everything is going! Happy writing!!!
Rules for Teachers Write Sunday Check-Ins:
1. We respect each other and the type of writing we do.
2. We only offer constructive criticism.
3. We are positive and encourage each other at all times.
4. We recognize and maintain this as a safe environment.
Today, in the comments:
How did you do this week? Did you meet your weekly goal(s)?
What was the pit of your week? (The hardest part, the not-so-fun part?)
P.S. Thank you for replying to each other's comments!
While I read them all and do my best to reply and
reply as soon as possible, it doesn't always happen.
I so appreciate you cheering each other on through Teachers Write! Keep being awesome!