If you were around the Twitterverse last night, you might have noticed my tweet about writing today’s post about my green melon Powerade.
Fear not, gentle viewers. I won’t subject you to 800 words about that.
But the title popped into my head anyway, and any of you writery types out there know that when something pops into your head, you go with it. Today’s prompt on WordPress was to write your own eulogy, and so you get to see me combine green Powerade, musings on life, and self-eulogizing all in one splendiferous post. You’re welcome.
It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green
I’m not really talking about color here. Or Kermit, though he’s lovely, and I’d go all fangirl in a hot second if I got to meet him.
No, the green I’m talking about is the kind when you’re just plain new at something. It’s that just-starting-out sort of green that I mean. The problem with that sort of green is that you never really get over it. Sure, you can gain experience at fixing toilet drains or whatever endeavor it is that you undertake, but there’s always going to be something new to learn.
Especially in the publishing industry. I remember four years ago when I was just coming off the high of finishing my first novel. I took the first couple chapters to a writing group, and they got shredded.
And I mean…shredded.
I was green. I was new. This was the first thing I’d ever finished, and I’d written that first chapter about two or three years earlier, when I was even greener.
They did the right thing in shredding it.
Fast forward a few years to last January. I went to the Writer’s Digest Conference and pitched my novel in person to agents. And again, I was green. But I had spent four years learning about the industry and How This Thing Worked. On the top of a long list of things to expect is one word in all caps:
I got my first rejections that day, face to face with agents. Very nice agents who probably don’t remember me now, but someday I’ll tell them they were my first and grin and laugh about it. I was green. I thought my manuscript was pretty good. (It wasn’t great.)
Fast forward nine months when I started querying SHRIKE in earnest. I wrote a query letter that I thought was pretty good. (It wasn’t.) I sent it to some agents. I started getting form rejections. So I asked someone for help (the lovely Julie Kenner, who I mentioned yesterday), and she helped me (along with Amanda Gardner and Kristin McFarland and many others). With them, we shined it up and I threw it back out there, and BAM. The next morning I had a request.
Four-ish months later, I’m still green. I’m still new at this. I can’t tell you how to write the perfect query because though mine works okay, it kind of works like a speedboat with a broken rudder. Sometimes it went straight where it was supposed to go, and other times it went round and round in circles.
The best part? Once I do move on to that next step, the agent-having step, I’ll be back to a very bright shade of green again.
And again when I get my first editor. And again when I try and do revisions for her. And again when I have to market my book. And again and again forever ad infinitum.
But that’s the beauty of life. There’s always something to learn.
The Sappy Bit
No matter where this post was headed, it was bound to have a sappy bit to it, and here it is.
If I had to write my own eulogy, it might go something like this (but please, universe, don’t smite me yet, because I’ve been a very good girl):
Emmie spent her life being green.
From the time she was four years old and debating the merits of becoming an astronaut or a professional hang glider, she wanted to learn. Her mother taught her how to read at that young age, and in doing so gave her the power to learn just about anything that could be found on this planet. Emmie wanted to explore new worlds, both on our planet and beyond. She spent her life starting fresh and learning things from scratch. Like how to read. How to write. How to love. How to speak Polish and make tiramisu from scratch.
Emmie never minded being green, because being green led to new places where there was new life and magic. Being green meant she had to step out of her comfort zone and move beyond what she knew, what was safe, and what would remain. Being green meant that sometimes she tried new things and got hurt. But it also meant sometimes she tried new things and got life’s most beautiful gems in return.
And passing on from one stage of being green to another might not be easy, but it’s an adventure. Passing on from this life is easier to take when it’s just another new experience and a return to the green of the earth.
It ain’t easy bein’ green, but it sure makes life more interesting.
So, gentle viewers. What do you think about being green? In what ways are you still green? In what ways are you becoming green all over again?
I saw today’s prompt on WordPress.com and thought, “What the hell?” I’ll set a timer for ten minutes and see what comes out.
If you’re wondering, erm, that was the prompt. With me so far?
I liked the prompt because it is its own little double entendre. There’s the very literal ten minute writing sprint I’m doing for you to read, and then there’s this week, which has given me all sorts of things to ponder.
That first thing to ponder is possibility.
Today I learned that the fabulous Julie Kenner (who I met through a blogging class a year ago and who not only read the first few chapters of my first completed novel, but who helped me with my query letter this fall) has just had one of her books hit the New York Times Bestseller List for the first time ever.
(Go check it out — Release Me is ready to land in your hot little hands!)
Those of you who are writers know what that means. It’s huge. It’s massive. And it couldn’t have happened to a kinder person. I can’t express how happy I am for her.
Before this, though, she’s written many other books — many of which have done awesome and been on the USA Today bestseller list for multiple weeks. The point is that when these success moments come, these landmarks, crossroads, whatever you want to call them, they come after a lot of other things. Mostly, they come after years of preparation.
The theme of today’s post works well for that.
Whenever there’s a huge goal you’re shooting for, whether it’s adding that NYTBA in front of your name (New York Times Bestselling Author) or getting into Harvard or into the White House or out of debt, it requires preparation.
People don’t see that time. They don’t see the hours you spend at home instead of guzzling beers down at the pub with your friends. They don’t see the studying, the hair-pulling, the tooth-gnashing. They see the output, which doesn’t really show up in the Ready Stage.
You’ve done your homework. You’ve put in the groundwork and the toil, and it just comes down to waiting.
Waiting is hard. It’s lonely. It can be maddening. It can be painful, your muscles burning for the release that comes with the gunshot.
But at this point, it’s all you can do. Until…
When this moment comes, all the long hours are the fuel.
All the waiting becomes worth it.
The time you’ve put in paying your dues ignites, and you propel yourself forward.
To the next leg of your journey.
This week, I’m seeing Ready and Set become GO for so many people, and I couldn’t be more excited for them.
So let’s go, gentle viewers. Let’s go. Where are you going? Sound off about your preparation, your waiting, and your moving forward in the comments!