This week presented a major milestone for me as an author. Following the many rejections I've been collecting like Pokemon, I finally got my first ACCEPTANCE! And it's a good one, y'all.
I decided sometime last year that I would never again miss a solid opportunity to submit or pitch my work. Fear has no place in my goals/path. I have to just keep offering up my pages to anyone who might be interested. My local chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America (GDRWA), offers tons of opportunities for greenhorns like me to get our work out there. Through them, I pitched to two publishers and an agent last year, gleaning some more NOs and some feedback from all of them (much of which was very positive), as well as the chance to read my work to the chapter and glean feedback from a variety of authors. I also formed a critique group with two of the members from GDRWA and it's been a phenomenal experience to read one another's writing and to share and shape our work together.
I didn't realize that in the process of making friends in my writing association and being open to sharing my work, that I would be able to build a little confidence and a lot of determination. When RWA announced they were going to host a mentorship program called RAMP, I knew it was exactly what I needed. Unlike my usual self with grant writing at work (working down to the last minute of the deadline) I sent in my application the first day the program opened for submissions. Like all submissions I took the "send it and forget it" approach. Yesterday, I found out that I was selected. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
It's a huge honor considering there are only 40 slots available nationwide and it's the pilot year for the program. And hearing a YES after many many NOs is a feeling I can't describe. I was in the middle of a video meeting, giving one of my direct reports his annual performance review, when my critique group friend (who was also selected!) called me. I grumbled, not answering the phone and wondering what was so urgent. She messaged and said we both got selected and I literally squealed! Thankfully I know my colleague very well and my boss face wasn't forever altered for him, thanks to my fit of girly excitement in the middle of that meeting.
Thinking about the impact of this good news I realized that part of what feels so great is getting good news during a time where it feels like there's only been shitty, horrible news for a year or more. COVID amplifies the good when it happens because we've been processing so much bad. But also, even if you have a thick skin as a creative person, every NO chips away at you. You know to expect them and develop ways to process them, but deep down you're still that kid that seeks validation for the pretty drawing you want hung on the fridge. So a YES following all of those no's is pretty fucking amazing.
But above all, this YES tells me that the seven years of writing romance, trying to learn craft, trying to learn the industry, trying to come out of my shell and meet people who do what I want to do, submitting work, re-writing, editing, and writing some more has actually been time I was meant to spend doing this. This YES means that I'm not the complete hack/hobbyist that I feared I was. Someone (or maybe more than just one) thought I was good enough at this to be included in a small group of people who are good at this. It's a validation I really needed to help me move toward my goals.
I'm thrilled to be paired with an amazing mentor. I'm trying not to come off as trying too hard or emailing too much out of excitement. I'm sure once we get rolling there will be some great synergy. And I can't wait to see where this leads!