Here’s a fun fact: I first started writing when I was young and I began dreaming of writing books since before I can remember. You likely missed my first book, George Washington: Father of our Country, written (and illustrated!) when I was a second grader. It was so riveting it won an award at my elementary school. You may have also missed my second book, Slam, a story of a dinosaur who destroyed my neighborhood until I realized he was just sad and lonely and needed a friend.
On second thought, it’s probably best I took a break with my book writing for awhile.
As I reached adulthood, it was the functional-brained side of me that chose to go the path of a journalist. I naturally thought, “Well, I’ll need to eat sometimes. Journalism it is! How else can I get paid to write?” (No one really tells you you don’t get paid well to be a journalist, either.) I put my real passion aside to chase escaped convicts (okay… AN escaped convict) and take photos of potatoes shaped as Mickey Mouse (okay… A potato shaped as Mickey Mouse) and became a professional writer. But then one day I realized I was really longing for pages of my own stories, not someone else’s.
So after years of wishing about writing that way, I quit dreaming of writing and finished my first book. And then I got an agent to ask for the full manuscript (EEK! Still pinching myself!). Before I finally send it along, I’m revising it to a somewhat large extent to make sure it’s really where I want it to be before I hit send.
I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pitch to her had it not been for the Kansas City Writing Workshop. I thought it was time to invest in my writing as I neared the finish line with my first draft. So I signed up, snagged a 10 minute pitch session with an agent, I prepped my pitch, and I watched several webinars about writing.
As a quick FYI, this was slated to be an in-person event where you could meet other writers and form a network; because of COVID-19, it moved online. Aside from not meeting people in person, it was an amazing day. The day was full of great content about how to successfully pitch (I was ready, but this gave me even more preparation), how to build your writer’s platform, how to work with an agent and what they’re looking for, and more.
It seriously couldn’t have gone better—except for having it more polished than a first draft alone. And I learned so much during the day that I wanted to share it with any of my friends who might want to consider writing your own books.
There are more events coming up this year, and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for an agent or getting close to figuring out how to carry your writing forward. To me, it was worth the price tag, and was a treat to myself, to get the knowledge I wanted.
Long story short, if you want to write (even if it’s a George Washington: Father of our Country-style book), just do it. It’s an opportunity to find a way to set yourself up for success and achieve the goals you have for your writing. And don’t forget to find a community of writers who can help you stay motivated to hit those goals, too.