Happy Monday Everyone!
Boy did I wrestle with this post.
As you know, today is our day for a guest post from Amy Dixon, author of MARATHON MOUSE. (And did I mention there’s a giveaway?!!)
It was also supposed to be the day I posted the Halloweensie Contest Finalists (of which there are a lot more than 3 because at final count we had 38 entries and 3 finalists was simply not a number I could get down to with so many fantastic stories!!!)
I actually started writing the post thinking I’d put everything in.
But by the time I got to the end of Amy’s part, I knew it wasn’t going to work. Wonderful as you all are, I felt it was just too much to ask you to go on from Amy’s post to the contest finalists – it was getting VERY long. So since today is her scheduled day, I hope you will all thoroughly enjoy her post, which is full of inspiring words for writers! I will post the Halloweensie Contest finalists in a separate post either later on today or tomorrow (which I realize is not a normal posting day for me) – feel free to tell me in the comments which you’d prefer!
So without further ado, heeeeerrrre’s AMY!
When I was growing up, some of my favorite books involved one Miss Ramona Quimby. I’m sure I related to her trials as the little sister, and to her attempts to prove herself worthy of admiration and acceptance. I will say though, that Ramona went to much greater lengths to gain such admiration. I never accidentally cracked a raw egg on my head, or wore a Chiquita banana sticker on my face in order to be a part of the latest fad. But I was always delighted by her antics, and always wished, in spite of what seemed like constant embarrassment, that I could be more like her. What perhaps now I would categorize as impulsiveness, I then regarded as bravery. Ramona was brave. I wanted to be brave, too.
It was my affection for Ramona that made the nickname I earned on the soccer field when I was 10 a little more palatable. My sister and I both played on a team called The Golden Touch. I wasn’t a flashy player. I don’t think I ever saved or scored a goal. But our coach would put me in the midfield, point out one of our opponents and say, “Don’t you let her get by you.” I took his charge seriously. I followed that player around on the field like a stray puppy who was once given a scrap and was hoping for more. I would not leave her alone for a second. And so, on the soccer field, I became Amy the Pest.
When I started writing for children six years ago, I had no idea the tenacity that would be required to make things happen in this business. It definitely called for a bit of…pesty-ness. Not a bombard-agents-and-editors-with-e-mails-and-phone-calls-till-your-name-is-engraved-on-their-list-of-psycho-writers kind of pesty-ness. But a persistent, persevering, resilient kind of pesty-ness. A pesty-ness that revises the same manuscript 27 times until it is just perfect…and then starts from scratch because an editor thinks it would work better in third person. A pesty-ness that takes in each painful rejection and yet still finds a way to send the story back out again. A pesty-ness that makes us certain those rejections will be fun to share later in a “look how many times my amazing, award-winning story was scoffed at before it sold!” presentation.
And so, 20 years after my days as a half-back for the Golden Touch, Amy the Pest was resurrected. I wrote. I revised. I critiqued. I conferenced. I submitted. I was rejected. I revised some more. I submitted some more. I was rejected some more. I buzzed in the ear of the publishing world, and was swatted away again and again.
But like Ramona and her questions about Steam Shovels and their bathroom habits, I wouldn’t go away. I believed in my work. I had critique partners who believed in my work. And somewhere in there, somewhere in between growing as a writer and learning the business of publishing, I became brave. Brave enough to send out MARATHON MOUSE, even after getting some discouraging editor feedback. (So…all that happens in this book is…he runs? Am I missing something?) Brave enough to get a publisher’s offer on MARATHON MOUSE, and ask the editor for 2 weeks to follow-up with agents before saying yes. Brave enough to now say out loud, “I am a writer.”
So here I am…Amy Dixon, Age 37. Here to encourage you to channel your inner Ramona. Release your pesty-ness. Learn to be brave. You will grow as a writer, even if, every once in a while, you end up with a little raw egg on your head.
Wasn’t that just terrific? Thank you so much for those inspiring words, Amy!
I will tell you all that I have read MARATHON MOUSE and will be posting it this Friday as my Perfect Picture Book – it’s fantastic and I highly recommend it and you should all find any excuse you can to buy it! 🙂
In the meantime, one lucky, lucky reader is going to win a signed copy, because Amy is just that wonderful! All you have to do is leave a comment telling about something you accomplished (like a marathon :)) For example, I could say that once I was Sneezy in our third grade play of Blanche Neige – and if you’ve ever tried to sneeze in French you will know just what an accomplishment that was! But I realize it’s Monday morning and many of you may not be fully caffeinated yet, so if you can’t remember anything you’ve accomplished at this hour you can just write why you’d like the book 🙂
Stay tuned for the Halloweensie Contest Finalists and don’t forget to let me know if you have a preference for later today or tomorrow. The post is already written because it used to be half of this one 🙂
Have a lovely Monday 🙂