Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Own Your Accomplishments

© Freds | Dreamstime Stock Photos
I'm back from a full weekend at the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Conference, where I learned some great tips for enhancing and improving my writing and got some great feedback on the first 10 pages of my contemporary YA novel with paranormal elements from both a YA novelist and a literary agent. In fact, I was so pumped I already worked on revisions yesterday. My goal is to be ready to start submitting to agents in the next two months, just in time to dive into National Novel Writing Month in November with a new contemporary YA idea.

I came away from the conference after an awe-inspiring closing keynote speech by New York Times bestselling YA novelist, Carrie Ryan. The thing that hit me hardest was when she told the audience,
"Own the things you've accomplished, not the things you haven't."

That was so what I needed to hear after a pretty rough past week. I often belittle myself when talking to other people about what I do by saying things like "I'm a writer and editor but I don't make enough money to support my family. The money I make basically pays for our groceries, and that's only on a month where we don't eat a lot!"

Why do I say things like that? Why do I put myself down? Why don't I mention that I've published hundreds of articles in both print and online publications, including the Walt Disney Internet Group, and that I've won awards for both non-fiction and flash fiction?

Why do I say I'm an "aspiring" children's book writer and not that I have MG and YA manuscripts that are almost ready for submission?

I walked away from Ryan's speech telling myself that I'm done putting myself down. Every word I've written, every piece I've had published, every blog post that's been retweeted on Twitter or repinned on Pinterest and every messy rough draft I've waded through are all going to help me build the platform I need when I do publish a book.

When I do publish a book, not if I publish a book. There's a big difference.

What accomplishments are you going to "own" today? Share in the comments! 

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