Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Am the Tortoise

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

This is YA Highway's 100th RTW prompt. How awesome this that!?

Today's topic: What has your writing road trip looked like so far? Excitement? Traffic Jams and detours? Where are you going next?

Writing has always been an integral part of me, but I've always been too chicken to do anything "more" with it. Sure, I have taken classes, but it wasn't until eight years ago that I drummed up enough courage to put my work out for someone other than for Bestie Danielle to see. I wanted to be a published writer--I should have shown my work much sooner.

Hatching out! An African Spur-Thigh Tortoise (Geochelone Sulcata)Sharing something that is such a big part of you is difficult, as I'm sure many of you could attest. The writing workshop I took was my firststep into the indimidating world of workshopping*. After my first critique, I went home in tears. The story was awful. People were confused. I had no plot. My writing was horrible. Basically, I sucked and should take up macrame instead.**

The workshop was a setback, but a much needed one. I did learn something important: I loved writing enough to continue to persue my goal.

Since the Disastrous Workshop Semester of 2003, my writing road trip has continued to be slow-going. I'm driving a beater that's worse than The Ghettomobile*** and I hate highways****. So while I have three novels written, I only have one query-ready. The other two are in different stages of revision. The majority of the time I'm okay with my progress--I've never been the swiftest person--but, at times, I do get frustrated with myself for taking so long*****.

This is why I have friends. In recent years, I've met some of the most amazing, inspiring, and fantastic people in the kidlit community. Without these friendships, my journey would be lonelier and more boring. I love my writer friends.

As to where I'm heading, I decided to go back to school and am currently researching which MFA programs would be the best fit for me. The future holds possibilities and that's what I'm excited about.

* And when you first start, it is intimidating, scary, and panic-inducing. These people know so much more than you. They've taken workshops with big name authors and at important Ivy League institutions.
** While no said these things to me, this is what I had internalized. (Since today is Honesty Day in Alicia's brain, I might as well admit I got through these emotions every time I get a critique or beta feedback back.)
*** My first car.
**** True fact: If I can get there by back roads, I will, extra driving time be damned.
***** In my fantasy world, everyone wants my novel because I'm incredibly briliant. So brilliant, in fact, the first agent I queried became my agent in a day and my book sold at auction for an unheard of sum of cash. I've been published for six years and have my own private island with a smoking hot pool boy. As you can see my fantasy and reality don't mesh at all, you can return to the main text.
___________ hit of the day: Blue by The Verve


  1. I read the title of this post and was like, Alicia, it's "I am the WALRUS", duh! LOL

    I'm so excited that you've decided to go back to school! I can't wait to see where it leads you.

  2. Your ***** made me laugh (nice to see that others have suffered from this delusion at times too) :) I know I will probably have the same reaction to critiques. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. I have a pretty thick skin, such that I had to convince one of my beta readers to be honest with me and tell me what sucks. She eventually got used to this idea, but then I then had to remind her that it's also helpful to tell me what's good about the novel! :) I don't think it's a bad thing that criticism upsets you--no-one likes to be critiqued, especially negatively. As long as you can take that criticism and use it to improve your work, that's great. All the best to you!

    By the way, when I saw your blog title, I thought "Goo-goo-g'choob!" :)

  4. The possibilities are the most exciting part. You never know what could happen next. ;)

  5. Amen to acknowledging the internalization that comes with criticism is the real daemon. Somehow I've lost that hunger to fix things I use to feel with criticism.

  6. So positive, Alicia :D And a MFA is def. worth getting. It made my writing a hell of a lot better. And slow is best sometimes.

  7. Hey, there's no one right way or pace to publication. So take as much time as you need! Also, I'm doing a low-residency MFA, so if you have questions with that format, shoot me an email!

  8. Ooh, MFA! Congrats on making that decision--it's a huge one! Good luck!

  9. Very cool journey. Whenever I think it is taking too long I think of someone like Jay Asher who took 12 years to get published. I prefer back roads to highways as well. So cool that you are looking into MFA programs.

  10. Best of luck with getting your MFA! And thank you for commenting on my bloggy blog. :D It's been great getting to know you too! You always make me laugh, and we both like zombies and hate squirrels.

  11. I like your fantasy. May I join you in la-la land?

    Good luck deciding on a place to get your MFA. That should be exciting! I think each of us has our own journeys, so while it may be short for some, longer may be better for others. I say, if slow and steady works for you, it's the best way, Tortoise.

  12. I always love your asterisks, Alicia. Who cares if you're the tortoise, as long as your moving forward. And wasn't it the tortoise who ended up winning the race? :)

  13. You have an award at my blog. Come by to see!

  14. A much-needed setback...that's probably one of the best oxymorons I've ever heard.


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