I don't usually spend a lot of time looking into the past - I'm definitely a go forward girl myself. But this past year has been so personally eventful for me and so filled with firsts that as 2010 looms ahead I do feel the need to look back. I feel very much like I'm approaching a cliff after running at full speed for many, many miles. So before I take the big leap into 2010 (more like fall into the great unknown) I want to pay homage to the year that was and see the past year (and decade) that was the big lead up to what I hope will be even more interesting writerly first experiences.
Of course, the biggest and most monumental 'First' was getting an offer on ILLEGALLY BLONDE. That happened in February. Kind of hard to beat that! But even though the next 'firsts' I'm going to list aren't as climactic as that one they are still very personally important to me on a number of levels.
2nd 'First' - I started this blog. Seriously, that was a biggie for me. I'd never really put myself out there 'publicly' and making a commitment to write about my writing journey was very scary. It's helped me connect with writers I would never have had the chance to meet and made me really think about my writing process and what I've learned - and still have to learn - about writing novels, the book publishing industry and being 'out there' for people to read. For a fairly private person like me this was a very big first.
3rd 'First' - having my name appear in Publisher's Marketplace. I dreamed about this as I learned the craft over the last seven years. Seeing my name and the name of my novel appear in the publishing industry's main source of information made my heart race and my palms sweaty. The dream made real.
4th 'First' - Working through edits with my first real editor! Hi Anita!! I had no idea what to expect and was so relieved to have Anita to guide me and support me through this very big first.
5th 'First' - Meeting so many amazing writers in Toronto who I've learned from and admire so much.
The Torkidlit authors group: Helene Boudreau, Cheryl Rainfield, Debbie Ohi, Claudia Osmond, Deborah Kerbel, Adrienne Kress, Marina Cohen, Mahtab Narsimhan, Megan Crewe, Maureen McGowan, Bev Katz Rosenbaum are all amazing writers and wonderful people.
Anthony De Sa: a Toronto born and bred Portuguese-Canadian author who wrote Barnacle Love about the Portuguese immigrant experience with such compassion, honesty and beauty. I was thrilled to meet him and even more thrilled to discover how lovely, supportive and encouraging he is in person.
6th 'First' - Joining Twitter. I would never have done this if not for Debbie Ohi and her positive encouragement. It's turned out to be a wealth of information and a place where writers have created a wonderful community.
I'm sure there are a whole slew of other firsts that I can put down but those are the biggies for me. As 2010 - the Year of the Tiger and I'm a Tiger! - approaches I know there will be other firsts to experience. All will be equally scary and exciting, I'm sure. The first decade of the new millenium was a big one for me once I discovered my passion for writing. I really hope the next ten years will be filled with as many wonderful firsts as I've had the priviledge to experience over the last few years.
I wish for all of you only one thing as the new year and the new decade approaches: Discover what you love to do. Then proceed to nurture it with the intensity of a first love. Only good things - and remarkable firsts - can follow.
Happy New Year!