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The Newbie Nuance

Author:  Kimberly E. Campbell
Date:  11-05-02

Being the newest three-legged alien to visit Planet of the Inexperienced Writer has meant one thing - rejection. Hard core, no-nonsense rejection letters appear in my mailbox monthly. As an unpublished author, this translates to the in-crowd (and you know who you are!) as untried, unproven, and untested - unworthy. This haunting depiction hangs heavy on the coat rack of my psyche. It comes looking for me in my own home, corners me in a room and whispers in my ear repeatedly, "Face it, you're as green as it gets, sucker!"

Sliding up and down the slippery slope of wanting to write my novel, marketing my web presence, finding an agent, taking writing classes, joining a critique group - this list goes on and on - there are days I feel as mad as a hatter and I want to chuck it all out the window. All of these decisions are giving me a headache - they are overwhelming. The bottom line? It's difficult to grab hold of what I should be focused on at this point in my writing career, in terms of carving out a professional path.

Nevertheless I march on fearlessly, yearning to find a mentor, who is willing to chat with me, encourage me - hold my hand, if you will. Isn't there someone out there who is willing to show me the ropes? Fat chance.

No matter the number of rejection slips I've received, I still keep going back to that proverbial well. Drinking up the information and tips I find in books, on the web, and throughout the bookstores. If so-and-so can do it, why can't I?

Since I began writing for children, it's been somewhat of an isolating experience. I don't feel like I have my footing or my confidence in check yet but I suppose everyone in the writing world of "Who's Who" has been there, done that, and sent a postcard home to mama. My biggest comfort is knowing such folks exist - when I read the "experienced" writers' bios, and their memories of what it was like getting started, it's a comfort to know that I'm not as alone as I think.

These days when I sit down to write, my characters keep me company, and quietly, without having to say a word, stroke my bruised self-esteem back to life one word at a time. This is when I'm the most fulfilled and the happiest - right after I have completed another chapter in my soon-to-be-finished middle grade novel. Remember that old question, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at time."

Once my manuscript is finished, I'll board the first space ship to Planet of the Successful Author who sells a bazillion book copies universe-wide. Ain't life groovy?

Copyright 2002 Kimberly E. Campbell. All rights reserved. You can find more of Kimberly E. Campbell at www.luckypenny.net.