Sunday, September 7, 2008

Milestones: Not Just for Toddlers

As "Mommy" to a just turned two year old, I have spent a lot of time recently celebrating milestones. First smile and first laugh. First words and first steps.

But toddlers aren't the only ones who reach milestones.

Recently I received a wonderful letter in the mail from Highlights. One of the three poems they accepted from me will be published in their upcoming December issue.

That's when I realized that writers reach milestones too!

Just like my son went from helpless infant to walking, talking (and ever so independent) toddler, I went from no writing credits to my beautiful first acceptance from Wee Ones. Other small and online publications followed.

Then Cobblestone accepted a query. Finally something I wrote would be in a national publication in the library. And now Highlights is actually going to publish one of my poems.

Looking back at each of these milestones, I realize how many similarities there are between my journey and my toddler's. With my toddler, each milestone is the cause for great celebration. So it is with my writing. (I'm sure that, no matter where you live, you could hear my screams when Cobblestone accepted that query and when Highlights accepted those three poems!)

But even though I remind myself that "writing (just like childhood) is a journey and not a race", the time in between milestones can be long and stressful. Would I ever get a poem accepted? Would I ever be published in a national magazine? Those questions have now been answered with a yes, but, at the time, I was anything but sure.

And then there's the biggest milestone still on the horizon: Will I ever get a book accepted by a publisher?

But somehow, just like I believed my little boy would take those first steps, I believe that first book contract will come. It's just a bit hard to keep the faith some time. Don't you think? How do you do it?


  1. As the mother of two teenagers, I hear you. We've been transferring old videos to dvd, and it's been a blast reliving my two boys' milestones.

    As a novelist, it's a bit harder to note my writer milestones. But like Robin blogged earlier, just typing "the end" on my current WIP will be a biggie.

  2. Oh Judy, I totally agree. Typing "the end" at the conclusion of any WIP is definitely a huge milestone. I remember the huge feeling of accomplishment I felt when I finally reached the end of an 8000 word chapter book, and the MG novels that you write are so much bigger and more complicated than that.

  3. We've had a lot of milestones this year - graduations, first jobs, college....

    My milestones as a writer come everyday when I force my butt into the chair and my fingers onto the keyboard.

  4. Milestones - must mean miles between resting stations or high points along the road. The writing road often does have many miles between the high points of publication, but a good milestone is frequently an Ahh when a great new idea strikes the writer or when you can actually figure out how to make that idea live on paper.