Yup. It’s the time of year for reflection and to give thanks. Debut authors have a lot to be thankful for. Trust me, I think about this all the time. There are the big-picture moments when you get perspective on how far the journey has taken you.
When you find your very first SCBWI membership card.
And when you open an old journal and find a New Year’s resolution to finish the book and land the agent.
Then there are the day-to-day blessings.
The coffee shop to which you owe your executive functions.
The writing partners who share bits of timely wisdom that you return to again and again.
There are other things. Preternaturally wise editors and agents. Patient spouses who in another age might be called patrons of the arts. Office supplies, wrist splints, noise-canceling headphones. Wasabi peas.
But what I’m really thankful for is the gift of a vocation instead of a job. That’s one I don’t take lightly. Writing is a calling. Writers don’t think about things like retirement. Vacations without writing time make them restless. They rub their hands together at the Saturday-night cancellation, because it means more time to write.
When I got the call, I almost didn’t answer. Life was hectic: my oldest son has a chronic disease that requires an all-consuming vigilance. And the younger two were, well, young. But then I went to my first SCBWI conference, where Cindy Lord, who won a Newbery Honor for RULES, was the keynote speaker.
Cindy doesn’t know this, but she made me answer the call.
For those of you who haven’t read RULES, it’s about a girl whose brother is autistic, and the dynamics are inspired in part by Cindy’s own daughter and son. The only time she had to write RULES was a few short hours in the very early morning, before her son woke. It would have been easy to quit, easy to convince herself that now was not the time. But Cindy said: “I had to do it or stop wanting it.”
I knew I would never stop wanting it. Ah ha.
So Cindy, I am grateful to you, along with my Freshman Fifteen sisters, many of whom have their own thankables this holiday season:
Chandler Baker is thankful for her Mac Air nicknamed Macaulay Culkin (this may be the first thing she’d save in a fire), hot tea, and the Freshman Fifteens for keeping her sane.
Virginia Boecker is thankful for work: for the privilege of being able to put words to paper (or, screen). She’s also thankful for her amazing, talented, can’t-do-this-without-them writer friends, and for her can’t-do-anything-without-them family.
Jen Brooks is thankful for full-day kindergarten, brilliant critique partners, and the wonderful community of YA readers and writers.
Kelly Loy Gilbert is thankful for all the wonderful people in her life, the online writing community, and lots and lots of chocolate to keep her company on late nights writing.
Lori Goldstein is thankful for the supportive community of Kid Lit writers that is so welcoming and nurturing to newbies. She’s had the opportunity to ask several authors for advice of late and they have been more than generous with their time. She’s also thankful for the support of her editors and publisher as BECOMING JINN approaches its release date. Oh, and she’s freakin’ ecstatically thankful that this season of The Vampire Diaries is kicking major butt.
Charlotte Huang is thankful for Kind Bars, stretchy pants and holidays.
Lee Kelly is thankful for old Halloween candy (which she is eating by the fistful as she chugs towards her revision deadline), the Millburn Library, and her toddler –The Great Master of Writing Distraction Penn Kelly.
Stacey Lee is thankful for mothers who watch her children so she can write, techie husbands, and the Mayans for inventing chocolate.
Kim Liggett is thankful for her writing friends–writing is freaking hard–they make it almost tolerable.
Jenny Martin is thankful for her Grandmother Joy’s hot rolls, her Grandmother Joy’s table, and for all the good times her family’s had sitting around it (love you, gma…).
Jenn Marie Thorne is thankful for a writing spot in her back garden, surrounded by ripe fruit trees; the impending delivery of DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION (her reward once her revision is done); and the support of her bookish buddies.
Laura Tims is thankful for pizza, cats, and people who give good book recommendations on Twitter.
What are some things you’re thankful for? Let us know in the comments!
Kim Savage is the author of AFTER THE WOODS, a debut psychological thriller for young adults coming in Winter 2016 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan. THESE ARE THE NOTES YOU DIDN’T GET, also with FSG/Macmillan, comes out in 2017. She is working on her third novel. Before writing fiction, she worked as a business journalist, pitching stories along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values”. You get the idea.