Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ice Giveaway

I promised I'd do another giveaway for my January release, Rebel Ice, and lo and behold, my box of author copies just landed on the doorstep today.

Every book you write is special for one reason or another: the first book published, the one that became a bestseller, the story that changed your career. Some are special for reasons more personal than the traditional writer landmarks, and RI is one of those. To see it in print is the ultimate reward for a very long haul.

If you'd like a chance at winning one of fifteen signed copies of Rebel Ice, tell us in comments about one of your own personal writing or life landmarks. Post your comment by midnight EST on Thursday, January 19, 2006, and I'll draw fifteen names at random from everyone who participates. Winners' names will be posted here by noon EST on Friday, January 20, 2006. Giveaway open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW before now.


  1. The very first time I realized that the only way I would be able to read the kind of story I had in my head was to write it myself, I started writing a (very bad) novel about a girl and a griffin. I was 15.

    In my second year of university, when I decided I was going to start sending out stories to see if I could get published, the first story I sent out was about a girl and a griffin.

    When personal doubts and pressure from my family threatened to make me quit writing, it was Holly Lisle's encouraging words about that girl and griffin that made me decide to keep going.

    Three years after graduating university, I drastically overhauled that story to submit to an anthology about anthropomorphic characters.

    My proudest moment in writing thus far was the day I held that anthology in my hands and found that girl and that griffin staring up at me from the cover.

  2. Anonymous12:22 AM

    On October 17th, 2004, I finished the first draft of my first novel. It came in at 82k, and during the editing process has grown to 100k, but the first draft was done on October 17th, 2004.

    (And you know what? I still like the story :)

  3. One of my writing landmarks was in a creative-writing class when I was working at Ole Miss (the University of Mississipi) a few years ago and taking advantage of the free classes I could take. My professor was a very laidback kind of cool jazz cat, a very talented writer in residence. Very sleek and stylish and mostly unflappable. Well, he had a highly creative brainstorm and instructed us to read a tabloid of our choice (National Enquirer, etc.) and to write a fictional story inspired by one of their "true" stories. He was laughing out loud at my version of a cranky French zookeeper swearing creatively at being forced by his boss to show elephant sex tapes to a young male elephant who couldn't yet figure out this whole mating thing. ;o) I've loved trying that writing exercise several times since then. The weirder the news story -- the better.

    And I love-love-love that rush of having someone chortle out loud when I write something like that.

    Best wishes to you on your new book, too!

    - Carolyn Bahm
    Collierville, TN

  4. In first grade, I wrote story after story on those fat-lined sheets that looked as though they'd been made from recycled shopping bags. I only remember one (I'm paraphrasing):

    A man wondered why there was such a thing as a leap year. He took his time machine and went back in time and asked everyone he met, "Why is there a leap year?" Everyone told him they didn't know. There had always been one. So he went back in time still farther, and the same thing happened. Eventually, thousands of years earlier, he meets someone who says, "Leap year? What's that?" After the time traveler explains it, the man says, "What a brilliant idea!" The End.

    Guess I wasn't much for historical accuracy.

  5. Anonymous2:50 AM

    This is both a personal and a writing landmark for me. I've always written, but I'd never had the patience, tenacity or plot to write a complete novel. I do, however, have some very strange dreams.

    So, one morning I woke up, still remembering my dream, my strange, strange dream. I told myself I wanted to remember it to tell my best friend. That triggered something, and I thought, "What a great way to open a book, with a woman telling her friend this very dream."

    I sat down and started typing. It flowed. And kept flowing. In six weeks, I had the novel completed, with almost no trouble getting from start to finish, no major edits needed, and so on. I felt like a queen, because I'd finally done something I always wanted to do, always felt I was meant to do.

    Was it too easy? Well, no book since has flowed like that one, but it was the one that got me started writing long fiction, seriously; so, it was a definite milestone.

  6. Well, wow. Personal writing landmarks. They're so varied and many it's almost impossible to pick just one. I can tell you which one will mark a sad day--the day I stop feeling like I'm moving forward, and no longer have any landmarks left.

    Life is a wonderful series of landmarks.

    Finishing the first novel was definately a landmark--it's also makes a wonderful doorstop. It will never make an actual book. Most first I suppose never do.

    A publisher actually loving my work and accepting a manuscript for publication... yep, biggie.

    The first review. I'll treasure that one.

    Many in between ones.

    Just recently, discovering a new voice in a new genre, and having a bang up time writing the project. Can't wait to see what new landmarks that will bring--or if it ends up being another doorstop. (Good thing we have plenty of doors in this house. LOL)

    Hey, here's one. I recently read a 1st chapter of this wildly talented author (hum, wonder who it is) on Amazon... the book's title is 'If Angels Burn'... it was so great that I'm drooling to read the rest, and just got the email that the order shipped today. Getting that will be a cool little landmark.

    I'd love to have the opportunity to own an 'original' though. So hey, you could make a landmark happen! Not only would it be a treasured original, but I can't remember a contest I've ever won in my life, so it would be a landmark that way too.

  7. Anonymous4:15 AM

    I've submitted a lot of stories over the years, and most came back with a pre-formatted rejection slip. Occasionally I'd get a handwritten reply with some supportive comments or suggestions, but mostly not.

    After a looong time I had my first success. It was in a small press magazine. It only published four times a year, and they had a big backlog, so it took a while from being accepted to seeing my story in print, but it was a great feeling to hold the magazine in my hand and see my name listed with all the other writers.


  8. Hmmm... there have been a good few landmarks along the way: finishing the first book, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth... getting that first agent. Ditching that first agent. Getting a newer, shinier agent. Getting that first ever publishing deal. Mmm, happy warm and fuzzy - right there.

    But I think the biggest landmark was realising, way back when I was about 14 and I suddenly came to the realisation that I was never going to be the greatest 'anything' in the world, so I should have a bash at just being happy doing my best instead. Not very rock and roll, but there you go.

    But getting that first ever printed copy of my own book runs a close second. Even if it was in Norwegian and I couldn't read a word of it.

  9. I'd have to nominate the launch of my first book. So many people went to so much trouble to make the evening really special.
    My local bookstore (Dymocks at Carousel, part of Australia's largest bookselling chain) opened up specially at 7pm on a night when they usually close at 5. They offered 10% off everything in the store during the launch and put on trays of sandwiches and several bottles of wine. Almost 100 people packed in just for the Hal launch. There were half a dozen people from my publisher, including my editor, and another half dozen from the bookstore, including the owner.
    The store sold 60 copies on the night, and it was non-stop mayhem for an hour. Then we poured into a nearby restaurant where my dad picked up the tab for about 30-40 people, some of whom he'd never met before.
    Close second would be the fact that my first book was picked as a Dymocks group buy with an entry in the nationwide catalogue, and THAT'S followed by the week it reached #3 on the bestsellers list.
    Yesterday I discovered the second Hal Spacejock novel has also been selected as a Dymocks group buy - the launch is only 6 or 7 weeks away and I'm EXCITED!!

  10. It's a close run thing between clicking the save icon on my computer at the end of the last chapter of my first book, and opening the letter from the editor of 2000AD Magazine saying they wanted to buy my story.

    I can still remember the feeling of a huge sense of achievement at the first one - no other book has come close. But the excitement of selling the story has paled somewhat in the desert years that have gone since then.

    Getting an agent has been a massive boost to the ego. Someone out there, who doesn't know me, likes what I do enough to put their own reputation on the line for me. But cliche that it may well be, finishing that first book - achieving something I had set out to do with no idea whether I could carry it off or not - has to be the big one.

  11. Landmark moment #1 in my writing life - submitting that first ms last week! Now the long wait to see if anyone else out there likes it.

    I've managed to only think about it several times an hour since then, but it's easier when I'm writing.

  12. Selling Cruel Winter, my first novel, to Kensington Publishing was a big one. Recently landing an agent comes in second.

  13. Landmark # 1: Realizing that I could listen to all the naysayers and spend the rest of my life making good money doing something I loathed doing or I could ignore them and write instead.

    Landmark # 2: Holding my first book.

    Landmark # 3: Doing a reading and having a five year old look at the book and then me with wide eyes and exclaim, "Oh wow, you're her!"

  14. Anonymous7:59 AM

    During the two years after I graduated from college, I'd been piddling around with writing. I'd write some, then stop, write some more, then stop again. There was no consistency at all.

    When I was laid off from my job at the time, I thought to myself, "What am I doing?" and during the few weeks between the last day of my old job and the first day of my new one, I finished the first draft of that novel I'd been working on inconsistently.

  15. Anonymous8:05 AM

    Wow, everybody sofar seems to be a Real Writer(TM). My writing landmark hasn't happened yet. I'm still trying to convince my inner critic that it might be possible for me to put words on a page that other people would read. Even as I type this, my mind is going into evasive-mode. I need to teach myself the trick of focusing on something out of the corner of my eye without letting myself realize I'm doing it.

  16. Anonymous8:06 AM

    I sort of have a tie for the one moment that (thus far) has made the top of my writing landmarks list: 1) Finishing my first draft of What the Mind Sees - the first novel I had completed, and the first time I had just written straight through without letting my Internal Editor out of her cage. It was the first time I realized that I COULD accomplish writing an entire novel, and I could do it in a relatively short time (the first draft was written in a little over 2 months).

    2) Receiving Honorable Mention for my short story "Glissando" in the Writers of the Future Contest. I stared dumbly at the e-mail (and again at the letter), unable to believe I was reading it properly. It was the first time anything I've written received recognition (from someone who wasn't a relative or friend), and it stunned me into realizing I just might have the talent for this. *-*

    Both of those drive me forward and keep me going when things get slow or rough. They inspire me to reach for further landmarks.

  17. I sold my first book, Repo Chick Blues, in November! That book meant a lot of me for many reasons, and it means a lot to me that others will be reading it as well :)

  18. Anonymous9:07 AM

    My biggest landmark was finishing my second novel in December 2004. The first one took 15 years to write. This one only took 6 months, thanks to PBW and Holly Lisle. It has the most meaning for me because it helped me get out of a major mid-life depression and on with my writing career.

    None of my novels has been published (yet), though the last one had many agents at top houses asking to see the whole thing--then ultimately passing on it. I am a successful freelancer in the nonfiction world, though, which I love.

    Julie Anne

  19. When I was in my early 20s, I finally decided to make money writing instead of just doing it for my own pleasure.

    I researched and wrote a story on massage therapy and sent it in to the local paper. The story was awful, but the editor took the time to show me how to improve it.

    I took her advice and my story was published. I was also paid $120! After that I was hooked. I am now a full-time editor for 6 trade magazines. Writing is also still my personal passion and I am currently working on my first fictional novel.

  20. I signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2003, and subsequently finished my first novel. I'd started plenty of novels before - I've been writing since I was five - but I'd never been able to actually finish one before. It was a wonderful feeling, knowing that I'd written an entire book. And once I knew I could do it, I was able to finish others.

  21. Anonymous9:51 AM

    First of all, I'm not a writer. But many years ago when I was taking some night classes, one of my English teachers wrote on one of my papers that I had the potential to be a good writer and she'd like to see it developed. All I could do was laugh. If she only knew how I agonized over every word on those stupid English papers...writing and re-writing right up until the very end. It wasn't fun. It was hard work. I didn't enjoy it. I could never stand up under the strain of trying to be a "real" writer. Also, I'm lazy and I hate doing research. But anyway, that comment written on my paper so many years ago has stayed with me, and on the days I'm hating my job I think, maybe some day I'll just go be a writer. And then I remember I'm lazy, and it was hard work, and I didn't enjoy it. So I guess I'll have to be content just being a reader.

  22. Personal writing experiences...eek. Any time I talk about those, I feel like an idiot.

    But life landmarks~I can do that.

    #1 Marrying my high school sweetheart. Since I'd sort of planned on marrying him from the first time I saw him, this didn't come as a big surprise to me, but it still changed my life. All for the better, but I hadn't expected otherwise.

    #2 Having my first child. Almost seven years ago. I look at her and see myself. And I realize how much trouble I'm going to be in once she hits her teen years. Becoming a mom has been the most eye-opening, and fun, experience of my life.

    #3 Getting back to writing after two or three years of not writing. I got more serious about it that summer and managed to convince my husband to give me a year or two to see if I could get any where writing. If I didn't, I'd go back to college and work on a BSN in nursing.

    #4 Having my son. He was born two weeks after 9/11 and in the two weeks between, I reconciled with my mother after nearly two years of no contact. September 2001 was like a big milestone, almost from beginning to end.

    #5 Getting an email from an epub, offering me a contract on a romance I'd written the summer I had my daughter. That was in January 2003. My writing life really changed then and a lot of that seems like a blur. I've put out multiple titles from that publisher, a few other titles elsewhere, and received a call from Berkley Publishing in October 2004 requesting a story for an antho. Yep. The past couple years have been a major blur. And I didn't have to worry about going back to college. Also got to quit my current day job as a nurse at a doctor's office. I really liked doing that.

  23. Anonymous10:18 AM

    In college, in my first creative writing class, we were assigned to write a vignette. I just had this image in my head and started from there. Everything flowed well for the first time. In class, when we had to read it allowed, I got a lot of praise. My professor even helped me try to get it published and referred back to it as an example throughout the semester a few times. It may not seem like much, and it never got published, but it did make me feel like maybe I could be a writer. And I am still proud of that bit of writing.

  24. Heh--I'll just go ahead and post my writing moments and compared to some of the others, mine are low keyed.

    Finding FM in July, 2002 was the best thing I could’ve done. I’ve written four novels and I don’t think it would’ve happened if I hadn’t found the site. And last month I received a message from an editor saying my short story had a lot of promise and passed it to another editor for consideration. It makes me feel I’m on the right track here.

  25. Anonymous10:37 AM

    #1 - Receiving a fourth place certificate in a regional short story contest.

    #2 - My freshman instructor at University saying that I didn't need to take the final because I would be getting an A anyway.

    #3 - The efforts of a small group of writers to pay their successes forward.

  26. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Forgot #4 - When Holly created a prize for me in one of her rare contests because she liked the writing so much. I was so stoked.

  27. Anonymous11:09 AM

    Hm. My first writing landmark would be finishing my first horrifically bad novella. The second landmark is ongoing-- I'm entering a local SF writing contest last-minute. It's the first time I'll be submitting anything for publication.

  28. My most treasured writing moment came when I reached the end of my masters thesis. It is a historical novella about the an American WWI poet serving in the French Foreign Legion, and he had haunted my life for seven years. It was, and to some extent still is, the finest thing I have ever written, because I wrote it in honor of him.


  29. A few days ago I sold my very first short story and I've only been doing serious writing for several months now.

    I'm still on a first sale high.

  30. Third try at submitting a comment (but I double-checked, and they're REALLY not there...)

    I've written six novels now, several through a couple of revisions, but I haven't started sending out submissions yet (soon...) My biggest milestone thus far has to be completing that first manuscript. Until then, I wasn't sure I could do this. Now I believe that if I take the time and effort to improve, I may well hit the next milestones of agent and publisher.

  31. My milestone would be the turning point where I realised that I could actually do this. From a point where I was ready to change careers to something else, I found Holly Lisle's site. I read the ENTIRE site in a single sitting, and, from there something just, well, gave. All my life I've told stories of one kind or another, whether playing as a kid with my action figures and plotting the whole story, to role-playing games, finally seeing the process broken down into something a mere mortal could always do. Suddenly the tales spinning in my head could be more than just RPG scenarios.
    That would be my milestone. The catalyzing realization that it is possible.
    Now we'll just see if it's successful. :-)

  32. One thing I notice about myself. As long as I'm writing something, a story or a journal entry, I feel good. If I don't write, I start to feel depressed and anxious.

  33. The first time I saw my writing in print was when I was nine or ten. The piece was an article about mosquitoes, which I had sent to the children's column of our local newspaper. My mum cut out the article when it came out. It's still somewhere around in the house!

  34. Wow, this is inspiring. That's great many of the readers here have so many landmarks in life.

    When I was about nineteen, I finally completed a suspense romance novella.

    But it wasn't the novella that made it memorable. I shopped it around to a few agents and came across one editor, who was starting his own book company. He offered to look at my work.

    After a few days of waiting, he came back with some very positive feedback. He said it was a little too short than what he wanted, but I may have something. Being an editor, he worked on part of the story to make it sound better. He commented that he loved my characters and the 'timelessness' of how I wrote.

    It was when I read the positive comments that I realized I could possibly do this writing career thing. I was too new to the business to know to rewrite until it was longer, etc. It wasn't until a few years later that I actually finished my first couple of full length novel, but I believe it was that man's kindess that really lead me to continue this path.

    I suppose pay it forward does work, even in small ways. This landmark, of my idea being "approved" of, really helped me along.

  35. I'm not entering the contest, since I just bought Rebel Ice. I'm still reading it. But I wanted to say how much I've enjoyed reading everyone's stories.

    My biggest moments were finding FM, and meeting Sheila and Holly and everyone else who helped me so much.

    And NaNo 2003. I finished NaNo with 52K words, and a realization. I've been writing in the wrong genre. I'm really a mystery writer. I've been happily working on various mystery projects since then. And I'll get there. :)


  36. Anonymous3:07 PM

    My writing moment is hte opposite of most of those posted.
    I enjoy writing. I love seeing a story come together, and I love playing with words. I like developing characters most of all. I enjoy hearing them in my mind. And I always thought someday I might like to be published.
    Then I watched a couple friends take off for real in trying to get published. Working so hard and so passionately. And I went to Forward Motion.
    And I wondered what was wrong with me. Why wasn't I like them? Why wasn't I doing 2000 words a day and word wars and all the rest?
    I came up with my answer. My passion lies in my day job: nursing. It always has, and I'm not ready to move it yet. Maybe someday I will be. But not yet. I don't always like the BS that goes with the job, but I love the patients and a lot of the moments.
    I can live with that :) So now I write for fun. And wish my friends the best.

  37. My first landmark moment occurred while I was still in high school. I wrote my first romance in a creative writing class. I turned the 'book' in a week and a half late and still received an A-. I know for a fact that had my instructor slammed me with a bad grade I would've never written again.

    The second landmark came from a book that's never been published. I simply wrote 'The End'. The feeling of achievement still remains to this day.

  38. I'm hoping that this html hack works since I can't get into your comments for the give away. My biggest triumph isn't getting onto FM and getting critiqued. It's continuing to write and get critiqued after the first ones came in. Those first words were hard coming after my first round. Putting something else up to get critiqued again was even harder.

  39. My first writing milestone was when I was in the sixth grade, and we had to keep an actual journal as part of the class. I really enjoyed writing my thoughts and issues there, and continued to write longhand journals for many years later. In my yearbook my teacher wrote: "To a lovely girl with a flair for writing. Keep up your interest!" I just ran across it a few months back and it occurred to me that the seeds were planted so long ago, and now, I'm still writing...after all these years...

    And the second milestone was finishing my very first novel for NaNo 2003. That was the most unbelievable experience of my life, and I found out...I can do this. And I love it. :)

    Erin K.

  40. My milestone wasn't literary - I have yet to finish the novel that I'm working on (who says that an extra couple of hours wouldn't be nice??) - but rather physical.

    I was in TaeKwon Do for a long time and I was one of the smallest people there. Well, the time eventually came for me to test for my black belt and it was the hardest thing I think I've ever done.

    For the test, I had to break 24 boards, preform 4 patterns, enact self defence, spar (fight) world champions, and more. All in all the test itself was about 8 hours.

    During that test I broke my boundries. I stood my ground and fought all 3 world champions. I broke 3 boards at once (all about the thickness of a human rib). I did the whole test from beginning to end and didn't give up when I got knocked on my behind or when I didn't break some of the boards.

    I didn't pass my test - I was 3 points away - but I didn't give up. To get my black belt I had to break 3 more boards and I worked so hard for two weeks to perfect my breaking technique that when the time came to demonstrate, I succeeded. I was a black belt.

    This is my milestone because I grew as a person. I learned that it is OK to fail if you get right back up. I learned that you can do anything that you put your mind to. I learned the power of determination. Most of all, I gained so much self confidence and appreciation for myself that, after that, I came to peace with myself.

  41. Anonymous7:58 PM

    My most recent writing landmark was not throwing up on Threads' release day. Wanted to, but I didn't.

    Generally speaking, though, it was one night not long after the original offer-to-buy for Ghosts came (but before the final contract) when Mom and I took my dad out for a malt at Culvers. He's in the passenger seat informing the poor teenager at the drive-up window that in the backseat was his daughter, the famous author.

    And to think, all I had to do to get his approval was to sell 500 pieces of paper. If I'd have known that twenty years earlier...

    Was a definite landmark in my entire life.

  42. Life the end of 8th grade, I challenged the school by asking to take industrial arts in 9th grade (in 1974 in northeast Iowa, this was unheard of). They told me the school board would have to approve it--come back in the fall if I still wanted to.

    The week before school started, I returned to the principal's office and asked what the school board had said. I was permitted to take the class on a trial basis. The first quarter was drafting. I earned one of two "A"s in the class. They let me stay.

    I've achieved several firsts in my life. That was one of the first ones, and it changed things for girls (and boys--they could also take home ec after that--in fact, for the first time that year, they implemented a two week swap for industrial arts and home ec) in that community.

    In 8th grade history, when we were learning about political persuasions, my teacher pointed to the term "radical" and said, "That's you." I was pleased by the designation, but I don't think that really fits who I am. I do take that kind of dynamic for granted, but it probably isn't as common as it should be.

  43. My first writing landmark came 9/29/2003 when I committed to finishing my first ms, whatever that took. I finished two 100k+ mss by the end of that year. Last year, not so good. *wg* But I'm working on it.

  44. Anonymous10:56 PM

    My biggest landmark so far has been an agent requesting a partial, which occured just a few hours ago! I'm still floating!

  45. When someone emailed me to tell me a short story I had online moved him to tears.

  46. Finishing a 90k word first draft in 31 days.

  47. My biggest writing landmark was finishing my first book. It took me so long to write, I thought I'd never finish it. But I did.

  48. My biggest landmark in writing?

    1. I took a creative writing class with a girlfriend who didn't want to take it by herself. I pretty much took it for the fun of it, never really thinking about what was going to come of it. The class was fun, I even got into a debate with the teacher about whether or not a writer could actually support themselves writing. (I lost the debate, but I didn't care, I was there for the fun of it).

    The final in the class was to submit a new short story or partial of a novel, or a revised short story from the class.

    I submitted the first few pages of my WIP at the time. (I'd been writing it for years, mostly just messing around with it, never taking it seriously). I remember with great clarity the teacher, (who had published a bit herself) looking right at me and saying "Start submitting this. Start now. You've got something here. You can make money doing this."

    That was the first time I ever considered seriously writing. So in a way, that teacher inspired me to actually TRY to write, and get published. (Still working on the publishing bit, but it's not from lack of trying!)

  49. Okay, I'll go all the way back to my first writing experience. I wrote a story in the sixth grade for a class assignment. I put all my friends in as characters. The plot had to do with a group of kids searching for a treasure, which they find only to discover it is a monster that attacks and eats one of the group. But then everyone wakes up. They're together on a sleep over. It was just a dream. But they've all had the same dream and...dun-dun!...the one that got eaten in the dream is missing! This story was aptly titled "The Living Treasure." And yes, I remember all this stuff because it was a major shift in my life (not because it was so horrible). My teacher off-handedly mentioned it sounded like I could write a sequel. So for the following story assignment I did just that. Before this point, I'd always struggled with writing. I'd told my mother on several occasions that I NEVER wanted to be a writer when I grew up. But this silly little story changed things. I got a positive response from my classmates and teacher, and I had fun writing it. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was pretty much doomed from then on. I was officially a writer.

  50. I can think of several landmarks, but probably the most significant one was the story I wrote early one morning at work while something was working in the background.

    I wrote a poor quality story and sent it to Chris, who liked it. And that started me writing again in earnest.

    I've come a long way since that story: it was pretty bad, and I've learned a lot since then. At least some of what I've learned I picked up right here, on this very blog.

    So, thanks. If I ever get a novel published, you'll be partly to blame.

  51. Anonymous11:57 AM

    After a tragedy nine years ago, I couldn't write. It wasn't writer's block because I don't believe in it. It was depression. The kind Zoloft can't touch. Two years ago, I was drawn to my computer and the floodgates opened. I felt release.


  52. For me the highlight of my professional writing career didn't come from a paid publication, but rather a post I made on a surgery support board. Sometime after rousing from my post Thanksgiving turkey coma I had a bit of inspiration and re-wrote about 10 verses of "Twas a Night before Christmas" to make it specific to the circumstances of our surgery as well as personalizing some of the people on our board (actually the majority was using the wording tempo and format as opposed to actually plagarizing the work.)

    For the next two years the owner of the site asked if he could post it each holiday season, which, in and of itself made me feel warm and fuzzy, but, the third year it was posted I received a private message from a new member of the site that thanked me for dragging her out of a depression that she'd been experiencing since her surgery and allowing her to enjoy the holidays with her family.

  53. Anonymous2:14 PM

    For the first twenty years of my life, I was convinced that I could someday be a great novelist.

    Then I came to the realization that I enjoyed reading too much to be a good author. I didn't want to write down my stories; I wanted to read them and hear them.

    Someday I may come up with a story that I need to tell everyone. Until then, I'll be content to enjoy what others produce, and contribute in the form of reviews, editing, critiquing and researching.

  54. On 11/30/2002, I finished my first ever novel.

    On 1/13/2006, I made my first ever submission.

    On 1/16/2006, I got my first ever request from an editor to see my full novel.

  55. I decided to do a creative writing course thinking I needed to know how it was done properly (yeah, yeah, I know...). I diligently completed my assignments and sent them off. At the end of the year-long course, I got a personal comment on the last assignment that my tutor (head of the course) rated me the best student she'd had and was looking forward to reading my work in print.

    Whenever I find the going tough, or my ego is feeling fragile after rejections, I take out that piece of paper, and I know I can write, can do this.

    It still gives me a thrill to have the respect of a well-known Aussie writer, even though I figure she's forgotten about me by now.

  56. Anonymous11:09 PM

    My best writing moment so far was when I went back through a bunch of college classwork, re-read my prof's notes, and had the biggest light-bulb moment of my life so far. It's a personal moment, but something that I think back to quite a bit. It's one of those things that keeps me going when words aren't flowing.