Author Sara Cottingham's official site featuring a weekly blog and links to previously published content.
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I have some exciting news! I applied for an internship at a publishing company, and I got one of the six positions! I’m super excited about it because I met the Lead Editor at the AWP conference that I went to in Portland and I absolutely loved her. I’d been checking up on their website...
I have some exciting news! I applied for an internship at a publishing company, and I got one of the six positions! I’m super excited about it because I met the Lead Editor at the AWP conference that I went to in Portland and I absolutely loved her.
I’d been checking up on their website since the conference, and I took the chance and submitted for the internship. I was hoping she’d remember me, but I wasn’t sure. She did! Which was awesome, but I was also afraid I was going to be WAY too enthusiastic when it came to the video interview. I think I managed to keep my cool.
It doesn’t start until the summer, and I’m super impatient to start, but when it does, it means I’ll be learning the ins and outs of the publishing world from marketing to formatting and editing.
Super cool, right?
It may not have anything to do with my manuscript, (which just went through a major overhaul), but I’ll be gaining an education that will be worth it for years to come.
It has been a while since I posted. I had received some bad news the last time I was supposed to post, and I honestly didn’t feel like writing an update. It’s been a while, but I’ve made some progress on the manuscript. It is with an editor at the moment, and I should hopefully...
It has been a while since I posted. I had received some bad news the last time I was supposed to post, and I honestly didn’t feel like writing an update.
It’s been a while, but I’ve made some progress on the manuscript. It is with an editor at the moment, and I should hopefully hear from her later this week. I genuinely have no idea what kind of response I’ll get when I finally do get it back, but I’m hoping that it will be good news.
I will say that waiting for my editor to get back to me has been a test in patience. I have been trying to work some editing jobs, but the response has been slow. I keep telling myself that any progress is good progress, but it’s rather frustrating nonetheless.
My husband is off on training for work, so that means I’ll probably slip back into my night owl ways, but I usually get my best work done at night, so I’m comfortable with that.
I’m trying to take advantage of the beautiful weather Boise has been giving us and going on hikes.
Hopefully the next time I post I will have my manuscript back!
The last thing I posted was on AWP in Portland, and it was terrific. I do think I reached my limit of socializing for a while. I’ve done nothing but hide in my house and work since I got back! In all truthfulness, it was a wonderful experience, and I’m thinking of going again next...
The last thing I posted was on AWP in Portland, and it was terrific. I do think I reached my limit of socializing for a while. I’ve done nothing but hide in my house and work since I got back!
In all truthfulness, it was a wonderful experience, and I’m thinking of going again next year when it’s held in San Antonio.
The important thing is that I put myself out there. I introduced myself and handed out my card. I’m hoping that I made some meaningful connections with other authors and perhaps a few publishers.
Other than that, I’m beyond happy to just be home for the foreseeable future. I need the time to get back to work and become a house hermit again!
It has been a while, hasn’t it? In my defense, the last time I was going to post something I was on vacation and had little interest in going online. This week is different! I’m super excited to be attending the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference this weekend in Portland! I’ve been before,...
It has been a while, hasn’t it? In my defense, the last time I was going to post something I was on vacation and had little interest in going online.
This week is different! I’m super excited to be attending the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference this weekend in Portland! I’ve been before, but when I went last time I didn’t have a ticket and only lucked out that they opened the book fair to the public that year. This year I’m going to help my graduate school program with their booth, and I’ll be doing my own networking to try and drum up some interest for Neon Girlfriend.
I’ve made some one-sheets, which are literally a printed sheet advertising the work (think flyer), and I also made a mountain of business cards. I’ll attach a copy of the one-sheet below so that people can see what I’m talking about.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the best designer in the world, but I think they came out alright, and I think they show off the feel of the novel pretty well.
Let me know what you think below!
As excited as I am to go, I am pretty nervous about talking face to face with people. It’s not my strong point, and I feel like I either can’t look someone in the eye, or I attempt to stare them down like I’m asserting dominance. I don’t know if anyone else feels that way, but I’m always super self-conscious about it when I’m talking to other people.
Regardless of how the conference goes, I’m really excited to go on a trip that’s solely dedicated to my writing. I haven’t been on a writing-centered trip since I finished graduate school, and I know I’ll come home with a ton of new energy to start a new project.
That’s one thing that I think is invaluable about any sort of writing conference or meetup. It lets you get out of your normal rhythm and put writing at the forefront for several days. Coffee is usually available in vast quantities, and you don’t even have to think about cooking. Everything else moves out of the way for writing, and I just love how much that juxtaposes real life for the duration of the conference.
Portland is also home to a drool-worthy bookstore. It’s called Powell’s. They have everything under the sun and a truly to-die-for section of rare and unique books that are worth more than my soul. I’ve been there before, and my husband had to drag me away before I tried to spend all our money in one place. Now I get to go there all by myself!
What is your take on conferences? Do you have one that you try to go to every year?
Updates on writing, life, and the adventure of trying to navigate both.
I think the weather has been doing a wonderful job of matching my mood lately. It drizzled all day yesterday, but Boise has now graced us with a really yucky mix of rain/slush that is obviously telling me I should stay inside until spring. I am so ready for spring. My husband loves winter because he’s a complete ski bum the whole season, but I like being able to walk to my car without five different layers of heat retention clothing on.
Nevermind that I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold. That has nothing to do with it.
I had hoped to have my manuscript almost ready to send to my editor at the time of writing this, but that is just not the case. It’s nothing super dramatic, but I found a place that I could majorly improve the story while I was taking one last look at Neon Girlfriend.
I realized that I had a decision to make: I could either send it to her essentially unfinished, or I could probably make the more mature and smart decision to withhold the manuscript until it was at a place that I was completely comfortable with when I finally sent it away.
I picked the later, although I tried to find a ton of half-baked solutions that would have allowed me to send it off early. I didn’t want to wait any longer. I still don’t want to wait. I don’t want to delay this process anymore, and I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because it feels like I’m hitting a new milestone in hiring an editor to look at my work.
It’s no longer something that just a few select readers have looked at. It’s something that a professional will break apart, find the weak points, and ultimately give her opinion on. I felt like I was at the gate of the race, the bit between my teeth because I wasn’t going to let anyone slow me down, only to found out I’d been preparing to run the wrong race.
This set back really drove home that writing is not something that plays well with deadlines. Sure we set them, and we sit down as often as possible trying to make the story match up with that deadline, but writing isn’t mechanical. It sometimes doesn’t do what we want.
The majority of the time I love the surprises that writing brings, but I’m not going to lie when I say that I was pretty bent out of shape with this latest holdup.
I’m able to look at it now with a more level head, and I’m going to make the most of it, but I had to take a step away from Neon Girlfriend for a while when I realized the decision I would have to make.
It felt like I got into a fight with a friend or partner. I couldn’t understand why things weren’t working out the way I wanted. Yes, I try to micromanage everything (something I’m trying to be better about), but I felt betrayed and confused why this wasn’t working the way I’d planned.
I’m happy to say that I’ve been working on the changes without too much lasting bitterness.
My editor doesn’t have time again until the end of spring, so I have plenty of time to make sure everything is running smoothly, and I can only hope that there won’t be any more hiccups when the time finally comes to send Neon Girlfriend on her way to be reviewed.
I haven’t posted in forever! I’ve had a ton of things happening in my life, so it’s been a bit difficult to try and find the time to sit down and write about what’s happening to me and update you all on the progress of Neon Girlfriend. First thing, my husband was away on a business...
I haven’t posted in forever! I’ve had a ton of things happening in my life, so it’s been a bit difficult to try and find the time to sit down and write about what’s happening to me and update you all on the progress of Neon Girlfriend.
First thing, my husband was away on a business trip for a super extended period of time, so I’ve been trying to spend the majority of my free time with him. We got to go back to Colorado and visit family soon after the new year since we didn’t make it back for Christmas, and that was such a blessing. The weather driving from Boise to Denver was terrible, the highway was closed about halfway there, not to mention we had car troubles even before starting our drive, so that fact that we got there in two days still seems like a little bit of a miracle.
We have a couple other trips planned, one ski trip and one warm weather trip. I’m not gonna lie, I’m looking forward to both, but I desperately need to do some swimming, so the warm weather trip is a little higher up on the excitement meter for me. Either way, it’ll be great to spend some time away from work. I may have to take work with me on our ski trip, but I’m hoping to have things completed beforehand. Either way, I’m going to seriously catch up on all the reading I’ve been meaning to do. I must have six or seven books piled up that I’ve been meaning to get through.
Speaking of work! Holy smokes, Neon Girlfriend is done. This is a draft I’m really confident about. It’s sitting right at 70,000 words, which I know is a little short, but I’ll be sending it to a professional editor in March! I keep bouncing between excitement and nervousness like the ball in a racket ball court.
I’m currently going through and adding little details, fixing typos, and generally trying to make it as polished as possible before sending it off so that the comments I get back aren’t things I already know need work.
Still, it’s so exciting! I keep telling people that I have to send it off to an editor and I swear I puff my chest out a little bit. Yes, I still need to find agents who are accepting manuscripts, but I’m still one step closer to publication.
My game plan for that is to find agents that look like a good match and try my hand at that while still considering smaller presses and self-publishing venues. I’ve done so many hours of research on each avenue of publishing that I don’t think I can take any off the list until I’ve given each a shot.
Overall, things have just been going really well for me and mine. I couldn’t be happier with that.
I’m currently cherry-picking my way through Daemon Voices, a series of essays and talks Phillip Pullman has given on writing and craft over the years. Books on the craft, or other authors talking about writing in general, always inspire me. I tend to hold them closest of all!
Any pointers on how to best receive edits for your work without being too emotional? I’m sure I’ll need help on that front!
I hope all is well with you and yours, dear readers!
Until next time!
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