Last week I (Chandler) talked about “Jumpstarting” my writing career and how doing so prevented me from taking the time to see if I really liked writing at all. I’ve dived into every possible opportunity head first and, of course, that philosophy came with its drawbacks.
But that isn’t to say that my approach has been all negative. Knowing myself, I think I needed that early validation in order to produce words. Producing words on a regular basis helped me better my craft. Having Agent Dan behind my work allowed me to get feedback from people I might not have had access to otherwise. Diving right into the publishing industry encouraged me to jump into the writing community. I’m naturally pretty reserved, so I had to be badly in need of some camaraderie to put myself out there and find some writing friends. (But I’m so thankful I did because I’ve learned a ton!)
I can’t say that trying to jumpstart my writing career in the middle of law school while trying to have, you know, a life before starting work was the easiest timing. But I guess that’s still my whole thing. I just jump in. Honestly, I got a bunch of rejections as the result of my approach. But just as honestly, many of those ‘rejections’ have led to the opportunities I have now.
Without thinking, I signed up to audition for Working Partners. I didn’t get the first job I auditioned for, but that editor passed my name onto another editor. I auditioned for two more projects and the editors continued to pass my name around until I ended up getting the job for the second project. Now, I’m writing for a fantastic middle grade series.
When looking for an agent, I looked for an exciting concept, got to work, and queried on proposal (Yikes – don’t try this at home, folks. It was for a graphic novel). It was a bit tricky at first, but I’m still supported by my fabulous Writers House agent, Dan Lazar. Another time I was offered work for a different book packager on an adult fiction series based on a random email I had sent to some lady I didn’t know months and months prior. It turned into a friendly online acquaintance and she put me up for a job.
Sometimes things have taken time to pan out, but it seems that the risks I took “back in the day” continue to materialize into opportunities in the present. While it hasn’t always been perfect, I have to say – it was the right path for me.
Thanks so much for sharing, Chandler!
Chandler Craig is 25 and writes young adult fiction and graphic novels for teens. She also ghostwrites a pretty cool series for tweens that you can check out in your local bookstore or Scholastic book fairs if you can figure out her series pen name. In the fall of ’08, she started law school at the University of Texas in Austin. Prior to that, she graduated early from the University of Pennsylvania, so that she could take time off to try writing full-time. She is agented by Dan Lazar of Writer's House. To learn more, check out her blog.