Ten NEW Things to Know About Me

So much can change in a year! I’m celebrating my one year anniversary of beginning this whole writing journey and I am really amazed at how differently everything looks 12 months later.  I decided it was time to update my original blog post to reflect where I am now. My hope is that it may provide inspiration to anyone who is just starting out – although *spoiler* my first year did not include a big fat publishing deal. Nevertheless, I am so proud of how far I have come.

So here we go! 10 NEW things to know about Emily Ramquist:

 

1.     I am a lifelong writer. Ok, this one didn’t change. But I am no longer someone who writes only for myself.  In the past year, I have worked with immensely talented critique partners as well as a critique group through my SCBWI chapter. With the help of these fine folks, I have moved three manuscripts from the “I think these might be ready” (they most definitely were NOT) to the querying pile. Through Twitter pitch parties, I came THIS close to my “yes” and improved both my writing and my queries. I kept up my blog for a whole year and built my social media presence from 0 to a small but respectable following. I leaned into “writer Twitter” and found my people.  My only regret was querying WAY too early on my first manuscript but I think it was all part of the learning process.

 

2.     I read as much as humanly possible with three kids and two dogs. I wish I would have kept a better list of everything I read in the past year. I tried to focus on MG, because I would really like to move into that genre eventually. But the grown-up books I read that fall into the category of “will stay with me/become part of me forever” were Anxious For Nothing by Max Lucado and Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  (Pretty sure that last one will make an appearance at The Rammys this year.)

 

3.     Theater is absolutely still a cornerstone of my life and I’m so excited to say that I am back at it. I didn’t plan to be and in fact I didn’t even audition, but through what can only be described as heavenly intervention, I will be playing Violet in a local production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It feels just amazing to be flexing those muscles again. I would also like to add Bonnie in “Bonnie and Clyde” to my list of dream roles. I recently fell in love with that musical.

 

4.     I am forever a dog person, and our sweet boys are holding on.  Our Lab beat cancer this year and is still going strong at 10 years young. But I do love those cat videos…

 

5.     It is hard to believe my kids are now 6, almost 4 and 19 months old. Our house is basically one big pillow fort and already ruled by the seasons of soccer, dance, softball and t-ball. But somewhere between swimming lessons and playdates, they are turning into the most amazing human beings and growing in capability and kindness every day.

 

6.     My husband. This man deserves some kind of award. One year ago, when I told him I was going to try to become a published author, he didn’t echo all of the doubts that were already swirling around in my head.  He didn’t say, “Doesn’t every suburban mom think they can write kids’ books?” He just told me he thought it was great and he looked forward to retiring when I came up with the next Harry Potter. When I told him I kind of, sort of, was thinking about doing a play, he never hesitated.  He did preface by saying we couldn’t spend a fortune on baby-sitters (fair) but he has been so supportive.  This is one of the busiest times of year for his work but he just rolled with the punches his wife threw. Maybe he is used to my particular brand of over-involved crazy.  Or maybe he is just one of those amazing people who can love unconditionally and without pause. Either way, I’m pretty damn lucky.

 

7.     I’m going to switch gears and add some new information here, because the next few things from the original blog have not changed much in the last year.  If you’re dying to know, you can absolutely read them here.

But new in 2018: I love to cook, but hate to bake. I like to make things up too much to be a good baker. It makes sense that Chopped is one of my favorite tv shows. It is also pretty much my reality 5 out of 7 days per week. You have ground turkey, artichokes, naan and cheese. And three hungry kids. GO!

 

8.     I used to be a teacher. Before making the difficult decision to stay home with my babies, I was a Special Education teacher. While my degree is in English Education, when I moved to Dallas in 2008 I completed an alternative certification program to teach children with cognitive disabilities. I worked primarily with students with emerging language, most on the Autism Spectrum. I LOVED my work, but once I had kids, I really struggled with finding balance and found that my school kids always got the best version of me. I was blessed to have the choice to be home and have now been a SAHM for 4 years. I do not regret it for one second, but I still miss my students and celebrating their progress!

 

9.      I have grown to love the editing process. When I started writing, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. I wrote picture book texts of over 1000 words. Once I started querying, I consistently received feedback that my work was too long, and I needed to tighten pacing. I was completely flabbergasted. How can I make this shorter and still have voice or enough plot? Now, this is my favorite part.  I get an idea, I write a long first draft with everything the way I want it, and then I slash and burn it down to around 500 words. I love the challenge of finding the most concise way to express myself.  Maybe it’s because it is the polar opposite of how I had to write in college, when I was constantly reaching for required page counts for papers, ha. (Maybe I try THIS font it will be long enough…)

 

10.  I feel confident I am in the right place.  Even though I have not yet signed an agent or gotten a publishing deal, I really feel like I’m on the right track and am so enjoying the journey.  I don’t forget for one second what a blessing it is to be able to do what I want to do without the pressure of a timeline, and I truly believe the right agent is out there for me and this whole puzzle will one day come together!

 

So there it is – 10 new-ish things about me. As I quoted from June Carter Cash last year, “I’m just trying to matter.” Maybe this will be my year!

 

 

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Emily Ramquist