Monday, March 22, 2010

My first published piece

I was daydreaming writing the other day and got to thinking about getting published/the road to publication. I'm just getting started with my book so I've got a long way to go until I get to that point, but I still daydream about it often. As I was thinking, I remembered, "Hey! I've already been published!" I had completely forgotten about an article I had written that had been picked up by a newspaper.

This was a QUALITY PAPER, people. It was even stapled together, that's how top-notch we were. This was the once-a-year edition of my elementary school's paper (this was my second grade year). My teachers, Mrs. Boone and Mrs. Wade, encouraged us to write an article for the paper and they would pick only one to submit and go to printing. I was determined to be the chosen one (shameless Harry Potter reference, I can't help myself). I worked for nearly a week on my article. The night before it was due I got to thinking my article needed a little something extra to ensure my win. I decided a hand-drawn picture would be sure to do the trick. I worked on it for a few hours and was super proud. I turned in my article the next day and was picked to be in the paper!! Now I know you're dying to see/read my article. Go ahead. Laugh. Giggle. Snort. But know I AM PROUD:

Here's what the article says:

"On Thanksgiving we give thanks. The Indians taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn. On Thanksgiving we have a big Thanksgiving feast with turkey, corn, dumplings, dressing, and cranberry sauce. So you see, if it weren't for God the Indians and the Pilgrims we wouldn't be enjoying this holiday, Thanksgiving."

At the tender age of seven I had already had arguments with "editors." My last sentence originally said, "If it weren't for the Indians and the Pilgrims we wouldn't have this holiday, Thanksgiving." While I went to a public elementary school, I grew up in a very conservative part of the country so my school was very conservative as well. It was very common for our teachers to read the Bible to us, tell us Bible stories, etc. (This was the EARLY '90s) My teachers called me up to their desk and said they loved my article and wanted to choose it to put in the paper. However, they wanted to make a change and add God to my last sentence (making it God, the Indians, and the Pilgrims). I didn't have a problem giving God recognition, but I didn't want to change it. I was so hurt that they wanted me to change something about my article and didn't love it the way I loved it. I was in a pickle. Did I change just to be published? Or stand my ground and hope to still be published? I chose to give in. Would I do that now? I'm not sure. Maybe? It would definitely depend on what my (as of now, hypothetical) editor/agent wanted to change. I would hope I could trust my editor/agent enough to know they just want the best for me and my book.

I was also mad because I had to erase the last sentence and try re-write it in (these were the days when everything was hand written). In doing this, I had forgotten to put my commas in between God, Indians, and Pilgrims. I didn't see this until after it had already been printed and was so embarrassed. Hopefully nothing like that really happens to me! (Note to self... DON'T USE PLACEHOLDER TEXT!)

(And I'm not even going to discuss my wonderful drawing. Ha!!!)


  1. Haha, what a fantastic first publication! My favorite part is how mortified you were by the lack of commas in the published version. Um, future writer? Yes.

  2. Loved it! Imagine how much that piece of paper will go for once you're a well-known published author...!!

  3. Ohh what a great memory! Thanks for sharing :D

    PS that seems really weird that they'd want to make that addition in your doesn't really make sense!

  4. SO CUTE! I used to do illustrations for the elementary school paper when I was in third grade! :)

  5. It's awesome that you kept that! And so you CAN say you are a published author :-)

  6. How fun!!! Look at you, a writer and published author so early!!! Not many can say that so way to go you!!! How cute to be young!

  7. awww! so awesome! laminate it!!

  8. Can we talk about how adorable this is? Seriously, I love it when children write letters. They always work so hard to say it JUST RIGHT. :)

    I have a similar story re: religion in public schools in the early 90s. I too grew up in a small, rural, very religious community. We put on a Christmas pageant every year, and when I was in second grade *I* was picked to speak the final line, which was: "And Jesus came into the world and into the hearts of all the people. But you don't have to wait for Christmas - Jesus can come into your heart right now!" Or something to that effect. Unfortunately for our school, my parents were devout Separation-of-church-and-state-ists and met with the Principal and everything. I don't remember if I was blamed or not for "ruining" the Christmas pageant. :P