In 8th grade, my English teacher, Ms. Ada Wax, submitted my name for a young writer's regional conference. I was accepted, and I headed off to the conference with great excitement and anticipation. (This is, by the way, the only writer's conference I've ever been to. How ironic is that?) I met several other young writers and got the address of a publishing house that specialized in publishing books written by young people.
I could hardly wait. I got home, printed out my novel, and mailed it off. I remember how nervous I was, standing in line at the post office. I wanted my mother to come in and stand by me. But she had to take my brother to a soccer game.
I can't remember how long it took to get a response. But I got one. They returned my manuscript with a nice, detailed letter from the editor. He pointed out things he didn't like and invited me to revise and resubmit. I was pumped. I spent the rest of 8th grade and the beginning of 9th grade revising. By now I had mastered typing, which made it easier. My cousins teased me over Thanksgiving because they thought I couldn't tear myself away from my video games. Goofs. I was writing. My dad sat with me on vacation and helped me dissect the novel, chapter by chapter.
I was ready. It was good now. (For then. Ha ha. Seriously, when this is all finished and my publisher says I can, I'll post the first chapter. Then and Now. So you can laugh with me.) I just knew they were going to accept it. I mailed it off, more confident this time, and sat back to wait.
I never heard anything back from them. I waited for months. Nothing. In hindsight, I should've contacted them to see if they'd ever received my manuscript. But I didn't. I got discouraged. I put the whole thing aside and forgot about it. For ten years.