If you want to be a traditionally published author, the route looks pretty much like this:

  1. Write a book (the easiest part of the process)
  2. Edit your book (woof)
  3. Query your book (pitch it to literary agents)
  4. Get lots of rejections (agents don’t like your book, and therefore dont’t want to represent you)
  5. Sometimes do an R&R (Revise & Resubmit) when an agent is somewhat interested
  6. Land an agent
  7. Your agent pitches your book to publishers.
  8. More rejections, possibly
  9. Your agent sells your book to a publisher
  10. Your book is published
  11. Your book is sold in bookstores
  12. You live happily ever after (well, that’s what I’d like to believe, anyway).

A different kind of 12-step program, you might say, but one that’s also filled with pain, discomfort, and uncertainty. (Also joy! But I have not gotten to those steps yet.)

So far, I have only made it as far as Step 4.

And then *right* back to Step 3.

After many, many, many months of querying agents in Canada and the U.S., I had a “bite” on Sept. 8, 2021 when an agent was “intrigued” with my pitch (synopsis, first chapter, and query letter) and asked to see the full manuscript.

She was the FIRST agent to ask for this. *happy tears*

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Simplified Christmas gift system

Our family's Christmas Gift System {Heather's Handmade Life}

Back in 2010, when our son was only six months old, I bought a package of wooden door-hangers and painted special Christmas gift tags.

Check out that 2010 camera quality, lol. Everything shines!

I also adopted the idea that we’d do a Christmas gift system:

  • Something you want
  • Something you need
  • Something to play with
  • Something to read
  • And a new pair of jammies for Christmas Eve
Two sets, for our two kids

I liked the idea that there was a consistency to gift-giving — that our son (and later, our daughter) would always know exactly how many gifs they would get from us, and what categories those gifts would fall under.

The kids love being able to easily spot specific gifts under the tree, and deciding which categories to open first or last.

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… and back to the beginning?

Heather in 2009

I was a columnist for a long time.

My DIY column, My Handmade Home, ran for five years and 11 months before getting canned in the earliest days of the ‘Vid. (Newspaper, yo, we were hit hard.)

My parenting column, The Mom Scene, ran for seven years and seven months before I chose to stop writing it to preserve my kids’ privacy.

(Shout-out to my LinkedIn profile for providing me with such exact dates. If it weren’t for reading about my own job experience on LinkedIn, everything would be a blur of “two thousand and something” and “before kids” or just … blank confusion.)

I was a freelancer for a long time.

It was my livelihood for a decade — living from one assignment to the next, chasing down interviewees, juggling different deadlines, and hoping I’d get paid before I was really strapped for the cash from a particular invoice.

I’m still a freelancer, in theory, but only for a handful of clients I just can’t quit. I’m now also a full-time content marketing manager, which means I get a guarenteed paycheque direct deposited in my bank account every two weeks like clockwork, and I must say, WOW, it’s pretty amazing after 10 years of never knowing when I was getting paid. I still marvel at it, almost a year in.

The last time I was a full-time employee was when I went on maternity leave with D. Twelve years ago. TWELVE!

When I started this blog in January of 2009, my life was weirdly similar to how it is today.

I was working full-time.

I was getting up early to write/edit novels.

I was sending out pitches (and collecting rejection letters).

I dreamed of being an author.

I had a small brown dog.

(And a flip phone to take this photo. Ah, the quality.)

I was weirdly obsessed with chicken wraps and Twilight soundtrack. (Holds up.)

Oh, and Michael also had a buzzcut.

Alaska 2009

Of course, a lot is different now, too.

We own a house in the country, instead of a condo in the city.

We have two amazing kids (something I blogged about wanting, desperately, back in 2009)

We have two vehicles. (Ironically, lately I’m missing the Jeep we had back in 2009. Don’t tell my husband*** because he’s been pestering me to talk about trading vehicles or something, and I just don’t have the bandwidth for that kind of discussion now … or ever.)

***No worries about him reading here because the goof doesn’t even read my Instagram posts, which are way shorter than this, lol.

My life is different than it was in 2009, but also kind of the same.

My goal in 2009 was to have beautiful babies — check! check! — and have a house I could decorate and organize to my heart’s content — check!

My goal in 2009 was to make a living with my writing, and I did! I’ve made a living with my writing ever since my maternity leave in 2010, actually, and now I make a living on my writing but also the related skills that come with that — like editing and magangement.

My goal in 2009 was to be a published author, and that’s still my goal. 2021 is drawing to a close in a couple of months, but hey, there’s always 2022.

If not, maybe twelve years from now, I’ll be writing another post about how 2033 Heather also weirdly likes the playlists, red lipstick and Smoky Bacon chips of 2021 Heather. 😉