I'm visiting secondary schools again with my year 6 daughter, this time for real after last year's trial run. The last time I did this, it was in the week following the Undiscovered Voices results and I was on a high - imagining visiting school libraries as a published author.
I was nearly there.
A year later, I'm still nearly there. Paradoxically, I've also made a huge amount of progress. Much of that disconnect was because of my ignorance of the publishing process - I had a manuscript that I thought was ready to go, whereas I'm still rewriting it today, two and a half years after I typed the first sentence. In the meantime, I've managed to find the right agent (I mean, what are the chances of finding any agent, let alone the right one?) and I've now found an editor who cares as much about the book as I do.
All good things, to be sure, but I've also seen several of the other winners clinch deals with publishers who rejected me, which I have to admit hurts a little. But that doesn't stop me being pleased for them - we've all worked damned hard in the last year. The anthology entries were selected on merit - twelve books that were ready to meet the world of publishing. But the twelve writers behind them have proved just as ready. It takes considerable bloody-mindedness to succeed as a writer and we've all been keenly aware that Undiscovered Voices was just our invitation to compete.
It's another year until the Undiscovered Voices 2012 competition results are announced, and I hope that many more of the 2010 winners (me! me!) get book deals in the interim. But I have a delicious feeling that someone is writing one of next year's winning entries right now.
It might be you.