Ever wonder what it’s like inside the mind of a writer? Here’s a glimpse into mine:
I write a random poem.
I like it, but soon realize there’s a serious error, so I rewrite it.
In the course of rewriting it, I write another.
Once these are done, it occurs to me I could send them to a magazine, although submitting a third poem to go with the first two would be ideal.
I write a third poem, but it’s not about the subject I thought it was going to be.
It occurs to me that these three poems, all of the same theme, might be more appropriate if collected together with some previously-written poems in a picture book collection. I wonder if I can write a fourth poem about the same theme.
I write a fourth poem.
Once I organize all the poems – these and the previously-written ones – into a thematic manuscript, I realize I need more poems to fill it out.
I write a fifth poem.
Upon adding it to the manuscript, I realize the theme is wrong and have to pull poems out and put new ones in, basically completely revising an previously-compiled, unpublished collection.
Satisfied with the theme, I decide to try writing a sixth poem about that theme.
I write the sixth poem.
At this moment in time, I only need to write three more poems to complete the manuscript. I’m working on one now.
The amazing thing to me is that all of this has taken place over the past 4 weeks…so considering the volume of my output this month, either I’m getting much better at writing or I’ve completely lost my ability to self-criticize. I’m hoping it’s the former, as I still feel I’m my own worst critic!
But let this be a lesson: Never, ever, ever, lock yourself into the frame of mind that you can’t edit, revise, or rewrite something. Honestly, I’m not a fan of rewriting, as I like the happy, content feeling one gets from lifting up the pen; who doesn’t, right? However, if there is something about the poem or story I’ve written that just doesn’t feel right, I cannot live with myself until I’ve fixed the problem.
It might take walking away and coming back to it in a few minutes. Or hours. Or days.
Or even weeks.
One poem literally took me a year and a half to write – but it got written, and written the way it was supposed to be written. Unfortunately for me, it’s one of those types of poems that everyone seems to love but no one knows what to do with. But that’s my problem, not the poem’s. It needed to be written the way it needed to be written.
Exciting news in the year ahead
I have a number things I’m very excited to share with you – and all these things are bouncing around inside my head, as well. I’ll have poems in five different anthologies being published this year, and one will be in an upcoming edition of Highlights magazine. Three of the books are due out this spring and one is due this fall.
I also have high hopes for a picture book manuscript I wrote this past year. It’s one of those types of things that just came to me; I wrote it over the course of a week, revised the following week, and I do believe it might be the best manuscript I’ve written to date, so we’ll see if it gets picked up!
Speaking of said manuscript, it’s the same one that helped me receive the New England SCBWI’s inaugural Marguerite W. Davol Picture Book Critique Scholarship for pre-published authors! For details on what that is, feel free to check out this past Friday’s post, where I explain it in greater detail.
I’m also excited to be a Second Round Judge in The annual CYBILS Awards, where the finalists have been announced! I’ll be working with fellow judges Renee LaTulippe, Linda Baie, Laura Shovan, and Diane Mayr to trim our list of seven fantastic children’s books of poetry down to one winner – and this year it’s going to be a tough one, there are so many great books!
Whatever your goals, stick to ’em!
I wish you great success for 2015, whether it’s professional or personal. Remember, the act of setting goals, while necessary, is not as important as following through with those goals. It’s the difference between saying you’re going to do something and actually doing it.
Whatever it is you want to accomplish, take action and do something each day to move you toward the end result. Some days I don’t get a chance to write, sad to say. I’m a stay-at-home dad with a voiceover business and my hours are precious and few. But there’s not a day that goes by that does not include me either emailing someone about writing, reviewing my own writing, reading an article about writing, or even simply reading a book to my kids.
I’ve been writing for what seems like forever, but did not get serious about becoming a children’s writer until 2009. Since then, I have slowly gained traction – improving my skills, networking, and learning the craft. I have met wonderful people, befriended nationally-acclaimed writers and editors, and developed a base of friends and supporters like you through this blog.
I appreciate you helping me attain my goal. I hope, by reading this, I can help you attain yours. Success requires both talent and tenacity – one of those in a much higher quantity than the other.
Have a Happy New Year, and thank you for being a part of mine!
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