During the past two weeks I have had what I call sort of a cart-before-the-horse experience on my writer’s journey. I recently wrote something that my colleagues thought had some substance to it and suggested I drop everything else and make this project my number one priority. Normally I wouldn’t have too much anxiety over this, but my project, by it’s very nature, places a submission time limit on itself. It is another children’s picture book, complete with illustrations.
The writing and illustrating of the book was the easy part. When I write, I go to a space that inspires me and makes me feel alive. When I sit down to begin the illustrations, I easily slip into the world where the story is taking place. The whole process is very relaxing and enlightening because I’ve learned when I first began this journey, placing time limits and restrictions on creativity just created anxiety instead of stories. I started this journey two and a half years ago and it is only within this past year I’ve learned to slow down and let my own writing process grow and develop.
Progress wise, I never expected to create anything with any kind of urgency to submit for publication so soon. I pushed the “how to” of publishing aside and refused to even take time with how to write a query letter or find a publishing house perfect for my book. I did research self-publishing, thinking it fit my internal timeline a little better.
Now I have this book. It needs to be submitted ASAP. (This would be the cart.) I’m overwhelmed. The amount of time and research required to learn to write a good query letter – one that will get an editor’s attention amid the “slush pile”, and find a suitable “house”, is something one gains over years of doing this. (That would’ve been the horse.)
Hmmm….I needed a plan. A colleague got me kickstarted. She suggested I set aside a time everyday to work on this project, set a timer, and at the end of the time write down what I accomplished. She saved me. Her suggestion lent structure to my day and gave me a concrete way to begin. Then a few days ago, a book an editor friend promised to send me arrived at just the right moment. It was a copy of the 2012 Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market. In it were examples of query letters and a current directory of all the children’s publishing houses.
My plan continues to unfold. I set aside 2pm to 5pm everyday to work on this project. The time includes rewrites of the story, but most important it includes studying query letters and publishing houses. During the month of June I plan to gain a great deal of experience figuring out how to submit my book for publication. (Going to seriously try to get the cart and the horse in the right order.)
The best part of this plan? This book travels well to the beach and 2pm to 5pm just happens to be prime beach time. I just love when a plan comes together, don’t you?
And so, as another day goes by, book in beach bag, chair in hand, I saunter off to the beach to spend the afternoon with the publishers, …’tis the life of a writer…and…I have written.
*Another Day Goes By is my daily blog that can be found at:
Another Day Goes By