My first children’s book was finally released. Prudence’s Prize-Winning Pie was officially launched May 25th, 2017 across all of the big online retailers. It was a very exciting moment for me and a long time coming. I started writing the story back in 2006. Final edits were completed in 2009. And then I began the long years of shopping the book to publishers and literary agents. Granted, there were periods of time in the midst of all of that where I just let the book sit on the shelf for months at a time. I would get discouraged after receiving so many rejection letters. With each one, the story that I loved so much seemed to diminish a little and I began to question myself as a writer.
Today something that Mick Mooney wrote back in 2013 popped up on my timeline again and I wanted to share it as a reminder to myself. Mick is an author that writes about creativity, productivity, purpose and the power of belief. He wrote:
“The only way to achieve a creative dream that has been birthed in your heart is to pursue it; to move past dreaming about it, and to go after it. To do that you start in a place far away from it, where your heart is certainly full of promise but yet you are empty or lacking of the skills required to become professional.
Now the journey begins, with daily, consistent small steps, to learn your craft. Along the way people will point out you are not a professional, that you’re no good, that it’s not for you – but as you go on, you still create, you go public and share it, you learn from your mistakes, you learn from your critics, you get better, and still people tell you you’re no good.
But being good, at the moment, is not the point. The point is to get better, to improve a little at a time, and over time, to master the craft. The point is to be brave enough to get up after each time you’ve fallen down and keep moving, keep learning, keep practicing, till you practice yourself into being a professional in your craft.
But don’t be fooled, to fulfill a creative dream, to actually get there, you need to learn, you need to take criticism, you need to face your own lack of ability – and when people tell you that you’ll never make it – you need to keep on pursuing anyway, each day, another small step; and one day, when you forgot how the journey even began, when you’ve fallen in love with the journey itself, you’ll realize you’ve mastered the craft. You’ve become a professional. You’ve stepped into the fulfillment of your dream.
Be brave. Keep chasing your dream, and keep practicing till you’ve mastered the craft.”
I am relieved to know that others started with just a dream knowing they were “lacking the skills or knowledge” it took to make that dream come into fruition. That was the very first hurdle for me…that critical voice in my head that laughed at me when I first began to ask “can I do this?”
I have learned so much through this process: how to seek out the right literary agent, what is expected in a proposal and query, how to work with an illustrator, what format is best to submit in, the importance of proof-reading, proof-reading, and proof-reading, what goes into an ebook….and much more. I have been embarrassed at some of the mistakes, shy in promotion at times, and at the point of giving up many times. But the feelings I experienced when the final book came together and was released were amazing!! And I am looking forward to doing it again, a little wiser, with so much still to learn.
And now comes my opportunity to learn about marketing. I am very excited to be attending an SCBWI Author’s Conference in August where I will meet other children’s book authors, publishers and editors. I plan to soak in everything I can. Practice, practice, practice……