I try not to talk too much online about the actual specifics of where I am on my writing path. I believe that moving forward consists of lots of ups and downs, some of those forward steps, and plenty of backward ones. I think that Jeannine Atkins’ Views from a Window Seat is probably the best collection of thoughts about all these steps and definitely the best overall representation of them and how they feel. I like to join in the conversation at times, and that’s usually what I use my blog and other social media for. Like I said, mostly I stay general.
Today, though, I’m kind of celebrating some specific steps. I’ve had a goal of getting a few picture books to the “ready” stage–ready for submission. From what I understand, if you’re submitting to agents (which I still want to do), they want you to have several ready to show them. So, for a while now, I’ve been working to add to my pile of one. I’ve switched back and forth between these others, sometimes struggling, sometimes following that light at the end of the distant tunnel, sometimes sitting back in frustration and exasperation. But, really, each one has–in its way–been moving forward on its own path.
As of today, my pile of “ready” has grown to three. Ready? Obviously, I don’t know if that means ready enough for an agent or an editor, but they’re ready enough to feel complete and cohesive to me, and I see a layer of sparkle in each one that whispers a quiet, happy “Yes.” And for a minute, let’s even take this out of the submission path, out of the “success” path, and just look at what it actually means.
I have written three picture books.
As for the last one I still have to work on, there’s a little voice in me saying, “Hey, you have three. Three is several. Go ahead and send three.” Luckily (I think!), there’s a larger and much louder voice saying, “You almost have four. Keep going.” The little voice says, “But I don’t know what to DO with that one. (The little voice is kind of a whiner.) And the larger voice says, “You didn’t know what to do with the others either, many times. Remember?” And I remember. And the larger voice says again, “Keep going.” (The larger voice is kind of stubborn.)
So I’m pushing on. There’s another curve ahead on the path, and I’m going toward it. This time, though, the picture books in the “ready” pile are helping me along, kind of like rollerblades (a magical pair on which I can actually stay upright) gliding on pavement through a forest of beautiful trees with just a few scary animal noises in the distance. I’m happily carrying my pile with me, and I’m determined to make it a little bit taller.
And when I do…Well, who knows, really? But some kind of adventure–that much, I can tell you.