My mom and I like to say, “no news is good news.” For the most part, I believe this saying to be true. No news that North Korean is nuking us – GOOD NEWS! No news that the Affordable Care Act is trying to be dismantled again – GOOD NEWS! No news that the president hasn’t said something inappropriate on Twitter – GOOD – oh, wait a minute. This one hasn’t happened. Well, two out of three isn’t so bad.
Where “no news is good news” can be tough is when you’re a writer. The publishing industry is notoriously slow and a lot of the time you simply have to wait for editors to get back to you/your agent. This time can take days, weeks, months, or even over a year.
Following the advice of Jane Friedman in The Great Courses: How to Publish Your Book,
the important thing to do during the waiting game is to keep writing. In addition to working on several new (and old) picture book manuscripts, I’m about two-thirds of the way done with the first draft of a chapter book tentatively titled Henry the Housesitter (Not by Choice!), which follows the adventures of a 10-year-old boy as his parents ditch their lawyer jobs and become professional house sitters. Considering all the source matter I have on house sitting, this book is pretty much writing itself.
I also started writing a daily devotional, which means every morning I write a prayer asking for help with my day’s work. A lot of the prayers deal with motivation when feeling exhausted (I’ve had several days in a row of poor sleep) and I’m wondering if the end result will be an inspirational prayer book for those of us dealing with chronic illness. I suppose time will tell.
My goal is to write a new prayer every day and so by September 2018 I should have the first draft of this manuscript done. Talk about an easy way to finish a draft! Though at first I felt a little lazy at the idea that it would take me 365 days to finish a first draft, but the time is going to go by anyway and I already have several writing projects which will be finished in what I consider a more acceptable length of time for someone who aspires to be a prolific writer.
Another way I’m passing the time during the publishing waiting game is by immersing myself in children’s publishing as much as possible. I’ve started attending author readings at local libraries and book stores. Last week I listened to the incredibly talented Sara Beth Videtto read her picture book Turtle’s First Winter: A Read and Find Storybook at the Norfolk Library
and Tuesday I celebrated the release of The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip C. Stead by attending “the shortest, grand parade,” in downtown Hartford, followed later in the day by a reading at the actual Mark Twain house (Mark Twain lived in Hartford, CT, from 1874-1891).
Then there’s Inspiration Day at the Eric Carle Museum coming up on October 7th and the Children’s Literature Festival at the Dr. Seuss Museum the following weekend.
I also came across this gem of a book at the Norfolk Library last week:
I wasn’t even looking for a new nonfiction book to read, as I was trying to finish The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for a book group, and then I had Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry on tap to read. But there Wild Things sat on a shelf in the “new nonfiction” section at the library’s entrance, just begging for me to pick it up and read it.
The fairytale chapter is rather gruesome; however, I am completely enchanted by the Good Night Moon chapter and all the fascinating historical tidbits from Margaret Wise Brown’s life. I’m now on chapter 4, which is all about using animals in children’s literature. Considering 75% of my main characters are animals, I suspect this chapter will also enchant me.
With all that I have going on and all that I have to look forward to, I find the publishing waiting game much more tolerable. Dare I even say, enjoyable. It’s fun to be out in the world, going new places and hearing new stories. So it looks like the no news for me is, in fact, good news for now, until that day comes when I receive GREAT NEWS by way of a book contract.