Just Keep Swimming...
(As posted originally on Picture Books, Eh?, September 14, 2020)
It’s an awesome privilege to be a picture book author. Kids need stories to help shape their understanding of the world around them. The books we read when we’re little often leave the biggest footprints in our lives.
Because there are so few pages, most people think picture books are a cinch to write. But, as Maya Angelou once famously said:
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
Reading a great picture book is not unlike watching an Olympic diver carry off half a dozen mid-air twists and flips and enter the pool with barely a splash. Nobody sees all the exhausting years of training and practice.
I wrote and published seven novels (YA and MG) before publishing my first picture book. It took me more than ten years of learning the craft, honing my skills, endless revisions, and countless rejections before I was finally offered a contract. The taller the pile of picture book rejections grew, the more determined I became to get a ‘yes’. Inspiration can be found everywhere, if you’re open and receptive. But equally important is the perseverance and determination to see an idea all the way through to the end – even if it takes ten years (or more).
To everyone imagining, writing, revising, or submitting a picture book right now:
Kids need stories.
Your readers await.
My fourth and fifth picture books will be published this fall:
SLOW MOE (@OrcaBook) in October and
SNOW DAYS (@pajamapressbooks) in November.