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Friday, July 24, 2009

Seven Things to Do While You Wait

THE most frustrating thing I learned when I dove into this business of children’s books is how little control you have. (This coming from a control freak.)
     No matter what you do, you cannot make somebody respond quickly, love or buy your work. Period. The cogs of this machine will not bend to your will no matter how many emails you send or phone calls you make.
     Your best shot is to write the best thing in existence, or illustrate a masterpiece. But even then, it’s all relative to the taste of the reader/viewer and there are no guarantees. For most authors and illustrators, its a long, slogging journey to success (whatever that means).
     So how do you get through all the infernal WAITING!?

Here are my
7 Things To Do While You Wait:

1) Get yourself a vent buddy. When you’re about to hit ‘send’ on that email you shouldn’t or call that person directly - contact your vent buddy instead. Let them talk you down. This leads to...

2) Step away from the email. Or the phone. As my hubbie says, “When in doubt - wait.” Yes, that means pay attention to the little voice in the back of your head, the one you so often ignore.

3) Take a walk. Seriously. Even my piddly two miles a day gets my body and head in such a better place, I return calmer with a more realistic view of the world and this business for the rest of the day.

4) Take a shower. You’d be amazed how much clearer (and cleaner) a good shower can make things. It’s also a good place for ideas. I heard of one writer who kept a grease pencil in her shower so she could jot down ideas on the tiles!

5) Work. Yup. The only way to that best manuscript or masterpiece is to actually create it - and that takes the butt in chair method. Just knuckle down and do it.

6) Work on something else. One hit wonders rarely make it in this business. People are looking for long term career writers/illustrators. Surely you have more than one idea in you?

7) Finally, be kind to yourself. This business full of rejections can be awfully hard on an ego. Let yourself experience the downs for a reasonable amount of time (a few hours, a day) and then move on. There are more doors to knock on and better things to create.

This business is not easy and so much is out of your control to change. I hope this list helps you out of some rough spots. Of course, if all else fails, you can always make a list like this... ;-)

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