The first picture book that I both wrote and illustrated (well, that was picked up by a publisher) is set to release in June 2012. As I begin this new year full of hope, wonder, and excitement, I realize that I have a lot of work to do. My website and business cards need to get re-designed in preparation for FLAP! to release. On the writing side of my life, I am signed up to write 12 picture books in 12 months (see the amazing 12 x 12 in 2012 logo on the right side of the screen) and will participate in NaPiBoWriWee in May followed by PiBoIdMo in November. In addition to all of this, I plan to finish my mid-grade novel (that I am soo excited about) and add pieces to my illustration portfolio.
Now, this is all great - lots of artwork, tons of writing. Unfortunately, the part that's missing is submitting queries and manuscripts to publishers, editors, and agents. Yikes! That takes a LOT of research and research takes time. Will I need to cut down on the writing, promoting of FLAP!, illustrating, and marketing of myself as an author/illustrator? Possibly. The challenge that I (along with a zillion other authors who are dedicated members of SCBWI) am faced with is to balance it all. Can we do this?
Yes, we can. Whether you use The Little Engine That Could or some other encouraging story, look to the future and admit that this can be accomplished. I am not guaranteeing a sale but no books will get sold if the stories never get put in the hands or on the screens of publishers, editors, and agents. Think baby steps - one day at a time. Make a calendar and divide up the tasks in pieces. The 12 x 12 in 2012 is a challenge to write a draft each month. We can do that. What I am reading and hearing everywhere is that one must write every day. Make a goal of 500 words a day (that is only about 2 typed pages). For a picture book - that is an entire book. For a mid grade novel, that might be half a chapter.
I recommend signing up for challenges like the 12 x 12 in 2012 and joining SCBWI critique groups because they help create that schedule and divide the task of writing an entire book into smaller achievable pieces. Stay confident. Rembember that the great children's writers of our time received rejection letters before getting published. Improve your stories and send them out again. After all, that is what I plan to do.