Last November I began working with an editor on one of my picture books. I didn’t know what to expect when she said she wanted to work with me on my manuscript, so I was nervous every time we spoke on the phone. I tried to force my story to work, afraid to disappoint her. Thankfully, she is very patient and kind, and is still working with me 5 months later. During our last conversation, she reminded me to work on the manuscript when I was happy, and writing my story felt fun. One would think after so much time, writing from a joyous place would be hard. I wondered at what point she may lose faith in me or my project.
After all of this time working with her, I have finally relaxed enough to know that the only way for this story to come out the best way possible, is to heed her advice. My goal has shifted from wanting to get published, to wanting this story to be the best it can be. As silly as it sounds, today I listened to all sorts of fun music just to get into the right mindset. Being tired or cranky does really come out in my writing, so being fresh, and feeling fun, is important.
Coming up with the perfect plot in 500 words or less is so much harder than I ever expected. But I also never expected that preserving the joy in the work would be as important as each revision. I haven’t come up with the perfect version yet, but if you catch me dancing in my living room, you’ll know I am trying.
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