#1 Reading the types of things we write, makes us better writers.
Author Denise Fleming, Agent Alexandra Penfold and Editor Orli Zaravicky each emphasized the importance of reading books in the genre that we write. For picture books, the ReFoReMo challenge is the perfect way to learn how to read and study mentor texts to make our writing better.
Conferences are great for reminding us that we are not alone. I connected with my writing tribe at the NJSCBWI conference just a few days ago, and I was reminded of these 3 essential things.
#2 Revision takes a long time.
You may think you’ve whipped out the perfect story with the first draft, but that is almost never the case. It takes years to craft a beautiful story and even picture books can take ages to perfect. Author Marcie Colleen's forthcoming book, The Adventure of the Penguinaut, wasn't ready for publication until over 2 1/2years after she wrote it.
#3 Patience and persistence are essential.
Writing is a profession that requires submissions and waiting, and rejections and submissions and waiting, and more rejections. Even people like Jane Yolen get rejections. But if we persist, eventually we get good news!!!...followed by submissions, waiting, and rejections and hopefully more good news!
In the middle of all our reading and revision and persistence we need to remember that we are not alone in our reading and revision and persistence. But, as agent and author, John Cusick said: "Don’t try to be normal, because what you’re doing is extraordinary."
Kirsti Call is a homeschooling mom of five. Her debut picture book, The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall, came out December 2013. Her family band, Calling Out, plays songs written by her children. She contributes to Writer's Rumpus, and Kids are Writers. If you visit her house, you’ll likely find her reading a picture book. You can find out more about her at www.kirsticall.com.
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