If you’re like me, you can hardly believe another year has rolled by. Where did the time go, anyway? As I've pursued my writing goals over the past year, it would be easy to stay focused on those writing goals that are still out of reach and dangling in front of my nose like the proverbial carrot.
However, if I kept my blinders on and focused solely on those carrots, I would miss an opportunity indeed if I didn't reflect on all the successes, big and small, that occurred during the last twelve months and give myself a celebratory pat on the back. To me, there’s nothing more motivational and encouraging than taking a moment and enjoying the warm glow of what I did accomplish versus what I'm still struggling to achieve. When I appreciate my successes, those writing carrots seem closer than ever, and I’m absolutely certain success is within my grasp.
When I look back at 2014, I see it was a grand mixture of connecting with cherished writing friends, teaching picture book writing classes for Sacramento’s Learning Exchange, presenting my own day-long SCBWI picture book workshop in Sacramento, signing books, and selling two picture book manuscripts. The first, Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range, resulted from the success of Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg (Clarion 2013). It had been so successful, my editor at Clarion requested a sequel--my first! (It even reached #1 at Amazon!)
When those unexpected successes come along, I capture them in a screen shot if I can. It's a nice morale boost when rejections inevitably come.
The other manuscript, a picture book biography called Away with Words - The Daring Story of Isabella Bird, was a different story. I wrote the original manuscript about a Victorian traveler four years ago. I knew someone would snap it up. They had to!
Or not, as it turned out.
At the time, my agent thought it was promising and asked for revisions. I revised, revised, and revised. Would it ever be right? (I thought it was!) Rejections followed. Eventually, I parted ways with my agent and put the manuscript away. When I took it out again, I wasn’t trying to please my agent or an editor, and a new way of telling Isabella’s story came to mind. I knew it was better than ever and I began sending it out on my own.
Nearly two years passed.
Then an email. An editor at Peachtree found the manuscript on the desk of an editor who’d left. Was it still available?
Why, yes, it was. J (Whoot! Whoot!)
So enjoy the holidays and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for all you've accomplished. When you do, it'll be just what you need when you're bounding after those dangling carrots in 2015.
You'll be certain success is within reach.
Lori Mortensen is an award-winning children’s book author of more than 70 books and over 350 stories and articles. A member of SCBWI, Lori speaks at schools, SCBWI conferences, and has worked as a writing instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature for the past eight years. Recent picture book titles include Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg, (Clarion, 2013), Cindy Moo (HarperCollins, 2012), Come See the Earth Turn – The Story of Léon Foucault (Random House, 2010), and In the Trees, Honey Bees! (Dawn, 2009). To learn more about Lori and her four upcoming titles, visit her website at www.lorimortensen.com, or read her blog at http://lorimortensen.blogspot.com.
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