… and I’m feeling good.
Cheers, folks! It’s the eve of a new year here where I am. The morning air is crisp and I spy orange hues in the sky from my bedroom. I am celebrating because there are so many things to be cheerful about despite the media’s constant doom and gloom reports. Yes, there is a new variant circulating the globe. It has multiplied in the hundreds of thousands and travel regulations are changing again. But, cheers! Cheers because I am still alive and will be celebrating a new year. Let’s see what 2022 brings.
Recently, I took part in a 12 Days of Christmas with Julie Hedlund. It’s a group where picture book authors share their thoughts. As that group is a private one, I thought I’d share my thoughts here. We will start with Day 5.
𝙳𝚊𝚢 𝟻: 𝙻𝚎𝚊𝚛𝚗𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝟏. 𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐮𝐩, 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐮𝐩, 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐮𝐩, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐨𝐨. I wish I had said this but am co-opting it from Isabel Allende, my muse. I show up everyday, gummy-eyed and bear-breath, with a caffeine-juice, waiting for that moment when my brain kicks in. Then I put in an hour or two of work, writing down rubbish, rants, and ruminations. I split my day up into 3 parts: morning pages for stories, lunch litter for reivisons, and pre-dinner ponderings for story ideas. This I learned from a young artist who sadly joined the angels five years ago. He told me to just get on with what I had to do — write. 𝟐. 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐬 (𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦, 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫) 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞, 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐚 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐬. I wish it weren’t the case, but we are human beings and that is what stories do — resonate with us in different personal ways. I learned to not be too precious about my writing because someone will shrug after reading, someone else will attest to it being meh, and yet another will award me 5 stars. I take what helps me improve and leave to rest what doesn’t resonate. 𝟑. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬. This is true: a prolific writer is a voracious reader; a great writer is an astute reader. This is also true: you’re as good a writer as you want to be … the rest of it is learning to be better … and there is always room for improvement. Finally, true too: Writing is a craft and it can be learned. 𝟒. 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬, 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫𝐬, 𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧’𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭. But first, be like Saint Francis of Assissi and learn to tell who these folks are. It is different strokes for different folks, and in every community, there are those who make you feel safe and those who don’t. We can’t change people, nor should we want to, but we can learn to manage how we want to interact with those in our community. 𝟓. 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝, 𝐧𝐨𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐞. Smile, not smirk. Do not take offence because you know that this person doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And when they do start to write for children, be that encouraging friend for they will need one. 𝟔. 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝. Some are written and documented, others are whispered into the ears of attentive listeners, and many are passed down through retellings of family lore and history. All stories are important and when the time is right, yours too will find themselves transcribed and told. Keep on writing because a journey starts with a single step. Although I write towards getting my stories published, I also write for myself. 𝙷𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚊𝚛𝚎 𝚖𝚢 𝟼 𝚝𝚊𝚔𝚎𝚊𝚠𝚊𝚢𝚜 𝚜𝚒𝚗𝚌𝚎 𝙸 𝚎𝚖𝚋𝚊𝚛𝚔𝚎𝚍 𝚘𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚓𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚗𝚎𝚢.
Working backwards, we go to Day 4.
𝙳𝚊𝚢 𝟺: 𝙲𝚑𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚗𝚐𝚎𝚜, 𝙳𝚒𝚜𝚊𝚙𝚙𝚘𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚜 & 𝙵𝚊𝚒𝚕𝚞𝚛𝚎𝚜. Well, this is a challenging one, but I will try to share this in small chunks: 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝟏. 𝐖𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐚 𝐭𝐬𝐮𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐢 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐠. 𝟐. 𝐎𝐧 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐩𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐚𝐥 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬, 𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤, 𝐥𝐞𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞. 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝟏. 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐫 … 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐲 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞. 𝟐. 𝐁𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐈 𝐚𝐦 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐫𝐡𝐲𝐦𝐞. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐤𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐮𝐝𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐩𝐨𝐞𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐞. 𝐅𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬 𝟏. 𝐇𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝟒 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐩𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐭 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐡𝐞, 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐞𝐭, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 … 𝙱𝚞𝚝 𝙸 𝚙𝚕𝚘𝚍 𝚘𝚗 𝚋𝚎𝚌𝚊𝚞𝚜𝚎 𝚠𝚑𝚘 𝚔𝚗𝚘𝚠𝚜, 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚍𝚊𝚢, 𝚖𝚊𝚢𝚋𝚎 𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚍𝚊𝚢 …
As folks know, my next book (not a picture book this time) will be releasing on 22 February, 2022. You’re looking at the cover, which I shared on Twitter and LinkedIn a month back. Authors need to do this kinds of things now — market and promote their work. Authors like me, I mean; backlist authors like me, I mean. The world of publishing is a BIG one and there are more books published in this world than anyone of us will ever and can ever read. It is what it is as the written word is king. Like I divide my writing day into three parts, the publishing world divides their authors into three lists: frontlisters, midlisters, and backlisters. You get the drift. As I show up to write everyday despite how I feel, I also show up to tell people about what I’m writing about and have written about despite it being très tiring. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, folks.
Here’s a report on the publishing trends for 2022. Now, I’ll go to Day 3.
𝙳𝚊𝚢 𝟹: 𝚂𝚞𝚌𝚌𝚎𝚜𝚜𝚎𝚜 𝟏. 𝐒𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐋𝐲𝐝𝐢𝐚 𝐒𝐢𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐃𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐀𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐔𝐊 𝐢𝐧 𝐉𝐚𝐧𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐔𝐊 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧. 𝐋𝐲𝐝𝐢𝐚 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐜𝐨-𝐫𝐞𝐩 𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐔𝐒 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐠𝐮𝐞. 𝟐. 𝐒𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝟑 𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐮𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐭𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧 𝟑 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐚𝐲! 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑/𝟐𝟒, 𝐬𝐨 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐝. 𝟑. 𝐋𝐚𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐲 𝐝𝐞𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐘𝐀 𝐡𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐧 𝐅𝐞𝐛𝐫𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝟐𝟐, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐. 𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐫𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐲: 𝟐𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐. 𝐖𝐡𝐨𝐚! 𝟒. 𝐖𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝟓+ 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐲 𝐚𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐦𝐲 𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐨𝐫. 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐀𝐬𝐢𝐚𝐧-𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬. 𝟓. 𝐌𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐢𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐈𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐲 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐛𝐮𝐨𝐧 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲. 𝐃𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐲𝐚𝐲-𝐲𝐚𝐲! 𝟔. 𝐖𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐰𝐨 𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐝𝐬𝐭 𝐚 𝐟𝐥𝐮𝐫𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐲 𝐌𝐀 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧’𝐬 𝐋𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐔 𝐨𝐟 𝐑𝐨𝐞𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐨𝐧. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝! 𝐀𝐜𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐈 𝐰𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐥 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭. 𝚆𝚒𝚜𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛𝚢𝚘𝚗𝚎 𝚐𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚝 𝚜𝚞𝚌𝚌𝚎𝚜𝚜 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝟸𝟶𝟸𝟸 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚐𝚘𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚏𝚘𝚛𝚠𝚊𝚛𝚍.
In short, I am counting my blessings.
𝙷𝚊𝚙𝚙𝚢 𝙽𝚎𝚠 𝚈𝚎𝚊𝚛!