You know when you get ‘The Feeling‘? You know the one: you’re reading something you’ve just written and you find yourself thinking Hang on… this is… actually… rather… GOOD! And in those moments before the doubt sets in you get this rush of self-belief like maybe you can actually do this. Maybe becoming a published author isn’t such a crazy, cock-eyed distant dream after all.
Well, I had one of those moments last Tuesday. I like to join in with #ThePrompt and this week the theme Sara had given us was ‘books’. So I sat down in front of a blank screen at the start of the baby’s nap and along came the words. I wrote a story-poem (is that a thing?) about a girl who wouldn’t read. By the time the baby woke up the bulk of it was there and all the time I was writing it I could see illustrations in my head. When I read it back I found myself thinking, This would make a good children’s book.
All the next day it was in my head and I kept popping back to the computer and giving it a tweak here and there. Yes, I thought, this is worth doing something with. But then I started wondering if I was deluding myself, so I decided that – on the back of my post on feedback last week – it might be an idea to ask the lovely #WhatImWriting lot for feedback as part of my Tuesday post.
But then – another thought! Posting something on your blog makes it ‘previously published work’ doesn’t it? A quick google told me ‘yes’ and although it seemed presumptuous, I decided I couldn’t shoot myself in the foot if there was even the slightest chance of sending it to a publisher. I knew what I had written was only an early draft, but the storyline and overall structure were all there, so I didn’t want to risk it.
So instead I sent it to Chrissie and asked for her (genuine, proper, no-holds-barred) opinion on whether the piece had potential. I simultaneously placed it in front of my husband (whom I also trust to tell me the truth) before I went off to get the baby to sleep. And when I’d got him settled I came back down and asked my husband what he thought. Simultaneously, an email from Chrissie popped into my inbox. To my delight and relief both responses were: “Yes! I can see this as a book.” Woo hoo!
Since then I’ve been re-writing it constantly. I’ve read it to my kids, discussed it at length with my husband and received lots more useful feedback from Chrissie. I’ve also just sent it to my best mate who’s a primary school teacher with two young children. It’s the first time I’ve asked her for constructive criticism but I figure she’ll be a good person to give it and I’m sure I can take it… eeek. It’s currently on its fifth draft (oh, what a different world from novel writing this is) and I feel like I’m getting there with it. Yes I have my moments of doubt (and I’m sure I’ll get more of those in the future) but right now I’m riding a bit of a wave. The reality of how competitive the children’s book market is isn’t nagging me too much. (Yet.)
Next, I’ve got lots of research to do to find out who I could possibly submit it to and what I need to be keeping an eye on in terms of, well, anything really… this is all new. And all quite exciting. And quite scary too.
So that’s me at the moment. That’s very much ‘what I’m writing’!
One final thing – I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Sara for the inspiration. It’s amazing where one word can take you!