self belief – #WhatImWriting

believe you can quoteYou 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!

Writing Bubble

21 thoughts on “self belief – #WhatImWriting

  1. Mummy Tries

    Oh wow hon how exciting, I can’t wait to read it! Self-belief is so important, without it I don’t think it’s possible to succeed in life to be honest… Great post and very very best of luck with honing your story my dear xxx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks. I am finding it exciting at the moment – it’s so nice to be at this stage of the process before reality really sets in! xxx

      Reply
  2. Nicola Young

    It’s a great feeling when you have an idea and it all begins to come together. You know you have it, when you can visualise the end result. That’s how I feel anyway. I am a very visual person. Is it a picture book story, or for older children?

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Nicola – i think you’re right about that (visualising the end) it makes it feel easier somehow and like it makes more sense. I’m visual too. Yes it’s a picture book. I’m sort of thinking 3-8 ish The age where kids still like to be read aloud to (even if they like reading to themselves as well). If I had the skills I’d illustrate it myself but I don’t. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be expected by publishers! xx

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Iona – I know you’re more experienced than I am in this area. This is my first attempt at a picture book but you’ve been writing them for a while. I’m trying to hang on to the self belief for as long as I can because I know doubt will set in at some point…

      Reply
  3. Emily Organ

    Carry on with that self-belief and don’t give up! I think many of us don’t push our writing further because we get too scared it won’t work out. Fingers crossed!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Emily! there will come some sort of crunch point and that will be the moment I really need to hang on to the self belief!

      Reply
  4. sadie hanson

    Brilliant that you had this idea and how you went with it and how it’s all coming together. As writers we all doubt whether we cut the mustard but we just have to get our head down and write – it’s the only way to banish those negative thoughts. You have a lot of projects on at the moment! X

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Lots of projects, yes: my novel has stalled a bit and I don’t know if I’m doing other creative projects because of that or if the fact I’m focussing on lots of different things is what’s causing the stall! But I’m loving working on this new project anyway and I think I just have to keep following my instincts in terms of what to focus on. For now, anyway. Thanks Sadie xx

      Reply
  5. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    How fabulous! I read this post on the school run and I have to admit to feeling ridiculously touched that you mention my prompt as part of your inspiration, I may have sniffed a little. It sounds like you have a wonderful idea and I love how your enthusiasm is shining out of this post. Good luck, and keep us posted!!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      The prompt was totally the inspiration! Its funny to think that I wouldn’t have written the story without it. Even though it was only one word it sent me on a kind of creative journey. Ill certainly keep you posted. Thanks Sara for he comment and especially the inspiration! xx

      Reply
  6. Sophie Lovett

    That’s so fantastic! Looking forward to hearing where it takes you. I’ve been swinging between those ‘wow’ moments and the ‘what am I even doing?’ ones this week, but self-belief is definitely the better place to be :) xx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Sophie. It certainly is the better place to be. I’m sure I’ll swing into the self-doubt arena soon enough so I’m just trying to enjoy this while it lasts. xx

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Well ‘pure genius’ might be a bit strong but thanks for the support anyway! I’ve left it to settle for the last couple of days because it had been in my head solidly for nearly a week. I’ll look at it again tomorrow and see what else needs doing to it. I still need to do research (although I do now know that a standard picture book is 32 pages long)! xx

      Reply
  7. Pingback: #Whatimwriting October Round-up - The Muddled ManuscriptThe Muddled Manuscript

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