Ok so the title itself screams cliche, but I did not want to be one today.
I had promised myself that I would begin to blog more about my writing journey in an attempt to hold myself accountable to what I produce. I am fascinated by all the marvelous roles Blog Baby is playing in my life right now. Anyway, I set a deadline to submit three children’s books and a contest entry to Lee & Low’s New Voices Contest by August 1st. I have reworked, revised and reread until I’m sick of the books, myself and the dream of being published for the past ten years and I knew it was time. Yes I will repeat! I have had four, and if I’m truly honest even more picture, poetry and chapter books completed for over ten years and I have never once sent them out for publishing.
I remember how after attending an SCBWI Conference in L.A. ten years ago as a baby weaning strategy, (ask me about it and I’ll make it a new blog topic) how fired up I was and ready to conquer the world with my books. I had met such greats like Walter Dean Myers, John Green, Hope Anita Smith, and Kadir Nelson all which brought me to tears because they were my Michael Jackson, Beatles, Justin Bieber rock stars.
I loved them and their work had transformed my life’s experience in profound ways.
I returned home with an arsenal of information and motivation. Only to decide to write a brand new picture book and send out to test the waters. Well unfortunately the waters drowned all that Hudspeth as I received my first rejection letter ever. It was heartbreaking to say the least. Now looking back I think self-sabotage is truly the diagnoses for my actions.
Needless to say I decided I needed to read more, learn more and simply raise my kids and be happy. I went about doing just that.
However after a while the nagging voice in my heart kept reminding me of the purposeful passion I had in creating the books and that I needed to send them out. It became clear that I was suffering from a failure to launch after perhaps the 8th or 9th year staring at the books and discussing the books but never taking the next logical step for publishing. I had become my worst enemy. Clearly a cliché.
Fast forward to July 3, 2014 and I decide to break out the books and give them a 1 millionth once over. My children were all wondering why I was not pursuing publishing and was simply tired of hearing about the Disney trip that the family would take when I received an acceptance letter.
The now 10 year old son who was weaned while I attended the SCBWI Conference made it very clear that we were never going to make it to Disney because the books just sat on a shelf or in a jump. So I set a date.
August 1, 2014 come hook or crook I would send the books out. I revamped the queries and allowed others to read them once again for suggestions. Then the day quickly approached. My 14 year old asked very politely was I ready to meet the deadline? I almost said no I wouldn’t make it. But then I thought and responded simply, “I will be.”
However after a long exhausting week, a sink full of dishes, several loads of laundry, dinner to prepare, along with spending quality time with my teenage daughter playing two sets of tennis, I knew I would be too tired to complete the final of the final revisions. Errors that definitely had to be corrected.
But once I took out the trash, cleaned, chopped and bagged the huge cabbage my neighbor gave me, I made a resolve to get it done.
I sat there at 11:46 p.m. on July 31, having just completed all revisions. Ready to push the send button on three books and one contest entry on August 1. I was not going to be another sad love song spewing my clichés of what should’ve , would’ve, could’ve happened and why nots.
Hopefully it won’t take me another ten years before I query again.