Preliminary drawings of Mia and JoJo
This is the stuff that dreams are made of. Every small idea, a little effort and a whole lot of imagination can bring you one step closer to fulfilling that dream.
I believe that we all have a story in us. If only I had a dollar for every time someone has told me they would like to write a storybook for children but they don't know where to start. I can totally relate as I was just like them not so long ago.
I joined a writers group and listened to the other more seasoned members, some were published authors, other's were there to learn and draw information to get started just like I was. Sitting ridiculously close, elbows touching, looming over shoulders to those that spoke out with assurance and learning how they critiqued one another with firm but kind criticism that could help them "tighten up" their writing. I fell in love with the comaraderie displayed throughout the room from people of all ages, races and backgrounds with nothing but a positive heart and a shared love for the craft.
I read a lot, stalked other authors and illustrators websites, facebook pages, and book groups. I started looking into everything discussed at meetings from what each role of the entire publishing industry was and delved into every book, blog and interview I could on each subject, just to understand what steps I needed to follow and where to start first. I asked for help (from everyone who knew anything that could help me.) I asked questions constantly, even the ones that made me feel inferior in a sea of intelligent beings who seemed to know all the answers.
I spent countless hours sitting on the floor of Barnes and Noble and other local bookstores reading children's books and studying the different formats and covers and even where and how they were placed in the book stores as that too is important for future sales. I looked for every different type of book and what made those unique from the others, and of course I looked at the award winning books to see what was popular and trendy.
The only thing I knew was that I wanted to write something very original that was mine. I wanted to see my book on a store shelf one day, just like the ones I sat there sifting through like a child before bedtime trying to pick the best book to snuggle up and read at the end of a long day.
I wanted my story to have that perfect beginning middle and ending. It had to be upbeat, fun and silly, starring a character I created organically based on my own child. After all, he is a one of a kind kid!
I started attending conferences, going to other author's book signings and volunteering my time within the industry and sought out the knowledge and information that made the most sense to me. I met several artists and we would get a running start out the gate only to trip on life's obstacles and find new excuses to put it off. We procrastinated and ho-hummed along. I often had writer's block and found myself staring at a blank screen hoping something magical would happen. Sometimes finding the right word to use is just as hard as creating the characters or covers.
There is so much saturation on the internet of the many different markets, workshops and tools to help an aspiring author whether it is indie publishing or traditional publishing etc. There truly is a language within the industry that you need to learn before you blindly start pitching to a professional agent. Unfamiliar lingo from story arc to slush pile.
Some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting were authors, writers and artists. Creative people love to help each other and want to see other succeed.
Still, I have barely scratched the surface and still consider myself a newbie with so much to learn and experience in this journey.
I am grateful for every path I have taken that has brought me to this particular place in my life that allows me to experience this fun, creative side of life that was once only imagined.
All of the incredible awards I have won, the precious child audiences that I have read to. Seeing my own children so prideful of my accomplishments. The many talented people within the industry that I have had the opportunity to work alongside, sharing my books with their children and grandchildren, has made it all worth the time and energy we invested into crossing the finish line and bringing my books to fruition.
I don't care who you are or where you're from, you too can seek out your dreams and make them a reality. Procrastination is not your friend, it's a bad word. Trust me I know first hand. All it takes is a single idea and some motivation and dedication.