This month, we’re talking about persistence. Dare I admit I have a picture book manuscript featuring a spider that’s been revised over 100 times over the past five years?
(Spoiler: I dare. I do.)
You see, although spiders usually scare me, this tiny eight-legged lovely has woven her way into my heart. And although it’s been quite some time since I’ve revisited the story, the idea of abandoning this sweet arachnid - and her tale - scares me even more.
As an author, I often refer to my books as my “babies.” And why not? I love them from the time they’re but a gleam in my eye, to the moment those first words appear on the paper, through the years of development and growth. And oh! When they graduate and slip into those magnificent covers? I am one proud mama. Of course, I work hard to “raise” my stories in a manner to help them gain acceptance into the world. With baited breath I wait, praying they’ll make friends, and not be left isolated and lonely on some dusty shelf. That they’ll challenge others to think, to explore, to learn. To connect. That they’ll be respected, even if others’ viewpoints differ. That they’ll inspire, and perhaps even change the world for the better.
And like most kids, a story needs attention. LOTS of it. Sometimes, it’s fun and fulfilling and your story wants to hang out with you. But other times, it can get moody and snarky and withdrawn. It may argue with you. Or it may ignore you completely. It may stomp upstairs to its room, slam the door in your face and not talk to you for the rest of the night, week, month.
It will need a time out. And you know what? So will you.
Try doing something completely different. Read. Take a nap. A bath. A walk. Sometimes your story will decide to join you.
If this doesn’t work, try paying attention to one of your other “kids”. You may just feel a little tugging on your shirt. A request for a drink of water. A game. Or maybe, if you’re lucky, a full meal, without the TV on, where your story begins to open up, and share again, with you.
Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I need to attend to one of my "kids". I feel a certain spider tickling my arm…