By Lynne Marie
Becoming a Children's Author is certainly a challenge. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be a career, an accomplishment, or such a wonderful achievement.
It takes learning and practice, just like any other profession. And also, like many professionals, lots of failure that will ultimately pave your path to success. Think of it like a good story -- it's a journey, with problems, obstacles and challenges, deep dark moments, but ultimately, the completely satisfying and rewarding success!
Accepting and navigating feedback is a huge part of that challenge. As someone who has been writing for many, many years, I completely understand that. So here are some thoughts and prescriptions to help you further yourself on your path to success.
Things to think about...
It may be easy to write, but it is not easy to become a published author. It takes hard work, perspiration, inspiration, learning, reading, reading craft books and attending classes and webinars, writing, getting feedback, taking feedback, revising, and more!
RX: Work harder. Sweat more. Generate more ideas and pick the best. Read more books in your genre and dissect them. Read more books on craft. Attend more classes and webinars. Write more. Be open to feedback. Try out the feedback. Revise. Revise again and again and again. Re*vision if you have to.
While it may be an easy response to be defensive about your story, it will not help further your story if you cannot put that aside.
RX: Think about the content of the feedback. Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it being given in the spirit of helpfulness? In my business of manuscript rating, I see that clients and members often focus too much on the rating and not whether the feedback was helpful and/or the amount of good suggestions in the feedback. I have noticed in many occasions that feedback was given in a matter-of-fact way, but still in the spirit of helpfulness, and was ill-received more because of a problem in taking feedback or lack of objectivity, rather than the giving feedback. It is not personal. It is pointing out that things that don't work in the manuscript so that you can ultimately get it to work. So the bottom line is to remind yourself that these people, whether critique group members or judges, are here to help you. And we are all adults. Honest and objective feedback is ultimately more helpful than candy-coated feedback. Take the feedback with a proper attitude and you will go much further with it. Try it on for size. Often it will work better. If it doesn't, nothing is lost. You will still have a more informed path to follow because of it.
It's important to be honest about your own work and accepting of feedback.
RX: Read. Compare your stories (objectively) to good published stories, even those shared in your critique group. Although I have read books that say not to compare yourselves to others, in this business which includes critiques, submissions and reviews, you will be compared to others every step of your journey. So why not start now and identify why other stories might be better and learn and grow so that one day, yours is better (and becomes published)!
If you truly want to be an author, and you are willing to experience and navigate those failures so that one day, you will figure out success, then no one will be able to stop you.
RX: Stay on the path. Be objective. Be objective about, rather than fall in love with your own words / characters / ideas, as you may be too close to them. Find a fix. Do what you need to do to become a professional author and if it doesn't work, do it again. Fail. Fail better!
Take the feedback, perhaps process it for a few days if you need to, then dust yourself off, pick yourself up and get on the path again!
BONUS RX: Remember, published authors are those writers who dealt with all of the above and NEVER gave up. Join THIS club!
Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019), Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World -- art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project -- art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press, 2022), American Pie (Dancing Flamingo Press Spring 2022), There Was a Blue Whale Who Tangled with Plastic (Dancing Flamingo Press Spring 2023) and more, forthcoming. She’s also the Owner and Administrator of RateYourStory.org and a Travel Agent. She currently lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin, where she can be found daydreaming and fracturing fairy tales. Visit her on her website www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com. Lynne Marie is represented by Marisa Cleveland ofwww.theseymouragency.com Follow her on Facebook here and on twitter here.