Filling in the blanks…

For most of my life, I have considered myself an introvert.  It’s taken me the better part of 30 years to realize that in fact, I am very much an extrovert and also a bit of an ‘acquired taste’.  I don’t give a whole lot of myself away the first time I meet someone, or maybe even the first few meetings. I like to think of myself as a good cup of coffee (or glass of wine), the first sip is good, but a few sips in and you find the sweet spot.  The past few weeks I have been documenting some of my first troubles and trials as an aspiring writer.  I have shared bits and pieces of myself in the process but I’ve let you know very little about the book itself or the girl behind the story.  If you will bear with me for just a moment, I would like a chance to fill in a few of those blanks.  After all, you’ve been with me four weeks now, we are WELL into the goodness of that cup/glass/bottle…

WHO am I?

I think I cover this well in my ‘About’ section, but if you still need a bit more…  I’m a middle child, an ‘old soul’, and what I like to consider a (mostly) ‘practical dreamer’.  My mom once told me that I “missed a good chance to be a fifties housewife”.  I am blessed to have a pretty great ‘poker face’ which I often use to my advantage.  I also have a fear of heights, which I tried to overcome in a moment of courageous insanity by ‘paragliding’.  It was an incredible experience, there are pictures to prove it, but it did NOT work.

WHAT have I written?

At last count, I have six children’s book manuscripts. My current WIP (work in progress) is a cheerful story about a young boy who discovers the power of his own imagination.  The main character overcomes a bout of boredom without technology or T.V., using only a healthy dose of his own creativity energy.  The first draft of this story came to me one sticky, hot summer afternoon but I have (almost) completely revised and rewritten it four times since that day.  I’ve used professional editors, asked lots of questions, and a picked the brains of a couple of people who really know what they’re talking about.  It’s designed to give the illustrations a chance to tell the REAL story and is written in rhyme (which is MUCH more difficult than you would expect….more on that another day).

WHEN will all of this payoff?

THAT is the million dollar question.  The publishing process is a painfully slow one.  Earlier this month, I sent my latest edition of the manuscript to another editor, and I am eagerly waiting for her feedback.   After another round of re-writing, I can only hope that the book is in good enough shape for submission.  There are two paths that can be taken at this point, I can look for an agent or I can look for a publisher.  The agent, if I chose that route, will look for a publisher with me and help me to navigate the publishing process.  The publishing houses don’t require authors to have an agent, however, and often times securing an agent is easier with a published book on your resume.  It feels a bit like a Chicken-Or-The-Egg dilemma.  If you have an opinion on the matter I would love to hear it! I wish I had a crystal ball.

WHERE do I write?

You name it, I’ve probably written there (at least jotting down mental notes).  My favorite places to write are at my little white desk, curled up in a cozy brown chair, or sitting outside in the south Louisiana sunshine.

WHY I do write?

  • For myself… Once my thoughts and ideas are down on paper they become more tangible for and things often come into focus. I write so that I can hear myself think.
  • For my husband… because I am cranky when I don’t, and without a doubt, more difficult to live with. I write because I am my best self when I do so.  He is wonderful and I want to give him my best.
  • For my children… so that they always believe in themselves and chase after their own dreams (as cliché as that sounds). I want them to think outside of their own box and understand that exercising their creative ‘muscle’ is as important as any other.  I have a daughter who has the spirit of an artist, a middle son who delights in telling a good story, and a three-year-old who loves to perform, maybe one of these lessons will be a big one for them.
  • For other children… and the adults who love them. I fell in love with books while I was sitting beside the adults who first read to me. Over time being read-to, became reading-with, and then reading-to those same people. I yearn to create those same kinds of moments for children; mine and others.  I fully believe that arming children with a love of reading inspires a love of learning, which will contribute to a better world for us all.
  • For the stories inside of me… William Faulkner said, “If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” I’m beginning to understand what a painful struggle it can be to harness inspiration and creativity, and also how necessary it is.  These stories are as much a part of me as I am of them.  I love them enough to give them fertile soil, sun and room to grow, even if it means exposing them to the elements of rejections, editing, and opinions.

HOW did I get here?

This is a question I’m still trying to answer, but with each day I’m growing more excited to see where this journey will take me.

This was a long one! Thanks for sharing this time with me.

Hope you all have a safe and happy Mardi Gras!

Thanks for reading, come back anytime,

-JP

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6 thoughts on “Filling in the blanks…

  1. Thanks Jenny. I always enjoy reading your work. Your writings are like a good book. We get a sneak peek inside your head, and this peek gives us a clue about the evolution of your story. From one old soul to another….keep writing and evolving.

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  2. I love the Faulkner quote. And I agree, ITS HARD!!!! You and I are such similar creatures. One day we just have to sit and commiserate about ‘the process’, lol! Good luck with the latest revisions and editions. Keep us posted.

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  3. Jennifer,

    For years I submitted to publishing houses only to end up with rejections. And then I learned that getting an agent is better. In fact, I went to one of Meg Cabot’s book signings and she told me to get an agent. I should have listened to her advice earlier. Think about it: If you submit to editors and they don’t accept, you will limit where an agent can submit your work. ~Hope this helps.

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