Coming Up Roses

The writing life is not for the faint of heart.

Writing is hard work.

Creativity, rather surprisingly, takes what feels like a physical effort.

The ability to be creative on demand takes years of butt in chair, and even then, it doesn’t always happen.  (Although writers may corner the market on the sensation of having their butt fall asleep…)

In today’s marketplace, it isn’t enough to write well.  There are so many wonderful, talented authors and illustrators out there whose work is as good if not better than mine.  The recipe for success requires a healthy dose of luck along with the hard work.  (Maybe a healthy dose of pigheadedness, too, although I prefer to call it by its euphemistic moniker – determination :))

Even if you get published, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.  A book can be well written, beautifully illustrated, well-reviewed, and still not sell.

And with publishing and the economy in their current states, not only the writing, but the marketing and promotion are almost completely up to the writer.  I think I speak for all of us when I say $%^&*^!!!

(Lest you think I’m trying to depress you and/or ruin your day, I assure you I am not!  I do actually have a point… which I’m getting to… in my own round-about way… 🙂  Look!  Here it is!)

In spite of these difficulties, those of us who write can’t imagine doing anything else.  While it’s entirely possible that, at heart, we’re all incurable optimists 🙂 it may also be because we have stories to tell – stories we hope to share with readers.  We love words and language and writing.  We love the excitement, the thrill, of a new idea.  We love the creativity.  When it’s going well, it’s so amazing that it makes up for a lot of slogging time.  For those of us who write for children the opportunity to interact with our readers on school visits is priceless.  Even without publishing, most of us would still write, though there are few moments that rival the phone call saying, “I’d like to publish your book!”

And every once in a while, when you least expect it, you might get a little bonus 🙂

Last week, I received notification that Not Yet, Rose, my new baby story that was published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers in August of 2009, was awarded a Gold Mom’s Choice Award!

(I would have told you immediately, but we were in the middle of Ryan’s week, and I didn’t want to steal his thunder!)

It’s true!  My little story is going to have one of those beautiful gold medal stickers on the front!  I can’t believe it 🙂  Maybe not the Newbery or the Caldecott, but when it comes to this story – a story about a little girl who is waiting for her new sibling and doesn’t know what to expect – maybe even more valuable.  Because moms are the ones who do most of the choosing when it comes to making purchases, and moms are most likely the ones who might be looking for ways to help their preschoolers understand what having a new sibling will be like, and comfort them with the knowledge that conflicting emotion is normal, healthy, and completely OK.  I hope this award, which is like the highest form of recommendation from other moms, will garner a little much-wanted attention for Rose.  It’s a story that is near and dear to my heart because, underneath, it’s about my own two-year-old daughter struggling to re-imagine her world to include a younger sibling.

I don’t have the actual stickered copies yet, but look how pretty…

Thank you all for indulging my moment of excitement 🙂  I’m a little uncomfortable shouting it out – it feels like bragging – so please feel free to brag about your own accomplishments in the comments to balance it out – I will cheer loudly – I love to hear about your successes! –  and the next time I’m complaining about something, give me a swift kick in the pants and remind me that one of my books has a gold sticker 🙂