This post is part of an ongoing-blog series about jobs, career choices and passion at work. If you would like to participate, click on the contact page and email me! Thanks for reading.
I am a children’s author. I didn’t choose it. It chose me! I was a passionate elementary school teacher for 35 years. Toward the end of my career, writing children’s books came to me in an out-of-body type of experience. I feel a definite sense of fulfillment to have another way to share my love for books and education with others, and am truly grateful I can continue communicating with children.
Study the craft
The biggest challenge is accepting the rejection. I did not anticipate this. I shared so many picture books with my classes that I thought I could easily write them. Not true! I had to study the craft, become involved in critique groups and SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and work hard. More than 1200 rejections have accumulated in the 14 years I’ve been writing, with four books and one e-book accepted for publication. These are not great odds, but it is the truth of the publishing world.
I also never anticipated how long the waiting would be…waiting for acceptances or rejections, waiting for the illustrations to be finished, waiting for the book to be printed. But I have no regrets, and though I experience the typical bouts of artistic self-doubt, I am so grateful for this second career.
What I wish you knew
You must do it for the passion. There is little if any money in it for most children’s authors. My hopes are that picture books continue to be appreciated for their beauty and power in their ability to touch little lives, and that more of my books come into the world to help teachers and families broach a multitude of topics and spread a love for books.
Carol’s newest book came out on December 12, 2016 in Dutch. The English version and original title, YOU KNOW WHAT? comes out in Spring, 2017 (Clavis Books). Visit her at carolgordonekster.com.