I am almost sad and depressed today. Why? Because I’m looking at the wrong things. Writers of picture books or novels must remember to pay attention to their work, not the audience’s appraisal of their work.
The Audience is Always Late
The audience is always late to the party. When I sold The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman, it was three years before a reviewer ever saw the book. It received starred reviews from Kirkus and BCCB. It was an Irma S. and James H. Black Picture Book Award Honor Book. In fact, I have a file that lists the awards this book won. And it will be released in paperback in February!
In reality, when I sold the book in 2000, I was an “Award-Winning Author.” It’s just that no one knew it until 2003, when they saw the book.
The audience appreciation is always way later than the creative process.
Pay Attention to the Creative Process
On days like today, when I have a tendency to look at reviews, royalties, agents, awards, sales, speaking engagements, or any other outward measure of success, I have to pull myself back. They only speak about yesterday’s projects, not today’s.
The only thing that matters TODAY is the current project. And the writing went really well yesterday on my WIP, as I finally started figuring out the tricky POV. The writing is going well! And that is reason enough to throw off the stirrings of depression and rejoice. The writing went well yesterday and it will go well today. Rejoice.