Enjoying Your Hobbies during Motherhood: Five Tips for Children’s Writers

One way to be good to yourself during motherhood is to keep enjoying your hobbies. There is far less time for them, of course. But it is important – it’s healthy – to find little bits of mom-time here and there and delve into your interests.

I enjoy writing. Last month, I submitted a children’s picture book manuscript to ten publishing houses. I had a blast, and boy, did I learn a lot! I thought I’d share a little bit about my experience and try and give some basic helpful hints that I gleaned through this process.

5 Things to Consider When Submitting a Children’s Book Manuscript

1). Do Not Write to Get Published

What I mean is, write for fun! This may seem obvious, but I cannot stress this enough (and I say this for myself). If you write and do not find any enjoyment in it, then don’t put yourself through it. Write because you want to, or because it’s your hobby, or it brings you joy, or because you want to share your own story with your kids, or because it’s a creative release, or whatever. Write because it’s what you like to do. And, if someday you do get published, great!

2). Complete Your Work without a Deadline

I gave myself a deadline. I had no reason to; I just wanted to complete the writing process and turn in my work by a certain date. Do not do this. What ended up happening to me is that I wasn’t 100% satisfied with my story but I still turned it in. I just thought, “well, it’s as good as I can make it.” But I was wrong! After I submitted it, I went back and made more revisions, and I ended up liking my story better. So, give yourself as much time as you need and hang on to that manuscript until you haven’t changed a letter for at least a few weeks! (This will be hard to do if you are as excited as I was).

3). Let Another Set of Eyes Proofread Your Work ONE MORE TIME

I read, and reread, and proofread. I had two other people proofread. I maybe changed one or two lines, proofread again, and sent my little story in the mail. What happened? I left out one little set of quotation marks!

Yes. That’s right, everyone. I turned in a grammatically incorrect manuscript. Ughhhh. I was so mad at myself. BUT… it’s my own fault. I made a last minute change to my story, and I should have had someone proofread it ONE. MORE. TIME. It will never hurt to proofread more than you think is necessary.

4). Spend Time Researching Publishing Houses

I am still learning about this. There are so many publishing houses out there. Some are large, some are small. Some accept unsolicited submissions, others do not. Most of them have a specific “feel” to them. (Sorry, that was really vague. But I don’t know how to explain it). Learn what you can, and try and send your story to a place that you think would be a good fit. That’s all you can do!

5). Be Confident in Your Work

I like my story, but I never felt perfectly satisfied with it. And if I don’t, why in the heck would a publisher? (For me specifically, I had trouble crafting the right plot). Work on your story until you feel absolutely satisfied and happy with it. You don’t have a timeline, and you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else or any other work. Write what you love, and write until you have it right.

I am working on another story. And after this one, I’m sure I’ll write some more. Most likely, I’ll try and submit again. Because it was fun! I like writing, I liked completing the process, and it only cost me the price of postage. And I know I’ll keep learning along the way.

I love to write, but that’s just me. Find something you enjoy doing – even if it’s browsing Pinterest or taking a nap – and do your best to fit it in your hectic schedule. Whatever brings you delight and joy is worth pursuing!

 

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