Practice Makes Perfect
If you don't have publishing figured out, welcome to my world. It is always changing and evolving with new editors, new agents and new opportunities.
One of the best actions you can take each day is to continue to get your writing into the marketplace. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” You have to be actively working in the field to find success.
During a summer long ago, I took typing in summer school. It was in the pre-computer days and we learned on electric typewriters. If you hesitated or pushed the wrong keys, the mistakes were instantaneous. Yet these typewriters also had an amazing button to erase the mistakes. After using the old manual typewriters, that correction key was remarkable. I was an average typist during high school. I believe I earned a solid C in that class.
You’d never know it today. If you’ve ever seen me type, it’s pretty quick. When I work in an office, I get a steady stream of comments about my speed and the clicking on the keys. I’m a hard typist because for many years I used manual typewriters to write stories. Why the speed? Because I’ve done it repeatedly—every day for years. In the early days of my journalism training, we learned to compose at the typewriter. We created sentences in our minds, then put them instantly into the typewriter. It’s the perfect skill for any journalist since there is no time in the newspaper world to rewrite or stew about the syntax of the sentence. You need to spread your notes around you on the desk and spit out the story. It’s another skill which has served me well over the years.
I don’t know what you are facing today. You may be wondering if you will ever get a magazine article published. You may be struggling to find any children’s book editor to give your work some attention. Or possibly your book proposal is getting lots of rejection. Maybe your novel is languishing on some editor’s desk (or worse it’s stuck in your file drawer and has never been sent out—yet). I want to encourage you about the value of repetition. Select something—then do it repeatedly. If it’s children’s books, then write lots of them. Read lots of them and send them into the market. Try the children’s magazine market and also the children’s book market. Join organizations like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and learn about the current editorial needs and trends in the market. Then get your material out there—over and over—with excellence.
My skill set and learning in this market continues to grow daily. I understand the value of repetition—constantly throwing out new ideas and different types of writing. Then I write over and over. It’s not rocket science. You can do it too.