I returned last evening from a lovely weekend at the NJSCBWI annual June conference. The workshops were helpful and the keynotes from Suzy Ismail and David Wiesner were inspiring. Over the course of the weekend, I met writers and illustrators at all stages of their careers. I especially enjoyed chatting with several pre-published writers, early in their journeys, and I was reminded of this oldie, but goodie, which still rings so true (at least for me). Happy Monday!
I still miss the Korean Dogwood that graced our old front yard. Every year it was the very last to bloom in our neighborhood. Long after the forsythia had turned from yellow to green and the cherry and apple trees had not only bloomed, but lost their blossoms, it still stood green, but flower-less. Then, just when folks began to wonder if it would ever bloom, out popped the creamiest four-petaled blossoms I’ve ever seen. Set against the dogwood’s thick foliage, the blossoms were so stunning, passersby often stopped to admire them.
I began my writing career in that house and that tree became an annual reminder that it’s okay to take your time learning and improving the craft. In fact, it’s better not to rush into subbing manuscripts until you’ve really honed your writing skills. When I look back at my earliest pieces, I’m amazed at how stilted, clumsy and rough they are. It has taken years of writing daily, reading, studying the craft, attending conferences, and participating in peer critique to develop into the writer I am today.
Writing is not a race to get published. Rather it’s a beautiful journey to be savored and enjoyed. So, enjoy the process and remember, it’s okay to bloom in your own time.