I’ve planned on writing (another) children’s book for a while now. When I was a little kid, I created my official first children’s book: I narrated the story and illustrated it. It remains, a stapled book, in my closet to this day.
I’ve wanted to do another one for a while now but I’ve put it off. I give myself excuses as to why I can’t do it yet. “I need to get better at my artwork!” “I don’t know if I’d be any good at picture books.” “I’ll do it later…” “I need to research the process more…”
Anyway, I binge-watched MEGALOBOX2: NOMAD the other night and a children’s picture book was woven into the story in a cool way. I (begrudgingly) felt like God was reminding me of the thing I wanted to do…
So yesterday, August 28th, 2022, I told myself that I was going to write a children’s book. That day. No more excuses. I would do it that day.
That day was a bit crazy. I sat down to brainstorm the story, wrote two sentences, and didn’t get back to my desktop till that night.
I forced myself to sit. Pull up the document. And write.
It was one of the hardest 1,000 words I’ve written.
I overthought every sentence. I was certain kids would hate it. I changed the plot a few times. I changed the main character a few lines in. I double checked synonyms. I wrestled to keep my new puppy, GusGus, quiet for a while. I struggled to keep my eyes open towards the end. I Googled, yet again, how long picture books were. I paused a few times to change the title, then change it again. I kept checking for the right story beats, scrutinizing the flow, analyzing the climax and themes, and rewriting the ending a few times till it felt right.
Writing a picture book was new. And terrifying.
But I told myself, “This is allowed to be complete garbage. This doesn’t have to see the light of day. You don’t have to illustrate it. Just write a children’s book and let it be what it is.”
If I could do it once, I could do anything. I could do better next time. If I did it once, I would have gotten the giant out of the way.
I just had to sit down and do it.
Toward the end, I almost stopped for the night. I was so tired, and my dog, Dolly, started trying to play with GusGus through his cage. But I took a breath, took care of them, and got back to work.
August 28th. With the MEGALOBOX soundtracks on repeat, in my cozy tiny home, I wrote my second children’s book.
I didn’t exactly follow anyone’s tried and true process. I winged it. But, surprisingly, I pictured each illustration as I wrote each paragraph. I thought I would really struggle to write something that had to be properly illustrated after. But I didn’t struggle with that part at all. I was still able to picture each illustration as I went!
Now, I’ll continue to write children’s books. I will continue to work on my illustrations. And eventually, my goal is to have at least one children’s book published.
But today, I just wanted to share this story with you. I know it can be difficult to sit down and do the work. I know it can be exhausting to take the next step.
It is so, so worth it.
Keep going. Keep trying. Keep fighting for your goals. You can wing it. You can mess up. You can do better next time. Just keep going!