Hey cHEwY gum gums!
When I tell people that I try to write a book a year, they usually say I’m prolific. And in my head, I’m like not really haha.
In the kidslit world, there are tons of authors and illustrators who seem to have new books come out every few months. You only have to scroll through the socials to see author X bringing out a 4 book junior-fiction series, 3 picture books, 2 middle-grade and 1 YA novel in a flash. And there are the posts about writing 10,000 words in half a day, or smashing out a third draft in a week. These milestones should be celebrated and inspire others, but sometimes it makes you feel like you’re too slow.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, should I bringing out more books? Should I be writing and producing more? It’s an insecurity that never goes away, no matter how established or prolific you are. To tackle this anxiety, I put things in perspective. I think about the other authors who take a few years to write a book, though this seems to be more common in the adult world. Readers and writers seem to be more forgiving for an author taking a while to bring out their next book.
A year of not having a book out is like three years for children authors, as the never-ending battle for shelf space and relevance rages on. It’s easy to be forgotten. But if this is going to be your lifelong career, then you need to step back. Every writer is different. Some will be commercial powerhouses. Others may take a few years to bring out their critically acclaimed books. You have to be comfortable with your own pace and be confident that the stories and books you want to write will find its way to the shelf. Quality over quantity, that kind of thing.
When I run marathons (humble brag alert haha), I am being past by 70 year olds who are doing their 50th marathon, 8 year old kids running beside their parents, and crazy people in costumes or bouncing two basketballs as they race. There’s no point trying to catch up to them. I just stay in my lane and run my own race. Eventually I’ll reach the finish line.