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Daring to Dream: Submitting manuscripts for the love of a picture book

At the post office mailing my picture book submission.

At the post office mailing my picture book submissions

Right now I’m feeling pretty accomplished. I finally sent out my picture book manuscript to potential publishers. Yahoo! I wrote this particular story two years ago. At first it sat quietly on my computer hard drive, but in more recent months the words of this story literally begged for me to take another look.  I reread the story and the words filled my head throughout the day while I was at work.  When I jogged the main character came alive and painted a canvas for me to see what this picture book could possibly look like.  I shared it with some loved ones and when they smiled while they read it my heart sank because that meant only one thing, it was time.  I love to write. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling and sometimes the characters I write about come to life and fill my dreams. Truman Capote said, “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” This picture book cannot wait to share its music with others.

I promised the little girl in this story that I would see to finding a way for her music to be heard during my Christmas break.  The first week of vacation flew by as I obsessed with cleaning my house, especially the parts that I never get to. This week I have been preoccupied with getting the house ready for Christmas. Yesterday evening this story was banging its drums and blowing its trumpets. I couldn’t believe that I had yet to check this task off my TO DO list.  I had already started to research potential publishers but it was a just a matter of sitting down, getting in the zone and making it happen.  I felt the presence of this little girl as she cheered me on, especially when my tired eyes could no longer read the fine print on the computer screen and my back ached from sitting for hours.  I got up and stretched, did a few sun salutations and said another prayer. I thought of the thousands of writers who were also awake all night, getting their submission packets ready and felt overwhelmed.  I walked to my bathroom where every morning I am greeted by this message:

The perfect message when I was ready to quit

I smiled and saw how fitting this message was as I felt like quitting.  It just so happened that my family spent the night at my house on Christmas Eve. The next morning, my 8 year old niece said, “Tita, I like that message. I have lots of dreams that I’m gonna make come true.” I thought of the sincerity in her words and it reminded me of being on mile 22 on a marathon, almost done but just exhausted.

This morning, with my massive headache and bags under my eyes I drove to the post office with my manuscript packets in hand.  The post office was packed and the people there were grumpy. However, I felt extremely giddy and grateful, like a big kid with a wonderful secret to tell.  When I got in my car one of my favorite songs was playing, Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony.  “It’s a sign!” I shouted.  The best part of this whole experience was coming home and checking this off my TO DO list.

I hope you find the drive and courage to make your dreams come true in 2014. Thanks for being a part of mine.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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