Friday, August 17, 2018

Writing is an Emotional Roller Coaster

My experience as a children's author and illustrator has been an emotional roller coaster.

The process of writing a new book is much like the fun and anxiety-filled climb to the top of the first hill.  Finishing a book and reading it for the first time to a group of children is like the feeling I have when I crest the top and start to fall. Weightlessness. Complete exhilaration.

Then, there is zoom to the bottom. The feeling of fear! Ahhhhhhhh! I reach the bottom and wonder if I will be able to do it again.

Thankfully, I have managed to make that climb to the top nine times. Nine books. I am very thankful.

This week, I was starting the climb once again. I was revising and revising and revising a few manuscripts I really love. The climb to the top with these manuscripts has been slow and I can't help but have my doubts.

Will these manuscripts ever become books?

I have come to expect this experience as another part of the emotional roller coaster.

Sometimes I meander. Twisting and turning on the track before I start to climb upward again. It just depends on my confidence. It is definitely easier to write when I am feeling good about my writing.

There is one thing that I have found that really helps send my writing roller coaster back on its upward trajectory... a little bit of reassurance. A little bit of reassurance that lets me know that the time and effort I am spending on writing for children is worth it.

I think the best kind of reassurance is the kind that surprises me and comes out of nowhere and confirms that I am doing good things.

This week I received an email for a reader that was very reassuring:

Hi Eric!

This email is a long time coming,  I've been meaning to write it for over a year now. Here I am ! :) 
We received your book as a gift when my son was born in 2016. I wanted to let you know how much joy and learning this has brought into my child's life. This was his first book, but even after receiving more books throughout the months, this one was (and still is) the favorite and go-to book. We learned our veggies and about bathtime with this book. It has gotten me through many bath times when my little one did NOT want to take a bath, and I thank you for that. Not to mention, the countless lunches and dinners it has gotten us through. As a father of four, I'm sure you can understand that lol :)
I have attached photos so you can see how much we love this book. It has been taped, eaten, drooled on, ripped, re-taped, glued and stapled (anything we can do to keep it going) :D it has some "happy wear and tear".

We now have an 8 month old that also enjoys this book and we are keeping the tradition going. The boys read this together multiple times, almost daily. Thank you for writing this book! It has had an amazing, positive impact on my boys' lives.
Hope you have a great day, we are!! 

Becky from Virginia

As if that wasn't enough there were three photos attached to the email:

(Photos used with permission.)
Wow! I could do nothing but smile.

Then I thought of one of my favorite children's authors, Richard Scarry. He once said, “I’m not interested in creating a book that is read once and then placed on the shelf and forgotten. I am very happy when people have worn out my books or that they’re held together by Scotch tape.”"

Here is one of my Richard Scarry books from when I was a child. It is hard to see but it is held together with tape.

I cannot thank Becky enough for sharing her family's experience with Baby Beards! with me. To know that one of my books has been read and loved so much that it is held together with tape feels absolutely amazing!

It was just the pick-me-up I needed... reassurance I needed to continue my roller coaster ride.

Thank you so much.