What was he scared of anyhow?…Sometimes he acted like the original yellow-bellied sapsucker. (from Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson)
I have a dream. It is to write children’s books. I have prepared a couple of manuscripts for picture books and I think they’re good. I have not gotten up the gumption to submit them to any publishers yet. I just feel like I need more feedback, more assurance, more confidence before I take that leap. Next Tuesday I am inviting a whole faculty of elementary school teachers to review a couple of my manuscripts. Aunt Connie is doing this with me, bringing a couple of her children’s book manuscripts. Connie is confident. I am a nervous wreck. I have not even looked at these manuscripts in about two months. I printed them out a couple of days ago, but have yet to work up the courage to do a final edit before I make copies for the critique.
Why am I so worked up over this? They are doing me a huge favor. I want good feedback, feedback I can use. Even if it’s negative. I need this feedback. The responses will be anonymous, so if someone says something really negative, I can’t possibly take it personally. Why am I so worried? What if they hate the stories? What if they give me pitiful looks and shake their heads and say, “Bless her heart?” What if they don’t get my sense of humor? What if the stories don’t work without illustrations? Seriously, why do I do this? Why can’t I be the person who says–What if they love the stories? What if they can’t get enough? What if they demand another story about that character? What if they not only “get” my sense of humor, but laugh out loud?
Sometimes I act like the original yellow-bellied sapsucker. What am I scared of anyhow? Even if they hate them, it will be a chance for growth and improvement.