Knitting Ugly Picture Books

I know we’ve discussed this before, but the parallels between writing and other artistic pursuits are strong. For instance, here’s a little capelet I tried to knit.

On the left is what it SHOULD look like. On the right is what it DOES look like. (I haven’t blocked it yet, but even with that, it’s not going to be wearable.)

It’s similar to writing. As a writer, I have to write a TON of manuscripts to get good at writing. Just as I wouldn’t expect to be able to sell my first capelet (and I use the term loosely), I shouldn’t expect my first picture book manuscript to be salable.

If I knit 5 capelets, I might get good enough to knit a few for family members. If I write 5 (or 15) picture books, I might get one good enough to at least share with family and friends through self-publishing. (Though self-publishing a picture book is hard and we don’t recommend it!)

If I knit 30 capelets, maybe, just maybe, I’d be good enough to sell them to the general public. And if I write 30 picture books, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be good enough to start selling them to an agent or editor.

So, don’t put a death grip on your first few manuscripts. Do them. Enjoy the process. Learn from it. Then let them go to move on to your next one. You’ll see improvement gradually. And you’ll have lots more ideas if you focus on reading and writing more picture books instead of holding on to just one and trying to force it into salable shape.




About Laura Purdie Salas

children's writer, poet, reader, visiting author, speaker/teacher, mentor, copyeditor, freelance writer
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