Today I’m thrilled to have a guest post for you by Nancy I. Sanders. If you don’t know Nancy, she’s a bestselling and award-winning children’s author of more than 100 books including Bedtime With Mommy with End Game Press. She loves having her grandchildren over for sleepovers and sharing bedtime stories and playing flashlight with them when it gets dark. Nancy and her husband Jeff live in southern California with their three cats, the monarchs that migrate through to lay eggs in their milkweed patch, and all the wonderful birds that visit their yard year round.
November 2021: I have an exciting update to this post. Bedtime with Mommy just won the gold medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Congratulations, Nancy! I couldn’t be happier for you, End Game Press, and this precious board book. Thank you for sharing your exciting news with us!
Congratulations to @NancyISanders and her sweet board book, “Bedtime with Mommy,” published by @endgamepress! #kidlitTweet
I’m thrilled that Nancy agreed to write something special for all of you. Without further ado, here’s Nancy I. Sanders with 5 Ways to Find Joy in Your Writing Journey as well as information on her latest book that’s hot off the press!
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I’ve been feeling a lot of joy lately as a writer. My newest board book, BEDTIME WITH MOMMY was just released this week!
What’s it about?
I was hoping you’d ask!
It’s bedtime all around the world! From Mommy polar bear in the arctic to Mommy sea otter in the ocean, Mommies are putting their little ones to bed. Get ready for prayers, reading a favorite Psalm, singing hymns and lots of cuddles and snuggles in this sweet rhyming board book for babies and toddlers.
Where can you buy it?
Ohhhh, I’m so glad you asked that, too! For information on where to purchase it and to hear what excited folks are already saying about it, just visit my website.
Sure, it’s easy to have joy when you answer the doorbell and find a big box sitting on your doorstep FULL of copies of your brand-new published book! But what do you do on the in-between days? The waiting days? The days of editing and revising and hopeful wishing? Here are 5 ways to find joy on any and every day of your writing journey.
#1: Lend a Helping Hand
When I first started out as a brand-new writer, I attended my very first writer’s conference. There I met two other wannabe writers. We hit it off and decided to create a little critique group where we could lend each other a helping hand.
That was just the beginning! As I learned more and gained experience and started gathering small publishing credits to my name, I began leading other writer’s groups. Plus, I started sharing insider’s how-to tips on my blog about various publishing strategies that had moved me forward toward success. I even self-published a book to help other writers experience success. It’s called YES, YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO WRITE CHILDREN’S BOOKS, GET PUBLISHED, AND BUILD A SUCCESSFUL WRITING CAREER. Just visit my book’s website to find out more.
If you’re a beginner, there will always be other writers with your same lack of experience. Make it your goal to join or create groups where you can help each other or cheer each other on. And when you tuck a few exciting experiences under your writer’s belt, start lending a hand to writers who haven’t yet come as far as you. You’ll be sure to find joy!
#2: Host a KidLit Party
At one point of my writing journey, I decided I wanted to learn how to write chapter books and middle grade novels. I had two choices—I could do it alone, or I could throw a party and do it with my friends.
My final decision?
It’s party time!
I sent out invitations to a handful of local writing friends. I asked them to pay a small fee and I used the cash to buy fancy file folders, pens in a wide variety of colors, sticky notes of different shapes and sizes, and little pocket pouches to hold our editing tools.
We met together each week over the next month, dissected a couple of mentor texts, and each wrote our own very first children’s novel—together! (The homemade scones my friend brought were delicious!)
The result of that joy-filled journey? Not too long after that motivating month-long KidLit party, I landed multiple contracts to write chapter books in a best-selling series!
#3: Enjoy the Journey
Writing isn’t just about getting published. It’s about community—fellow writers, professionals in the publishing world, and readers. What wonderful opportunities we have to meet and connect and learn and grow—together.
“Writing isn’t just about getting published. It’s about community.” @NancyISanders #writingcommunityTweet
It’s also about creativity. We get to play with words and allow our imagination to soar. Whether we’re an “artist” or not, we can use crayons and markers to sketch the setting of our story or draw up a floor plan of the castle our characters live in. When we take time to be intentional and enjoy the writing process itself, joy automatically becomes a major ingredient in our days.
Yes, it’s awesome to get published. I’ve had oodles of magazine stories and articles published and more than 100 books published—by publishers both big and small. But it’s still wonderful just to write a story! And when you dig up one of those “unpublished” gems as I did recently and submit that manuscript years later for a different purpose than you ever imagined (and the response is that they LOVE it) the joy is sweeter and deeper and richer than you could have dared to hope for.
#4: Write For the No-Pay/Low-Pay Market
So many writers I know languish away in the molehills of depression while they wait for years to see their manuscripts get published, if ever. I solved that problem early in my career by writing for the No-Pay/Low-Pay market.
There are zillions of opportunities for writers to get published that don’t pay very much or don’t pay anything at all. Sunday School take-home papers. Puzzles and poems and jokes. Online articles or children’s stories. The list goes on and on.
When I started writing regularly for these types of publications, I found myself getting published every week or every month in every year. My publishing credits quickly built up. Some of these publishers trained me with skills on how to submit manuscripts, meet deadlines, work with editors, work with proofs…the list is endless.
Writing for the No-Pay/Low-Pay market is like taking a college class on writing—for free! And the biggest perk of all?
I cannot tell you the number of times I have received an e-mail or a phone call from a publisher I never worked with before. The conversation always started like this: “We just hired a new editor and she said she loved working with you at her former position.” The end of most of those conversations were…book contracts!
Yep, when you work for the No-Pay/Low-Pay market, you’re usually working with editors who want to move up the editorial ladder. And when they make that move, they like to bring along their authors with them! Sweet stuff that fills your days with joy!
#5 Take Time for You-and-God Time
The best way to find joy in your writing journey, however, is to experience wonderful times of refreshment each writing day in the presence of God. For more than 20 years I’ve been reading through the entire Bible each year (I love the One Year Bible by Tyndale). And every day I love to go on a treasure hunt to find a verse to cling to on that particular day in my writing journey. If I’m stinging from a disappointing rejection, God gives me a verse to comfort me. If I’m lacking the courage or time to finish a deadline, God gives me a verse to strengthen me and empower me to accomplish mighty exploits for His kingdom. No matter my need, God has a verse to equip me and encourage me and help me find joy for that day!
As the Bible says in Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” NKJV. So let’s take time each day to meditate on Scripture and sit in the presence of the Lord and worship the One who makes life worth the living because He is alive. That’s how we find joy as writers…as His scribes!
And Josie, thank you so much for the joy it’s been to be part of your writing journey here on your blog!
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Thanks so much, Nancy! It’s a joy to have you!
Friends, make sure to check out Nancy’s new book, Bedtime with Mommy. My copy in in the mail. Come on USPS!
Do your kids have a favorite board book, or do you remember what their favorite was when they were little? Nancy and I would love to hear what it is. Let us know know in the comments!
Until Next Time,