Ahhh, the joy of writing. 
Ahhh, the pain of writing. 

I think if you asked any writer what they dislike most about writing, they would tell you that it's the waiting. Publishing is a very, very s-l-o-w business. Remember when you were a child and summer seemed to last forever? Yep, that's what I'm talking about- minus all of the fun.

I've made a list of the process. Kinda.

But before we get to the list, you know of course that all writing begins with an idea. This idea will occur at the most inopportune time. Sitting on the toilet? Idea time! Grocery shopping with a screaming toddler? Idea time! Having a baby? Well, you get the idea. It will be the only FAST thing that will happen to you during the whole process. If you are an experienced writer, you will grab anything you can use to write that idea down. Crayons, markers, ketchup, a tube of mustard- anything. You will shout, "shhshhshhshhshhshh" at your bewildered children because the mere thought of another word entering your brain will squash the idea. You know better than to tell yourself that you will remember it later. It just ain't happening, sunshine.  Write that sucker down as fast as you can on scrap paper, a napkin, the back of your baby's head. Just get it down because that idea will be gone in exactly 10 seconds and you will NEVER be able to remember it again. EVER.

Once you have your idea, you will then begin the process...


1.) You will write your first draft.
2.) You will revise your first draft.
3.) You will revise draft #3
4.) You will revise draft #4
5.) You will revise drafts # 5 through # 844
6.) You will get stuck on that draft and put it away for a while. 
7.) You will remember that draft after getting stuck on another draft.
8.) You will decide you really like it and revise that draft again.
9.) Each of your critique partners will look at that draft.
10.) You will post on a social networking forum that you are willing to swap anything, including your children, for a "fresh pair of eyes" to look at that manuscript.
11.) You will hire a professional to edit that manuscript.
12.) Based on the feedback, you will revise that manuscript.
13.) You will repeat numbers 3-9
14) Your critique group members will tell you that it's ready to send "out on submission."
15.) You will secretly wonder if they really feel it's ready or if they are just sick of looking at that manuscript.
16.) You will hate that manuscript.
17.) You will love that manuscript.
18.) You will learn more about some agents than some of your family members. You will feel like a stalker.
19.) You will worry about your mental health.
20.) You will submit your manuscript and then immediately research the typical response times for that agent or editor.
21.) You will discuss on a social forum said response time.
22.) You will do math calculations that you never dreamed possible to get an accurate time frame.
23.) You will be wrong. It will take twice as long.
24.) You will convince yourself that your submission was lost. You will debate whether to resend. You will ask everyone you know for their opinion, including the lady who works at Starbucks.
25.) You will get rejections.
26) You will get more rejections.
27.) You will google, "How many rejections did __________ get before they were signed"
28.) You will check your spam folder and refresh your email 10,000 times a day.
29.) You will buy every book that lists agents and editors and every "how to write a book", book. You will read them a million times.
30.) You will count the days until the SCBWI conference.
31.) If you don't go to the NY or LA conference you will cry and whine and follow on Twitter, drunk.
32.) You will go to bookstores and drool at the shelves.
33.) You will join 12x12, PiBoIdMo, WOWnonficpic and every possible online group that will "challenge you" to write a manuscript in a day, in an hour, or a minute.
34.) You will quickly learn what "Pitchmad" is. You will participate and sweat like it's the friggin' Olympics. You will, of course, be sitting on your couch.
35.) You will lose hope.
36)  Your writer friends will give you back hope.
37.) And then someday, someone will say, "YES" to you. You will dance like Snoopy.
And you will start it all over again, because you love nothing more than writing.

If you saw yourself in at least one of these, you're not alone. 

You're a writer.



07/31/2013 9:45pm

One of these? It's like you opened up my brain (what's left of it) and saw everything in it...LOL! As for forgetting ideas, at my age, everything is forgotten, not just ideas. :P

Love this post!

07/31/2013 9:55pm

OMG- fabulous. This is so accurate and my life every day. Thank goodness you are in my critique group.

07/31/2013 10:04pm

Kristen, you just soak up SCBWI LA for us, and take lots of pictures! Have a great time! CATS, forever! :)

07/31/2013 10:02pm

Teresa, I know you get it! Thankfully, we have each other! :)

07/31/2013 10:55pm

Great post! I was smiling the whole way through. And, BTW, even though I am a published author, the writing process is still pretty much the same. Really!

08/01/2013 8:43am

Christine, well then I guess I wrote something that pre-pub'd and pub'd authors understand! Wait a minute, it doesn't change? UGHHHHH…..:)

07/31/2013 10:56pm

Sounds about right. Thanks for an awesome post and a good laugh.

08/01/2013 8:44am

Sounds like our group! Glad it made you laugh. :)

08/01/2013 12:35am

Hilarious, and very true! I loved 31 in particular, I could just picture us at different sides of the worlds, sitting there with our glasses of wine following the SCBWI conference goers on twitter ... "I should ave bbbeeen ther, I would ave sh - shown dem an have alllll the edhithors and ahgnents luvvvvv me."

08/01/2013 8:47am

Von, I actually need to thank you. When we were all talking yesterday about feeling "stuck" I got to thinking about how we all feel the same way in the process. That's when I came up with the idea for the list. So thanks for that! Love ya! xo

08/01/2013 7:57am

This is very funny. I love the ending because it is so true. Thanks for my first smiles of the day.

08/01/2013 8:49am

Hi Alayne, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's a fun ride, isn't it?

08/01/2013 9:48am

#32 - my favorite procrastination activity! Clothed in the guise of "research"

08/01/2013 9:52am

Cathy, Isn't THAT the truth!

08/01/2013 9:52am

Oh my, you can see inside my brain, too!!! (And because I have no kids to write ideas on (loved that!) I do lose some of my ideas. Although writing in dust with my forefinger might work, in a pinch. And believe me, I have lots of dust around to write on! I must remember that as both a notepad, and a justification for not dusting...)

Christine's words that it doesn't change after one is published are a little daunting, but I bet they don't keep us from continuing the process!

08/01/2013 1:29pm

Ah, the DUST Beth! I should definitely add that to the list since I have so much of it!! :)

08/01/2013 10:00am

So all this is normal, what a relief! I'm between 19 and 20 at this point, very, very close to 20 and know the rest is coming.

08/01/2013 1:31pm

Jenny, you are well on your way! Once you do a "pitchmad" come back and let me know how you felt participating, my guess is that it's pretty close to #34. :)

08/01/2013 10:13am

haha! So funny. SO true! ;)

E. Kiely Kearns
08/01/2013 1:34pm

Meg, it's nice to know we are in the trenches together, right? :)

Ashley Bohmer
08/01/2013 12:02pm

This is 100% true, and not to mention it had me in a fit of giggles! ;)

E. Kiely Kearns
08/01/2013 1:35pm

Glad it made you giggle, Ashley! :)

08/01/2013 3:57pm

Fantastic post, Elaine! You have perfectly articulated the writing process...and made me laugh at myself! Thanks for this cheering reminder that we are not alone - we are all writers :)

08/01/2013 4:05pm

Thanks, Susanna! That means a lot coming from you! :)

08/02/2013 4:29pm

Yep! We are writers.
Write on! :)

08/02/2013 8:03pm

Yes we are! :)

kelly McDonald
08/04/2013 2:59am

that.....was awesome!
And to top it off, you have given me hope again ;) Thank you

08/05/2013 11:10am

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Kelly! I am however, super glad that it gave you hope! Go get 'em! :)

08/31/2013 4:55am

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon

08/31/2013 7:53am

Thank you so much for the feedback. I'm new to blogging, so I appreciate the positive comments!


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    E. Kiely Kearns

    Is a New York Picture Book writer, a second grade elementary school teacher and a mother of two, who lives on coffee, chocolate and humor. 
    Mostly chocolate.

    She is a member of:

    Children's Book Hub
    12 x12

    PiBoIdMo Participant
    Picture Book Academy Graduate
    WOW Nonficpic

    View my profile on LinkedIn