Monday, May 03, 2010

Keeping that ego at bay

Today's post is inspired once again by Christine Kane and her post on being true to your authentic self despite what the pesky old ego is trying to whisper in your ear.

I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the 100 authors featured at this weekend’s Hudson Children’s Book Festival with my “White Dog Haiku.” It was overwhelming to be surrounded by so many established authors and poets – and when I walked in to set up my ego said “Who do you think you are trying to pass off this little self-published book of haiku as a real children’s book?”

My table was located between two celebrity, award winning authors, Hudson Talbott and Alexandra Siy. OMG. Their tables were filled with award winning titles and kids, teachers, parents were flocking to them. It would have been easy to feel embarassed about my table with a single self-published paperback title. But I stayed in the moment and talked to every person who came by. They were attracted by Islay Bear’s cute picture.

I sold and signed 8 books, talked to kids about their dogs and the haiku they are writing in school, and had some of the most inspiring conversations with Hudson and Alexandra. They encouraged me to keep going and build on my White Dog Haiku. Kids love poetry and schools are always looking for speakers to come teach a module – this was evidenced by the fact that 30 kids came to my haiku reading session and the steady stream of them coming to my table. At one point my neighbors came in holding big signs up "I LOVE WHITE DOG" and "White Dog Haiku" (the picture above) making a big commotion and attracting lots of attention to my table.

Hudson and Alexandra pointed me to resources and offered their own help as mentors on my writing journey. Instead of being deflated trying to compare myself to others, I am even more energized at what I am putting out in the world.

I just submitted my haiku to a soon to be published online haiku magazine and in the next few months to some Children’s Book publishing houses. My first rejection came in very quickly from the haiku magazine editors the other day. My ego tried to say “See, you have no business submitting anything to anyone, you have no idea what you are doing!” But instead of closing my notebook and hanging up the pen, I researched what they were looking for in haiku. I read articles on writing haiku and trolled haiku websites and wrote and wrote. I submitted some more that I feel really good about. No rejection on those yet – I will let you know when I get officially published. It’s coming any day now. Despite what my ego says.....I am an author!!


Susanna said...

Keep up that good attitude Kathy! Anyone who is serious about writing has enough rejection letters to wallpaper their entire home several times over! Your book is fabulous, so keep writing, keep learning, keep trying, and before you know it you'll be one of those award winning authors. I well remember my first book fairs when I was seated next to those established authors with piles and piles of books and I had my one little pop-up book. They would sign until they had writer's cramp and I was happy if I signed a book or two. I had the same ego issues you mentioned in spades :) Even now, when I'm lucky enough to have had a few more published, I still don't feel like I'm in the same league. I guess it's all a process. But it's a pretty nice one when you get to share your passion for writing with kids! Good luck and keep up the good work!

Kathy said...

Susanna - thanks so much for the wonderful encouraging words! You inspire me with your willingness to reach out to a new author, sharing your experiences, tips. I still find myself filled to the brim with excitement of a writing career on the upwards path. I still haven't gotten a rejection on the second batch of haiku I submitted and am taking that as a great sign that they are under consideration. It is giving me the inspiration I need to come up with new book ideas. Can't wait to get them critiqued at the upcoming conferences I will be attending.

Alison said...

Hi Kathy,

Nice writing about the process that goes in making art. The ego often energizes us but also interferes! It's really great that you contemplate this because then you can reject it as interference and keep going.

Thanks for following me on Twitter - I'll keep checking out your site. Looks very cool!

Kathy said...

Thanks Alison! Your site is fun and I am loving the haiku genre. I think it's great that new haiku writers are jumping on Twitter and participating in the haiku challenge even if they might not be strictly adhering to the haiku rules. It's made twitter a fun place to hang for me and keep the juices flowing. Kepp writing!! And thanks for the comment.

Elaine said...

Thanks for this wonderful post Kathy. What a great reminder about how to deal with those 'Just who do you think you are?' moments!

You are an amazing author and your book is fabulous. I have no doubt that you will be receiving acceptance letters very soon.

What a wonderful experience you had at the book signing!