48 days, day 6: the proposal method -- what's enough?

{{ I am chronicling 48 days of writing before my July 31 travel. If you are chronicling your summer writing/days and would like to share, please link or comment so we can all cheer one another through. Strength to your sword arm! }}}
Mourning dove, through the screen door. I tried to get closer, to capture it without the screen between us, and to get the hummingbird and wasps, but they were not having it.
I wish you could have seen the party at the birdbath in my garden this morning: one mourning dove (very big), one hummingbird (very small), and three red wasps (tiny!), all vying for turns at fresh water. I tried to take a photo, but of course they wouldn't sit still for me to do that. Yesterday when I filled the bath, five red wasps were right there, waiting for me to finish, as well as a bee. (Yay, bee! Bring your friends!)

It makes me so happy to see the life in the garden, even when it's the birds that I have to shoo away from the blackberries each morning. I have planted enough berries for them and enough for me.

Enough for them and enough for me. That's what I'm thinking about today as I write. How much of a draft/revision is enough for those who will read it, and how much is enough for the one who writes it? And then there are the gatekeepers who make some of those final decisions, once we get a final draft and the book goes into production... editors, publishers, marketing people, book sellers, teachers, librarians, parents, but more about them another day. It's a miracle a book makes it into a young reader's hands at all!

I'm working on Rachel today, more focused than yesterday. A comment on yesterday's post really helped me with my feelings of not getting enough done: "I think summer just calls us away from our tasks... Gardening and just soaking up the long days are just part of summer. It isn't writing for me, but just the things I need to take care of around the house."

That's part of it, I'm sure. Thanks, Sandy. I want to remember glorious summer... something I write about quite a bit, actually... RUBY, ALL-STARS, FREEDOM SUMMER, REVOLUTION... the joys of summer.

I've been at it since early morning. It's coming along. Some days the tide sweeps you out to sea, and some days you're able to stay put against the undertow. Today seems to be a stay-put day. I'm working on what's good-enough to submit for a draft.

A good friend (who espouses writing every single day, even in summer, all day if possible (with breaks for exercise!) and who produces quite a bit more writing than I ever will) says to think of a picture book like a proposal. It can be revised and re-thought, and even re-worked completely, if you can get the attention of an editor who is intrigued enough to ask for a revision.

This goes counter to the "get it as perfect as possible" method writers cut our teeth on, eh? If we look at picture books as proposals -- offers? -- to write the entire book beautifully and sellably (:>), then what is it that will intrigue that editor and get him/her to ask for a revision?

I think it's a fresh approach, a new idea, a different structure, and above all -- voice. That elusive thing no one can seem to define.

More about voice in another post. This morning I'm working. Hope you are, too. I'm lucky to have these 48 days off, and I want to use them up, wear them out, make them count, all while enjoying these summer days that call me away from my tasks. A tall order. A cool drink is what's required now. Even the creatures at the birdbath know that.

Write on!

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