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Mary E. Pearson, author of The Remnant Chronicles, heralded the call to reason that “There is no creative clock ticking!” in her blog post on ageism in YA. This truth, as expressed by New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, is worth repeating:

There is no expiration date on writing. There is no expiration date on success, and I will keep preaching this until my younger and older readers believe me.—Susan Dennard

I’m as guilty as anyone for rushing to charge across the Publication Finish Line. I wrote my first young adult novel in two months with the idea that “that would be it.” Luckily, common sense seeped in. I rewrote that book three times before realizing I needed to work on my craft and deepen my understanding of story structure. It finally hit me that once a book is published that’s it. There’s no do-overs. That’s when I decided to take Time out of the Publication Equation.

At a local author event, Mary E. Pearson admitted that it was 10 years before she published her first novel. Her fourth novel, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, was the start of the hit series The Jenna Fox Chronicles. Pearson didn’t rush. She honed her craft and storytelling to resonate on a deeply human level.

Taking time out of the equation

Taking time out of the equation for a project isn’t always easy. It took me a year to figure out the right approach and voice for the picture book manuscript I’m currently revising. I was feeling bad about it taking me so long to get to that point. Then I saw the following tweet by Kate Messner and felt instantly better:

Woke up this morning with the right voice in my head for a picture book I’ve been trying to write for THREE YEARS. Writers, that’s why we should never give up on those dormant drafts! —Kate Messner

In a followup tweet, Kate admitted it had actually taken 4  years!

I’m currently revising for my third young adult novel, as well as my third picture book manuscript. I want my stories to be as good I as I can possibly make them, and I’m willing to work until they get there. You don’t have to be under, or over, a certain age to get published. The secret to getting published is to not give up!

When you’re in a creative slump

I’m not one to wait around for creativity to strike. When I’m in a creativity slump, I work on something different. If that doesn’t help, I immerse myself in other creative mediums, such as film, television series, music, or dance.

If your creativity is in retrograde, check out how some authors get their ideas in my post on how to Be your own muse. You might also like Creativity kickstart for writers ~ 5 super fun steps.

Time is relative. The journey is the reward. Enjoy the ride!