Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Behind the Books: Still Sitting in a Drawer

During school visits, students often ask me how many books I’ve written. Before answering, I ask for clarification. Do they want to know how many books I’ve published or how many books I’ve written?

That’s right. The two questions have different answers. So far, I’ve published 190 books, but I’ve written about 30 more that are still sitting in the middle drawer of the file cabinet in my office.

Why haven’t those manuscripts made it into print? There are a variety of reasons.

1.    I abandoned them because I couldn’t find the information I needed.

2.    Despite my best efforts, the ideas just didn’t gel.

3.    Someone else published a book that’s too similar.

4.    Editors just weren’t interested.

Will I ever publish any of those manuscripts? Maybe. Maybe not. But even if I don’t, working on them wasn’t a waste of time. Each and every one taught me something that made me a better writer. And that’s what writing is all about.

As award-winning author Ruta Sepetys recently said at a conference I attended, “Your best work is ahead of you.” It's true for young writers as well as professional writers.

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