Guest Post: Charlotte Watson Sherman
When Charlotte Watson Sherman reached out to me to let me know she had a second picture book releasing, I asked her if she'd like to write something for the blog. She offered to share her thoughts on perseverance. We're always interested in fresh perspectives on mindset, so here we are.
I interviewed Charlotte a couple of years ago when Brown Sugar Babe released. and gave away a copy of it. I'll be giving away a copy of Charlotte's brand new release, Mermaid McKenzie: Protector of the Deeps.
Here's the book trailer for Brown Sugar Babe. And then you can read Charlotte's thoughts on perseverance.
TRUE TO THIS – Charlotte Watson Sherman
I’m not new to this writing life. I’ve dreamed of being a writer since I was nine years old and published my first poem at nineteen. But I’m new to writing for children in today’s marketplace. And the learning curve has been steep. Every day I wake up wondering if I should give up. And every day I keep going.
Years ago, when a group of dewy-eyed writer friends and a thirty-something me, sat with an esteemed writer whose first words were: “If you can stop writing, you should stop,” we were shocked. We reassured her (and ourselves) we’d continue writing for the rest of our lives. I didn’t understand then why she didn’t share our unbridled excitement. I understand much better now.
There’s so much to learn during this years-long apprenticeship: character and world-building, structure, dialogue, pacing, plotting, humor, writing with heart, etc. Then, the rollercoaster of publishing. Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. The joy of acceptance. And publication. Then marketing and promotion. Algorithms. Reviews. Sales figures. Awards. Best of Lists. Or not. Then, facing the blank page (or screen) again. And again. Thank goodness we have resources like Storyteller Academy!
In addition to all of the writing loveliness, we’re also busy building a good life, in tandem with our loved ones. And our communities.
Life happens. And death. Even of writer friends, who may or may not have seen their dreams come to fruition.
And as wild as my imagination is, I never foresaw multiple pandemics, plague-year(s), that featured National Guard roaming city streets, so much hand sanitizer, and so many masks.
After the initial shock of Covid-19, and wondering if loved ones, let alone myself, would survive surge to surge, it was writing that saved me, one of the only things that made me feel better, gave me hope, made the world, even an imagined one, make sense.
Last summer, while lying on a gurney in the ER during a non-Covid-19 health crisis, back-scrolling through my life, I faced the fact that many unfinished writing projects and ideas might not ever see the light of day. Maybe I’d run out of time.
Strength to Continue
I wrote Brown Sugar Babe and Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deeps as legacy books, titles I hoped to leave behind for future generations. Books for children that promote self-love and love for the environment.
And in the spirit of Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deeps, it’s fitting that I gain strength to continue this writing journey wherever it might lead, from water. Though one of the softest substances in the world, and a shapeshifter, think of its strength:
Nothing is weaker than water,
But when it attacks something hard
Or resistant, then nothing withstands it,
And nothing will alter its way.
– Tao Te Ching
Rejection could make us writers weak, but it doesn’t. The world of publishing can be resistant, but we submit our steady flow of ideas, poems and stories, again and again, not new to this but true to it.
I'm grateful to Charlotte for sharing her experience and perspective. So, to celebrate the release of her newest picture book with Geneva Bowers, I'm giving away a copy of Charlotte Watson Sherman's shiny new Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deeps. Just comment on this blog post to enter.
For additional entries, you can share the post on social media and post a link to where you’ve shared in the comments (preferably as a comment to your original comment so that all of your entries are grouped together).
I’ll close the contest at midnight, Pacific Time, on January 30. Thanks for reading and sharing!