Writing the Mr. Bear story was a big challenge I had to work through. The first edition (which I allowed my self only a week to complete!) is now on my author website http://www.betharnstein.com/#!dream-big!
Though writing Mr. Bear was a challenge, it was not the biggest one I’ve faced as a writer. each stage of my writing has presented a new challenge, each seeming more difficult than the last. When I first started writing, I was inspired by an exercise in Gail Carson Levine’s Writing Magic to write a chapter book about a boy who runs away to save the day. The whole thing was narrative. And nothing happened. It was really hard for me to write the story because I knew it stunk, but it was important for me to do. I learned about plot, structure, dialogue, and characterization.
When I moved on to another story, one that had been “cooking” in my head for years, I was very emotionally invested. I completed the story and thought it was great. Ready to publish. Because I thought so highly of it and was so emotionally invested, accepting critique was very difficult. Now, years later, the book, still a work in progress, has become a series. And I ask for critique a lot.
When I started submitting works for publication, each rejection letter posed (and still pose) a challenge. It is hard to be confident enough to write new material when I can’t seem to sell what I’ve already written. Starting to write each day is like getting over a speed bump.
My first picture book, published in March, created new challenges. I had to face the challenge of marketing, often thinking creatively because of the book’s e-book format. Publication brought my first author program, and planning and preparing for that event took up a lot of writing time. I am still learning how to balance marketing and promoting with writing new material.
I’m learning to accept, or at least try to endure, my writing challenges. Like life’s challenges that forge my spirit, writing challenges make my writing better.