I was inspired to write this post today because yesterday, how do I say this… yet another new book of mine hit the shelves. (Not to be flippant – or arrogant – but I have two books slated for release this year, one book for next year, and two – perhaps three more – in my sights for 2014. But this one is my first children’s picture book with Disney. The title: DADDIES DO IT DIFFERENT. It’s quite special to me. (Though admittedly, they all are.)
Basically, it’s a comedy with heart, a dad book based on the premise of, “Hey Mommy does it this way but when Daddy does it, he can’t help but do it different.” It’s kind of a Father’s Day read for those with young kids but getting it out early enough so that it can find some traction in the market before June 17 (Father’s Day) is the plan.
Anyway, I am very proud of this book. Also, I am very grateful. Fact is, I almost never became “an ink stained wretch.” (But for the grace of God, in more ways than I’ll ever confess.)
One thing I think the publication of this book proves, though, is that in order to become an author, one has to be willing to strike out a zillion times rather than not swing the bat. I spent a lot of years not swinging the bat. (And I now regret SO MANY of those days.)
The following T.H. Palmer poem was ingrained in me when I was a young boy and as a growing adult, I actually bought into the underlying premise… and that, I believe, has made all the difference (to pilfer from yet another poet). Never underestimate the value of one great ELA lesson to the entire life of a kid, that’s the moral here.
Try Try Again
by T. H. Palmer
|‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again;
Then your courage should appear,
Once or twice, though you should fail,
If we strive, ’tis no disgrace
If you find your task is hard,
All that other folks can do,
What’s funny is that I spoke to my literary agent yesterday (in regards to a separate project) and when I asked him how his afternoon was going, he informed me that he was feeling a bit down because he had a few novels “out” but they’d been rejected by a variety of publishers as of late.
I, grateful for my own lot, paused. “Sheesh, I’ve been there,” I thought. “Virtually every writer I know has been there.”
But the difference between celebrating “yet another book” hitting the shelves and writhing away in frustration (something I did for at least a decade) was the simple, unswerving commitment to “try, try again.” I am not sure talent has as much to do with it as people think. (Read enough books – especially bestsellers – and I am sure you’ll agree.) But fortitude, unreasonable dedication, refusal to succumb to doubts, setbacks, rejections and naysayers is why a book like DADDIES DO IT DIFFERENT is now available nationwide today.
Will it win a Caldecott? Hey, love to think so but in a way, do I really care? This book is dedicated to my daughter, sort of a nod to a daddy’s love. Ask me if there is anything more rewarding in this world than being able to accomplish that.
Aspiring writers, try, try again. And God’s speed to you.