Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 14, 2015

Celebrating the Little Things

erikaphoto-45Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here…Celebrating the Little Things.

Being an author or illustrator is a long road. There aren’t too many professions that take this much work up front with no promise of any sort of reward.

Well, hang on now, doctors and lawyers go to school for eight to ten years sometimes!!

True. They also have a long arduous road ahead of them. But (a high percentage of the time) as long as they take the steps laid before them, through internships and placement programs, they can be reasonably confident that they can use their trade as a means of income.

Us? Not so much. We’re largely on our own (minus the wonderful friendships we may be lucky enough to make along the way). And there are DEFINITELY no guarantees.

At the same time, as opposed to the pride and support that many people get (and deserve!) when pursuing a higher degree, we often get an eye-roll or smirky smile from people in our lives combined with comments like “oh… I didn’t know you were still doing that writing thing.”

Yeah. That’s always a super fun thing to hear, isn’t it?

So it’s important that we all celebrate the little things.

Today, I celebrate that two out of three of the rejections I got this past week were distinctly personal, with comment made to what was positive and what needed work in my manuscript.

To me. That’s HUGE.

It’s not the phone call I was hoping for, or the email saying they wanted to talk more about my work. But both an agent and an editor thought that my work had enough potential that they wrote full paragraphs about their feelings on the story and what its strengths and weakness were.

So in this post, I wanted to share with you that I’m celebrating!!!

Celebrating this step along my path to publication.

In an isolated process, I like to jump to every stepping-stone with a big WHOO – HOO!!! Because being a writer takes more than simply the ability to write. In fact, we have to do more than engage the audience, more than catch the eye of that dream publisher, more than sculpt the perfect story arc with characters that are powerful and memorable.

We have to do it all with the patience and tenacity to forge through a journey with no path, no timeline and a million different directions.

And while that is no easy feat, it can also be a beautiful thing, as the journey itself becomes a part of our personalization of the process.

So I encourage everyone to celebrate the little things.

Celebrate the revision that you can just FEEL made a real difference!

Celebrate the new manuscript idea that you just KNOW has potential!

Celebrate the people in your lives who DON’T roll their eyes and who truly believe in you!

Celebrate getting feedback from an agent or editor, EVEN when the answer was no!

Celebrate finishing that chapter or getting that word count down!

So join me this week and let’s share our celebrations in the comments!!! What are you celebrating???

Because these steps COUNT!

And your manuscripts are worth celebrating!!!!


Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for sharing this new article with all of us.

Talk tomorrow,




  1. This is so true! Celebrate every step. Writing your first idea down. Finishing that ms. Revising and polishing. Rejections, personal rejections, & acceptances. Every step is a move forward!


  2. Congratulations! And bravo for celebrating this moment. You are absolutely right.
    I am celebrating that several illustrations that no one has ever really gotten excited about, were picked to be included in an illustration show in February. I talked to the director, and a humble little sketch made him happy. It’s not a book deal or an award–but hearing that someone connected to my work made me feel good. And a piece that is usually overlooked. Here’s to the in between moments!


  3. Those good rejections are definitely worth celebrating — congrats, Erika! These are the baby steps that inch ever closer to the goal.


  4. oh yes! it’s sometimes a long journey, and you have to STAY on the path…stopping now and then to play!


  5. Congratulations on the inspiring words! And thanks for the great reminders.


  6. Hooray for personal rejections!! I agree, that is worth celebrating about. ANd it’s a very long journey. At this point I am “celebrating” getting started on my fourth MAJOR draft of my book. Not counting all the little starts and stops in between!


  7. I am so grateful for these kinds of blogs to read along my journey! Much needed! Thanks.


  8. All the little victories and “baby steps” need to be honored and celebrated. Congratulations Erika and thanks for the reminder that “it’s all good” and part of the process.


  9. Dear Erika: So much in your post resonates with me. Revisions- I’m in the throws of ReViMo and I’m celebrating my own personal rejection I received last week. I’m also grateful for all of the friendships I’ve made along this journey. Thank you for highlighting the little things.


  10. Thanks for all the great comments everyone!

    And congrats back to you all for all the great steps you’re all taking, from illustrations getting the attention they’ve deserved and the throws of ReViMo to a fresh look at a 4th draft.

    And congrats to you all for being involved enough with your writing to be reading Kathy’s amazing blog!!!


  11. Before I decided to self-publish, I sent out my manuscript to several agents. Many never responded, but a few told me that my story had promise, although it wasn’t a fit for their agency. I realized that any positive feedback is inspiring. It shows that you still have a chance. Nice article!


  12. I agree with you wholeheartedly, Erika 🙂

    And also, I have to say, whenever someone heard I was working on writing and illustrating children’s books, I don’t believe I ever got an eye-roll or negative response. It’s usually more like an “Oh, really?” Sometimes followed by a “Have you published anything?” And that’s when I have to sadly say “Nope, not yet!”


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