I tend to think that certain things are easy or easily done. And by easily done, I mean quickly. ‘Let‘s clean the bathrooms. Let‘s prepare a baby birthday present. Let‘s move, etc.’ In my head, this would be all done in ten minutes. However, reality always looks different. In the end, I am frustrated with how much time the task took.
Less frustrating yet more time-consuming than I thought my journey to my debut children‘s book. I always loved writing stories. Creating a new world with characters who can do anything and everything is exceptional. But being an author did never occur to me as an option for my professional career. In addition, my parents had high standards and wanted me to graduate from college. I completed a BSc and an MSc, and I still felt incomplete.
I started to write a novel. Ideas floated and sprouted, and I had a great feeling about this. I still have. However, after becoming a mother, I barely have time to put make-up on. ‘What if I drop the novel for a while and write a children‘s book? This should be fairly easy! After all, some children‘s books only contain 200 words,’ I thought to myself.
Naive as I was, I started to think of a story that children would enjoy. This process alone took me several months! After having an idea of the possible storyline, I questioned if I should write in rhyme. Is that still a thing? Do children still enjoy rhyming books? If you ask five people this question, you‘ll get five different answers. The answer I found for myself was that at least the children I know love rhyming stories. Rhyming is easy, right? Cat rhymes with hat. That sounds nice.
The first draft took me good four months. I wrote at 11 pm when the kids were sleeping, and I actually should have slipped, too. The late evening times, however, were the only times I had for myself. Lucky me, this is my most creative time. When I sent it to my editor, she was very polite. Looking back at my first draft, I feel embarrassed. The rhyming was poor, the storyline was non-existent, and there were no characters to get attached to. There were just a bunch of characters with no purpose. And song-long rhymes.
I felt frustrated. I wanted this to happen. I always thought of myself as a good writer. A writer whose stories might be enjoyed. After spending another three months revising, my editor was satisfied. But what about illustrations? No child cares for bare words on paper. There needs to be colour. Can I do it myself? After a couple of trials, the answer was a definite No. The process of writing a children‘s book is far more complex than I thought. It‘s time-consuming and involves passion and dedication. But isn’t‘t that worth it for holding your book in your hands? For me, this is the ultimate thing.
Irina Bock is a mother, former soldier, toxicologist, entrepreneur, and author of her debut children‘s book Today, I Wish For A Sister. Irina started to write stories when she was six years old but never completed a manuscript. She will publish her first picture book by the end of 2022. Irina was in creative writing clubs in High-school and college. When she is not thinking about future stories, Irina loves spending time with her family, crochets pretty soft toys, and rides her bicycle. She is valued for her heart-warming birthday cards by friends and family.
Follow Irina via her Instagram.