current or past writing project presented you with a new writing challenge, and
what was that challenge?
I set a challenge for myself with Together We Ride. I wanted to write a book that had fewer words than Let’s Dance! and used the same end rhyme throughout the text. I met both challenges. Together We Ride has only 30 words, half the number of Let’s Dance!, and all the words (except one) rhyme with “ride.”
What method(s) did you employ to work
through the obstacle?
What helped me most with the challenge was my own determination. After all, I had set my own challenge, and I wanted to succeed. For inspiration, I consulted Cheryl Klein’s book Wings, which has only 12 words (wow!), and I used rhymezome.com, a helpful tool for those writing rhyme.
The outcome was that I met the challenge. Further evidence of my success was that when my agent went on submission, immediately after signing with him, with the manuscript for Together We Ride (at the time called Bike Ride) sold at auction. Ultimately, I ended up with two two-book deals from two different publishers! The best outcome is that Together We Ride will release on April 26, and you may preorder it now from RJ Julia.
What did you learn from the effort?
I learned that writing is like life. There are ups and downs, bumps in the road, and rollercoaster rides that can seem as if you’re about to fly off the track! So, be sure to celebrate your successes. Even the little ones … like a completed draft or half of a draft, revisions, or a rejection. Yes, a rejection. A rejection means it wasn’t the right time for you, but you’re that much closer to a “yes.” Celebrate everything – a class you took, a conference you attended, your critique group members, new followers on social media, winning a giveaway. These are all things that can bring joy when you’re feeling discouraged. The best way to experience success (whatever success means for you) is to set goals and work hard to achieve them. You will definitely have more successes to celebrate!
What one thing would
you tell other writers that you hope they’ll really take to heart?
Besides what I’ve mentioned, I’d add to make sure they enjoy every moment — even the challenging parts because that’s how you grow — in writing and in life.
Besides writing picture books, Valerie Bolling has published articles The National Writing Project’s Quarterly. She is a member of SCBWI, the Authors Guild, and NCTE. Valerie and her husband live in Connecticut and enjoy traveling, hiking, reading and going to the theater.