Inspiration for Writers and Illustrators

Sometimes the writing life throws punches. punch I’m not even talking about the 1100-plus rejections that I’ve received. For me it’s the smaller disappointments. The lack of control I feel when I’m at the mercy of a publisher. I want my stories out there, so I can’t push as hard as I might want on certain issues. It’s the hope I felt for a manuscript when the publisher let me know who she found for the illustrator. The artist had such potential! Then the publisher said that after seeing the illustrations she realized this manuscript—my manuscript—wasn’t right for her. Ouch!

Or the times I’ve heard, “Yes, we are still interested.” Years later, I still haven’t heard from them. Of course, I moved on. But still.

So for this post, I’m gathering inspiration for the #kidlit community of writers and illustrators to carry on, to help motivate each other to work hard and to stay focused on the prize – touching children’s lives.prize


It is the quote below that started me thinking about this post and moves me to continue persevering despite the rejection and despite the waiting that comes with the making of books. I found it on the blog of literary agent, John M. Cusick, with Folio Jr.


“… in my experience, the relationship between talent and success is slim. It’s the hard-workers, the grinders, the folks who write a lot, then listen and take criticism and grow, that make it.”

writing advice-thickhide

Hang in there, Creatives. I am grateful for this supportive community of writers and illustrators that shares honestly and supports each other with compassion. May we continue to be brave enough to share our art.


Please add any inspirational quotes, thoughts, or sayings in the comment section below to help keep us all going during this holiday season and beyond. And if you’d like a chance to win a copy of my newest book, BEFORE I SLEEP: I SAY THANK YOU, Front Cover - Before I Sleep copyI’m doing a giveaway as part of the amazing SCBWI’s new Book Launch Party program. You will be entered to win by commenting below and/or signing my Guest Book. (Click on the “enter my contest” button for details.)

Don’t forget to leave your e-mail address so you can be contacted. Contest ends January 31st 2016. Three winners will be selected: One for best inspiration left in the comment section below, and two randomly chosen from the SCBWI book launch Guest Book. Thank you Pauline Books and Media for generously donating the giveaway copies.

Yes, sometimes the writing life throws punches, but other times it embraces you with hope and wonder if you hang in there. I just found out, before this post went live, that Nynke Mare Talsma, will be the illustrator for my picture book, Ya Know What? with Clavis Books. The Dutch version will be in their fall 2016 catalog. the English version will be out in a later catalog. I have waited many months for this news. I remind myself over and over again that in the book business,  I must trust in the process.

Happy creating! Happy holidays! Wishing you a healthy, happy, and successful 2016!


  1. Thank you, Carol for this encouraging post. I just received two rejections for the New Year, so your words on just in time! Congrats on your new book. The best inspiration I can give myself is: “I breathe, therefore I write. Stopping is not an option, because success is up ahead.” (

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GREAT inspiration, Carol! Thanks for encouraging me to carry on. It IS tough to keep on going this business! Like a roller coaster, really. Sometimes a very slow one. I am thrilled for your news of the new book coming out and can’t wait to have a personalized copy one day. 🙂

    As for inspiration, I share this one a lot, but it means so much:
    “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” -Unknown

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I finally made it, Carol. Love your post. And I agree. It is the smaller disappointments. Congrats on the book. I hope I’m right behind you. Hmmm. A quote. By me? Okay. “Gift yourself with your writing (butt in chair) this season. You won’t regret it.” 🙂 And by someone else “Writing picture books is like playing Tetris with only Z-pieces.” ― Colleen A.F. Venable

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  4. I love the concept of “Before I Sleep…” – I often think about how important it is to teach gratitude to my sons. It seems like it should be easy to do, but sometimes it’s hard to tell what really sticks with them. When I saw your book on the SCBWI Book Launch, I clicked on it because the title and cover art grabbed my attention. I think you came up with a wonderful and very important subject matter to cover in a picture book – best of luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Colleen. I practice that same habit of gratitude I suggest in the book…saying five things I’m grateful for before bed. I think it’s such a sweet and life altering simple thing to do. Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate your telling me the title and cover art grabbed your attention. That’s what an author loves to hear! I hope your sons are grateful for their sweet mom!


  5. Carol, thank you for always being so supportive of writers and illustrators and inspiring diligence and fortitude – the characteristics we give our book heroes and which we need to demonstrate too! And congratulations on your upcoming success with “Ya Know What?” I looked at Ms. Talsma’s website and her work is so beautiful. Also, the connection you have forged with the Dutch company Clavis opens a new world for you. Your book will be amazing. Please announce its release so i can get a copy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m grateful to hear you think I inspire diligence and fortitude. I aspire to that! Thank you for your continued support and for your wonderful inspirational posts to Writers’ Rumpus. And you’ve been in this business for quite some time and can draw and write. I find that inspirational!


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