It’s been a busy month and I didn’t even do NaNoWriMo. I finished up PiBoIdMo with 30 picture book ideas, a few of which I want to get started on right away because they make me giggle. I spent the month ping-ponging between two manuscripts before finally completing revisions (for now). And I spent some time going through old papers to see what needs keeping and what needs to disappear.
I know people say not to throw out old manuscripts, but I think awful poems I wrote in high school are absolutely fair game. Because would I want someone else finding and reading these things after I’m gone? No, I would not.
Okay, I kept some things. The less bad things.
While I was flipping through those papers, much to my surprise, I found a manuscript for a children’s book I’d put together somewhere around my college years. I’d completely forgotten about writing it. It was — I think — for a contest, seeking non-fiction children’s book biographies. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t win.) This was well before picture book biographies were the big thing in kidlit. I don’t remember if the manuscript was specifically supposed to be a picture book, but I hope not, because it’s miles and miles too long. Vastly overwritten. Periodically losing the narrative thread.
But I did pick a pretty interesting subject. And the research still looked solid. Who knew I’d been thinking about writing for children well before I was ready to give it a serious attempt?
So that manuscript went into the “Keep” pile. I might never do another thing with it. Or I might just dust it off, supplement my research and write the whole thing again. Either way, I like having it. It’s a reminder of where I was, and maybe also a signpost to where I want to go.