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Blues, To-Do's, and News

Where I've been and what's coming next

Alright first things first, this image has absolutely nothing to do with the contents of the post. I saw it on the stock images and thought it was a bunch of tree branches entangled with one another at a forest's top on a particularly cloudy day. It was only after I read the caption that it was a marble piece of flooring that I realized... it was a marble piece of flooring. I've decided to keep it because it's interesting to see how one person's perspective can completely change what an image is perceived to be, and it's also a funny story illustrating my general stupidity (in a fun way!).

So to start... I haven't been blogging as much as I should, but in fairness college has been... a lot. I've sort of been thrust into an advocacy role for disabled students at my institute because of how bad things are, and that has taken up pretty much all of my free time. If I were to compile a list of every email I've sent this semester alone, it would likely be double the length of Beyond's first draft (let's see who's been paying attention and actually knows how many words that is!).

It's been nightmarish but... it's sort of following one of the same basic principles that lead me to writing. Leaving behind some kind of mark, to help others grow and progress on their own paths. For my children's books it's been about certain themes that stick with you whether you're a child or an adult, and for my advocacy work it's been about giving others facing similar hardships to myself the same opportunities for growth that so many take for granted.

Then again I'm fairly certain the only visitors I get rarely stick around for more than a minute, but it's still nice to write this stuff down to remind myself of the many victories and failures I've faced. It's easy to focus on your failures, it's hard to remember your mistakes, but if you can remember the good times as well, then really that's all it takes.

Beyond... I would've liked to have already been out by now, but the cover took longer than expected as my artist is also in college with me as well and he's taking on a much bigger workload than I am. Nevertheless, it looks like end of April I'll be self publishing Beyond, both as a way to get it out there but also to stop it from hanging over my head. I'm going to make it as cheap as possible on account of not having any kind of real editor & since all my beta readers 'liked' the book but never finished it (which makes me very, very worried about its actual quality) and see where that goes... but at the end of the day I want to see it published. I want to hold it in my hand and say with confidence that this is my book, and no matter whether its reviews are terrible, wonderful, middling or none, when I present the book I can smile as bright as the sun. So, I'll make the announcement in April here when it's done, and we'll see what happens.

Tomorrow Is Today, for those of you who haven't been reading these hour-long rambles, is the new picture book I've been working on (despite the fact that I can't draw). I've spent this Spring Break refining it after letting it collect dust on my USB drive, and it's now properly formatted and has had some touch-ups to make it run smoother. I've even written out the Query Letter and have started the process of querying, although before you start to ask, no I'm not going to go insane and spiral into this like I did with Beyond. I've learned my lesson, and although rejection will always sting I'll be able to get over it. I'm going to take a much slower approach to this, and so far I've only sent the query to one agent. Both because almost all of the literary agents I've researched only take in picture book author/illustrators (which I am physically incapable of doing), but also because I really would like to work with her. It's a long shot (especially considering how I may or may not have sent 2 follow-up emails when I should've been patient) but... I'm going to try nevertheless. I may also send out one more query letter but I'd like to first get her response, if I'll get one at all.

This Spring Break, I also ended up writing a new children's book as well. It's entitled 'There Are Wolves Here', and to be honest I'm quite surprised I managed to write it out. I was spending one day just trying to take a rest day after stressing over so many things, but in the afternoon I decided to sit down and try to finish writing it after I'd gotten around three-four sentences written and then let it collect dust for a year. It'd always been itching at the back of my head and I'd been thinking I'd try on a more... atmospheric day, such as the first day of October, Halloween, etc. I wanted to do this since it's actually a scary story, but the urge to write it was there and I once I put pen to paper (or finger to key) it just sort of... poured out. I still likely need to work on some of the illustration descriptions I think, as I wanted to see what would happen if I didn't make them rhyme but I'd like to make an alternate version of them just in case. I wrote What I Could've Been during my Spring Break as well, so I suppose it was on an atmospheric day... who knows, maybe it'll become my tradition to finish at least one story/book during my Spring Break.

'There Are Wolves Here' focuses on stranger danger, and tells children of the many kinds of 'wolves' that lurk in the world. It's a darker story and honestly from the feedback I've gotten it's scarier than I had realized, to the point where those who've read it are concerned that it's too scary. However, I'm standing by the theme and ultimate darkness of the story, as the subject matter itself is dark and I wanted to be able to present it to children in a way that wouldn't necessarily confuse them, but still manage to warn them of what was out there in the world. Sometimes a scary story or two is all it takes to warn someone of the real-life dangers that surround us, and while I don't want to make anyone afraid of the dark, you need to know what's hiding within it. Otherwise, you could end up wandering into dangerous places unknown, and never end up making it back home.

Aside from these three things I can't say there's been much development, ironically enough I worked on Tomorrow Is Today, a story about procrastination, while procrastinating on working on the MayFly... at all. That'll likely become my summer project, however in the meantime I'll continue to try and push for my other works. Querying made me focus more on the destination of the road rather than the journey and how much I enjoy it, so I'm glad I was able to get back to doing what I actually love vs. just spending hours researching for agents, falling in love with them, and then being rejected without any kind of reason as to why. I'm looking forward to what's next, and the next time I make a blog post it'll most likely be during the start of my Summer Vacation, so I'm looking forward to that as well!

I'll speak to you all soon, and I am grateful to be sharing this journey with you. Whoever, wherever and whenever you are.

Until then,

- Ud Din


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