Rhymes with…by Deb Joelle

When I set out on this exciting writing endeavour

I sought fame and glory to last me forever.

Back in the dark ages, long before thoughts of the web

I had nothing published and no dreams of ever being a Deb

I plodded on, in my solitary pursuit

With not a soul to talk to, I might as well have been mute.

Times weren’t like now, where by just hitting send

My message will hurl ‘cross miles to a friend

These days, before I can even think about work

Three emails pop in making writing easy to shirk.

Please don’t get me started on distractions galore

Like Facebook and Twitter, I can’t take any more

Friends from my past and new followers each day

Only 140 characters to say what I say?

When I’m not tweeting, I’m writing a novel

For my autograph someday (May 13th), many will grovel

While it’s true that YA has always been my real passion

It’s all about getting published, in the past I did I ration

YA was passé when I first started out

So I looked to the market and charted my route

The Picture Book was selling like hotcakes, oh so chic and so vogue

So I tried these simplest of tales, but somehow my stories always went rogue

How hard could they be? I asked after every editor’s “Pass!”

They’re 32 pages, an easy form, my ass!

Picture Books are terribly deceiving to the eye

They might look very simple, as easy as pie

But that’s all an illusion, they’re truly fine art

And fantastical drawings can’t fix the writing part

Despite all my perseverance, editors’ answers never did vary

“Stop sending us crap, and for God’s sake burn that rhyming dictionary!”

While it’s true that I did start out writing picture books, and one of the first things I bought was a rhyming dictionary, I never thought they would be easy. And I did my homework, reading and enjoying hundreds of picture books. But then I realized I’m just too long winded to write something so elegant and short.

Oh, and there was also the fact that an editor, after turning down a half a dozen of my stories, finally sent me a personal letter, one where she asked me take her off my submissions list – forever. And just in case I found a creative way to interpret this personal note as some sort of encouragement, she also included this sentence: If in future you wish to avoid this editor’s ire, try using your stories to start the fire.

8 Replies to “Rhymes with…by Deb Joelle”

  1. Thanks for a fun read! Creative and refreshing. I wrote a children’s book and my agent said, “It’s nice, rewrite the whole thing using language more suitable for youngsters and add some heavy tension.” No small task for my small brain!

    Have a great weekend,


  2. Picture books are the strangest paradox in writing. Fine art, yes, especially if you’ve ever read one book 1000 times to a child. If you still love it after 1000 times and many years of reading it, it’s truly art! Thanks for the great post, Joelle.

  3. So funny, Joelle!!! I bought a rhyming dictionary, too! I love it and use it all the time (I know you’re wondering what I do with it, aren’t you?). Thanks for a great laugh!

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