I like to finish projects. In order to get the rush of finishing something, everything I do needs to be efficient. It also means that I need to be okay with minimum viable products (MVP) while I am finding a system or process to do the thing I am setting out to do.

I am, among other things, a children’s book author. Children’s books are roughly 32 pages long and can have any number of words. Typically, they are mostly images, right? So, why, dear friends, did it take me nine months to write my first one?

I’ll tell you — overthinking.

I poured over my favorite children’s books from my childhood. I read new children’s books that were nothing like the books from my childhood. I asked everyone there opinion on using what I call “Scrabble words” in books for younger audiences. I asked people’s opinion on my book before I had even written it!

Do you see what I am getting at?

Here’s from friendly, generally writing advice:

1) No one in your inner circle is going to be your number one fan for your writing. Let them buy your book to support you, but don’t ask them to elaborate on their love of your work. Just say thank you, because they most likely didn’t read it. They are proud of you though, so let them be proud. Again — Just say thank you.

2) Since you aren’t worried about your friends and family reading what you’re writing, don’t worry about the language or ideas contained within your work. Use the language that is right for the piece, not the people. Your story will find its audience when it is finished, and you can help to shape that audience by adding language warnings, selecting demographics to advertise to, or publishing in specific categories.

3) Reading is a great idea, but I personally cannot read anything while I’m writing. It slows me down. So, yes, of course, read much as you like, but just read. Don’t compare yourself.

Read as a reader. Write as a writer.

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