Random Chitchats, Writing

One Big Pair of Underwear Blog Tour: Juggling Manuscripts by Laura Gehl

Since I’ve last posted, I’ve been on another racecation for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon which I hope to blog about soon, once I get my life back in order. I’ve also been working on a rewrite and my NaNoWriMo novel which I hope to finish soon, once I get my life back in order. And I’ve been working double time putting out fires for my other two jobs (office and rental property management,) in an effort to get my life back in order.

Are you sensing a theme here?

My life has been seriously out-of-order for some time now and I’ve been dropping so many balls, my bruised toes look like blue sausages. So when Laura Gehl asked what topic I’d like her to write about for her ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR blog tour, my answer was a no-brainer: Juggling writing with real life!

One Big PairShe was happy to comply. But first, here’s the scoop on her adorable picture book, ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Count and share with…underwear! Come along on a zany adventure with hilarious pictures from the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.

What’s one thing that two bears, three yaks, four goats, and six cats have in common?

They hate to share.

But look out—here comes a pack of twenty pigs ready to prove that sharing makes everything twice as fun!

This seriously silly picture book with artwork by the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site irresistibly combines the concepts of counting and sharing.

“Gehl’s debut picture-book text is a silly romp of a counting book with a lesson in sharing to boot … A picture book to count on for delightful shared reading.” Kirkus Reviews

“… Gehl’s tongue-twisting rhymes bounce along winningly, and Lichtenheld (This Is a Moose) gamely pictures the silly activities, from water-skiing cows and scooter-riding seals to twin bears stuffed into a single pair of Y-fronts. This amusing tale of sharing eschews the preachy and relies on nonsense to get readers giggling.” Publisher’s Weekly

And since Laura’s ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR is the first of five … yes, FIVE … picture books to be released in the next two years, she is certainly qualified to offer advice about finding time to write! So without any further ado, here’s…

Juggling Manuscripts

by Laura Gehl

Writing for kids is hard. And most of us have responsibilities in addition to our writing for children…another job, volunteer work, kids, pets, kids who act like pets, pets who act like kids, or all of the above. Because writing is hard, and because most children’s writers struggle to find time every day to write, my advice may sound a little bit crazy at first. But here it is:

Make it a habit to work on (at least!) two manuscripts at once.

Why should you try working on two different manuscripts at once when it is all you can do to make progress on one? Here are my top six reasons:

  1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Let’s say you spend every minute of your precious writing time, day after day, week after week, month after month, on your brilliantly original manuscript about a vampire dinosaur princess. The manuscript is finally finished, and you stop by the bookstore to reward yourself for all the hard work with a new book and a cup of coffee. Then…uh oh. Staring down at you from the bookshelf is a vampire dinosaur princess on the cover of somebody else’s newly-published book!
  2. No more writer’s block. If you are working on a book and you hit a mental wall, do you a) head for the kitchen to find some chocolate, b) switch over to Facebook, or c) eat chocolate while checking Facebook? Now imagine that you have another book in progress. When you get frustrated with the first manuscript, you can just switch over to working on the second one.
  3. Emotional protection against rejection. If your manuscript gets rejected, whether by an agent or by an editor, having another manuscript ready to send out the door immediately is the best way to keep from wallowing in misery.
  4. Different stages for different moods. When you are working on multiple projects, you may be editing one manuscript while sketching out the plot of another, while playing around with different endings for a third. Depending on what type of energy you have at any given moment, one type of writing task may be a better fit than another. Personally, I like to work on new material in the morning and revise a WIP at night.
  5. Double (or triple) play. Your critique group tells you to give the goose in your story a more distinct voice. Maybe a signature phrase, or a Southern accent. And then you realize…the grandma in your second story needs a more distinct voice too. So does the caterpillar in your third story. Woo-hoo! One piece of advice…three improved manuscripts.
  6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Well, just “reuse” actually. Picture this: Your critique group tells you to cut out the dancing ladybug from your story. But you love the dancing ladybug. You’ve worked so hard to develop her quirks. And then you realize…the dancing ladybug could fit into your other In fact, the ladybug could solve the mystery of the missing cactus. It’s genius!

Ready to start juggling a few different manuscripts at the same time?

If you need one last reason, here you go:

Juggling manuscripts is way easier than juggling eggs…and there’s no mess to clean up afterward.

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LauraGehlLaura Gehl is the author of One Big Pair of Underwear, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, which released in September from Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster. She is also the author of four other upcoming picture books, which will be released in 2015 and 2016. Laura lives with her husband and four kids in Chevy Chase, MD, where she is always working on at least three manuscripts at once. You can visit Laura online at www.lauragehl.com and www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraGehl. Free One Big Pair of Underwear bookplates, curriculum guides for teachers, and activity sheets for kids are available at www.lauragehl.com.

Interested in the rest of Laura’s blog tour? She’s visiting fourteen blogs with different informative essays for each. Here’s a list of her other stops:

Thanks for stopping by, Laura, and best of luck with your many releases!



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