Ever Optimistic

I participated in another Twitter Pitch party. I haven’t received and “hearts” on my pitch.


An independent girl takes a job at a whimsical greenhouse in hopes of a beautiful reward. She will have to rely on her determination and pluck to get through the mud, worms, and other messy challenges. #PitMad #PB

The road to publishing is long for most. I have a degree in literature, and I quit a career in technical editing and writing to stay at home with my children. That is when I started this blog.

I’ve been writing intensely for almost 10 years. To some that’s a lot, to others just a warm up to the publishing marathon. For me it’s joy and frustration, maddening and elation.

The bottom line is that I believe this is my path. I am suppose to write. Whatever that means.

I may not receive any likes on my pitch, but I did pitch. I had a screaming seven-month-old and a two-year-old vying for my phone and attention, but I pitched! I’m proud of that.


Essay or Children’s Book?

Every children’s book is a short story, but not every short story is a children’s book.

I’ve been writing children’s literature for about a year, and I still have so much to learn. Where can I improve most? Stop over thinking, and over complicating the story.

Even though my goal is to reach children, I’m still writing for adults. My strongest writing is short non-fiction. Therefore, my children book manuscripts are based on my own childhood. That’s my comfort zone.

The problem though, is that I’m reflecting on these experiences with the eyes of an adult – and that is how they are written.

Children understand big concepts, and depending on the age, they are starting to grasp big emotions. However, when I start focusing on the moral, and lessons-learned from my experiences, the fun and adventure can fade out of focus.

I’ve edited a lot of children’s book manuscripts that are “in-work” and I’ve noticed this trend. We need to write to keep a child’s attention and it’s hard, we want to put our big adult ideas all over it. Kids are smart, they have keen ears, and when we start hammering morals and lessons into stories all they hear is, “preach, preach, preach” and let’s be honest, nobody wants to hear that (especially a seven-year-old). Yet children’s book authors are quick to make that mistake.

So, if you’re wondering where my focus is when I’m editing its to take the “preach” out of my text. Carefully weaving the moral or lesson into the story.

I typically let my writing lead and I follow. Sometimes I’m disappointed when I set out to write a children’s book and end up with a personal essay, but I firmly believe that we write how and when we need to write. Through writing we dig into our sub-conscious and unravel a truth we’ve been searching inward to find.

If we end with a different genre than we intended, well then, so be it.

-Rachel McKee

30,000 Words Deep

I reached 30k words on my YA story last night. Every time I hit another 10k word milestone, I think to myself, there’s no way I can write another 10k words, then, somehow, I do.

Fun/Frustrating Fact: My poor book still does not have a name, (a book has no name, the book who shall remain nameless).

You guys, writing a book is hard. It is the most mentally challenging thing I have ever done. Every day I call myself crazy for even trying. I get overwhelmed by plot details, and maintaining realistic dialogue. Every day I give up. But after my son is tucked in for the night, and I pass the office next to his room, my computer glows and beckons me to write and I answer its call. I turn off my inner dialogue and I write.

girl typing computer glow

I write exactly how I see each scene unfolding. I picture the characters and how they look, their gestures, mannerisms. I’m constantly asking myself, how do they feel, and what do they want right now? I worry about the “what ifs” when I finally lay my head down to sleep, I worry about them when I clean the sink, or when I cook dinner. I don’t allow the overwhelming fear of failure to creep in when I’m writing.

You guys play a crucial role in my motivation. Your kind words of encouragement and motivation give me the kick that I need to keep going. The beautiful stories you share on your blogs inspire me, and chatting with you in the comments section gives me community. For that, I am forever grateful.

I’ve talked this darn book up so much, I don’t want to be the chump that doesn’t finish.

Love and Cheers,

-Rachel McKee


20,000 Words Deep

I just reached 20,000 words on my YA novel. So I’m over here like…

Ahh The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, love that show.


The little one is still asleep, so I’m going to keep writing.

I Hope you are having a great weekend!