I used to think of the path to being a published picture book author as an uphill climb. I figured that if I kept trudging, I'd eventually reach the summit: seeing my books in print.
Now, after years as a "pre-published author," I realize that the road isn't as straightforward as I'd thought. It now feels more like "two steps forward, one step back" or sometimes, "one step forward, two steps back."
For example, I might submit to an agent and hear...absolutely nothing, not even a generic rejection. That's a giant step backwards. But then, after submitting to agent #2, I get a lovely rejection that gives me hope to keep going. Moving forward.
Next, I submit my work to a writing contest where I feel I have a good chance of at least making it to the finals. But, alas, this doesn't happen. Just as I'm feeling that I'm tumbling down the mountain, I get great news: agent #3 wants to see more work!
Whoo-hoo! I am on my way up!
I'm ecstatic, perhaps overly so. I try to rein in my enthusiasm, knowing that this contact is not likely to end in a contract. It doesn't...and I'm crushed, although I tell myself this is still a step forward on my path.
I don't know when, where or exactly how I'll get to the point where I am finally published. All I know is that I'll keep moving and taking steps toward my goal.