Moving Forward — with learnings from a picture book

February 23, 2014

Close up of a beautiful woman looking at the horizonAs I continue my year’s theme of moving forward, and continue to discover what that means for me, I’ve drawn some excellent learnings from a picture book.

When I set myself toward a goal, no matter what that goal is, I tend to want to get to it as quickly as possible. When I make a decision, I want to act on it right away.

That’s not always the best approach.

In Susanna Leonard Hill‘s wonderful picture book Not Yet, Rose, little Rose is having a very hard time waiting for her baby brother or sister to be born. Her parents have to keep telling her “not yet, Rose.”

In my desire to get to my goals, I sometimes need to tell myself, “Not yet, Beth.” For example, I’m working on a novel for adults at the moment. It’s a major rewrite of a manuscript I wrote about four years ago. I have scrapped huge chunks of the old manuscript, and am writing new chapters. I get impatient with that process. I want it to be done! But taking shortcuts will not create the book I hope this will be. “Not yet, Beth.”

There are other times when I want to just leap into something, but I know in the long run, it will be best to wait until the groundwork is done. “Not yet, Beth.”

But, as with little Rose, hearing “not yet” doesn’t mean just flouncing off and saying, “Forget it, then.” Rose worked at preparing herself for her new sibling. I am working, too. Slowly getting that manuscript rebuilt in a way that serves the story and is the best writing I can do. Waiting on other things until the time is right for them.

It’s active waiting, not passive. “Not yet” doesn’t mean “never” — it means “there is still something to be done before the time is right.”

Thank you, Rose, and thank you, Susanna, for that learning. Now… I have some work to do.

9780802853264 copyTitle: Not Yet, Rose

Author: Susanna Leonard Hill

Illustrator: Nicole Rutten

Publisher: Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2009

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: 3-8

Themes/Topics: Waiting, new sibling, patience

Opening Sentences: On Monday, Rose wanted a sister. She raced into her parents’ room. “Is the baby here yet?” she asked. “Not yet, Rose,” said her mother.

Review Link: Julie Hedlund reviewed this book in 2012 for Perfect Picture Book Friday. You can find her review and suggested activities here.

Availability: Ask your local bookstore to get it in, or order it online – it’s available to order from Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook, NY. Let’s keep this wonderful book in print!

23 People reacted on this

  1. Some of the best reminders in life can be found in the most adorable of places. Thank you for the reminder as I, too, need to work on my patience for things I want done now when patience is the best course.

  2. That is my favorite Susanna book! And this post is coming at a perfect time for me. I have a YA novel that I’d written about 8 chapters of and I thought was pretty good but then I realized (through trying to write a blurb for it) that I will need to reimagine a good chunk of it and also realized I needed to revamp it to correct a historical timeline error. Sigh. But patience is the key and I appreciated reading about your similar journey. Thanks, Beth!

  3. Excellent post Beth. Understand your inpatience. I have a major rewrite to do and need to begin tackling the project, but family matters are taking precedence. Enjoyed how you worked Susanna’s book into your comments.

  4. “Not yet” is tougher than it sounds. They’re two of my least favorite words, actually. But good for you letting Rose walk you through to success!

  5. Love your take on this sweet book. I often find picture books speaking to me. We are never too old, right?!

  6. I don’t know where I heard this, or if I heard it at all, but there is a phrase that dictates that it is best to proceed quickly but slowly. It’s the sort of thing that makes sense if you don’t look at it too closely. Cross that street quickly if you want to get to the other side, but go slowly and carefully if you don’t want to get hit!

  7. Thank you so much for mentioning ROSE, Beth, and I’m so glad you found her approach helpful. It’s wonderful to know that a story I wrote has something in it for kids of all ages 🙂 I could learn a thing or two from Rose myself. It’s hard to be patient. But it’s important. Everything in the fullness of time.

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