Stalled. Again.

AJ Wood
5 min readJul 15, 2022

A different take on procrastination

Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

I’ve told you about a few of my creative endeavors. I’ve begun the process of sending my middle grade chapter book, Taking Care of Susie, to agents. I never heard back from the latest submission. But I have yet to click the “send” button to the next name on the list. Why? I haven’t the foggiest clue.

And I’m writing the sequel — the next title in the trilogy. I spent three solid weeks nitpicking every last word in the chapter where Susie dies. Of all the chapters in the entire series, this one has to be exactly right. It needs to express true emotion, but simply. Gently. Gently enough for readers who are still too young to put said emotions into words. Easy-peasy (note sarcasm in my voice).

The next chapter was even harder. I’ve heard Brahms took forever to write his famous lullaby because it kept putting him to sleep. Along the same lines, I found it incredibly difficult to describe that lonely depression you get after losing a loved one. I’ve been depressed before — just after I miscarried. And it’s a feeling I never want to revisit. Facing it long enough to describe it through Brandon’s eyes filled me with dread. And even though I’m an adult who supposedly knows how to express emotion with words, they still wouldn’t come. It’s like I was a little child again. I didn’t feel capable of writing this chapter alone. Again, easy-peasy.

And somewhere in this process, my imagination derailed, and I hatched the idea of a new genre — read-alouds for older children. See, kids deal with some pretty rough stuff nowadays. Parents get divorced. Crime of all kinds is paraded in front of them. They’re exposed to bullying, at home and at school. And death. Let’s not forget about that. How is a little child supposed to handle the death of a pet/grandparent/friend when their brains aren’t mature enough to connect emotions with vocabulary?

That’s where Mom and Dad step in. Or a teacher. Or a trusted neighbor. There are experiences in life that kids just can’t, and shouldn’t, deal with alone. So, when they experience difficult circumstances, or read about them, a child should have the support and guidance of a mature, healthy adult.

That’s the main reason Brandon doesn’t solve all of his own problems in these books, the way children’s fiction is ideally…

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AJ Wood

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