Monday, March 1, 2021



March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb or vice versa, depending on which story it chooses to tell. This month, the Rate Your Story Judges are here to tell their advice on being a lion or lamb or having the Luck of the Irish. 

How do you approach your writing? Perhaps this post will give you some ideas of when to be a lion, and when to be a lamb. Enjoy - and may the luck of the Irish be with you on your journey. 

Katie Frawley, Author of Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places

I always try to be a lion with revisions and a lamb with taking feedback. When my critique partners offer their thoughts on my work, I listen and digest. I try not to get defensive or argumentative. And then I jump in like a lion when it's time to revise. No fear! Full strength! Totally willing to kill my darlings like adorable little gazelle on the grassland! 

Lydia Lukidis, Author of No Bears Allowed 

I approached my journey to publication as a lamb in the beginning, who then grew into a lion. I started out deep in research, practice, and reading. I had a lot of self-doubt as a writer and had to learn to tame that voice, but in the beginning of my career, I was definitely apprehensive about subbing and querying, and even the quality of my writing. Then as the years rolled by, I stood firmer in my experience and became a lion. Fearless, I queried and subbed for years. Rejection letters would pile up, but I didn't let that drag me down. I learned to get back up, and continued learning through my mistakes. After knocking on many (many!) doors, some opened, and I am in gratitude.

Lynne Marie, Author of Moldilocks and the Three Scares.

I approached my journey to publication as both a lion and lamb. Like a lion, I aggressively took all college courses available, and attended SCBWI Conferences for years on local, multi-state, home state, national and international levels, as well as read all the books on craft I could get my hands on. However, when it came to submitting, I was more like a lamb -- I wasn't quick to submit, and would make triple certain my story was ready for the targeted publisher. As a result, even if I didn't make a sale, I got a personal rejection and got close to selling many times. I honestly credit that to...waiting until the time and the manuscript was right. But after I sold a project, I had to be a lion again -- this time with promotion.

Mary Boone, Author of the forthcoming Bugs for Breakfast.

Luck has come my way so many times. I love nonfiction stories, especially those that focus on little-known facts, events, or people. In an effort to find those stories, I sift through so, so, so many academic journals, old diaries, speeches, photos, and books. A lot of it produces nothing. But, when I latch onto a nugget that can be formed into a story, I feel like the luckiest person ever! It’s like I’ve found something truly amazing and I can’t wait to share it with everyone else.

Lamb or lion? There's a time for each. Sometimes, it's right to be a Lamb, as when there's a story that intrigues you, but, after research and consideration, you realize that it's just not your story to tell. That's a time to step back and defer to another (or, if you want to be a Lion about it, steer an appropriate writer toward the idea). Sometimes, though, a story finds you, but you need to find the courage to take it on--maybe the research is difficult, or the topic is challenging, or you're reluctant to bare your soul as the topic requires. That's when it's time to put your Lion face on. I really wasn't sure that the world was ready for a picture book about the First Amendment, but the more I worked on it, the more I knew I wanted to bring an appreciation of these fundamental freedoms to young readers. I persisted through a ton of rejections, including a revise-resubmit-rejection. I kept revising it and changing the format to respond to editors' concerns, until it all came together. ("Free for You and Me" was published as the pandemic started, in March 2020, so promoting it has also required a bit of creative Lion-izing.)

Lauren H. Kerstein, author of Home for a While

I've always adopted the courage of a lion as I push forward. I know I must take advantage of both opportunities to learn and grow as a writer, and to market my work. I must proceed with fierce determination. And yet, I must also approach this field like a lamb. I must be gentle with myself, open to feedback, and hesitant to proceed if a manuscript really isn't ready. I think the lion and the lamb are both inherently part of my writing journey.

Lori Degman, author of Cock-a-Doodle Oops. I’ve had the courage of a lion when I’ve taken on things I’m afraid to do, like school visits, bookstore events, presenting at conferences; reading my books on video . . . The first few times I’ve done each of these things, I was more lamb-ish but, as I gained confidence, I became more like my Newfie and just plowed right through it. Still, every time I’m lion-ish and schedule an event, my inner lamb asks, “Why in the world did you do that?!”


  1. I can see I’m both a lion and a lamb when it comes to my own writing. I too am a lamb when I get critiques. I soak in the advice and see what truly calls to me. Then I come out roaring with my revisions. I’m not too proud to reach out to others willing to help me strengthen my own words. One day, I will be able to do the same for those stepping onto the publishing path behind me.

    Thanks to all the judges for your writerly wisdom!

    1. That is great self-awareness and also a great attitude, Donna! Keep up the good work! And I've given you an extra entry into the Fish Bowl drawing.

  2. I am a lamb.....wanting readers to love me but soooo afraid to put anything out there. I'm searching for my inner lion but so far have had no luck.

    1. Perhaps check out We host a community of writers, many of which are learning and growing like yourself. And we have lots of aid to aspiring writers, including webinars, book chats, first pages, study hall, etc. Hope that helps!