Okay, I was the queen of sending out a manuscript before I had let it breathe for a few days. I was so anxious to get it out into the world, that I wasn't being fair to myself, the story, or the reader. Patience has always been hard for me but as the rejections letters started coming in, I realized that there is a process that needs to be followed.
Here's the process I follow now and it has worked well for my 2 latest picture books. I'm very proud of those 2 manuscripts and it feels good to say that.
1)Once I get an idea for a story, I think about it for as long as it needs to brew. I jot down some ideas and research anything that I need to.
2) I write my story just to get it down. I don't worry about word count, picking the correct verb, or details
3) I don't look at it for at least 24 hours
4) I pick it back up and start sculpting the detail. I equate picture books to sculpting. You have a block of marble and you initially chisel away the raw form, then really hone in on the details
5) Once I get it to where I want it, I send it to one of my best friends that is also a fellow writer. I make more revisions.
6) I try to get a critique from a parent, teacher, etc. Make more revisions.
7) If available, I get a critique from my local SCBWI group. Make more revisions
8) I put it away again for at least 24 hours and then read the final version
9) Work on my query letter and send it out into the literary universe.
Now, I'm just waiting for the mailman to hopefully deliver some good news.