Tag Archives: writing

What Surprises You about the Writing Life?

It’s time again for Marcie Flinchum Atkins’ monthly We’re All in This Together blog series. This month: Surprise! Things You Didn’t Know about the Writing Life.

My contribution, along with those of Lori Degman, Donna L. Sadd, and Alayne Kay Christian, can be found today in Part One. Tomorrow, you can read what EW Clark, Vivian Kirkland, and Marcie have to say in Part Two.

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Favorite PBs Read in June

As of the end of June, I’m behind by 71 on my picture book reading goal, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to be too successful in catching up during July. There’s just so much else grabbing at my attention. (I never did understand the “summer reading” craze.) But I will try.

I’m attempting to read at least 530 picture books in 2013 – about 10 per week. I’d highly recommend this to other writers of picture books. I think it’s making a difference in my own writing, understanding the market, and in fueling the idea tank.

I read 28 books in June, and found six that I loved. Three are by Jane Yolen. I LOVE Jane’s writing. She and her work have been a huge inspiration to me.

006I first read PICNIC WITH PIGGINS (on the list below) some twenty-plus years ago. I was so struck by the writing I immediately read the jacket flap to learn more about this amazing author. She lived in my region! I went to the library the next day to find out more about her. “I think she leads a writing critique group,” one of the library staff members told me. WHAT? Holy moly macaroni! You mean I could join this group? Yep. And I did. Best thing I ever did in regards to my writing. I’m forever appreciative of the years Jane led that group. I learned so much from her and the groups’ other gifted writers (many of whom I pay tribute to in the photo at the top of this page).

So here are my June favorites.

  • BEFORE THE STORM by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Georgia Pugh, 1995, Boyds Mills Press
  • CHARLEY’S FIRST NIGHT by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, 2012, Candlewick Press
  • INFINITY AND ME by Kate Hosford, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska, 2012, Carolrhoda Books (Lerner Publishing Group)
  • MIZ BERLIN WALKS by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, 1997, Philomel Books (Putnam & Grosset Group)
  • PICNIC WITH PIGGINS by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jane Dyer, 1988, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers
  • OLD ROBERT AND THE SEA-SILLY CATS by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Jan Jutte, 2012, Philomel Books (Penguin Books)

Check them out. Let me know if you love them, too.

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Getting the work done

We’re talking about finding motivation to write over at Marci Flinchum AtkinsWe’re All in This Together blog posts this weekend. Sue Heavenrich, Vivian Kirkfield, Marcie, and I share our thoughts on the blog today. You can find more ideas from Alayne Kay Christian on tomorrow’s post.

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Dealing with deadlines: Those drop dead dates don’t have to kill you.

I’m over at Donna Martin’s blog today with some tips about meeting deadlines. Wander on over. Let me know what you think.

Thanks, Donna, for inviting me to participate in your Writerly Wisdom series! It’s always fun to hang out with you.

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Maybe it’s not really about time

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(c) 2010 Photo by Carol Munro

This week’s topic in Marci Flinchum Atkin’s We’re All in This Together series on her blog: How do you make time to write?

It’s a two-parter again, and you can find it here on Saturday and here on Sunday. (The complete series is archived here.)

My contribution is included in Sunday’s post. Perhaps I didn’t precisely answer the question that was asked, because after writing my bit, I realized it doesn’t have all that much to do with having the time. Rather, it’s deciding you are going to do it and – well – doing it. No excuses.

If you want to write and can’t find the time, you don’t really want to write. Sorry, but be absolutely honest with yourself.

Oh, you do want to write. Okay, then, are you a list maker, one who loves to cross off completed tasks? Then put writing on your list, and be specific (i.e., write 1,000 words on the novel OR finish the short story I began last week). If you’re a fanatic about scheduling your life on a calendar (paper or electronic), book an appointment with yourself for an hour of writing. Whatever your style, when you schedule showers, work, chores, appointments, picking up the kids, date night, calling your mom, be sure to include time to write. If you don’t actively consider fitting it into your life, you’ll never have time for it.

What stops you from writing? Is it time? Or is it simply you?

Happy attitude adjustment hour. Now go write.

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Blog hopping

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of contributing to two writing blogs.

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(c) 2013 Photo by Carol Munro

Laura Shovan (poet, author, educator, and editor of Little Patuxent Review) is celebrating National Poetry Month with TechnoVerse, an exploration of how technology intersects with poetry. If you’re a poet, there’s a bounty of greatness awaiting you. My post is about using e-mail to write poems with a friend.

My 12 x 12 friends and I got into an interesting conversation on our group’s Facebook page last week, which inspired children’s writer Marcie Flinchum Atkins to create a weekly series on her blog called We’re All in This Together. She and a handful of friends (including me!) will address a variety of topics near and dear to writers’ hearts. The series debuted this week with a two-parter about dealing with rejection (oh, dear, our aching hearts). Here’s part one and part two.

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

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March trudged

Whew! March is over. For me, it felt a bit like trudging across a field covered with three feet of snow. Other than feeling quite busy, there isn’t any huge reason why March was a tough month. I think it has to do with the potential of spring. I wanted it to arrive so badly, and we had a couple gorgeous days in March that only teased, thumbs in ears, fingers wiggling. Nah-nah nah-nah-nah! Now April is coming in like March’s lion. Wind! Here to blow away winter’s cobwebs.

As much as March tried to kick my butt, I managed to write a new picture book manuscript, edit two, and submit to three places. So I exceeded my goals with these activities, but if I’m ever going to get published… OK, I’m boring you again, but as I said in January, accountability helps, so thanks for your tolerance. Let’s get to the good stuff – what I read.

Not much. Only 17 picture books (my goal was 40). Here are the ones I liked best.

  • THE CLOUD SPINNER by Michael Catchpool, illustrated by Alison Jay, 2012, A Borzoi Book/ Alfred A. Knopf
  • JUST DUCKS by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino, 2012, Candlewick Press
  • ONE by Kathryn Otoshi, 2008, KO Kids Books

Here’s an interesting thing about ONE. The author/illustrator self-published this book, apparently, along with four other books. I would love to know the story behind her decision to publish her books herself. ONE is very professionally done, has garnered much recognition, and won ten awards. Brilliant! And the best thing about ONE? I snatched up my very own copy at my library’s book sale last Friday. Yay!

Now on to April. I already have a new manuscript almost finished and read twenty-something books, but my focus this month will be polishing at least six manuscripts and sending them out, out, out! What are your April plans?

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