News

Star Gazing

I guess it’s time for an update! The sound of crickets has permeated this website for far too long. Sorry, crickets, but you’ll have to stop singing for a few minutes while I explain what I’ve been doing.

Here’s how I’ve been tackling picture book writing:

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Engaging in the great wide world of Twitter. Twitter writers of all genres have proved extremely supportive, often following just because I’m a writer. I started out with 0 followers and now, after several months of engaging, talking, laughing, and being generously added to writing threads, I have 1,630 followers. My new-found secret to Twitter is this: be nice, have fun, and enjoy people. Writer hashtags are #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #writercommunity #writerslife and #kidlit. I also love checking in on #kidlitart.

Joining an SCBWI critique group. These people are fantastic. Contributing to and learning from this group has me excited every month. I’m finding that critiques helpful no matter what kind of feedback I receive. The advice I agree with helps me revise my manuscripts, and the advice I disagree with helps me firm up my goals.

Submitting three stories to my first ever contest.  I entered the “Kindergarten rocks” contest put on by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Finishing and submitting my manuscripts was a bit intimidating, but I left feeling more accomplished. Even if I don’t win, I’ve gained valuable experience. The webinar announcing and critiquing the winners is free for writers who entered and $7 for anyone who didn’t submit an entry.

Joining the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge by Julie Hedlund. The challenge is to write twelve picture books in twelve months, but the community is what keeps people signing up year after year. Writers of all experience levels encourage each other in the art of picture books via a forum, a monthly webinar, and a Facebook group. Thinking I couldn’t afford it this year, I applied for a scholarship, which I didn’t win (another great learning experience, and possibly cringe-worthy). Then I received a surprise Christmas check and I was back in business!

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Asking boatloads of questions. The biggest one I have in mind right now is Who am I as a children’s writer? What are my goals? Do I want to stick with one style or vary? How quickly do I want to be published? Do I want to pursue agents? What kind of agent do I want to pursue?

Writing. This one seems obvious, but honestly, it can be a challenge. I’m full of all kinds of ideas, but fleshing them out feels intimidating sometimes, especially when the standard word-count for picture books is 500 words or less.

Star-gazing. Lately I’ve felt like I’m staring into the ocean at night, just staring, and wondering what on earth I’ve gotten myself into. I know there’s an island out there, somewhere, but the path feels dark and threatening and this menacing pile of wood sits here next to me, telling me to build it into a boat. My answer to this? I look up. I look up and keep dreaming. And when I’ve found joy again, I sit down to write.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

News

Bright Beginnings

Here I am, at the start of my writing adventure! Can you smell the morning air?

There are currently three roads I’m traveling on at the same time. (Sounds tricky, doesn’t it?)

  1. Self-publishing. As you read this, two fantastic illustrators are already working hard to bring my first two picture-book manuscripts to life. Illustrating is a process unique to the individual illustrator, so shhhh, don’t distract them! My job as they brainstorm and think through character drawings (before we story-board it) is to make sure my manuscripts are exactly the way I want them. Self-publishing is its own kind of journey and the process is tailored to the individual.
  2. Agent Querying. On a completely different path, I’m currently working seriously on two other picture books that I would like to perfect to the point of sending to an agent. An agent is the professional between an author and a publisher. Before you land a sale with a large publishing company, you need to find an agent that likes you. Before I find an agent that likes me, I have to polish my writing so I have something to sell. So on both paths, it really comes down to polishing my writing! 
  3. Website Launch. Not only am I launching my website, I also wrote a set of Summer Writing Activities, one for every weekday over the course of 12 weeks, in order to share here on my website. I’m looking forward to using these for myself and my children, and hoping others of all ages will join in!

Here are some steps I’ve taken so far:

  1. Praying. As I’ve prayed and taken forward steps, it’s been evident that the Lord’s been leading me this direction. I won’t pretend I know where it leads, but I’m enjoying the journey so far!
  2. Becoming a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. By joining I’m establishing that I’m serious. It’s also already offered me boatloads of resources as I pursue writing for children.
  3. Creating a website. Hi there!
  4. Starting up my twitter account and Facebook writer’s page.
  5. Beginning the process of finding an official critique group that meets regularly. I’ve observed a Skype group that I enjoyed tremendously, but they may be full, so we’ll see.

That’s it for my news. Thanks for your support! I’m pretty sure if you made it to the bottom of the page, you’re genuinely interested. I hope to share more in the future!