Writing can be one of the most solitary occupations. Many writers carve out time from busy schedules that often include family and job responsibilities. Setting the alarm early or staying up after everyone else is in dreamland are two ways to find ‘quiet’ time.
Even though most of us need to be ‘alone’ when we are creating, it is really important to be part of a community that can encourage, inspire and motivate…one that can provide needed resources and feedback. Two years ago, when I began blogging, I discovered a whole new world of incredible kid lit people like Susanna Leonard Hill (Perfect Picture Book Friday, teacher extraordinaire of Picture Book Magic and she provides many creative writing prompts and contests), Julie Hedlund (Founder of the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge), Tara Lazar (creator of PiBoIdMo which designates November as Picture Book Idea Month), Alayne Kay Christian (host of Sub Six, a Facebook page that invites participants to track and share their submission journey. These authors are generous with their expertise and freely share what they have learned along their writing journeys.
Reaching out is important – connecting is crucial. That’s why I was so pleased when Alayne invited me to join in an author blog hop that is circulating right now. If you want to read her responses, you can click here. Alayne is an amazing woman…author of the award-winning Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa, life coach, founder of Sub Six and dedicated member of the kid lit community. Her blog posts are always worth the reading…I know they have helped me!
Here’s how the blog hop goes:
Answer the three questions…tag three writers/illustrators who will, in turn, answer the questions and tag more people.
QUESTION ONE: WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
I’m always working on too many projects. Sometimes I tire myself out just reading my to-do list. Right now
- I’m taking part in Julie’s 12×12…that means every month I complete at least one picture book draft and revise at least one other and submit one picture book to the agent of the month.
- I’m also a member of two critique groups, so that means reading and critiquing four manuscripts at the local in-person meeting and five for the online partners. For the first 5 months of this year, I had a system going for submission…revise, post for critique, revise, post for critique, revise and submit. But this month I’m not sure if I will submit something I submitted in a previous month…or go with something different.
- In addition, I’m following Pam Calvert’s Picture Book University mini-workshop.
- I’m trying to complete Emma Walton Hamilton’s Just Write for Kids online class which was a prize I won during last year’s 12×12.
- I also contribute to Marcie Finch Atkins ‘We’re All Together in This’
- I will be guest posting on Sarah Forrest’s Easy Reader blog on Wednesday, July 24.
- Then I have a pitch coming up on Susanna’s Would You Read It Wednesday Pitch on Wednesday, July 31.
- And at the end of August, I am signed up to participate in Mira Reisberg’s Picture Book Academy.
- Add to that the fact that we just decided to move from Colorado back to the East Coast to be closer to our daughter and four-year old grandson and you, too, will be asking yourself…is this woman insane? (not for wanting to move, of course, as you can see the reason for that in the picture below.
QUESTION TWO: HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I like to start with an idea…then I just write and write. And revise and revise. And post it to my critique groups. And then revise and revise some more. I carry around scraps of paper and can often be seen scribbling away at the oddest of places. I usually work at my laptop…but planes, trains and automobiles provide great places to write as well. I’ve also submitted to Rate Your Story a couple of times and I’m waiting for my July manuscript critique. If you don’t know what Rate Your Story is, please go and check out their website. Miranda Paul and her bevy of pros will look at your picture book manuscript and give it a rating…for free! You will often also receive some constructive suggestions on how to make it better. The site is also a great place to find professional editorial and critiquing services.
QUESTION THREE: WHO ARE THE AUTHORS YOU MOST ADMIRE?
I have so many favorites…this is probably the hardest question of all. Tomie di Paola and Leo Lionni are two of the best classic picture book author/illustrators I think. I grew up loving fairy tales and myths. I read every book by Louisa May Alcott at least a dozen times and the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were my best friends. I have great admiration for many of the members of this kid lit community who juggle so many responsibilities…children and work and still find time to write/illustrate amazing picture books!
The author blog hop has two requirements. Answer the questions and then tag three other writers…Nancy, Carrie and Romelle…you’ve been tagged!
Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way
Carrie at Story Patch
Romelle at Romelle Broas
I’ve enjoyed visiting with these amazing bloggers over the last two years and always find something of great value at their sites.Their blogs are wonderful resources for writers! If you don’t already know them, I hope you will stop by and make their acquaintance.
Please stop by on Friday for a picture book review and activity.
- Monday Writing Magic: What Makes a Great Picture Book Story? (viviankirkfield.com)
- Picture Book Writing: Critique of First Draft (nancydrewit.wordpress.com)
- Four More Things Published Authors Know That You Should Too (kathytemean.wordpress.com)
- Writing Your First Picture Book Manuscript in 5 Easy Steps (slumberlandstudio.com)
- A Thing to Hang My Plot On (beckylevine.com)
- How I Got My Agent: Kristen Fulton, Nonfiction Picture Book Maven (sylvialiuland.com)
Are you insane? 😆
You sure do have a TON of FUN projects on your plate at the moment. I guess that’s why they call it being re-TIRED. Having so many balls in the air is quite TIRING.
Thanks so much for including me in the Author Hop and for the kind words. I shall give the questions due consideration (but my list of WIP is apt to me MUCH SHORTER than yours). I wouldn’t say I’m “lazy” but I’m definitely not in “high gear” at the moment.
Am I insane? Probably.:)
Nancy…I think having ‘conversations’ like this one is what keeps me grounded…I always had a problem saying no to others…now i have a problem saying no to myself. When I see an opportunity to connect and build a new relationship…I forge ahead.:)
I, too, would NOT say you were lazy.:) I am in awe of your writing and other activities.:)
Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing a bit about yourself and your writing process. Also, thanks for hopping with me 😉 Best of luck with your move. I can’t blame you for not wanting to move. On the other hand, being a long-distance Grandma, I understand your need to move. i admire your ability to balance your writing with your personal life and challenges. On another note, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Mira’s Picture Book Academy, so enjoy! I signed up for Pam Calvert’s mini workshop, but got sidetracked with my granddaughters visit. I am anxious to get to her posts and see what she is offering.
Alayne…many have great ideas, but few act upon them. You did..and you created a wonderful forum for writers, encouraging them to to the one thing most are hesitant to do…put themselves out there.:) I was happy to participate in the hop!
Moving is hard. We are onto our 2nd or 3rd week in our new house. I am going to guess you’ll be in one of the 13 colonies? 🙂
I didn’t know you had just moved, Erik! I guess I haven’t been paying attention.:) Is it far from where you were?
Yes, we are moving to New Hampshire…not sure yet which town…our daughter is looking for a house right now.
Well, I haven’t really told anyone yet. We moved 2 hours from where we used to live, but we lived with our grandparents for a year (we live on the same street as them).
Hope your move is fine!
Thanks, Erik! I’m sure it will be fine for us…it’s just difficult when you accumulate lots of stuff and have to decide what to keep and what to give away.:)
Exactly! It’s also hard if you’ve found everything you need for a kitchen… except your plates and bowls. We have 4 different colored plastic plates and 2 different colored plastic bowls, but not our good dishes. 😦
Oh Erik…that is funny! Thank you for the smile this morning.:) I guess you can always use paper plates until the missing box is opened.:)
But the town is 15 minutes away… And the Dollar General is on far side of town! 😉
Great post, Vivian! And WOW, what a busy woman you are! I, too, can understand the reason for moving, while empathizing with the huge sigh of “there’s so much to DO!” Enjoy the process as much as possible — it will be wonderful to be nearer your daughter and that delightful grandson!
Thanks so much, Beth! Sharing this info with everyone has been wonderful because all of you have been so encouraging. Now to clear out another cabinet.:)
I agree, Vivian. The kidlit community is amazing. I get to meet wonderful people like you! You sure are busy, but a good kind of busy. I, too, make a to-do list and it helps keep me on track. It also helps me remember things. So I better add this blog hop fun to my to-do list and get to it! Thanks for sharing your writing process and including me in the blog hop.
I love your blog, Romelle…and I love what you write.:) You put a lot of energy into helping others…and I love that about you!!!
I can second that! Romelle has always been a gracious helper! Great post Vivian.
Lauri…thank you so much for stopping by. The people in this kid lit community are incredible…always ready and willing to lend a hand and encourage others. 🙂 And Romelle is one of the best!
You have reminded me that I really need to reach out more to the kidlit community. I love meeting new people I just get a bit scattered with my schedule. Writing a new novel, two posts a week on my blog, kids, traveling…I sometimes forget to breathe and say hello. Thank you:)
Hello Krista! Breathing is definitely important.:) Whenever I read what others are doing, I begin thinking I need to do this or that or whatever. But we each have to chose what works best for ourselves…my problem is that I have trouble picking.:) Case in point…one of my online critique buddies just reminded us about WriteOnCon…and I began to think…oh yes, I wanted to do that. 🙂 Someone please stop me!!!!!! At this point I can take on NOTHING more.:)
Well, I thought I was busy but I see I’m not the only one! Thanks for sharing these resources. I need to look at them more year and participate. This year has been way too hectic for that but I really hope I can do it in 2014.
You are already doing so much! And you have two young children! I am in awe of all you have accomplished, Milka.:)
Thanks, Vivian. I sure don’t have time to get bored!
Thanks for tagging me, Vivian! You sound VERY busy. I’m not sure how you are finding time to keep up with it all! 🙂
I’m not sure either, Carrie…but I think we have found THE house!!!!
YAY!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it.
Wow, feeling kinda guilty while ating my brekkie in bed, reading about what you’re up to and now wondering if the buzzing outside is a lawn mower or vibrations you are giving off 3hrs away!
Don’t feel guilty, Julie…you gave me a great chuckle and I will be smiling all morning.:)
I just have to be careful not to take on new projects…except for our tentative-get-together-in-the-Denver-area, that is!!! 🙂 🙂
Vivian, I am really going to try to malke it to the conference. I didn’t get the scholarship – would have been sooo nice – but my writing submission is getting an honorable mention. Now I just have to go!
I am sooooo proud of you, Julie! I didn’t hear anything…maybe they just notify the winner and honorable mentions.:)
I do hope we will be able to get together next month though.:)
Oh, we WILL!
Oh my gosh! I’m tired just reading your list! 🙂 And as you can tell by how behind I am commenting on this, I’m having a bit of trouble with getting up early ENOUGH and staying up late ENOUGH to pack everything in… Can we have a few more hours per day please? Good luck with your move (I saw your house videos yesterday!) and your WIPs and Mira’s course etc. etc. etc. And you are so right – isn’t it wonderful to belong to such a great community?! 🙂
Yes…I’ve had to step back from blogging and social media and EVERYTHING! The process of going through stuff and packing it up is overwhelming…so I am taking everyone’s advice and putting everything else on hold.:)
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