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)