Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Do You Write?


We have to admit it. The pursuit to becoming a published children’s book author is not easy. And some will never accomplish the feat, no matter how hard they try.

All the long hours we spend in front of our computers, at the libraries or wherever else we need to go to research our subjects, really does take a toll on our time. Are we neglecting our families by spending so much time trying to master the art of becoming a writer and getting published? And most times all our hard work is rewarded by the dreaded rejection. Even worse, 95% of our rejections don’t even give us a tiny little hint of what we did wrong. Our writing ego’s really get broken down.

It’s funny how our mood swings change so drastically too. For me, I get a real high when I write a story that I think is going to be great. My spirit sores to the moon once I finish the story and actually submit it. Then before I know it, I take that long walk to the mailbox and there it is… a self-addressed, stamped envelope which almost always contains the standard form rejection letter. It might not even be for that story I was so high about the day before, but nonetheless, it’s still a rejection. I sulk the rest of the day.

So how do we bring ourselves back up from that? How do we get through another day of rejection? How do we burst our writing ego’s back up again?

For me, I have to first “grieve” for that rejected story for a little bit. Secondly, I complain to a writing buddy who picks me back up every time (thank god for writing buddies!!). And thirdly, I have to get back to my computer and start writing again! The grieving suddenly disappears in my memory.

But the best way for me to get over the grieving process is to remember why I’m writing in the first place. It’s not for the money (ha, what money!!), it’s not for the recognition, it’s all because I want to make a child laugh and smile when reading my story. I want to connect to little kids.

I’m curious though. What is your REAL deep down reason for writing?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The cover of my new book is in!

Yey!! I just couldn't wait to show everyone the cover for my first picture book The Pea In Peanut Butter. I just couldn't be happier! The illustrator, Valerie Bouthyette, captured my vision for the little girl just perfectly. Wait until you see the whole book! Hopefully, the books will be ready the end of May.

So, what does everyone else think about the cover?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

UNEXPECTED BRAIN STORMS

Ever since I began writing children’s stories, I don’t think my brain has had a rest. I toss and turn at night racking my brain to come up with that perfect story line. You know, the one that will be as good as Alice in Wonderland, or Pinkalicious, or even one like the Farting Dog! Just something that is clever and original. That’s all I’m asking my brain to do. Is that so much to ask for?

Apparently so because even though I’m having my first picture book published soon, I still feel like my brain should be coming up with something better. Sometimes I feel as though I’m going insane because I wake up in the morning thinking about stories. I drive to work thinking about stories. I’m in a meeting thinking about stories. I sit outside just to enjoy the sunshine and play with my dogs and there I am… thinking about stories.

My new years resolution for this year was to stop watching so much TV and read more. So far, I’m doing ok with that except right in the middle of a book I’m reading, what do you think happens? Yep, you guessed it… my brain starts wandering and I’m back to thinking about my next story.

With all this brain storming you’d think I’d be able to just turn on the computer, start typing and a great story would magically come out. Well guess again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just stared at the computer, unable to think of one thing to write.

I actually have found that my best story ideas have come to me while I’m driving my car on my way home from work. Is that insane or what not to mention not very safe driving since my mind is on a story idea versus where I’m going!

Do you have a best place or time in which your brain functions best and your stories start to flow from you? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Staying On Task

Why is staying on task so much easier on your permanent job versus your free time? While I’m at my regular job, (you know – the one that actually pays me and helps pay the bills) I am such an organized person. It doesn’t matter the deadline date or the task at hand, I always get it done. I may panic a bit along the way, but I never fail to meet my deadlines. One of my strongest traits at work is being able to prioritize anything and everything.

So why is it that I seem to be failing at that when it comes to my writing? I try to make a list of things to do but I always stray off the beaten path. I promise myself that I will stick to one story until I get it done and submitted. But within a day or so… I’ve moved on to another story and sometimes more then one. My list is a mile long and not much on it have I actually completed on task.

Last year, I made a weekly list but it didn’t seem to work so well. Maybe it’s because I have to FIT my writing, research, blogging and everything writing in between all my regular daily duties that absolutely have to get done. Like going to work everyday and actually doing what’s on my desk and not slumming off all day writing.

Anyway, this year I think I’m switching my task list to monthly tasks. I’m curious though, do you make a task list and is it weekly, daily, monthly? Let me know which works best for you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

Wow, I've just been nominated for my 2nd Blog Award. Thanks Kelly Hashway http://www.kellyhashway.com/apps/blog/ for that honor. However, I have to cheat and only submit 12 blogs.



Here are the rules for this award:
  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and their blog link.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
  3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Here are the lucky winners:
http://thewritechris.blogspot.com/
http://www.terriehope.com/
http://www.rainyofthedark.com/
http://thebumpyroadtopublishing.blogspot.com/
http://vbt-writersonthemove.blogspot.com/
http://mikki-wordpainter.blogspot.com/
http://debsbookreviews.blogspot.com/
http://www.katrinadelallo.com/apps/blog/
http://ellenwrin.blogspot.com/
http://claudsy.blogspot.com/
http://talkinganimaladdicts.blogspot.com/
http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com/

Congratulations to all the winners. I enjoy all your blogs!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

WHAT’S WRONG WITH A “NOT SO PERFECT” CHARACTER?


It seems as though every time I write a story for children where I have a “not so fuzzy” character, I get mixed critiques. Some tell me they really enjoyed the character, but a lot of mother’s with small children tend to tell me they don’t want their child reading anything negative. However, isn’t life full of weird, quirky characters?

One character I invented was a Hippo who was very self-involved. She loved herself and thought she was the best singer ever. One of my friends told me she thought the Hippo sounded too mean. But really, the Hippo was not mean at all, she was just stuck on herself, which was the whole point of the story. I wanted the Hippo to discover that it took the whole team to make the choir great, not just her.

Anyway, how do we make characters interesting and bring out their personalities if they all have to be perfect? And I don’t see those stories selling.

All the research out there is very conflicting and confusing as well. Sometimes I wonder how I’ll keep myself sane with all the wishy washy information I read. One article will say that publishers don’t want anymore rhyming stories, whereas the next article will say not to pay attention to that because rhyming stories, if good, will always sell. And I really do believe that.

I was just wondering if other writers were feeling the same way. And if so, how do you keep all the information out there intact? How do you know what to believe and what not to believe?

But my most important question is: As a mother, what kind of characters would you like to see your child reading about?