Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Personal Rejection

Last week I got my first really personalized rejection letter.  It was wonderful!  To actually have some real feedback on my work from an industry professional is priceless!  Of course, none of it was stuff I wanted to hear, necessarily, but you have to count all victories in this process.

How do you react to feedback?  At first, I was very defensive.  I would think, "well they just aren't reading it right" or "they obviously don't get it."  Slowly I realized, if my beta readers aren't getting it...what makes me think the rest of the world will?  It is so difficult to take constructive criticism when you are starting out.  I've gotten much better about it as my journey has continued.

Now, I crave feedback.  Even if it is stuff I don't want to hear.  Because I want to get better.  I want to learn how to communicate effectively with my readers both young and old.  I want to write something that an illustrator will love to get their hands on and a publisher can't wait to publish.  I want to spark imagination!  And I can't do that unless I learn.  So bring it on, personal rejection!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sympathy for the Sick Mom

Inspired by my 48 hour knock-out via strep throat last week:

An Acrostic Poem for the Sick Mom

Still trying to correct, clean and manage
Utterly exhausted, sore and hurting
Putting one foot in front of the other
Even while the body objects
Ready for action - just slower, quieter

Manipulating schedules to prevent spreading disease
Offering microwaved meals and lots of TV time
Medicine to the rescue!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Being Picky

As my writing has become more a part of my everyday life (and less a brand-new-super-exciting-new-hobby), I find I'm having to make choices.  Like every other part of my everyday life, I have to balance it along with everything else I do.  As many of you have seen, I have three little boys (8, 5, and 3).  I also have a husband that I LOVE spending time with, a full time job, two schools that I volunteer at, a church that I also volunteer at (and sit on the council), and all of the regular things that go along with home and family. 

Consequently, I'm finding that  I simply can not maintain the level of involvement that I started out with for writing and writing-related activities.  What on earth was taking all my time?  This blog, Twitter, reading and replying on MANY blogs, two critique groups, writing, revising, submitting, live chats, online conferences, and I even did an online webinar.  Whew!

Obviously I'm not going to cut out the writing, revising and submitting.  I would like to maintain this blog and my Twitter account (where I find TONS of useful writing info and news).  I have several blogs that I read religiously and my critique groups are essential.  And the other stuff is helping me learn about writing and improving my writing.  So, what am I cutting out?  Frequency of reading and commenting on blogs.  Some of you may have already noticed me coming around less often.  This doesn't mean I won't be reading - I just may be a week late sometimes.  This doesn't mean I'll go silent.  I just won't comment as much. 

So, don't give up on me or think I'm ignoring you!  Keep up all the awesome work, everyone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Megan Vs. The Blank Page

Shortly after I started trying to educate myself about writing picture books, I ran into a huge problem.  I couldn't start a story.  I had too much information floating around in my head.  Every time I would start a sentence, I would think of twelve rules I was breaking.  I knew I'd have to go back and fix it, so I just erased it and started again.  And again.  And again.

It was WAY frustrating.

Then I came to the realization that re-writes were part of the process.  I just needed a starting point.  So, the writers block was lifted and I churned out some truly awful first drafts and then started my re-write dance.  I'm averaging about 9 major re-writes per manuscript at this point.  I don't even know how many if you count the little "polish" re-writes too.

But now I'm facing a new problem.  My initial well of ideas is drying up.  It has been almost a full year since I started writing with my head full of story ideas.  For the first time, I'm experiencing an idea drought.  What to do?

Well, I'm still writing.  I'm doing those re-writes, blogging, jotting down snippets and starts.  I'm going back through journals, my PiBiIdMo notebook, and my picture book log book.  I'm trying to look at the world with a writer's mind.  I'm being hyper-observant around kids.

My block will go away at some point.  I'm confident.  I just can't give up, and neither can you!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Who Are You Writing For?

Since I starting this whole "I'm a writer" phase of my life, I've contemplated the above question.  Am I writing for myself?  To give myself an identity, a hobby, an outlet?  To have my moment to connect to the world?  To be a part of a larger writing community and make friends outside my little immediate world?

Or am I doing it for my children?  To leave them a piece of myself to pass down to their children?  To show them it's okay to follow a dream?  To instill a love of reading and writing in them?  To give them a happy and fulfilled mother?

Or for other children?  To share a story?  Touch a life?  Entertain? 

I think the answer is all of the above.  Yes to each question.  I'm doing it for each of those reasons.  Some of them are terribly selfish.  Some of them are hopelessly idealistic.  Realistic and unrealistic.  And I love each and every reason.  They are all me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Going Thoreau - Who's with me?

I going to do it.  I am.  One day I’m going to snap and go all Henry David Thoreau.  I will abandon all my possessions, build a cabin in the woods and have one chair made of tree limbs one pot to cook in and a bed of leaves.  That’s it.

Think of the bliss!  The freedom!  I won’t step on a Lego or a Hot Wheel ever again.  I won’t have my soul crushed by laundry.  I won’t want to crawl in a hole when I see a stack of paper two feet high on my kitchen table.  I won’t have to deal with repair men for broken appliances or plumbers for clogged pipes.  I won’t spend an afternoon cleaning out a closet when all I wanted was a tote bag which is buried under every shoe, hat, and shin guard in the free world.  I won’t make piles of “give-away,” “garage sale,” “attic,” and “trash.”  I won’t buy more stuff to organize the stuff I already have.  I won’t be embarrassed that my children say, “I already have this” at a birthday party or Christmas.  I won’t bump my hip on the corner of a shelf and break 20 things as they cascade to the floor.  I won’t marvel at the quantity of garbage and recycling we produce in a week.  I won’t long for a bigger house because ours feels too crowded.  

As soon as I figure out how to prevent a fit of sneezing and itchy eyes each time I get a whiff of Mother Nature, I’m totally building that cabin in the woods.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm back with a weekend recommendation

Hey everybody!  I'm diving back into life online after a lovely hiatus with my family.  It was wonderful to ignore the computer for a full week.  In fact, I'll probably do that periodically through the summer because it really is therapeutic.

I thought I'd jump back in with my weekend recommendation.  And I'm going to recommend a book that would be a great Easter gift or an excellent "Welcome Spring" read.  It is If You're Hoppy by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic.  This is a wonderfully bouncy and cheerful play on the children's song "If you're happy and you know it."  It goes through various animals and how they move and is perfectly fun to read aloud.

I'll be back to my regular postings this week and I'll be making the rounds to everyone else's blogs too, so I'll talk to you all soon!