Category Archives: Writing

Writing, researching, & more waiting

I was talking to a writer friend today. She writes novels and is published. I haven’t completed the one I started six years ago during NaNoWriMo. She doesn’t write picture books. I am waiting/hoping to get mine published. It’s a waiting game no matter what you write.

She reminded me to not compare myself to other writers. I needed that reminder – again – because I have been thinking about my picture book submission earlier this week, and that many other writers submitted their manuscripts around the same time. Mine will get read but I will be astonished if it is accepted. Why? Because, I thought, the others will be better stories or more suited to the publisher’s interest, than mine. Through the process of elimination mine will be rejected. I thought, but I don’t KNOW. I’m waiting. My friend is waiting, too, for the next step in the progress of her latest novel.

She said if she were to compare she could be insecure because of my writing. WHAT! No way! Because, she told me, I write multiple stories in one year while she writes a story in about three years.  hmmm  My reply to that is it takes longer for her novel because of the length of her in-depth story and all the research she does for it. No matter if it’s world-building or just capturing a moment or incident, it all takes time and effort to create worlds or scenarios and scenes. It’s all writing. It’s all creative expression. It’s all work. And it’s an exercise in patience – definitely not one of my strengths.

I think writing a good novel (one that gets publish ) is an amazing and exciting accomplishment. I’d love to do that, but I don’t yet know if that is within my abilities. For now I am concentrating on picture books because that’s more where my passion lies in my writing. I have to stop comparing. I have to be who I am as a writer.

Look at this fabulous image I found on Twitter:

writing research

 

 

She’s a history professor from the future. She said to just carry on as if she’s not here.

Researching your topic is a very important part of writing your story. Even for the picture book I recently submitted, I researched what the characters would be interested in eating. I like things to be accurate.

I am usually very visual, so as I write a story I see it unfolding before me like a movie. I’ve been told that is quite common to writers. I hear what the characters are saying and what is happening around them, and often what they are feeling and thinking. In fact, here’s another oddity about me — in real life I often see the words people say to me in conversation. I see the words spelled out before me, in my mind’s eye. I wonder if that is an advantage for me in my writing … or if I am just strange. 🙂  

Questions for you:

  1. Do you visualize when writing stories? Do you when people talk to you, the way I see the words spoken to me?
  2. Do you research for your stories, or do you not bother much with the little details? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

 

Writing and waiting

It’s been a hard summer for me as far as writing goes. I’ve been in a funk, a writing depression, a walled-in place of little inspiration. I realized I was/am experiencing burn-out from a combination of things, burn-out exhibiting itself as low-grade depression and writer’s block. That’s no fun!writer's block

 

 

 

… until a week ago, on August 23, when inspiration hit!

I was talking with one of my daughters about a frustrating, exasperating, tiring situation that’s ongoing (not as a caregiver) and that affects a few of us in the family. Pausing to consider it a moment, I said … “hmm … that could be a story for a picture book!” Shortly afterward I sat at my desk and wrote a very rough first draft of that story idea. I don’t have a satisfying ending for it yet, mainly because there has not been one found for the real-life situation, so that’s something I’ll have to dream up as is fitting for a picture book. I’m happy, though, because it is my August draft for 12×12.

And writer’s block was moved aside.

That’s always good news. Other good news happened today, too.

I’ve got some manuscripts which I haven’t submitted anywhere yet. It’s hard not ever hearing back, or getting rejection replies, so I think I was just not ready to chance it again. In 12×12, members were offered a special opportunity to submit to a publisher looking for new work, with the promise ALL would be read and our work would not be left in the ‘slush pile’. This evening (Aug 30) I took a chance and submitted the story I wrote in February. I did it! It’s gone, I received email confirmation that it was received, and now my wait has begun. If they are interested in working with me I’ll hear back within five months. If not … *sigh*

waiting quote

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, I have to get out my other work and get more of them submission ready. And continue writing new stories, of course. That will help fill in the time while playing the waiting game. I need positive creative distractions to keep myself writing.

How are you at waiting? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Another pile of books for ReFoReMo

The challenge has ended, sort of. ReFoReMo may be over in one way, but I have a lot of work to do yet. On our own we were to read through each book and then analyze it – study how each was written, observe the POV and universal theme, choose our favourite line, write a little about the story’s main character, and more. It’s been educational for me to find out what is popular now, the many different types and themes of picture books, and the variety of ways to present stories. I’ve learned what type of book I’m not interested in writing and what style I’d like to try. A few I didn’t enjoy reading, a couple brought tears to my eyes, a few were educational and I learned fascinating things I didn’t know before; some stories were funny, a couple were hilarious (to me), and many were sweet stories in a variety of ways. This has been a great experience. (Thanks Carrie Charley Brown!)

I got more books from the library on Saturday and I’ve also started returning books. That’s the sad part.

Here are some of the latest ones I borrowed, I have a few others to photograph,  and there are more on hold for me.

batch 5 -11 Have you read any of the above?  They are:

  • Gravity by Jason Chin
  • One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  • Birthday Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka
  • Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead
  • How Hybrid Cars Work by Jennifer Swanson
  • Sparky! by Jenny Offill
  • A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey
  • Wolfie the Bunny by Amy Dyckman
  • if you want to see a whale by Julia Fogliano
  • When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Locomotive by Brian Floca

I’ve read over eighty picture books through March because of Reading For Research Month, and I’m not done yet. That’s more books than I would normally read in a year! Some people have read many more than the 100 suggested, in only this month.

Now we’re learning from the special posts written for our further insight and inspiration. I’m so glad I did this, although now I’m behind in some other things I was doing – blogging and 12×12, to name only two. What I’ve gleaned through ReFoReMo should help in my writing though, so it’s all good.  🙂

On Sunday eleven of us shared Easter dinner at my dad’s, then I came home for my week off. I have a lot of reading, writing, revising to do and also publishing to finish! I am a writer and lovin’ it! 

When is the last time you read a picture book to a child or for your own enjoyment?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

           

Ideas needed for my story, please

Here I am posting again so soon. I have a good reason.

When I was waking up Thursday morning I was still working out a dream I’d been having. It was a story, one I was “writing” while sleeping!  I seem to have an editor who works at night!  This is not a story idea I’d been thinking about before I went to bed, I hadn’t thought of it until I was sleeping. Really! Isn’t that cool?

Here’s what I need from you, if you will kindly oblige me in a comment. 

If you have ever gone on a cruise or a theme vacation – or any vacation, for that matter – and something went wrong, I’d like to know about it. It could be funny, embarrassing (not personal or intimate details please), disastrous, jumbled up, maybe something went missing or you got lost, or you missed a connection, or had an accident of some kind. Please tell me about it. Maybe it is a vacation mishap a friend told you happened to them.

I already had a few ideas and some members of the writing group I’m in told me of some funny and inconvenient things they experienced. I am gathering as many anecdotes as I can so that I can sort through and maybe even combine a few. This is for a picture book so they have to be child friendly – and hopefully funny.

Thank you so much for any anecdotes you care to pass along to me.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

 

What did you do with your extra day?

Hi, Everybody!  How are you doing as we start our journey through March?

Since this is Leap Year, Monday was February 29th – our extra day this year. How did you fill it?

That was my first whole day home during my week off from Dad’s, and … know what I did with my extra day? I read my Bible, vacuumed my house and did a little tidying up, watered my two dozen or so plants, and so on … and prepared a story that had to be ready for 12×12 check-in by midnight. I’m finding it to be quite the balancing act, and my balance isn’t what it used to be or should be, but I haven’t been knocked off track yet.

Early Tuesday evening we made a quick trip to the library where I picked up fourteen of the over 100 books I have to borrow for ReFoReMo. I won’t be able to get them all as not all are in our library’s system, but I will gather many of them over the month. Our librarian put them on hold for me so that when the books become available they’ll be brought in for me to borrow. I must say, I was excited to get my hands on those fourteen beautiful books! 

first 14

Top to bottom they are:

  • My Teacher is a Monster! (No I am Not) – by Peter Brown
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend – by Dan Santat
  • Raindrops Roll – by April Pulley Sayre
  • Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree – by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
  • Water is Water – by Miranda Paul and Jason Chin
  • Weeds Find a Way – by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and Carolyn Fisher
  • Flora and the Flamingo – by Molly Idle
  • Who Done It? – by Olivier Tallac
  • Cheetah Can’t Lose – by Bob Shea
  • Duck! Rabbit! – by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • What To Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot – by Michelle Robinson
  • The Promise – by Nicola Davies
  • Infinity and Me – by Kate Hosford
  • Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat – by Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda

Of all the many, many books I’ve read over the years to my little girls, my nephew, my grandson, and occasionally other children – the only ones I’ve read that are on ReFoReMo’s list of (over 100) books assigned us for the challenge  are The Monstore by Tara Lazar and I Am Otter by Sam Garton. Gosh! It seems I’m waayy behind when it comes to reading picture books, at least the newer ones. And I love picture books!                                                                                   

Of that long list the only one I own is: I Am OtterGee … I’m on my way!  I have to get reading.  Gotta love that.🙂

Have you read any of the above-mentioned books?

How did you use your extra day this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Hurry! Time is running out to sign up for 12×12 & ReFoReMo!

This is a reminder post.

If you – or someone you know – is interested in signing up for Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 in 2016, there are only three days left to register. Don’t put it off because if you miss the date then you have to wait for registration in 2017! Please remind your friends who might be interested. Go HERE to register for this amazing challenge. There is so much offered, well worth the fee charged. 

12x12

Also, if you – or someone you know – is interested in signing up for Carrie Charlie Brown’s ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month) for this year, tomorrow (February 27) Pre-ReFoReMo begins! Remind your friends because you and they won’t want to miss any of it. Registration for the challenge ends March 1 at 11 pm CST. Go HERE to register and get ready to read over 100 picture books! It’s free, by the way. 

ReFoReMo

12 x 12 and ReFoReMo work well together. If you have wanted to write picture books this could be your time to get started. Do check them out, and maybe I’ll see you there! Let me know if you sign up.🙂

Do you enjoy challenges such as these?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Winning, writing and winter blahs

I’ve heard several people say February is such a long month that drags out Winter and feels so blah. Really?

February is the shortest month we have, and even though this is Leap Year with 29 days instead of 28, it’s still our shortest month.  We can do this! 

Here is what I did in anticipation of Spring and to help myself get through Winter:

countdown to Spring

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, that was February 13, so we’re closer now. Yay!  (I’ll soon set up a countdown timer on my blog, too.)

At the Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group meeting last week one of the men who attends brought roses for Valentine’s Day and gave them to all the ladies in attendance. Isn’t that sweet? The group is for family members who are caregivers of loved ones: a parent, a spouse, a friend. 

Here’s my rose:

Alz support group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier that day I took Meyya to the groomer who is at the animal hospital/shelter in the veterinarian’s location in town. They were selling tickets on a basket of goodies. All I noticed was a teddy bear in there and I figured there was likely chocolate – which I can’t eat.  No matter, I bought a bunch of tickets because the money was to benefit the animal shelter. Well, on Friday didn’t they call to tell me I WON THE BASKET!!  Wowsers! 

It turned out the teddy bear was this …

gift basket cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

cute, soft, little cat. 

In the basket with it: a gift certificate from a local diner, two bottles of wine, some healthy things from the healthfood store, and – yes, some chocolates. It was a lovely win and my husband received the chocolates. :) 

On another note: because of 12 x 12 in 2016 I am focusing more on my writing. I’ve completed the second revision of the story (picture book) I wrote in January, but I haven’t written a new story for this month. Even so, I’m so glad I signed on. I’ve benefited already. And my own private writing coach is super helpful and insightful. 

For me personally, February is a good month so far. I still have some things to take care of, which I plan to finalize this month, to free up a little more time and space for my writing. I’ll get there!

What are you doing to dismiss the winter blahs?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂