Tag Archives: Storystorm

About books and writing them

It’s the first day of February and I am happy to say that I am now a student of Susanna Leonard Hill’s picture book class called Making Picture Book Magic! Susanna teaches small personalized classes that run for a month each. I chose to sign up for February to follow immediately after Storystorm which was the whole month of January. 

Storystorm, run by Tara Lazar, was very inspirational, as usual, and yet it seemed a little different this year but I can’t say just how. All I know is that the ideas I got this time around seem to be improved over previous years in that there were a greater number of possibilities among them. I had more clear ideas for stories whereas in past years they were more vague with many as simply titles and character names. My total this year, after the month of brainstorming, is 41 ideas for stories.

So, back to Making Picture Book Magic … Susanna gave us a list of books she suggests we read if we can, so, of course, I made my requests at the library. I have a few of those books now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also had already been going book crazy – about which my librarians are very happy – and I have “a few” others out now. You can see for yourself.

 

 

They’re three views of the same box of 90 books, most of which are picture books. Another 60+ are on hold for me and will arrive as they’re available.

So, yes, you can guess I’ve been doing a lot of reading; over 100 books in January as recorded on my Books I read in 2018 page. I’ve immersed myself in picture books with the occasional chapter book or novel tossed into the mix. Maybe that’s why my Storystorming was improved this year.  hmm

My only regret is that my book reviews here on my blog have been lessened, and the books that are in my queue to review are still … in queue. I apologize to those authors waiting to see theirs highlighted here. I have yet to figure out how to make progress in my own writing while keeping up everything else, too. Even on Goodreads I write mostly short blurbs after reading a book, but that’s something.

Now I have to get back to my notes for the writing class.

Will you share with me what you have found works for you when you want to learn something? Do you take classes? Do you immerse yourself in trial and error? Do you shadow someone who has the experience? What do you do?

Happy February everyone!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

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My Successes in 2017

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2017.

Since setting goals instead of making resolutions has been my way for many years now, sharing what I see as my successes feels much more positive. So, in 2017 I have surprised myself because I:

1. settled on my word for the year – PROGRESS – and set out to make it happen in my writing as much as I could manage, and grew in confidence as a writer;

2. celebrated my 7th year of blogging here on WordPress on January 9;

3. wrote 144 blog posts, including this one and one scheduled for Dec 31;

4. wrote reviews of 67 books on my blog, 42 of which were written by 12 x 12 members – past and present;

5. interviewed 3 authors here on my blog, and 2 illustrators – my first time to interview illustrators;

6. participated in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm challenge and came up with 30 ideas for stories;

7. entered Susanna Hill’s Valentiny writing contest  (my entry);

8. entered Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words challenge (my entry);

9. participated in ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month) and read over 100 recommended picture books to learn more about writing picture books – and the reading continues;

10. read over 600 books during the year, all but about 60 were picture books;

11. wrote a 500-word story for a writing challenge through InScribe;

12. attended an information session with other local writers, put on by the writers federation of which I’m a member;

13. attended 15 (or more) webinars about different aspects of writing, mostly regarding picture books;

14. attended a full day online Picture Book Summit & won the big prize;

15. participated in all the 12×12 webinars – except for maybe one;

16. gained a picture book writer friend through 12×12 & we share about our writing life nearly every day;

17. earned a place on the 12×12 winners wall because of writing 25 new story drafts, 18 more than in 2016, (12 are required for the win);

18. wrote 6 revisions of stories;

19. got one story polished and submission-ready;

20. submitted story (point #19) to an agent – my first time to approach an agent;

21. received a reply from agent (point #20) with positive comments and helpful advice – a champagne rejection;

22. posted one of my stories in the 12×12 critique forum and received wonderful comments and helpful critiques, one by a critique ninja;

23. was gifted a helpful critique by author Marcie Colleen to further improve my story (point #19);

24. prepared, arranged, and published my dear mother’s children’s story as a photo flip book and had 8 copies printed for family in her honour;

25. believe more deeply I AM A WRITER!

 

 

 

What are YOUR 2017 successes? No matter how small or insignificant they might seem, they add up and fit together somehow. Please share with us in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

 

 

Updates and my word for 2017

It’s been a busy start to 2017.  Besides the ‘normal’ – and extra concerns of – daily/weekly family things that go on, and trying to keep up with my writing, I’m attempting to figure out a level of activity that I can handle and in which I’ll make progress. It’s time to push past my comfort zone a little more — and not panic!

It’s also time to get back into writing book reviews here on my blog, however brief they may be. I’ve been reading a lot more books, as you can see if you scroll down on my bar to the right, and I want to share some of them with you. For almost all of them I write a short blurb on Goodreads and also on Amazon.  I also will be setting up a new page – books I read in 2017 – to keep a recorded count and maybe introduce you to books you haven’t read. Have you checked out my 2016 reading accomplishment? I read 219 books! Only 38 of them aren’t picture books, but 219 total! I’m happy about that. 

This month I’m working on Storystorm ideas and have twelve so far. A couple I have are more than just a phrase or title; they’re more-rounded story ideas – and I think they might be worth developing.

I’ve joined 12×12 in 2017 and feel very upbeat about it this year. I know I have to work harder to get anywhere with my drafts and manuscripts, so that is going to be where “pushing past my comfort zone” comes into play.

Now that the busyness of the holiday season is past, this week I will happily reconnect with my writing coach. Starting tomorrow I’ll also be meeting with my new writing/accountability partner once a week for brainstorming, sharing, and encouragement – apart from the local writers group that usually gets together each week.

Hopefully, I haven’t set myself up for failure as I aim for progression this year. That is my word for myself in 2017. PROGRESS. It can be used as either a verb or a noun. I heard it for myself as a noun, PROgress, but in order to make PROgress I have to proGRESS.   😉  For me it feels like a push and coaxing along.

What is YOUR personal word for 2017? What are your writing and reading goals?

Don’t forget to enter my January 18 draw HERE for a copy of The Man Who Was Thursday. (I plan to read my copy of it this week, by the way, as it was recommended to me by a friend more than once — which is likely why I bought it more than once!  lol   🙂  )

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂  

 

Wynken, Blynken & Nod (official video)

It’s already the first day of the second week of the new year. It seems 2017 is going to be another quickly passing year, so we must make it count.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m participating in Storystorm this month, striving to have 30 ideas for stories. So far I think I have eight.

After each Storystorm post we are to leave one comment. Comments today include one with a video added. I enjoyed it and thought you might, too. Remember the poem Wynken, Blynken & Nod written by Eugene Field and published in 1889?

Here are the words to the poem:

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!”
Said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea —
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish —
Never afraid are we”;
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam —
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
‘Twas all so pretty a sail
 it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea —
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

Now for the video:

Have you ever written ballads, songs or choruses? If your writing is inspired by music, which songs or instrumentals?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR! What are your goals for 2017?

happy-new-year-stars

It is already day three of 2017! I must still be recovering from the busyness of Christmas to make me so late writing here. (Unfortunately, we all know that doesn’t have to be the case.)

christmas-bells

Briefly … we got all our shopping, mailing of ‘away’ gifts, baking, and preparations finished on time – Yay! – minus mail-out cards that I didn’t do. On Christmas Eve we had six family members come by, then on Christmas day seventeen of us met around Dad’s dining-room tables (two tables end-t0-end) and enjoyed a delicious dinner to which all eight households had contributed. Gifts, desserts, and clean-up followed that. Afterward, my sister and family went home to enjoy their own time together, and my daughters and families and my dad all came to our house where my husband and I hosted another round of gift exchanges, snacks and an enjoyable evening get-together. It was a busy family day. Dad and I then went back to his house for sleep and the start of my week there. On New Year’s Eve nine of us got together at Dad’s for games, snacks, and fireworks. Now this week I’m home where I have so much to do!

new_year_icon_55464The rest of this post is about my goals for 2017, decluttering what remains of past creative interests being one major project. I love to sew but rarely get to do that anymore, so I will pack up the huge collection of beautiful fabric to sell – what I know I’ll not use myself. Most was part of the online retail business I had for a while that had to be set aside. Now I need to sell off the greater part of it to reclaim my space. Know that feeling? 

lots-of-fabric

Along with that I have lovely sewing embellishments and crafting supplies to liquidate. Life circumstances can change one’s plans a great deal. I had hoped to sell most things through my business; now I’ll let them go at even lower prices. 

craft-suppliesAs yet I have not managed to repurpose the room I had for my publishing. That room is planned to be my writing room; however, there is much to pack up and get rid of first, including the antiquated duplicating machine I used. It will be set out by the road during Spring cleanup and hauled away if I can’t sell it cheap. 

writer

I have started 2017 with several goals involving decluttering and selling off things, thereby reclaiming and repurposing space for writing and living. It means I have to get busy! There is so much to do here it can overwhelm me in short order, so I have to focus really hard on one little thing at a time. I don’t want to be paralyzed by the hugeness of my goal to free myself from things I no longer need or use. It’s going to take serious effort as I can become exhausted simply by the enormity of the project. Months ago my daughter introduced me to a minimalist website to help me simplify my life, which I’ve yet to take on because it seems like even more to do. 🙂 I think minimalizing is a great idea, though; who of us needs to have all the things we accumulate! Here’s the link if you are interested in looking at what is offered. http://my.becomingminimalist.com/  

My underlying goal for which all the aforementioned is aimed is to write, write, write. I’ve signed up for Storystorm (the new name for Picture Book Idea Month) hosted by Tara Lazar for the whole month of January. It’s no longer only for picture book writers. Next week I will be renewing my membership in the year long 12×12, hosted by Julie Hedlund. I still have manuscripts to bring as close to perfection as I can, and then start the process of submitting them. The one I sent out late in 2016 has not seemed to hit the mark (the publisher will contact me by the end of January if interested), so after January I will have to revisit that manuscript and find other places to send it. (I could do it now but, obviously I have other things to do.) I’d love to have an agent, so in order to be ready for that search I have to prepare several other of my stories to completed as-good-as-they-can-be manuscripts. 

Another of my goals is to set up much better records of submissions, rejections and all that fun stuff. Oh, and I must not forget the many books I want to read!

So, my goals are:

  1.  declutter and reclaim space through selling and getting rid of things
  2.  set up a writing room – through decluttering and getting rid of things
  3.  write, write, write – which includes submissions, and well-written manuscripts to prepare me for an agent
  4.  set up organized records for my writing
  5. read, read, read

Yikes! Although that seems like a short list, for me it’s a HUGE undertaking. Can I do it this year? I can try. There are twelve months in which to make my best effort. I didn’t even mention that I have specific plans for my blog this year, and I still want to learn to draw much better. Whew! (now I need a nap)

pooh-nap

It’s your turn. Tell me … what are YOUR goals for 2017?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂