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Happy New Year’s Resolutions!


I personally think the official new year should start a couple of weeks into January. By then you’ve made your new year’s resolutions and know which ones you’re going to keep. You’ve got your Christmas decorations put away, probably, except for the ones you didn’t see. Holiday visits and parties are over, and you’re ready to settle back into a routine.

As for those new year’s resolutions—how about changing it to ‘new month’s’ resolutions? That way we get to start over, fresh each month! So January is only half over. Here are a few of my resolves that relate to writing.

Read a book, other than a picture book, each month—by making it a resolution I give myself permission to stop everything and read! I read Glen Beck’s THE SNOW ANGEL, and Richard Peck’s A SEASON OF GIFTS. So check that one off for January.

Write at the very least three days a week—this means working on a manuscript of some kind, and does not include blogging or other writing related things. Ok, I’m going to blame this one on the holidays. I’m giving myself a chance to make up the work these last two weeks. I think I can do that. ReviMo is helping me with that, too. (Click on the picture on the right for some great inspiration).

Submit something to a publisher, be it a book manuscript or something to a children’s magazine, once a month—I have two great manuscripts ready to go. I also have quite a few poems polished. So I just have to get them out in the mail. This is a ‘can do.’

Taxes: have them ready by the end of February—that’s a tough one, since although I keep my records and receipts all in one place, I neglect to log them on my computer throughout the year. I am one of those people who is organized by having everything in neat piles, or spaces. It takes me a day or two to organize and categorize everything for the past year! I think I’ll add a resolution—

Organize my writing expenses, mileage, etc. monthly—ok, that can work since this is still January!

Attend at least two events for children’s writers this year—maybe I made this one too easy. I’ve signed up for the Missouri SCBWI program on Learning to Work With the Common Core in March, and I just signed up for the Indiana SCBWI Spring conference in April. I know I’ll also attend the Missouri Fall Conference in September. So this one’s a done-deal.

Work on my website and networking—this one is harder for me, so I’m just going to leave it up as a general reminder. I also want to visit other websites and blogs by children’s writers more often.

I’m a list person. So making a list of new year’s resolutions helps me to stay on track. For some people, this can take a negative turn if it bothers you when you fail at keeping a resolution. Here’s a more positive way to look at it.

1—Make your resolutions things that you will likely be able to accomplish. Make some easier, and some a little more difficult. For example, if I say that I’m going to write every day, I know that won’t happen because there is work to do, and I also like to do things with my family and friends, and I know that sometimes other things will get in the way. So I made it three times a week instead. If I do more, then I really feel good!

2—Reward yourself when you reach your goal. Ice cream, a day out, or a movie night works for me.

3—Don’t let yourself feel down if you don’t accomplish your goal. Every day is a new start! Re-evaluate your goals each month and revise them if you need to—we’re familiar with revision, right!?

4—Instead of looking at how much you didn’t do, look at how much you did do. Maybe I didn’t get my three days of writing in one week, but I did write two days, for a long time!

5—If you reach all of your goals too easily, then you probably need to revise them.

Here are a few quotes to leave you with:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” - Zig Ziglar

Happy writing 2014 to all!  Read More 
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New Year's Resolutions Still Intact?


Happy 2012!

Is it too soon to be breaking New Year’s resolutions yet? One of mine was to be on time with weekly blogs, and here it is already January 5th! Here are a few other resolutions, that are still intact up to now.

Reading—at least one book a month. I’d like to say one book a week, but another of my resolutions is to set realistic goals. So if I go for one a week and don’t make it, then I feel let down. But if I go with one a month and read more than that, then I’ve exceeded my goal and feel pretty good. I’ve actually read two books so far in January. One, a Christmas mystery book, and the other, DIAGNOSIS: MONSTER, a children’s book by Nancy Polette which I absolutely enjoyed.

Writing—to finish what I’ve started (I have at least a few things close to being completed), and start something new (I have ideas that have been floating around in my head forever—and my kids wonder why I don’t remember things they tell me!). There are at least two manuscripts that I am determined to finish before the year is out. The best way for me to accomplish that is to aim for their completion sometime in the next few months. I’ve a good start on one of them so far. This category would probably include working on submissions to contests and grants, too.

Marketing—submitting my ‘finished’ manuscripts, the ones that I’ve worked on until I feel they’re ready. That includes some that will probably never be books but would be a good fit for a children’s magazine. And sending out poems that don’t have a home, and submissions to contests and grants. I think I should be able to do this once a month, or at least twelve in 2012. Hey, that might be a good slogan—12 in 2012!

Networking—this is my real challenge! Blogging once a week tops my list. Here are some other things I’d like to do: update my website, learn how to do more on my website, post on facebook more often, maybe even create a separate author listing on facebook, check out other authors on facebook, jacketflap, twitter, and their websites on a regular basis and post on their sites. Another thing is to connect more with other children’s authors in Missouri, through critique groups or by attending author appearances close to home.

When making New Year’s resolutions, it’s also important to look back and see how you did with your Old Year’s resolutions. If you sailed through all of your goals with flying colors, then maybe you need to up the stakes a little. I think that if the resolutions that you made helped you move forward even a little, then you succeeded. So take a look back before striking out in 2012. Then file 2011 away, and leap into the New Year!
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NCTE National Day of Writing


“… It has been said that reading can serve as a window to the world; if that is true, then writing is what opens the window. That window must be opened for all.”
-- from The Human Context for the National Day on Writing, Kylene Beers, President, National Council of Teachers of English

I love this quote. I'd like to share the following information about the NCTE National Day on Writing with you.

On September 29, 2010, the Senate passed a resolution declaring October 20, 2010, the National Day on Writing. The following information was taken from the NCTE National Day of Writing website.

Why Writing?
People in every walk of life, in every kind of work, and at every age write more than ever before for personal, professional, and civic purposes.

•They write through text messages and IMs, they use video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even traditional pen and paper.
•The social nature of writing invites people in every walk of life, in every kind of work, and at every age to make meaning through composing.
•More and more people in all occupations deem writing as essential and influential in their work.

Why a National Day on Writing?
In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, October 20, 2010, will be celebrated as The National Day on Writing.

The National Council of Teachers of English invites you to explore and celebrate the integral role writing has in each of our lives by participating in the National Gallery of Writing.

WHO?
Everyone! We encourage everyone to submit a piece of writing: students, teachers, parents, grandparents, service and industrial workers, managers, business owners, legislators, retirees, and many more.
WHAT?
A National Gallery of Writing where you can contribute any type of writing composition that matters to you.
WHEN?
The National Gallery of Writing and Local Partner Galleries are open for submissions.
WHERE?
Online at www.galleryofwriting.org and in small towns and large cities nationwide. Writing is for everyone and is everywhere.
WHY?
Because we, as a nation, are writing like never before—through text messages and IMs, with video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even with traditional pen and paper. Whether it is done in a notebook or on a blog, writing, in its many forms, has become daily practice for millions of Americans.
GET STARTED TODAY at www.ncte.org/dayonwriting
HOW?
Help us put writing front and center by:
• Starting a Local Gallery: Curators wanted. You can start a local gallery for your classroom, your town, or your civic group. Once your gallery is established, you can solicit writing on any topic or theme you’d like—the possibilities are endless!
• Contributing Your Writing: Writers come from all walks of life, and everyone has something important to share. Upload your writing—whether it’s a story, a video montage, an audio file, or a photo—to the gallery of your choice.
• Celebrating Writing Nationwide: Join us—and thousands of other Americans—as we celebrate writing.

For more information on how you can help celebrate, visit www.ncte.org/dayonwriting. Then follow the links there for more information on writing.  Read More 
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Windows, Blogging, and iPads, Oh My!

Windows, blogs, websites! Facebook, twitter, e-books and now iPads! Just when I get comfortable with something new, the next thing comes out!

I'm ok with updating my website, when I have plenty of time to do it. That's one of my goals for June (maybe July?). I want to change a few things, and add a few things, like activities for NAME THAT DOG!.

The thing is that when I finally get something down, it changes! I just got Windows 7. I know where to find the help tools I need to click on in XP. Did they really need to change the locations of those in Windows 7?!

I've gotten the blog thing down, sort of. I still sometimes have difficulty adding pictures. Facebook is ok, too. Only I wanted to create an album of pictures there and forgot how. I don't have an iPhone. I have enough trouble figuring out anything more than using my cell phone to send and receive calls. Although I did learn to text recently.

I've not explored twitter yet. E-books and iPads are another thing I haven't tried. Actually the iPad looks great. I got a look at it when Stephen Roxburg was here for our SCBWI conference a few weeks ago. His company namelos publishes ebooks for YA (Young Adult) readers. He thinks that picture books on the iPad will be coming, too, down the road. I've got mixed feelings about that.

Stephen showed us a Dr. Seuss book on the iPad, and all of the interactive things you can do with it. You can sit next to your child and read together, just like holding a book. At first thought it seemed great. But I've seen my 2, 3, and 4 year old grandchildren watching a TV program. With their eyes glued to the screen, so mesmerized by what's going on, it's difficult to break their concentration. Their TV time is very limited, and I can see why. Will reading via an electronic book do the same thing? On the other hand, they're 'reading' a book, so can it be all bad? Progress--or just change--is sometimes hard to accept.

I've been told that it's the reading that's important, not the means they use to read. So I'll keep on writing for children, with pencil on paper, before finishing up on my computer. And hope that I'll have another book, made of paper and board, to hold in my hands some day.  Read More 
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Twisted Tongue Twisters

Ten Twisted Tongue Twisters

Do you have a problem overcoming overuse of alliteration in your children’s stories? Do character names trip off your tongue like “Tiny Tommy Turtle?” Do your titles rock to the rhythm of “Rita Raccoon and the Rattletrap Rattlesnake”? Well, here’s your chance to change all that! Take some time out and try these ten twisted tongue twisters and see how fast you reform.

One weary writer whiting out his writing.
Two choosy teachers choose children’s chapter books.
Three free critiques.
Four cool quick facts.
Five fine poets refuse to pursue prose.
Six short stories on a short shelf.
Seven spell checkers check spelling errors.
Eight easy-reader writers writing easy-readers.
Nine nice novelists notice no mistakes.
Ten tongue-tied typists typing in italics.

by Peggy Archer, oringinally published in OUAT magazine Read More 
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Writing--A Lonely Job?: Part II

Instead of the word 'lonely,' let's substitute 'solitary.'
You certainly can say that 'writing' is a solitary job. The story is yours alone. The characters, the setting, the voice. No one can write it just the way that you can. So you sit with your pen and paper, or at your computer, alone. And you write the story that's in you head, and in your heart.

Once your story is down on paper, however, there are many ways that you as a writer can connect with others to help you along  Read More 
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Writing--a Lonely Job?

Writing is a lonely job! Or is it? Maybe. If you have no kids. And no one knows that you write for children.

I started writing (to be published, that is) when my children were little. It's a bit uncanny how you can write surrounded by six small bodies in constant motion. But I did. In between the "I'm hungry" and "I hafta go potty" and "He/She took that away from me!" I'd sit and write (well, sometimes I would do laundry, or other things).

Occassionally I might hear something like this:
What are you doing, Mommy?
I'm writing a story.
Is it about a pig?
No. But it's about a farmer.
Does he have a pig?
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New Year's Resolutions!

It's that time again for making New Year's Resolutons! My resoluions always seem to be similar to the ones I made the previous year. But if I really think about it, they're a step up, and I've at least learned from my good intentions. Or maybe I'm just making excuses!

In 2010 I will-- or at least I intend to do-- the following:

Read one children's book and one grown-up book a month.
Submit a manuscript to a magazine or book publisher each month.
Finish the picture book manuscripts in my  Read More 
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Can cleanig give your writing a jump-start?!

After weeks of spending too much time on the couch because of a broken foot or a broken ankle this summer, I finally started putting away the accumulation of papers and books that had surrounded me as I sat with one foot or the other propped up on pillows. Magazines, books, old mail--all got sorted and put away, or thrown away. But I also found bits of new writing, and revisions of old manuscripts there. Those still sit in the corner of the couch where Read More 
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Ghostwriting and Revision

This past Saturday Indiana SCBWI hosted an event for children's writers on Ghostwriting with Sara Grant, Editor at Working Partners in London. Sara talked about their projects and gave tips on sending an application, but she also offered a wealth of knowledge on writing the novel and Read More 
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