When good things happen to anxious people: the beginning of a new project

parakeet, lineated

I hope I say something original, for once.

I’m close to wrapping a piece for a magazine, and I’m waiting on the opinions of some of the beta readers of one of my WIPs, so Friday morning, I started rummaging though my old journals for some new-old project ideas. Among my scribbling, I found notes about a folktale that really appealed to me. A little research has indicated that there is only one picture book retelling of this story. Which is why, for the first time, I’m attempting a folktale retelling.

Good for me, right? It’s good to try something new, right? Continue reading

How do you do it? part 2

I realized after I wrote about my writing process that I left a lot of steps out that other people might find helpful.

1) Write regularly. This can mean once a day or once a week. Give yourself a deadline even if no one else is giving you one. It’ll force you to get SOMETHING down on paper.
2) When you have no ideas, don’t say, “I have writer’s block,” and give up.

a) Write down everything you’ve done today. If you have a strong emotional reaction to something or want to go on a wacky tangent, do it.

b) Pick up one of the lists you’ve written (I mentioned this in the last blog). Write about one of the topics you listed.

 c) write a list of three reasons you simply cannot write today.

3) Also, read your “completed” work out loud even if it’s just to yourself. You will probably catch a lot of grammatical errors or typos that way. This is even more effective if you’ve printed out. If you’ve been looking at the same document so much that it dances in front of your face, wait a couple days, change the font, THEN print out and re-read aloud.
4) Don’t worry about whether a rough draft is good or not. Just get it out. You can always fix it (or hide it) later.

“How do you do it?” How to write while you’re a stay at home mother

People often ask me this question: How do you find time to write? Other moms work outside the home, sometimes full-time, yet my extremely-part-time and mostly at home writing puzzles them. Life as a FT mom is so wild and wacky, my head buzzes with ideas that could make great kids’ books. Doesn’t yours? This is how to get the ideas out and coherently on paper:

First of all, I have a giant notebook. Inside, I write lots of lists. Some titles you’ll find in my notebook: funny things kids do; annoying things kids do; what kids fight about; excuses they give; sweet things kids do. Don’t just email your girlfriend or tell Mom or Hubby about the craziness you endured during the day–write it down, even just in shorthand.
Also, after a workshop by Sarah Shapiro, I’ve learned to listen and practice writing dialogue. She says to do it daily, but I’m not that good about it. Just copy down a short conversation every week or so, and you’ll get practice.
Read LOTS…then respond in a book club, blog, or by writing a review online. If the book gave you an idea, extend it as far as you can.
No T.V. means more time and more productive time is available in this house.
After you write, revise. Test out on friends by sending your story to them or by joining a writing group. Then revise more according to what they suggest, then re-read to them. Is it improved?
Figure out who publishes similar pieces to yours, get the submission guidelines, then send the manuscript in! You’ll never know if you might have succeeded if you never try.
And remember, rejection letters are good for your middos.