The last week of February, I had one of those nice “published four times in one week” moments last week. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s nice when it does. If you haven’t caught them up, I’ve got the links all lined up for you! Continue reading
Yesterday, I had a kid home sick.
Actually, yesterday, the day before, AND today, I had a kid home sick.
The first day, I got writing done. This was pretty amazing because I usually have problems writing when someone is in the house with me. Just the sound of breathing or a page turning in a magazine is enough to snap me out of FLOW and distract me. I can usually manage to do some editing with people around, but not writing. The fact that I actually wrote a first draft with a little cutie around on Tuesday blew me away.
Yesterday, though, it wasn’t happening. Continue reading
So, in the Klempner household, preparations for Pesach — Passover — are in full swing. We’re vacuuming and scrubbing the house, the car, and the van like crazy. I’m muttering things like, “Why do I let them eat in carpool?” and “How do you get cookie crumbs in sock drawers?” under my breath.
One of my favorite parts of Pesach cleaning is finding things you’ve lost: the missing token from a game you’ve been wanting to play on rainy days, spare change, receipts for purchases you’ve been meaning to return, missing socks.
I’m not suggesting you pull out the 409 and start scrubbing down your file cabinets (although, if a toddler has access to its drawers, it might be a good idea). I’m suggesting that you flip through some old stories — ones you discarded incomplete, or complete but not yet ready for prime time viewing — and revisit them.
Last year’s Thanksgiving post deserves a second helping. And if you need more reasons to thank G-d for your rejection letters, check out a story by Nina Badzin here.
Thanksgiving is upon us here in the U.S., and this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon gratitude, whether you celebrate the holiday or not. I’m a big fan of Rabbi Zelig Pliskin and also of Rabbi Shalom Arush, and I’m going to combine their approaches for this writing exercise appropriate to the Thanksgiving season and year-round. This exercise is useful whether you’re Jewish or not–please don’t get turned off to it just because it was inspired by a couple of rabbis.
Rejection is just about the hardest thing to cope with when you decide you’re going to become a writer, but it’s something that you need to learn to accept graciously. When that rejection letter first comes, you are often overwhelmed by feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration. You might lash out, calling the editors idiots or saying that the publisher doesn’t know what good writing is. You…
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So yesterday I read this post by the Rubber Ducky Copywriter. In it, she posts about her first rejection letter after going out on a limb and submitting a short story. Despite her success as a copywriter, fiction is a new endeavor for her, and rejection hurt.
First of all, I’d like to cheer her on. Despite the rejection letter (and my readers will know I’m no stranger to them), the Rubber Ducky Copywriter did something a lot of us writers don’t do: try something new.
A lot of us avoid writing new things, especially after we find success (especially financial) in a particular niche. I know that it took me a long time to start writing for adults after I’d succeeded with kids’ lit. Other changes were also scary, because they carry risk. What if you invest time and emotions and no one ever publishes it?
But the pay-off can be big.
For years, I focused on my fiction. When I ventured on occasion to write a personal essay, it would inevitably face a quick rejection. Out of frustration, I gave up writing personal essays for a long time.
But, when I came back to it, I did better. My years of practicing fiction helped me hone my storytelling abilities. The first personal essay I’ve had published shows this and found a much wider audience than my fiction thus far has.
So here’s my creative writing challenge:
So the folktale project turned out to be an eye-opening experience for me.
When I first started writing for kids, I didn’t really understand the difference between short stories and picture books. I’d submit short stories to book publishers, and picture books to magazines who published short stories. Selling Raizy and being guided through revisions by Devorah Leah Rosenfeld, the editor at Hachai, schooled me in the differences between the two media. After a couple years, I started writing regularly for children’s magazines, and her lessons allowed me to jump between the two formats.
2 Major differences between picture books and short stories:
1) The length differs significantly in the two formats. Oddly, an entire picture book has about half the words (sometimes less) as a short story for a kids’ magazine.
2) The illustrations in a picture book replace almost all the description. And the only words that could appear in a picture book text are ones that drive the narrative forward. When I learned this lesson, my picture book writing attained a sharpness that it had previously lacked.