Finally Turning the Corner on Seasonal Doldrums and Lots of Publishing News

person writing calligraphy style quote on table

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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

Video #1: So, you’ve told me you want to write a picture book…

One of the things I’ve been hoping to do this year (and I’m talking 5779, not 2019) is make some videos about writing. I finally took the plunge after receiving a number of phone calls, PMs, and other queries about what it takes to write a picture book.

In this 9 minute (or so) video, you’ll hear:

7 & 1/2 minutes answering the following very basic questions:
1) Should you write a picture book at all? What kind of person does well writing araizy cover picture book?
2) What is the very first step you should take?
3) Should I self-publish or traditionally publish?
4) Does it matter if you are “naturally gifted” at writing?

And then you’ll receive about a minute & 1/2 of resources for learning to write a picture book which will all cost you less than hiring me. (Even if you’ll need to hire a coach or editor later, you will save yourself a bundle by doing what is recommended in the second half of the video FIRST.)

If you’ve got questions, post them in the comments. I’ll either answer them there, refer you to a better resource, or make another video in reply.

 

First post of 2019: What’s ahead

I kept telling myself that I didn’t want to make any resolutions–I don’t really celebrate secular New Year’s Eve. But something that happened that made me reconsider. Continue reading

I’m a NaNo Loser and Proud of It

It’s now four days into December, and NaNoWriMo is all wrapped up. The goal was to write 50,000 words, and I will tell you straight up: I did not make it to 50,000 words.

But, the good news is, I wrote about 39,000. That’s great! I’ve never written a number of words anywhere near that big in any other month, ever. I’m glad I signed up for NaNo, because had I not, I’m pretty sure I would have written zero words of that book.

I’m hoping to work consistently on that manuscript throughout December. If I do that, I should have a complete first draft around January 1st.

Working through the ups and downs of NaNoWriMo taught me a few things, and reminded me of a few others.

  1. When I’m going “off outline” and start to panic, if I keep writing, sometimes I come up with something better than what I originally outlined.
  2. Forcing myself to write daily meant that sometimes I wasn’t in the mood or was distracted or was just plain tired by the time I got some time to sit by myself and write. But occasionally, those very “I’m not in the right headspace” moments turned into my most creative. Weird-but-cool stuff would come out that if I’d been calm and in my usual efficient state of mind, I probably would never have dreamed up.
  3. That little “Project Target” widget in Scrivener is priceless. All I wanted to do from the moment I clicked on it each day was watch it turn from read to green as I approached my targeted word count for the day. Also, I can see that the Project Target is getting closer and closer to green, and it’s making me persist past November 30th.
  4. Pushing forward without editing is helping me just keep chugging along. It’s so hard to fight the desire to just fix, fix, fix to perfection as I move along, but I’ll never finish that way.

Anyway, I’ve got a few short pieces I’ve been wanting to work on, and I think I’m just pushing them off until January (excepting those due back to my normal employers, because: deadlines! paychecks!) so I can finish this novel. I have a bad feeling that if I stop now, I’ll never, ever finish.

Now, some questions for you:

-Did you do NaNoWriMo?

-If yes, did you “win”?

-If you didn’t win, what lessons did you learn?

-And if you did, what’s your next step?

closeup photography of loser scrabble letter

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All sorts of great news to share

Yes, I’ve been AWOL again. And yes, I have all the usual excuses. And I have news–lots of it!

  1. I’ve finally got a title for my new middle-grade novel, coming out, G-d willing, this fall: Adina at Her Best. Look for it in Menucha Publisher’s fall catalogue. I’m not sure that it will be out in time for Rosh Hashanah, but it should be available by Chanukah time.
  2. I finished the second draft of my first novel for adults, and I’m getting a lot of feedback from beta readers. It’s been rather harrowing — there’s lots and lots to fix. (I’ll admit to some public ugly-crying.) But hopefully this is another step pushing the book closer to completion.
  3. It might not all pay off, but two weeks ago, I sent off a picture book submission to an agent, an article submission to a Jewish magazine, and short story submission to a secular venue in a matter of four days: bam! bam! bam! The article was, thankfully, accepted, and I’m very excited. I’m very doubtful about the others–they are definite long-shots–but I’m proud of myself for pushing myself.
  4. One of my editing/coaching clients is now nearly done with the second volume in their series of picture books! They’ve been working hard for months, and I’m super-excited to see the reaction with the next book hits shelves.

I’m not getting much creative work done. It’s summer and the kids are all home from school. But I’ve been doing a bunch of editing and picked up another client for picture book coaching. Now I’ve just got to figure out how to get the mental space and time alone to revise my novel…

What are you up to this summer? Do you have more or less time for creative endeavors during the summer? And do you have any exciting news?

At last! (Cue to triumphant music)

sunset-summer-golden-hour-paul-filitchkin.jpgAfter five years, many blog posts, and a whole lot of griping, I finally finished a complete first draft of my first ADULT novel. I feel exhilarated!

I also feel…strangely empty. As I was telling my friend Merri earlier today, I had my characters’ voices talking in my head for the last five years. Every once and a while, they would go away (particularly if I was knee-deep in another writing project), but they always came back.

They are now silent. Like, REALLY silent.

When I told this to Merri this afternoon, she asked me if I talked to the characters. I kinda feel like I should let them be, at least for the moment. Perhaps, when the time comes to revise, I’ll ask them questions to see if they respond.

It’s very weird feeling. My head is like a vacant apartment. Last Friday was the first day I had no fiction projects in the works in half a decade. (I am, however, working on another large, non–fiction book and several articles.)

My husband suggested I just ride this sensation out. Maybe in a few days, “someone” will start talking to me in my brain, and a new story will start.

In the meantime, he’s going to read my book, and then I’ll move on to a couple of beta readers. The novel is far from perfect, and I’ll need lots of feedback to guide my revision. But this is definitely a huge accomplishment, and I’m ready to celebrate!

PS — I forgot to share another article a few weeks back. This one is a personal essay about confronting struggles from a position of faith. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here.