Sunday, February 2, 2014

What Are You Afraid Of?

   Okay, I've decided that I'm going to blog, again!  On again off again, I know, but this is the day, the month the year.  The year to focus on writing and sharing with other pre-published children's authors.
Maybe there'll be some tidbits for my published friends too.
   I'll start with the heading of this post. I've read it, heard it, over and over, "What are you afraid of?"
Well nothing. At least that's what I've been telling myself.  Not heights or new challenges, flying or traveling, telling the truth, meeting new people. I'll be the first one to walk up to you and start talking, especially if I think you're left out or alone
     I've been writing, critiquing and subbing for quite a few years now. I'm fortunate to have real live author friends as well as the online critique partners and friends. I have the small writing schmoozes, retreats and NESCBWI conference every year. I read other blogs where the 'afraid' question comes up. So what's the problem with me? Am I afraid...of what?
   Back up here, a few years. My Bear story received a letter of merit from the SCBWI Barbara Karlin grant. That's big, right? Hundreds of entries and only about 10 recognitions. Then, that same story was the one that gave me entry to RUCCL-Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature. With that affirmation and all the confidence in the world I started subbing it to editors and agents. Oh the letters and notes that came back. The most personal I've ever received. 'beautiful, lyrical, almost bought it, but in the end, a rejected story.
   That was it. That was my story, my ticket to publication/NOT! I slumped, and fluffed and didn't sub another story. Nothing else I tried to write was as good as Bear. I even messed up and let the open to submissions editors sit from 'my' New England conference pass by. I couldn't and didn't have the heart until something hit, clicked, struck! Don't ask, it could have been while I participated in Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo, or the boost of Never Give Up with Joan E Edwards, or meeting up with a few friends. Shannon Abercrombie's  Start The Year Off Right  challenge offered a new prompt from a different author every day. Whatever it was that got me fired up again, I hope I can share and help stir you up too.
   I have binder notebook beside my computer now and have written on writing, every day this new year. Rather than journaling, I'm jotting ideas, keeping up with online challenges and making notes of editors and agents that are open to submissions of the genres I write, which at this moment, my finished and polished manuscripts are Picture Books.

    Have you joined any of the online writer's forums? Some are free while others charge a fee.

    Julie Hedlund's 12x12 registration is only open until the end of February.
    Rate Your Story is closed for member registration, but still offer amazing opportunities for writers.

   Here are a few more to do notes highlighted in my notebook, for the month of February you may be interested in.
       
        Wed-Feb 5th    Register for NESCBWI   If you're thinking of or planning to go to the New                                 England conference, the list of workshops and facilitators are up on the SCBWI site.
        Wed Feb 5th     Open sub day, Rate Your Story  (you can submit a story and it will be commented                                   on and rated by an industry professional.

         Deadline  Feb 21 - Enter first page contest on  Writing and Illustrating by Kathy Temean. Besides                             this contest, Kathy's blog is a great children's writers resource. Check it out.
       

      Those are my meanderings for now. I'll close with a picture that I put on FB the other day. Marissa asked me to read her a bedtime story at nap time. In turn, she read it to Bentley. In the end, he had a great snooze. She didn't.

   And here's a favorite quote:
Children are made readers on the laps of their parents~~~ Emilie Buchwald