Don’t ask me who has influenced me. A lion is made up of all the lambs he has digested, and I’ve been reading all my life. -George Seferis

Groceries & Characters

My grocery list is typically all groceries with a few extra items here and there. But those extra items and the groceries themselves tell a story. The whole list tells about my life. It tells my tastes, my eating habits, my faults, my milestones and my successes. I tend to write characters that don’t feel…

What NOT to ask at a Writing Conference

I’ve been to a fair number of writing conferences over the years. There is nearly always open question time for a presenter or two. There is also always those one or two people that take over the time. They ask things like, “How do I get an agent?” or “How do I write a query…

The Math of Writing

Let me say that math was never my forte. I barely skimmed by in Algebra and for some reason I did great at geometry (still don’t know why). When I set out to write this post it occurred to me that writing can be shown as a form of math or presented within the parameters…

Open to Suggestions… Right?

I’m not going to lie, anything about performing arts scares me. Ask me to talk to a room full of people about a topic I’m knowledgeable about sure thing- I got it. But ask me to act like something I’m not and bad things happen, and by bad I mean embarrassing. Flashing back to jr….

Not What I Meant To Write…

Well I touched on this in my last post but I signed my agent not for a fiction picture book but for a non-fiction kid’s cookbook. Huh? Yep… Now before you say, “Wait! You can’t write non-fiction!” Let me break it down for you. I’ve spent years honing my writing skills for brevity, clarity, and…

The Well of Creativity

I’ve been working on being creative for pretty much my whole life. In grade school I was “crafty.” In high school I was “weird.” Today I’m actually viewed as somewhat “cool.” Not sure how that happened… Mostly I’m thankful that I didn’t listen to those voices earlier in my life. My parents kept buying me…

Teamwork

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler After a whirlwind of excitement last week, which you can read about HERE, I’ve come to the full realization that I now have an even bigger team on my…

The Call!

I know I’m deviating from my regularly scheduled day but I can’t contain my excitement! I HAVE AN AGENT! I saw a #MSWL post asking for a kids cookbook proposal and freaked out. I’ve watched the #MSWL feed for three years and no one has ever asked for a kids cookbook. So I jumped on…

Query Letter Upgrade

I stumbled upon the best query letter advice in awhile through the Manuscript Academy. It’s called key selling points. Sounds super business fancy I know. But don’t let that freak you out. I’ll break it down for you super easy. If you want to watch the original clip or to see the whole video you…

Balance

This week has forced me, literally, to take a rest. It has shown me how to look for balance. While I’m not emotionally prepared to go into what happened this week I do know one thing, humans need balance. A balance between creativity, hustle, and rest. I’ve been able to read Called To Create by Raynor some…

Bullies vs. Cheerleaders

I’ve been blessed to join a new critique group of amazing ladies. If you are in a critique group you know it can be invaluable in so many ways. I try to have a writing group for each age category I write in if possible. This means I have my picture book pals, my middle…

Bravery is Not a Feeling

Bravery is an action. You heard me. It’s what you do that gets you labeled brave. Your feelings are secret and no one knows you are quaking inside. To the world, you are doing something incredible. Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.      -Paulo Coelho Every time you write your story, your…

The Art of the [Art Note: …]

I’m a fairly traditional writer. So making the transition into picture books has been difficult. Not because my writing is bad but because picture books are more than just the words. In picture books I have to leave room for art. You can check out another post on book structure HERE. When I say I’m leaving…

Comparable Titles Are Like Buried Treasure

Finding a good comparable title is like following a map to buried treasure. Once you’ve got a good one you’re golden but the journey can be grueling. Let’s add some tools to your backpack on this excursion. Beware! None of these ideas will help you if you don’t fully understand your own story first. You…

Writing & Parenting: A Juggling Act

I have two young kids, neither of them are in school yet, and let me say it’s hard to find time for creative endeavors. By the end of the day I’m too tired to think. In the morning even the littlest peep will wake them early. What’s a parent to do? All hail quiet time!…

Finding the Next Step

“If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.”― Confucius It was common for my business professors to quote Confucius and I always wondered what they meant by it. Were they jokingly saying they were sick of teaching? Were they challenging us, as students, to learn our way into…

Troubleshooting Stories

We’ve all heard about plotting vs pantsing but what gets overlooked is those of us who either start with a plot/world and those of us who start with character. Several of my writing friends always starts with character. I always start with a question that unravels into a plot and world. There are pros and…

Being a Writer Curator

I’ve been doing some cleaning out of old files, papers, and documents. You know what I found? More boring than I care to admit. I’m not talking about old bills either. I found-gulp-boring stories. Stories that told everything from the day of my character from brushing teeth in the morning to turning off the lamp…

5 Ways Kids Books Are Like Jelly

Have you ever made jelly or another type of preserve? It takes more than a recipe to get the results you want and kids books are very similar. Here’s how: Recipe like Voice- To make jelly you need a recipe and the first few times I’d recommend sticking to it. However, now that I’ve made…