Books, Writing

#PBParty

Yes, I’ve been MIA. I’m still working on 10 nonfiction books in various stages. I did get some fun news on the fiction front today, though. One of my picture books made it to the agent round of the #PBParty. If you are interested, hop on over to Michelle Hauck’s blog and look for number 9 — OPERATION BREAKFAST IS SERVED. You can Tweet about your favorite entries at #PBParty.

Writing

Office Space

Office Space

My husband converted our guest room into my office space just in the nick of time. A few days after the redo, I received a slew of short-turnaround writing assignments. I have five articles due within the next eight days. I guess it’s a good think I love my new digs. (Note: Post pic we added a bookshelf with all my writing resources and a printer. Now I don’t have to run back and forth to the shared wireless.)  Bring on the muse.

Holidays, Writing

Turning to 2013

Celebrating New YearNow that you have survived the end of the world, I’m sure you’ve given some thought to what’s ahead for 2013. I don’t do resolutions, per se, but I do like to set goals for myself each year, so I can measure my progress. This seems to come naturally at the end of the year when I’m getting my planner organized, transferring over birthdays, appointments and more. (Have I mentioned how much I love Levenger’s Circa system?)

2012 marked my real return to writing, after I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 in 2012 Picture Book Writing Challenge. You can learn about my progress here. About halfway into the year, I learned that I probably wouldn’t be satisfied with the process of writing and revising picture books, submitting them to editors, and waiting six months or more for a yay or nay. It can take established authors 5 years or more to sell manuscripts this way, not to mention the challenges a new writer faces.

While I will still shop the picture book manuscripts I have and write those I feel passionate about, my goal for 2013 is to break into the work for hire market. Essentially, I want to develop a relationship with publishers, primarily in the education market, so I can get assignments. I’ve set my sites on a couple of SCBWI events that will introduce me to educational publishers. I’m also going to focus on submitting articles to paying and nonpaying markets in an effort to build up my writers’ resume and increase my chances. Again, I am sure this process will take a long time, but at least I’ve narrowed my focus.

I’ve also realized that I need a writing workshop to brush up on my writing skills. I took two half-day workshops this summer on creative nonfiction and writing leveled readers, but I definitely crave more. Finding the right workshop has proved tricky, since many children’s writing workshops are focused on fiction. However, I now have a few leads thanks to a discussion group I recently joined focused solely on children’s nonfiction.

On the personal front, I did run my first 10K in 2012, as well as a couple of 5Ks, including one with my Dad. I have more races lined up for 2013, including another 10K. And a few girlfriends and I have set our sights on Disney’s Tinkerbell Half Marathon for January 2014. We’re looking at some training programs and have stepped up our strength training workouts and run schedules. Oh, and we’ve already planned our wardrobe inspired by the picture below.

Have a blessed 2013 everyone!

Books, Writing

12 x 12 Blog Party

Today is a wonderful day to slow down and give your little ones an extra snuggle. A Christmas picture book is  the perfect excuse. If you need a recommendation, check out yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

As some of you know, I’ve been participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge where we complete 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months. Since I write nonfiction, this has been particularly challenging. Research is very time consuming and sometimes impossible from the comfort of your own home and local library.

Nevertheless, 12 x 12 is the push I needed to advance my career as a children’s writer. Here are some 2012 accomplishments and benefits:

  • Six completed manuscripts. Four are at publishing houses for consideration.
  • One book query, which I’ll send off in January after the holiday madness.
  • One magazine article query and a few magazine submissions.
  • A new freelance gig writing leveled science articles for BirdBrain Science.
  • An SCBWI membership and a handful of events and conferences.
  • A wonderful, supportive community of writers who have cheered me on throughout.

I didn’t exactly finish the 12 x 12 goal, but I did fulfill my goal of becoming a children’s writer! I hope to continue the momentum for 2013.

If you have an interest in writing for children, Julie is preparing for 12 x 12 in 2013. Find out more, here.