Saturday, September 18, 2010

Goodbye Summer!

This picture from Words in The Woods seems like it was taken long ago, before the chaos that was summer. Ah summer; kids at home, visitors, vacations, parties. Life as I knew it stood still for a few months. Yes, my writing was stagnant. Non-existent, really. I look back and wonder where the time went. The only thing I accomplished over the
summer was depleting my bank account. But those months were filled with good times and now I am renewed and energized to work on my manuscript again.

The break wasn't a complete bust, I was able to visit Gettysburg which gave me a feel for the time period when some of my story takes place, and I did buy some good research books. Maybe I'll even use some of the creepy things that happened on that trip in a future YA ghost story.

I think everyone needs time away to re-group their thoughts and ideas. I guess I am fortunate that I'm not getting paid and don't have a deadline. Although it sure would help the empty wallet syndrome. My dream: to effortlessly get through the rest of my manuscript, immediately find an agent or an editor that is dying for it, get published, and get paid so I can write the plethora of ideas swimming around in my overactive brain. Hey, a girl can dream.

By the way, my fellow writers and I typically have better fashion sense, the picture was taken before a costume party.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writing...and Publishing

We attended a writing conference this summer. I had an online class working on a specific manuscript. We met monthly to critique (in the nicest possible way!)and we still love to write. Some of us make progress on big projects. Some of us flit from one little project to the next. And we still love to write.

It would be so...urbane? sophisticated? mature?... of us to simply love writing and do it for its own sake! And never care if the only people who read it are our families and critique group.

Here is my dirty secret: I want to see the Javalina Brothers in a school library. I want Victoria Dragon to be on the display table at Borders. I want a stuffed Tuk-tuk! Under all the "love to write" is a desire to move to the next step: getting published.

So every year I wait for the Children's Writer's Market to emerge and - clutching my yellow highlighter - I flit through the first pages of the Publishers Index knowing somewhere is the editor who is waiting for Danny Lion! Flitting becomes slogging very quickly as one entry after another "is not accepting..." Well, think of all the time I have saved by not contacting THEM! Or them. Or them...

Ah, the route - they say at conferences - is long and difficult. We noticed. Is it interminable?

So I am trying this year to squelch the Insane Hopeful Direct Publisher Contact Gene that drives me to the SASEs and focus on agents. Most of them take e-mail. All have websites and useful contact information. Many have not said "no" yet...

So that is hopeful...

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Happened to Summer?

I can't believe I had to put a sweater on today to go bike riding with my kids. It was 96 or something earlier in the week.

On the one hand, it seems like summer passed in the blink of an eye, but on the other, looking back on all the things my family and I did, the time was both relaxing and fulfilling. We reconnected with relatives and old friends and met new people.

From a writing perspective, I can't say that I have a whole host of new stuff written. But, I do have a lot of new ideas waiting to put on paper. In June, five of my six blog-mates and I went on a retreat called Words in the Woods. As far as I'm concerned, pretty much every minute of it was worthwhile in some way, be it time spent getting to know my fellow writers better or learning more about the craft of writing. While forbidden by my friends and family to actually work on the opening of my manuscript again right now, I do have some great ideas for it based on what I learned at the retreat.

My family and I spent part of our vacation in Wildwood, NJ, which is where part of my YA novel is set. I grew up going to the Jersey Shore every summer since my parents have a business there, but I hadn't been back in about five years. It was an interesting experience to look at everything through the eyes of my heroine.

With vacation over, real-life has started again and it is busier than ever. We've started our home school year and somehow I am the president of one home school group and field trip coordinator for another. Most of the work is up front, I hope, and so maybe one day soon I'll be able to spend evenings after the kids go to bed solely on my manuscript and not registration forms.