Read and Write - I’m always reading. I pick Young Adult/Adult books to read for fun on my Kindle. They can be new or old. It doesn’t matter.
With children’s books, I only read new ones, and I read them as a writer to stay current with the market. I pick out 4 picture books and a chapter/middle grade book a month from my local library.
I don’t read them just for fun. I read them to understand how to write for kids, to learn how to put in the content they need. It helps me build words and sentences into stories.
I also enter each one in my book log. I write about what I like/ don’t like. My Log is where I find the titles I review for My Reads. I look for books that match up to each new blog post.
I’m always writing! I write in segments for my website each night. After I finish a post, I pick a book to review. It’s one of the things I’ve done over the past four years to build a platform as a writer.
During the day I write as much as possible. I hate days with appointments. I never get as far as I hope. I always want more.
My favorite writing days are when I can stay in my PJ’s most of the day, and I can focus on the words. It’s heaven!
I never expected to have 3 WIP’s (Works in Progress) at the same time. Two of them are scheduled for March 2021. The third is due in October.
It’s funny to say a book is due, but in some ways it’s like birthing a baby. You have to give it enough time and nourishment to grow into a story you’re willing to put your name on.
Here’s what it looks like when I write. I find a comfy spot and sit with my laptop. I used to write in a room by myself. If there was any noise, I’d put on headphones. The bad part – it isolated me from my family.
I still write in a comfy spot, but now the TV is on. It’s background noise. I half listen, but my attention is focused on my writing. The best part – my husband can be in the room, and I can be part of the family.
Take Classes, Market Ourselves, or Our Books - When I was teaching, this is what my classes looked like. Well, if I only had 15 in my room. Most years I had between 20 and 25. The first year I had 30. YIKES! That’s a lot of kids to divide my time between. If each kid could talk for 1 minute, they could each speak twice in an hour. Most people don’t think of class size that way. Teachers do!
When I took classes, to help me teach or write better, I used to have to physically go into a class. That’s lovely if it’s only 30 minutes away. Once I traveled 15 hours to do a weekend of classes at Highlights, you know the magazine company! It was great, but expensive – time and money-wise.
I’ve also taken classes or done critiques online. I’ve never had a critique partner in my home town. Writing for kids is not something done in Wapak or Auglaize County, Ohio. I’ve had critique partners in Ohio, in Tennessee, across the country, and a few that were international. I’m in two online groups now, and one of my partners is originally from New Zeeland. Now she lives in Canada. The kidlit world is a small one after all!
Since Covid reared its ugly head, online is the only way things are done in the kidlit world. I went to my first national conferenc SCBWI in LA because of Covid. I would never pay airfare and hotel to get there, especially when my learning curve as a writer is still high.
Right now I’m working my way through the Northern Ohio SCBWI conference, online. I had 13 videos I wanted to watch. I have 3 left to see by the 19th. Only 2 days left, but if I don’t make it, that’s OK. I did the ones I wanted to see, FIRST!
Marketing is as unfamiliar to me as this illustration is. I’m a second grade teacher. That’s my wheelhouse, where my skills are.
Marketing, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, is about getting people to do what you want. I understand that – I am a teacher! But I don’t understand how to sell my book, or me as an author. That’s way over my head, like 100 feet deep!
But I am excited about marketing this year! I’m working with a hybrid publisher. It’s a little of self and traditional publishing smushed together. So far, I LOVE working with an editor. I love pushing my work to be better.
Soon we’ll start working on marketing for this new book, and you’ll HEAR about it. They’ll do part of the work. They’ll also guide me on how I can help. I’ll watch, take notes, and apply those things to NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. I can’t wait!
This part of marketing, I DO understand! I know shopping, and one of the best places to sell Neil is at a museum gift shop. Neil was once sold at two museums – The Armstrong Museum in Wapak and the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. I’ve been trying to get it into a NASA Museum in Virginia. I was close – till Covid hit. Now it’s time to try again. Christmas is coming, and Neil’s book is a perfect gift for aviation-loving kids!
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When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!