Friday, July 30, 2010

Day One: SCBWI Summer Conference, LA

This is basically a blog post to say - DANG! I am so tired and need to recharge. It was a full-on first day. We have been constantly entertained and educated by the speakers, faculty and members. I can't even begin to tell you what I've learned. I will try to do a more informative post tomorrow.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two more sleeps in Perth...

Yep, it's really time to get serious about packing, tidying up loose ends and enjoying sleeping in our comfy, cosy beds ... we won't be back in them for a while.

It's only one week until the SCBWI Summer Conference 2010. Already I have two meets lined up! The first one is on Thursday with the Australian SCBWI crew, the second one is Saturday night with Paula Yoo and fellow NaPiBoWriWee participants. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be meeting everyone next week! My head is going to be spinning.

I have printed out some copies of my works-in-progress. One of them is going to be critiqued by an industry representative at the conference - great opportunity. I hope to share the others with fellow conference-goers at the informal critiques.

In the meantime, I've started work on a new picture book inspired by the beautiful, untouched bushlands near my home. Unfortunately they won't be left untouched for too much longer. Now it's time to problem-solve this story. I really enjoy the challenge. So much to think about, so many possible approaches.

Which picture books have conservation as a central theme? The Waterhole by Graeme Base is a favourite. Have you read any that were well done?

Here's hoping I get a chance to blog a little while the conference is underway. Wish me luck! In the meantime, I wanted to post a link to this blog by a grumpy literary agent - it's crazy funny Slushpile Hell. Enjoy!

See you back soon.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Going cuckoo over Twitter

The past few days have been MAD. Have I been preparing for my trip to the northern hemisphere? Ummm... I think so! Does it feel like it? Nuh-uh! The conference is really SOON and I have real things to do, but...

I have just joined the Twitter revolution (am I late?) I think I have a lot of catching up to do. What the...? So many #s and @s and RTs and #iamstumped. I have to admit that it's getting a little out of control. I am spending more time on TweetDeck than in my word processing software. Not good!

I suppose I need to spend some quality time with Twitter to begin with. We need to get to know each other. Twitter cares about me, doesn't it? Little birdy, let me hear those sweet tweets so I know there are other writers out there avoiding writing just like me!

I think I need a fail whale to save me from this new addiction.

Oh, if you are checking in with me for the first time - hello! It's really great to have you. Are you also addicted to social networking? Can I succeed as a writer with all of this social networking to do?


P.S. Wanna be my Twitter friend?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

All That I Need

I have all that I need. I am very healthy, happy and loved.

All children deserve health, happiness and love. When I wrote a little picture book called All That You Need, I was writing for all children. But in particular, I was writing for a little 5 month old baby boy who had been separated from his parents. I have a special wish for this story. Today I edited it and took the first step in trying to make this wish come true.

I feel so glad that this story has now taken it's first step into the big wide world. Whether or not fate brings this story to children out there, I feel great that now it has at least a small chance - a much bigger chance than if it were not written at all!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Nose Picking just got better

It's been a little over two months since NaPiBoWriWee 2010 when I wrote my first batch of picture book drafts. I was fairly pleased with a couple of them, especially seeing as they were my first attempts. However, the thought of editing them was scaring me. Why? I believe there were several possible reasons for my dread and panic:

1. I feared I would break them
2. I feared that my writing ability had expired - ie: the stories were a fluke.
3. They might get better - which meant that they weren't perfect in the first place - tut, tut! Imperfection? Mois?

Well, I have my project manager(!), Glenn to thank for flagging my picture book edits as very important - even more important than washing socks! This afternoon I grabbed a quiet moment while Cy was asleep to look through others' critiques of "I Didn't Pick My Nose". First I made one small change, then another ... and another...and I felt very satisfied after each successful alteration. It wasn't at all scary. In fact, I felt very proud. I am still glad that I let it simmer for a couple of months, though. The weaker parts just got weaker with time, and the stronger parts stayed strong.

'Edit Number One', I like you. You are a good read. However, you wouldn't be what you are today if it weren't for the pioneer, the bold and inaugural 'First Draft' who went before you. Thank you, First Draft. You will not be forgotten.


Monday, July 5, 2010

A thorough day's work

How can it be that a thorough day's work as a writer can look like so very little on the surface? I spent the day reading, clicking, reading, clicking, clicking, clicking, reading, tapping, tappity-tapping, deleting, adding, reading... but somehow I don't feel like I achieved very much!

The good news is that I completed assignment number two for my Professional Children's Writing Course. I hope I did what was expected - once again it wasn't too difficult. I guess it was because the idea was already firmly in my brain. It's sort of taking some time to get my head around the fact that I am totally enjoying what I am working on. I mean... is that allowed?? Do I deserve to be sitting here enjoying what I'm doing? I guess I am more accustomed to the idea of work being a bit of a drag - like a lot of other people, I'm sure.

I am really in awe of the people I've met through SCBWI, and others, who have followed their dreams and utilised their skills in the arts. They must have had some great support to get to where they are today (one would hope!) There are definitely some negative people out there who will try to stop creativity in its tracks. I guess they might be well-meaning, but they sure can confuse a person and throw them off-course.

Anyway, I am not dealing with people like that in my happy, little bubble. I hope you're not either.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Getting set to go...

It won't be long now until I'm sitting studiously at the SCBWI Summer Conference, pen and paper poised! I have been looking at the schedule, trying to figure out which talks I cannot miss. It is really difficult - especially as a beginner. There is so much to learn! It's especially hard because I don't know what kind of writer I am. I have drafted several picture books, but now a little idea for a chapter book is whispering in my ear! Pssst...

I submitted assignment number one of my writing course this evening. I do feel very clever. It has been more than three and a half years since I last did an assignment! It was a nice little introductory piece. I had to introduce myself, talk about my motivation for writing for children and set a few goals for the next year and beyond. I thought it was strangely simple, but I realised after a while that although I had set out to write in an informal tone (' if chatting to a friend,'), I had gotten all academic in the midst of it. So I went back and did a bit of editing and made it sound more like me. I am guessing that is a lesson in 'voice'? Anyway, it was quite therapeutic. It made me think about why I want to write, and I decided that I have some pretty good reasons.

Well, it's time to knock off! Another day of reading and writing to look forward to tomorrow...

Take care,