Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Monday Meeting: Sick Daze

I had a fabulous time at the NESCBWI conference, came home, and promptly got sick. For a week. Urgh. Sometimes when I'm sick, I can still write, still blog. But this illness made my head all funny. I said weird things, and made up words. Hmmm. Maybe I should have been writing something twitchy and MG. Oh well. Instead, I hid from the general public for a week.
I was like this old cat in the drawer, hiding out last week.
Pip is actually being very brazen since old cat just might lash out.

But I'm mostly better now, except for the pain in my ear which makes me wonder if I have an ear infection. TMI? For sure.

I'll post about NESCBWI soon, and try not to replicate all the great posts already written about the conference. The highlight of my weekend was FINALLY meeting Alicia, and hanging out with Laura, Kris, Martha, Anna, Natasha, and Jen. As well as making new friends. Oh, and giving an impromptu pitch to an awesome agent.

More on that later. On the writing front, I'm pleased with where I am in both the projects I'm working on. I can't wait to do some quality writing this week. I'm rewriting, revising and drafting all at one time, and I enjoy the diversity of it all. My writing goal is to make some serious headway this week, to catch up on blogging and commenting, and to continue having fun with TwitterGames.

Oh, and we're starting up WIBIJ again. Soon. So be on the lookout!

Let me know what you are working on this week. How are you doing in your writing life? Are you keeping up with your goals? Feeling inspired? Needing a push? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Escape Artist

This cat may look completely angelic, but she's an escape artist. And she is supposed to be an indoor cat. Not because I'm mean, but because I've lost a furry friend to the outside before. Not fun. So the kitten lurks and lunges and leaps for the door whenever it opens. And I track her down whenever she escapes.

Superman, my middle child (in orange above), was the resident escape artist before the kitten. We were always on high alert. One Saturday I got a call from a neighbor at 6 am. She explained that Superman had walked (in pjs, no shoes) through the snow to her house. She was happy to let him hang out and watch TV for as long as I wished. I have the best neighbors.

And sometimes it is good to escape.

In case you want to escape your ms/chores/job, whatever real stuff you have on the burner, here are some excellent posts:

Erin Bow's Anti Advice at Shrinking Violet Promotions.

A book about INBOUND MARKETING, and thoughtful video.

First Page Shooter--an AWESOME blog series where two great agents dissect first pages.

I am heading to the NESCBWI conference this Friday. I had planned on just going up Saturday, but my fabulous husband took off Friday so I could go to the conference for TWO WHOLE DAYS. I'm thrilled. I've never been to two days of a conference before. I'm trying to decide whether to put myself out there Friday after the introductory stuff wraps up, you know, and be social.

Or whether I should escape to my hotel room, and write.

What do you guys think? Especially those who have gone up (and been social) on Friday. What happens Friday night?

What links and posts have you been escaping to recently? (Feel free to include your own!)

Twittergame today? #ItTakesSoLong

Because it does. :)

Play along!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Meeting: Swimming Lessons

My oldest son loves to swim. It wasn't always that way. It took years of swim lessons to get him to just put his face in that water. But once he got the hang of it, he spent his summer days swimming with friends out in the middle of the lake. I'd call him in to apply more sunscreen, and then he'd high kick it back out into the water.

This past fall he joined the swim team. And I realized that, to no fault of his own, he hadn't mastered any of the technical aspects of any of the strokes. He hadn't been taught, even through years of swim lessons. I guess his teachers had been focused on just wanting him to float. On wanting him to be able to survive in the water.

This is where I think a lot of people come into writing. Loving it, knowing how to float, to move through the water, but not knowing enough to win a race.

My son struggled through swim team, and was one of a handful of kids who got an award for Most Improved. I was proud that he stuck it out.

We started swim lessons again, and he did well, but didn't want to ever do swim team again. Until he found that one coach. That coach who drilled him in the water like a sergeant, and didn't let him take an incorrect single stroke. Who watched over ever single scissor kick. That coach who demanded excellence. Who barked out her orders. My son stepped out of the water after one lesson with her, and proclaimed, "I'll do swim team again next fall."

I think we each have to be that swim coach for ourselves. We can rely on crit partners to a point, but we have to have the confidence in our ability to strive for technical prowess. And to seek knowledge until we get there. To always reach for the next perfect stroke of the pen.To yell at ourselves until our writing is streamlined and focused.

We're not just in this to play in the water, after all.

This week, I'm writing. How about you?

Today, @laurapauling started a great new TwitterGame, with the hastag #badquerytips. Come share your serious (and funny) tips. And, on Laura's blog, she gives us some twitter pitfalls to avoid!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Befores and Afters

So cute, right? This is Cowgirl's toddler bed. I included both angles so you could enjoy Marisa's beautiful artwork at the head and foot of the bed.


Since Cowgirl is five and a half, it was time to transition her to a big girl bed. But change is hard. Growth sometimes comes with growing pains. And even though she loves her new big girl beds, she still talks about loving her old bed, missing it. 

Similarly, we seek out growth for our novels. We ask the tough questions. Should I give up on a project or rewrite? Because the novel doesn't work the way it is. How much should I cut while I revise? Which segues into my next before and after...



Okay, that's not the same sheep. But isn't the little guy too cute? Hopefully my manuscript will look like that when I'm done revising--from a big woolly mess to an adorable baaing creature. Do you think he is sniffing his mommy's fur? 

Sometimes we need visuals to remind us that the pain of making hard choices on a project brings us to a much cleaner, wonderful novel. What questions do you ask yourself when making tough choices on a draft or revision? What visuals do you carry for keeping you to the revision tasks of big decisions or sheering those words? 

And, a visual for the romping #amwriting twittergame that Kris (@KristineAsselin) has started for us today:

What occupies your kids so you can write? hashtag #thingsIletmykidsdosoIcanwrite
Come answer on twitter, and follow the hashtag for some laughs!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Because this is fun. (Did you notice PMM's tweet was the first one mentioned?).

Let's do it writerstyle. Here's the question:

What's the most bizarre thing you've done while deep in writing fog? You know, when the world around you dissolves, and you are in that writing zone.

The hashtag for today's Twittergame? #dontwakemeamwriting

I'll get started:

Drove off with coffee mug on roof of car #dontwakemeamwriting

Post your answers on twitter (not here), and let's have some fun!! 

Do you tweet? Do you have questions about twitter? Do you like twittergames? If you do, you need to follow @TaherehMafi--she starts games all the time, and gives stuff away!! It took me a while to get into twitter, but I love it now. Anyone feeling confused? I am happy to talk you through it! Reluctant to tweet? What's your favorite way to connect on-line?

***look for more Twittergames in the future from Kris (@KristineAsselin), Laura (@laurapauling), Kelly (@kellypolark), Tina (@tinalaurellee), and Anita! Make sure to follow all these lovely ladies so you don't miss out on a single game!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Meeting with David A. Kelly

I had an awesome whole day of writing (gasp!) last week, (thanks to my awesome hubby!) which vaulted me headfirst into this next Era of writing.

Yes, I'm proclaiming a completely new Era. (Who's with me?)

After reading through a couple of my projects, I realized that I now have the capability of working on more than one ms at a time. (Like chewing gum while walking, baby!) In addition to the MG ms I've described on this blog, I've also been working on a YA dystopia, which is dark and dirty and so much fun! Right now, I'm writing forward on that one, while rewriting big sections of the Middle Grade. I'm thrilled. I actually feel like I'm finally getting somewhere with this writing novels thing. :)

David A. Kelly with Cowgirl, Superman, and Euphonium Boy

Last week I took my kids to see David A. Kelly, author of The Ballpark Mysteries series. When I take my kids to a reading, I try to make it more about them and the author and less about me as a curious writer. :) David put on a wonderful show. He was gracious, kind, and funny, and answered Every. Single. One. of my kids' multitude of questions. What a ROCK STAR!

His books are tons of fun--and he's going on a 30 baseball park tour to research them. (How cool is that??) I'm hoping that soon he'll have some as books on tapes so we can replace some of our Magic Treehouse car CDs. (Not that I have something against Jack and Annie--we really enjoy them--but when I start saying their lines from memory, and gafawing whenever the author reads 'Jack asked', then I know it's time to move on.)

David also maintains a blog from the point of view of one of his main characters, Mike. Which I think is awesome. And follows in the vein that we've been talking about with younger kids being more plugged in with technology in relation to books. I love to see authors riding the crest of that particular wave.

Have you met any authors recently? What does your writing week look like? Had any breakthroughs recently? Do you have goals for the week? Fill me in!