Clearing out space for writing

Well I have completed my sprang cleanin’ challenge! I set Memorial Day as my deadline to clear my writing area, and I have done it!

You may remember the before picture from a couple of blog posts ago. If not, here it is.

My writing area needs to be simplified

My writing area needs to be simplified

Now here’s the after picture.

photo 1-2

What a change!


I could not believe the amount of paper I had accumulated!

Now I am ready for new things in my life.

And one of the new things is my first SCBWI writing conference this weekend. Yay! Next week I will give a summary of the events.

Writing Update

So we had another crisis in our household with my elderly father. Yesterday drained me emotionally with all the tumult associated with it. The day included a doctor’s visit, but no solution. Today will continue with more tests.
Consequently, I am feeling distracted and not very grounded. I find it difficult to concentrate on my writing.
So I wonder how other people get over this? Those who are prolific writers who stick to the “butt in chair” theory, how do they set aside the crises in their life and concentrate on their writing?
There are some who say that life gets in the way sometimes, and that you should not beat yourself up for not being productive every day.
For now I am just concentrating on other things, such as doing my courses. I am getting some valuable feedback in my children’s writer’s course. I have decided that I am going to turn my three little jars story from a picture book into an emergent reader. It has changed a lot since I first posted the idea (when it was actually a magazine story.) Now there is only one little jar and one big jar as main characters.
The nonfiction course has also been helpful. The last lesson we went through an interesting exercise on Amazon. Not only can you find comp titles on Amazon, but you can also find out how many books are in the category you are writing. For example, I am also working on an emergent reader related to veterinarians. There are 80 children’s books on this career posted on Amazon today. Where did I discover that? You can figure that out by looking at the top left corner list. Luckily, I have a spin on mine that makes it unique.
I am also preparing for my first SCBWI Canada East conference at the end of the month. It is exciting! I am busy preparing my pitches and questions for editors and agents as well as researching editors and agents. Here’s an interesting article I came across about Heather Alexander, literary agent at Pippin Properties.

Tomorrow is our last day in the Word by Word book club. I will miss studying “Yes You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books”. Lately I have spent some time typing out some published books, so that I can make comparisons to my manuscripts. I realize that I also need to work on my weakness, which is plot arcs. I will go back and review those exercises.

Finally, I am reading “Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke. Now I prefer to read shorter books (like beginning readers or picture books), but I really enjoy Cornelia Funke’s picture books, so I thought I would read one of her longer books, one recommended by my children’s writing course instructor. If you have never read any of her picture books, such as “The Princess Knight”, “Princess Pigsty” or “Pirate Girl”, I highly recommend them, especially if you are looking for an alternative princess book. “Princess Knight” is especially a favourite of mine and my daughter.

So what are you up to these days?

Challenge: Finding enough writing time

Recently I have realized that I have again not spent as much time writing as I would like. This has been an ongoing problem. So I had to sit down and figure out where I could make more time.
One thing that I realize is that I spend a lot of time in the pursuit of knowledge. But what good is all that knowledge if I don’t apply it.
So like I wrote that I needed to take fewer courses and apply the knowledge I have learned, I also realize that I need to spend less time on the Internet accumulating knowledge.

And I need to be spending less time on the Internet in general. These are the three things that I think I am spending too much time on:
1. Fear of missing out
It’s even got an acronym for it now, because it’s such a prevalent feeling: FOMO. FOMO had been causing me to check my social media accounts a wee bit too many times.
Realistically most information comes around several times, so I don’t need to be checking several times a day. Since I have realized this, I have started to relax about it.
2. Freebies
The kid’s lit community is extremely generous with sharing knowledge. But I need to schedule my time better, so that I am able to watch all those fabulous free webinars plus do my writing.
3. Building my author platform
Do you really have to build an author platform? It depends. From what I have learned, you do need to build an author platform if you are submitting to the big 5 publishers. But what about the smaller publishers? Many of them are often not as concerned.
The challenge is not to spend so much time building a platform that you don’t write. Because if you don’t write, you don’t have a chance to get published, and there is no need for an author platform anyway.

Writers need quiet time, time for them to allow their ideas to germinate and come to fruition. (For more on this see this article.) So now that I am spending less time on the Internet, I am finding more time to be creative. Even if I replace some of the Internet time with cleaning, that is time to think my own thoughts and not to read or listen to somebody else’s thoughts.
I am also working on my “sprang cleanin’”, in order to clear out more room/time for my writing. We were told to set a short term goal, and my short term goal is to clear out and organize my writing space by Memorial Day. Below is my before picture. I will post my after picture on the Wednesday after Memorial Day.

My writing area needs to be simplified

My writing area needs to be simplified

What about you? Do you find it hard to make time to write? If so, how could you find more time?

Wordless Wednesday

In my Word by Word Facebook group, we are working our way through the book called “Yes You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books” by Nancy I. Sanders.
We completed chapter 10, easy readers, last week. Easy readers target children in grades one-three. They are the readers that bridge the gap between the readers where children are learning to sound out words and the ones where they are reading independently.
One of the exercises Nancy suggests in chapter 10 is to post a picture of a place in a child’s world on your blog, and then ask people to comment about the setting. You can describe the setting or comment about what it means to you.
Setting does not need to be described or even mentioned in an easy reader. So why does Nancy suggest we do a setting exercise? Well for one thing, creating a memorable setting may be a way of getting children to read your story again and again. For another, often if you establish a setting before you write the story, you will get your creative ideas flowing.



So I thought it would be fun to do Nancy’s setting exercise. I am posting two pictures of a place I walk by almost every single morning. Let’s brainstorm and see if we can get any ideas for a story. And even if we all have the same information, we’ll have different stories.



Giveaway Winner

So my lovely assistant pulled a name out of her grandpa’s hat.

And the winner of the Sprang Cleanin’ course is:

My lovely assistant displays the winner's name over the book I am currently reading

My lovely assistant displays the winner’s name over the book I am currently reading

Congratulations Becky! I hope the course helps you to clear out some old stuff for something new.

Thanks to all who participated.