As we mark another Veteran's Day in a year filled with strife and pain, let us remember always those who fight or have fought for our country, for us and for all in which they believed. Let us not ever lose sight of what is important and let our words and actions reflect that always.
Thank you, Veterans (past, present and future), for your selfless dedication and service. There are no words to reflect the appreciation for the great responsibility you bear. Thank you!
Veteran’s Day Prayer
Dear Lord, Today we honor our veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country. We pray that you will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage, for all of us. Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made for their many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression. We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that you will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness. In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.
I was driving down a long gravel road on my way home the other day. The vibrant autumn colors of the trees framed the road and created this beautiful path. I was rejuvenated! Fall breathes new life and energy in me. The cooler temperatures and vibrant colors seem to foster a creativity in me that isn't typically quite as predominant other times.
This has been a particularly busy Fall, both personally and work wise, and my writing has often taken a back seat to everything else. Life and recent obligations seem to be settling down now with much of the chaos over, so when I was driving and saw this beautiful path ahead, it was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. And new energy, new ideas and renewed motivation bubbled to the surface. I'm excited to follow my path and see where it leads with my current WIPs as well as the new ideas gaining life.
How about you...are you balancing all and following your path or finding it difficult to make the time to write in the face of the day-to-day stresses and life happenings? I would love to hear how things are going for you.
Thank you to my mom and dad for these awesome birthday treats! New writing journals and pens always foster inspiration for me. I'm looking forward to an upcoming SCBWI writing conference this weekend and am hopeful new ideas will be plentiful. One of the quotes in this Life's Little Instruction Book really hit home for me as I often seem to let life get in the way and wait for the "perfect" time and place to write which, very often, is hard to find. I will leave you with these wise words as you embark on a new writing week...
"What are you waiting for? Perfect conditions? Conditions will never be perfect. Today's the day to dust off your dreams. So get out there. Get going. Get moving. Shoot down a star. Lasso the moon. Stare down a rhino. Life's not going to ask you to dance. You've got to run towards it with arms open and eyes flashing. Tackle it, wrestle it to the ground and kiss it on the lips. It always kisses back."
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Meet Dash...he is everywhere these days getting others excited about the upcoming Picture Book Summit 2017. October 7, 2017, is rapidly approaching. What a day it will be! Even if one is unable to attend live, replays are available for a period of time after to listen, or re-listen, to all information and presentations. It is an incredible experience and well worth every cent.
We have a wonderful SCBWI Dakotas writing opportunity in September. Consider joining us if able. It sounds amazing! Thank you to Kendra Levin for providing this terrific conference and to Betty Raum, our fearless leader, for organizing it.
I've been thinking recently about all my manuscripts that are started, in various stages of completion, as well as those in need of final edits before sending out into the world. I seem to have an easier time starting new things this summer than I do tackling the edits needed on several PB manuscripts.
As a matter of convenience, I can start something new no matter where I am...in my car, on vacation, running errands, etc. All I have to do is grab a scrap of paper or dictate a voice memo into my phone and viola...something new is born. However, it feels a much bigger project and is definitely a more time consuming one to sit down, butt in chair, and tackle the edits and re-workings of shaping a current WIP into submission shape. Perhaps it is having the kids all home during the summer months or constantly being on the go for a variety of reasons. I have four PBs needing final edits and want them all complete before a very exciting September conference thus the time has come to buckle down and get to work. It is exciting to envision the finished products and yet daunting to tackle as a whole.
Today, I saw this quote, and it gave me new inspiration. Who doesn't love to build a great sand castle? It is an inspiring idea and one I will hold onto as I shape my sandbox into various sand castles.
Where do you find your greater inspiration...in the creation of the original draft or in the shaping into a final and finished product? I would love to hear your process and insights.
Tamara is a Red-eared Slider turtle, and this endearing
story tells the tale of her life thus far. Tamara is excited to be chosen from
all the other Red-eared Sliders only to eventually be forgotten and ignored by
her owner and set free in a nearby creek by his mother. Tamara is found by a
man who finds her and taken to a special new place where she eventually is
rescued and taken home where she belongs.
Ms. Macaulay weaves facts about turtles and taking care of
them as pets into a fun story to which kids can relate and learn from without
feeling a lesson is being taught—though a good lesson on the importance of providing
the best environment and pet care is being taught.
Javier Duarte’s illustrations are beautifully colorful and
vivid and bring Tamara and Ms. Macaulay’s story to life.
TAMARA TURTLE’S LIFE SO FAR is a terrific book which teaches
responsibility and encourages a very important conversation between parents and
children about rescue and care of pets.
**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge
from the author in exchange for an honest review. This review consists only of
my truthful opinions, not influenced in any way by the author or publisher.
That is, indeed, an important question. It is one I've been wrestling with on my recent PB edits. I have a story begging to be written in rhyme, so I've been immersing myself in the "what to do/not to do" rules in the world of rhyme recently to refresh myself as I tackle the edits.
I LOVE rhyme! Always have. I love to read a good rhyming picture book, and I enjoy the challenge of writing a good rhyming picture book. But a challenge it is! There is so much to think about...more than just rhyming the end words of lines. It has to sing!
I listened to a wonderful webinar replay on rhyming last night by Renee LaTulippe from my 12 x 12 webinar series. It was incredible and re-energized my edits. Renee is wonderful and so very knowledgeable about writing in rhyme. I highly recommend reading or listening to anything she presents if you are prone to writing in rhyme. I will be checking out her Lyrical Language Lab myself soon.
For more information on 12 x 12, go to http://12x12challenge.com/membership/. I cannot say enough about the benefits of belonging to the 12 x 12 community. It is, without a doubt, the best thing I've done for my writing life.
Back to the point of my post...for you rhymers out there, what is your process? Do you start with a story written in prose and decide it needs to rhyme? Do you hear the music and rhyme of your story and build from there? I would love to hear your thoughts if you are willing to share.
Well, lately, the thud of the tennis ball has landed squarely in the wrong quadrant writing wise. Wrapping up the school year for the kids and work year for me, sports and activity obligations and now preparations to depart on a much needed family vacation tomorrow have all served to waylay my time for writing--and energy for the same.
I have my good pen and notebook packed and plan to recharge my batteries while lounging in the surf and sand. You know what they say about the best laid plans, but I am hoping for a creativity burst. There is nothing like fresh ocean air and sound to spur on creativity. I will check in upon my return and report my progress.
I was sitting watching several of my son's tennis matches yesterday and started thinking how applicable that tennis ball was to life as I watched it thunk back and forth across the net. The back and forth of the tennis ball made me think of the back and forth of my writing life. Perhaps because there was so much I needed to be home doing at that moment (both writing wise and otherwise), but such is the stage of life I am in right now. I can't miss one of my kid's activities, and I was, technically, now thinking about a blog post in my head. The back and forth doesn't at all represent the interest in writing for me but rather the commitment to prioritize it. Thud...making the time to write before anything else. Thud...doing everything else FIRST in an effort to have a bigger block of time to write only to be left with NO time. Back and forth, back and forth, all the way to the deuce point. What's going to take it...the non-essentials or the writing? One's head controls the choice in the game of tennis. One's head also controls the choice in writing. So, what's it going to be? Many days, the ball lands squarely in the net and goes nowhere. Today, it was a little more back and forth for me in the productivity department. How about you? Game, set, match!
In the midst of reading for ReFoReMo (Reading for Research Month) and participating in 12 x 12, I have been pretty pathetic at posting here on my blog. I apologize and aim to be more consistent in the future!
As ReFoReMo winds down and my piles of mentor texts are ready to go back to the library, I am getting back to organizing my writing and WIP files needing major to minor edits. I tend to be more productive at writing the initial draft and completing the minor edits than I am at tackling the major edits and re-writes. How about you? I seem to always think those more intense edits are going to require too big of a block of time than I have at that given moment and, consequently, it goes to the back burner...again...and again...and again... You get the idea!
Anyway, I started a new book today recommended by a writer friend, WRITING PICTURE BOOKS by Ann Whitford Paul. I've read only the prologue thus far, but it got me excited about diving into my WIP edits regardless of the amount of re-working needed.
Ms. Paul says in her prologue, "Completing a draft of your story is not the end of the writing process. It is only the beginning. Then you must shape your draft into a publishable manuscript. This is the fun part of writing. This is the time-consuming part of writing. This is what separates the amateur from the professional."
And it is fun. But it is also such work. Hard work. But such rewarding work as well. I have several manuscripts that need more than the short blocks of time I've had (let me correct myself, that I've made) lately, and I am looking forward to jumping in with both feet. Perhaps one of the most daunting reasons I continue to procrastinate is also found in Ms. Paul's words,
"Note that revision is not a one-time thing. Every change will call for others."
So. Very. True! But, that is also how a story is born, so press on and dive in, I will.
I would love to hear how you tackle your revision process if you are willing to share a comment.
Today marks the birthday of one of the world's most wonderful storytellers, Dr. Seuss. As such, a nationwide reading celebration takes place every year on this day. It is Read Across America Day, so get out your books (especially the Dr. Seuss books) and read.
Dr. Seuss was a masterful storyteller but also a subtle teacher for children as he showed kids the importance of having a kind heart, believing in oneself and in one's potential in life. I can think of no other person having such a long and important impact on children's reading and learning...and with such fun stories!
As I started to think of some of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes to share today, I realized they all came from the same book...Oh, The Places You'll Go! (1990)
Some of my most favorite include the following...
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."
"You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so...get on your way!"
"And when things start to happen, don't worry. Don't stew. Just go right along. You'll start happening too."
I guess that means Oh, The Places You'll Go! is my favorite Dr. Seuss book given all my favorite quotes come from it, but there are so many wonderful books.
What are your favorite Dr. Seuss books and/or quotes? I'd love to hear them!