I was very blessed during this summer to take two amazing vacations. Yes, two. I know. But I had the opportunity to visit the Great Barrier Reef with one of my Aussie sisters, and then meet my mother, other sister and niece in Brisbane for some whale watching. Both incredible, once in a lifetime experiences.
Then in late summer, off to Italy, from Florence to Vernazza to Chianti to Rome.
One thing these breaks did, besides visiting some of the most beautiful places in the world, was to help me focus intensely and critically on my writing. (After all, that was an amazing amount of touring.) To just get it done. And be critical and as questioning as my Third Grade Book Club.
So Della told me her story and Drafts 1 and 2 are done. This is a running start. Simultaneously, after skin surgery and plantar fasciitis, I am back to running. All systems are GO.
After a back injury related to running 2 marathons, I am blessed to be able to train with running friends and run one year later in the Alameda Half Marathon on this Sat. June 8th. I’ve done slow training to get to a few 14 mile runs. I’ve had to retrain my running style, use the PT exercises and more. Plus now I’ve started the Duke (low carb) eating plan to drop a little weight (decrease that foot impact!). And so the same goes for my writing. I’ve been doing writing marathons for years. With 2 manuscripts complete, I’ve now been told that a re-start is necessary. Not a re-write for the upteenth time after the umteenth critique. But a total re-start.
So just like running, it’s starting all over. With careful exercises, slow preparation, slow development, and thoughtful progress, I’ll start writing my stories again. Because if I do the same thing again, I will get the same result. A flawed manuscript. A character with an incomplete journey in need of physical therapy and more.
I realize, as with any deep injury, both in my running and my writing, that the emotional attitude is the underlying driver and also the saboteur. But unlike running, writing for children is so much harder – because the stakes are so much higher – a product that mesmerizes the reader along the WHOLE path.
So off I go — entering re-start land. Wish me luck.
Had to put my two finished manuscripts aside. Now working on the third about the Marsh World – Della Gets Dirty. Della is a 9 year old who hates dirt. But when two marsh animals make her acquaintance, she is drawn into the marsh world. She is faced with the horrible decision between her Dad filling in Frog Pond on her new friends and keeping his job. Her relationship with mud, dirt and her Dad all take gritty turns.
I could not have found a more wonderful article about mud and kids. Happened to see it while getting that annual mammogram! Mud, the New Medicine, by Ashley Talmadge. Thank you Ashley. Just love it.
Even though I have spoken nationwide and consulted with firms around the world, children’s writing is a totally different animal. It has taken me awhile to absorb and take to heart the wonderful advice and experiences from other published writers. It’s not that I don’t believe them, nor didn’t understand how to implement their good advice. I think there was a bit of shyness in putting myself forward in a new industry, new endeavor, and new role.
I’m sure many of you are in the same “shy-space.” Your day job is one persona, your writer life may be another.
So at last, with the help of my work with SCBWI, I’ve introduced myself to my local librarian, local independent bookstore, local Girl Scouts, etc. SCBWI is a wonderful resource and tool to use. Plus since I decided to do promotion for Ginger Wadsworth’s Girl Scout bookstore meet & greet on 4/18, this gave me the impetus visit our local elementary schools, contact audience targets, and more.
The more new steps, the better.