Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Finding a Balance Between Writing and Writerly Business

I'm starting 2010 a bit sad to have 2009 (the debut year for my first "solo" novel) already behind me and a bit overwhelmed with my new responsibilities as Regional Advisor for the MD/DE/WV chapter of SCBWI. Although the position involves "writerly" tasks, including working closely with other writers, editors, and agents, it also threatens to steal valuable time away from my own personal writing life.

I hereby resolve to find a good balance between writing and writerly business. Like David, I will concentrate on things that I do have control over, such as finishing a first draft of my current work-in-progress, so I can get to the true meat of writing--revision. Like Christy, I will also concentrate on finding some poetry in my life--celebrating those little joys and often overlooked details by putting them down on paper in some form. I would love to say I have an adventure as exciting as Carmen's journey back into Picasso's life, but who knows what adventures the year may hold...

Here's to a New Year rich with writing opportunities!



My writing resolution for 2010 was to write a biography of Picasso. I have been reading a lot about him and have written poems from his birth to the cubist era. But need to see, smell, hear, and explore the places where he lived. The question, of course, was how, where would I get the money to go to Europe? I thought I had to can my resolution.

That won't happen. On Tuesday morning I got a call from Oregon Literary Arts. I won the Edna L. Holmes Fellowship in Young Readers Literature! In October (Picasso was born October 25th) I will travel to Málaga, Barcelona, and Paris to experience Picasso's life as fully as possible.



There are many things I have no control over as an author: how long an editor will take to respond to my work, the economic viability of publishers acquiring new manuscripts, the way in which reviewers will treat my upcoming book.
So be it.
In the new year I resolve to work on those things over which I do have some control: making writing a priority, writing the strongest stories I possibly can, stretching myself as an author and illustrator, taking risks, reminding myself of the joy that writing can bring, giving myself time to read, and being gentle with myself when I don't live up to my own expectations.
These may not be new resolutions, but they are ones that I need to keep practicing.
Happy New Year, one and all!


Writing goals 2010

Next week I begin a Stanford Writer’s Studio course taught by former Stegner Fellow, Sara Michas-Martin. The class is called “Poetry: Writing the Moment.” I find much in common between poems and picture books: both are visual, both condense and distill thought, both celebrate smaller moments. I wish to sharpen my hearing and deepen my understanding as I read poetry. I am eager to experiment and hope to gain some confidence in writing my own poems.

I have poetry-picture book ideas in development that with any luck will benefit from what I learn at Stanford. Revision is big on my agenda for the year. I also want to make time for experimenting with my illustrations. I develop art simultaneously with writing—nailing down visual and verbal language alternately.