Ten writers for children. All with something to say.



One of my resolutions was to be more organized, but obviously I am failing so far... But what I lack in the day to day stuff I do more than make up for in the big stuff. Like I did turn in Book One of my middle grade series on January 1st...I know I have plenty of revisions facing me (including incorporating a lot of sailing-related things from our resident sailing expert Spud Mark) but I  am well on my way, I think. And I am beginning the draft of Book Two, as well as working on another YA... I have some exciting things happening in 2013, including a new novel that  was about seven years in the making, but more on that my next post.  Happy 2013 to all!

Better Late Than Never

I may be a little slow at the starting gate this year to post my writing-related resolutions for 2013, but that's because I've been busy writing.  2012 was a tough year for me--chock full of family issues and loss.  I admit I did not move forward with my novel.  In fact, I went months without even touching my manuscript.  But, sometime last October I received an email from Audrey Couloumbis, who had recently moved to our MD/DE/WV SCBWI region and was looking for a writer's group.  I wrote back and asked, "Are you THE Audrey Couloumbis who wrote the Newbery Honor book Getting Near to Baby?"  Her humble answer was, "Only in SCBWI would I have name recognition."  Well, to make a long story short, Audrey and two other close writing friends of mine, Lois Szymanski and Sue Poduska, and I have formed a critique group--precisely what I needed to boost my writing spirit, make me accountable, and give me deadlines.

Here's a picture of me, working away in my writing cabin while trying to keep my hands warm on a recent cold day.  At a quick glance, it looks as if I've grown fur on my hands or have become part werewolf in my passion to get back to writing.

By the way, Audrey Couloumbis has a brand new YA out, Not Exactly A Love Story (Random House), if you're looking for a good read!


2013 Writing and Illustrating Resolutions

I spent the final weeks of 2012 taking lessons from my cat, Lucy. Curled by the tree with books, fairytales, journal and pen, I barely moved for days. It was a brief interlude of peace and reflection after a year of constant activity and before starting anew in 2013. Thank you Lucy for showing me the art of stillness. 

Lucy by the Christmas tree.

During this two week interlude I collected words and thoughts that might inspire me throughout the coming year. Here are some of them:
  • Take risks
  • Trust
  • Challenge
  • Enjoy, find pleasure
  • Be Bold
  • Believe
  • Discipline
Each of these words carries meaning for all of the things I know are coming up in 2013 and hopefully they will also add meaning and wisdom to all of the unexpected things just around the corner.

Juggling a lot in 2013!

2013 has started with a bang for this one potato of ten! Literally I hopped from the couch on January 1st and cleared my studio of 2012 piles, making room to move with the demands of the new year. I am juggling a lot in the first six months of 2013. I have a new book coming out, which I will talk more about in the next post. (What's New in 2013) With a new book comes planning publication events, activities to create, recordings and slide shows to put together that are both child-friendly and made for adult conferences. I am also painting the illustrations for another book that are due the beginning of April. Painting a book takes an enormous amount of time and concentration, yet I still must juggle this with production meetings for the set construction and painting for OZ, this summer's Circus Juventas show. And in May, I am traveling for a month to teach and research-- (more in the next post!) So I am making reservations, plans, lists, notes on where I must go, what I must see, etc. And there are school and library presentations to juggle too. Those last two weeks of sitting still in 2012 helped me see that all of the above is enormously important, but so are family, friends, and health. Thus, I juggle. Thank heavens I work for a Circus!

For the new year, I have ordered my days with creative painting and writing in the morning and early afternoon followed by business (i.e.: emails, website updating, etc.) starting around 4:00 in the afternoon. I have found that through the "discipline" of timing-- knowing when I read, paint, write, exercise, correspond, and get together with friends that I find more pleasure in what I am doing and can get a lot more accomplished as well. My resolutions for the year are in color coded blocks on my calendar letting me know what and where I need to be during the days ahead. I made a time-line on my studio wall, month-by-month with important dates, quotes, images, and post-its to keep me going. I do not think I will be at a loss for what to do next in 2013.
Timeline in studio-- it can be added to and rearranged as needed.
The only thing I lament is not more "moodling time":

"The imagination needs moodling, --- long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering."
-- Brenda Ueland

I am confident it will come with the long summer days. For now short winter days of 2013 are full and active and I am ready!

Happy New Year everyone!