Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week 12 2015 Journal Challenge: What Season?

Well?  If you could only live in one season, which would it be, and why?

I thought I'd go for something more fun since a few have been heavier.  I did have a couple deeper entries, though, this week, including more thankfulness in an entry about writing thankfulness.

Give me one season all year long, and I'll choose Spring every time.  From beginning to end, four seasons a year, give me Spring!

I'm fine without seeing the leaves change.  I'm fine without massive snowstorms.  I'll even give up my snowblower.

Early season coolness, some snow to, possibly, sled in, maybe even enough to make a small snowman and have a snowball fight.  Good enough for me.

Jeans, sweatshirts, and a light jacket in the beginning, maybe even some gloves and a hat, to shorts and a t-shirt at the end.  Spring means a lot of time back outside watching the flowers bloom and leaves grow.  OK, maybe that wouldn't happen each Spring beginning since it's Spring each season, but it would be nice :)

I'd love sitting outside and watching the birds, drinking coffee, writing and napping in the hammock.  The windows open in our house and the windows down in our cars.  The perennial feeling of a new beginning with each season, without the Winter doldrums I find hitting me harder this year than it has in years.

I've found this Winter's grayness, snow, and constant cold to have left me unmotivated to do many things: write, read, sled, just get off my ass, and that hasn't happened since, probably, 2007 or even longer than that (though other years it includes running, swimming and riding on my rollers).

Spring changes this.  Even now, even with the snow we had on Friday, the first day of Spring, I can feel the change.  Maybe it started with the clock switch (can we get rid of that yet?  Just keep it how it is now!!), maybe with the mental ending of Winter, but either way, I'll take it and I'll take Spring all day, all year long.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 11 2015 Journal Challenge: Vulnerability


Brene Brown is the perfect person to read if you want to delve into the world of vulnerability.

This entry is just my version of my own personal/ creative vulnerability.

Being vulnerable means to allow yourself to be out there, for others to lift up, draw inspiration from and even tear down- or attempt to.

To be vulnerable, you have to put yourself in the public eye.  You have to put your work in the public eye.

Opening yourself up can be difficult.  Making the choice to put your work, your art, your ideas for everyone to see.  For me, it's my writing.

It started on a closed writers' site that is now defunct.  When I found the site, I joined right away.  It took a couple months to actually put any work on it, and then the ratings were low and the critiques for the low ratings were not there.  The low ratings were the first of any ratings I had ever gotten on my writing, and with no comments to help out, I had no idea how to improve.

It wasn't until, on a whim, I wrote The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly did I get decent feedback, along with a lot of positive ratings.  it was nice to finally read comments about what was good about the story, and what needed some work.

This gave me the confidence to find, and hire, an illustrator, the Amazing Jennifer Frith, to self-publish.  At no point did it cross my mind to even attempt to submit it to an agent or publisher.

Over the next couple months, I wrote a few more for the series (the second, The Lost Squirrel, will be out this Spring!) as well as self-publish two urban fantasy novellas.

Eventually, I decided to attempt to get into traditional publishing.  I found a children's book challenge site called 12x12.  On this site, you can post the first 250 words of a picture book manuscript.  I joined in January 2014, but it took a while to post in the site.  Once I did, the critiques came in.  They hurt.  They felt like they were criticizing me, as the stories were mine, and I loved them.  But they were helpful.

Another benefit of the 12x12 membership is being able to submit a PB MS to an agent once a month to attempt to get representation.  Again, this took a few months for me to attempt, but I finally did...and I've submitted each month since in an attempt to get an agent.

The rejections and critiques are still painful, but not criticisms of me (or you) and they are not nearly as painful as they were.  They are meant to be helpful, to improve my writing (your art).

A few months after my first 12x12 submission, I branched out on my own.  I researched agents and began to submit my work on my own.  And getting more rejections, as well as both positive and negative feedback which helps shape/reshape the MS submitted and future writings as well.

I've also joined a critique group, as well as running an on-line/e-mail critique group.  When I joined my first critique group, I felt I could not offer the quality critiques I was receiving, and I almost quit, but stuck with it.  With the groups, I've been much more eager to send work out to others for their thoughts and ideas.

Since joining critique groups, my writing has improved immensely.

This would not have happened without putting myself out there, without being vulnerable.

It's been more than just putting my picture book writing out there.

It's putting ME out there.

This journal challenge, reading my book at bookstores and libraries, speaking about self-publishing to other writers and talking to groups of kids about being a writer.

To be vulnerable means to hav courage.

To put yourself out there, the true you, striving to become something you truly love, takes courage.

To be vulnerable means to be strong.

You have to be willing to move past the harsh critiques ("Your story is hard to follow", " makes no sense") and continue to make the attempt.

If you're doing something you truly love, then put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and let your light shine on the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

POP! goes the idea...

I love it when a picture book manuscript idea pops in my head.  I quickly jotted some notes down in my journal as I was eating dinner and didn't want to forget it.  I had other plans for my writing tonight-editing and revising a few PB MSs and an early chapter book MS, but this story is just begging to be written out.  So? Off to the journal while the kids watch a movie and the wife watches Friends reruns!

What are you doing this Saturday night?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 10 2015 Journal Challenge: Focusing on SQUIRREL!

I didn't feel very typish today, so I took pictures of my journal entry for today's post.  I hope you can read my writing :)

Yes, that's the end of last weeks post.  Yikes!  I've been bad with journaling this week!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 9 2015 Journal Challenge: Excuses

We all have them, whether real or imagined.

What's one excuse you use that stops yourself form accomplishing a goal?

For me, it's be, "I don't have enough time."

That's total bullshit for me.

I have plenty of time, I've just been stuck in a time waster rut.

Here's my list:

  • twitter
  • instagram
  • facebook
  • tv
  • video games (this has been THE WORST!)
Now, make a goal for yourself.

I will cut back on the overall time spent on all of the above mentioned time wasters.

Well, how's that for vague?  I guess I should add more...

I will, if the kids' schedules allow, indulge in the above mentioned time wasters during the week until about 5:30 while I drink my after work coffee.

I will then stay off until 8:00 or later.

But!  All will be off by 9:30.

Yeah, that's still a lot, but, like I said, it's been bad :(  But, this is a start!

So, name an excuse that is imagined, and list what you are going to do to change it!