Friday, November 6, 2015

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fish bowl on my desk


community (noun) 1. a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Monday, October 19, 2015

for writers afraid of networking

Over the years, I’ve listened to many speakers at writing conferences suggest the following:

“Say hi to strangers!”
“Bring business cards!”

Whenever I heard this advice, I’d think, “Yeah right.” I’d tell myself, “I’m never getting business cards." I’d repeat my mantra, “I’m only here to learn about the craft of writing.”

Not surprisingly, I was that person who sat alone. I’d take a ton of notes and I never went to social events. By doing this, I closed myself off to one of the best things about conferences. Meeting people who love books.

So, at a recent SCBWI Writers’ Day I tried something different. During the breaks, I talked. I talked about my writing but more than that, I talked about my life. I talked about the difficulty I have balancing my kids and my work. I talked about my love of the Red Sox. I talked about the books I’m reading.

And then the coolest thing happened. People talked back. I had the pleasure of listening to others tell me about their work and their lives.

For the most part, the things I feared (I won’t know what to say, the conversation will feel forced, I have no idea how to network) didn’t happen. Because every time I spoke with someone, I reminded myself this person might be feeling a little nervous, too.

Did I network perfectly? No. Did I talk too fast? Yes. Did I accidentally interrupt? Yes. Did I over-share and make one or two people uncomfortable? Probably.

But you know what? I’m glad I put myself out there. For me, writing is all about getting the words on the page, letting myself make mistakes, and then going back in and making sense of it. Maybe networking is kind of like the same thing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

books to read

Excited about
my newest stack of
books to read.

Each Little Bird That Sings
Finders Keepers
The Vanishing Island
The Interestings

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fish bowl on my desk 


wonder (noun) 1. a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

favorite quotes from scbwi conferences

The SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles is only a few weeks away. I’ve attended this conference every summer since 2009 and it never ceases to inspire me. Here are a few quotes I’ve collected over the years.

"Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. Let go of the outcome."  
-Karen Cushman

"Take care of your writer self." -Gennifer Choldenko

"Listen to your pages." -Libba Bray

“Be proud of what you wish for.” –Carolyn Mackler

Also, an inspiring keynote by Judy Shachner.

A few more good quotes.

And, a link to my all-time favorite workshop given by Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler called “Comedy Comes From the Heart.”

I can hardly wait for more!

Ps. If you go to the conference and spot a lady holding this swan notebook, you've found me. Please say hello!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

books to read

Excited about 
my newest stack of
books to read.

Murder is Bad Manners
Evil Librarian
Pack of Dorks
The Game of Love and Death

Saturday, July 4, 2015

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fish bowl on my desk


systematic (adj) 1. done or acting according to a fixed plan or system; methodical

Thursday, June 11, 2015

confession from a middle grade writer

Maybe it’s because I have a three year old, but I’ve been thinking a lot about pretend play. As a writer, it’s my job to pretend. Day after day, sitting at my desk, I pretend my characters are real.

I also pretend my writer self does not exist.

Instead of a writer, I think of myself as an actress. I live in the skin of my protagonist. I dress like her. I eat like her. I talk in her voice. I keep a journal as if it were hers.

After that, I pick up a new profession. I’m a gardener and I tend to my words with patience and care. I trim the story where my garden has overgrown. I pull out weeds and I keep planting new things.

Then, with a first draft in hand, I turn into a surgeon. I cut open the manuscript with precision and confidence. I use my tools. I ask for help from other professionals. I remain calm. I finish the job.

Finally, when the writing day is done, I take a bow, dust off my hands, hang up my white coat, and go back to calling myself a writer.

Monday, June 8, 2015

books to read

Excited about my 
newest stack of
books to read.

Codename Zero
Life After Life
Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
The Great Greene Heist

Sunday, June 7, 2015

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fish bowl on my desk


ragamuffin (noun) 1. a grimy dirty little urchin or waif with ratted greasy hair

Friday, May 15, 2015

a perfectionist revises

Inspired by this wonderful post and this wonderful post, I’ve been thinking about how revision relates to me.

I should start by saying I’m a neat freak, so when I receive an editorial letter from my super smart agent, my immediate reaction is filled with anxiety. I don’t like when things are messy and I want to hide all of this messiness in the bottom of a trashcan. Honestly, I picture throwing my manuscript into my blue recycling bin and never looking at it again.

This, as it turns out, is my work as a writer. To see that mistakes aren’t really mistakes, instead they are indicators of where I can dig deeper.

However, as I begin to dig deeper, I feel vulnerable and because I feel vulnerable, I have a tendency to rush through a rewrite. I cut out entire scenes with one swipe of the delete key and I quickly write new scenes just to fill the missing space. This technique does not work for me! When I rush, I end up with a story that is hollow.

So how do I keep from rushing? The moment I get an editorial letter, I remind myself I’m grateful for the feedback. Then I step away from the computer. I let myself feel uncomfortable. And, I wait. I do not go anywhere near my manuscript! During this waiting period, which usually takes a few days, the notes begin to move from my head and into my heart.

Here are a few things I tell myself while I’m waiting.

I will listen.
I will trust my process.
I will not throw my manuscript in the trash.

I also have this sentence tacked above my desk. I look at it everyday.

There are discoveries I haven’t made yet.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

books to read

Excited about 
my newest stack of
books to read.

Artemis Fowl
The Truth About Twinkie Pie
Moonpenny Island
The Terrible Two
The Girl on the Train

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

word of of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fish bowl on my desk


percolate (verb) 1. to gradually spread or filter through

Friday, February 27, 2015

february 27, 2015

My favorite view: 
Standing in my toddler's room, looking into my newborn's nursery.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

i love books!

Charlotte’s Web
Love that Dog
everything by Roald Dahl (especially his short stories)
everything by Beverly Cleary (especially the Ramona books)

The Fourth Stall
Dear George Clooney, Please Marry my Mom
Notes from a Liar and her Dog
Millicent Min, Girl Genius

We Were Liars
When You Reach Me
The Westing Game
Harry Potter

Charlotte’s Web
Bridge to Terabithia
The Fault in Our Stars
Where the Red Fern Grows

Friday, January 9, 2015

books to read

Excited about 
my newest stack
of books to read.

The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin
Let the Great World Spin - Colum Mccann
Bobcat and other stories - Rebecca Lee
Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson
Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng
Yes Please - Amy Poehler

Sunday, January 4, 2015

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fishbowl on my desk


possibility (noun) 1. a chance that something might exist, happen, or be true