From Flashlight to Spotlight
By Amanda Smith
So, you have been writing and revising and polishing and editing. You also attended an SCBWI conference or two, and printed out the highly coveted faculty submission guidelines. You poured over editor and agent names, highlighted deadlines, and bookmarked MSWL. And then you stuffed the guidelines in the bottom drawer along with your manuscripts, and climbed under the covers with a flashlight and a book. Because putting your precious story OUT THERE is just too much.
Or life got too busy. It was spring, and then the school year ended, and then it was summer, and then the school year started, and phew! And now you’ve missed all the deadlines. Oh, well, next year after the conference you will do better.
Make a plan. Today. Because your beautiful story, your heart spilled onto the page, will never ever see the light of day if you don’t send out those submissions. Lots and lots of submissions. And if you don’t cowboy up and deal with those rejections. Lots and lots of rejections. And keep on sending out submissions until you get the call or the email. And then there’ll be dancing. But first. Submissions.
So, here’s my plan: (Because yeah, this is totally me.)
No more excuses. This year, grasp the wonderful opportunities provided by SCBWI. Put the flashlight down, creep out from under the covers, and send your stories out into the big wide world of publishing. We promise, we will hold your hand when the rejections come in. But one day you’ll get the call. And then there’ll be dancing! Lots and lots of dancing.
Downloadable pdf files:
By Annie Cronin Romano
Oh, the lazy, hazy days of school vacation! On this first day of summer, what could be more fitting than gathering up some picture books with Fourth of July and summertime themes? (Besides slathering on the sunblock and hitting the beach, of course!) This list features picture books of varied reading levels for your child's summer reading enjoyment. Pick one or all of them and dive into stories of Independence Day or summertime rituals with your young readers! No matter what books you choose, keep the stories flowing all summer long!
4th of July themed stories:
THE STORY OF AMERICA'S BIRTHDAY, by Patricia A. Pingry, Illustrated by Meredith Johnson
FOURTH OF JULY MICE! by Bethany Roberts, Illustrated by Doug Cushman
RED, WHITE, AND BOOM! by Lee Wardlaw, Illustrated by Huy Voun Lee
APPLE PIE 4th OF JULY by Janet S. Wong, Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
IMOGENE'S LAST STAND by Candace Fleming, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
INDEPENDENCE CAKE by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by Giselle Potter
THOSE REBELS, JOHN & TOM by Barbara Kerley, Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
THE JOURNEY OF THE ONE AND ONLY DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE by Judith St. George, Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Summertime themed stories:
SUMMER DAYS AND NIGHTS by Wong Herbert Yee
THE WATERMELON SEED by Greg Pizzoli
MOUSE'S FIRST SUMMER by Lauren Thompson, Illustrated by Buket Erdogan
DUCK AND GOOSE GO TO THE BEACH by Tad Hills
HOW MANY STARS IN THE SKY by Lenny Holt, Illustrated by James E. Ransome
ICE CREAM SUMMER by Peter Sis
THINK COOL THOUGHTS by Elizabeth Perry, Illustrated by Linda Bronson
MONSOON AFTERNOON by Kashmira Sheth, Illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi
NIGHT OF THE MOONJELLIES by Mark Shasha
Have some favorite summer-themed children's books? Please share them with us in the comments section!
By Francine Puckly
While summertime can be filled with creative restoration, it can also be a time when many of us struggle to capture enough writing time. For those of us who work on larger projects, the summer holidays often disrupt our usual writing schedules. Visitors, vacations, and “bored” children requiring care and entertainment make focusing on larger projects practically impossible. But the summer months don’t necessarily mean we have to put our imaginations on hold. We just have to figure out how to create differently.
Carving out a few minutes each morning or evening to put pen to paper can keep the creative juices flowing throughout the summer. If you’d like to keep your writing going this summer but not sure your current project can handle the inevitable interruptions, here are 25 summer-y prompts to help you persevere! Pour a glass of lemonade (or sangria!), steal away to the back porch, and write as fast as you can. You might get a new idea, but at the very least you’ll keep the brain (and pen) moving!
25 Summer Writing Prompts
Happy June Year's Eve - Again!
By Kelly Carey (foreword by Francine Puckly)
If your life is anything like mine, the mid-year popped up out of nowhere and you’re staring at annual goals that you’re hitting, not hitting, or can’t remember setting. June is the perfect time to assess how we’re doing against our annual plans, and Kelly’s 2015 blog – Happy June Year’s Eve – is full of wise words and acts as the perfect reminder to take stock and adjust.
So grab an iced tea and pull out your plan. Make a new commitment to realistic goals for the last half of the year!
Happy June Year's Eve - Time to Revise Your Writing Goals
by Kelly Carey
In January, bubbly with champagne excitement and intoxicated by the shimmering crystal ball in Time’s Square, we all set down our writing goals for 2015. Since writers are ambitious dreamers, we probably set very lofty goals. To that I say, good for us! That drive and stamina to succeed will get our manuscripts published.
But did you over promise? Did some unforeseen event steal time and attention from your writing? Did your January va-va-voom sput-sput-sputter somewhere in March? Then I would like to be the first to wish you a Happy June Year’s Eve!
June marks the mid-year point and is an excellent time to track our progress and make sure we are well positioned for writing success. On June 1, 2015 writing goals and resolutions everywhere can be given a solid scrubbing and be reset, recharged and REVISED for success. You set New Year’s resolutions, now is the time for June Year’s resolutions.
As writers, we are not only intimately aware of the power of revision, but we are also experts at revising. It is time to apply that skill not to our manuscripts, but to our writing goals. Read through your goals, keep what is working and toss those goals that just don’t fit or make sense anymore. Maybe that middle grade novel whispered to you on a cold day in March (which frankly could have been any day in March since they were all cold) and you put aside your picture book plans. Perhaps you had a light bulb moment while attending a conference, reading a blog, or while brushing your teeth (true story, just ask Amanda!). Great! Time to make your 2015 writing goals match that reality.
Just reminding yourself of the promises you made and the plans you had will refocus your energy for the next six months. This is not a bash session. Do not beat yourself up over missed goals. You are not giving up, you are revising. What writer would forsake revision?
I’d like to clink a glass with you on New Year’s 2016 in celebration of hitting our 2015 writing goals. The best way to make this happen is with a serious mid-year goal revision.
Happy June Year’s Eve and happy goal revising!
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