Dear 24 Carrot Writer,
What a year this has been!
If you had written
words and stories,
If you had queried,
or launched a book into this world.
If you had hustled with marketing,
or had dipped deep
into the well of online classes
to grow and improve your craft,
we applaud you.
And if, this year,
your pen was dry,
your fingers quiet,
your stories dormant,
because you had to be there for others,
because you had to take care of yourself,
we send you hugs and encouragement.
Because even if stories weren’t written,
they are still there:
until your heart can open up for them,
until your fingers can pen them.
So for now,
take a break.
You deserve it.
Cuddle with loved ones,
read fluffy novels,
watch tinsel movies.
And when you feel ready,
start dreaming -
gentle dreams about gentle goals.
But in the meantime,
all of us at 24 Carrot Writing
wish all of you a beautiful,
Amanda and the 24 Carrot Crew
24 Carrot Writing would like to wish our readers a restful, peaceful and restorative holiday season. May you laugh boisterously with family and friends. May you reflect quietly on your growth and what you have accomplished this year. May you dream extravagantly about the coming year and the creative goals it holds. And through it all, may you embrace the time away from your work, even as you nurture creative sparks your heart.
We will return in January, rested and ready to set SMART goals for a productive new year.
See you then!
Amanda, Annie, and Kelly
by Annie Cronin Romano
The holiday season has arrived. When my children were young, one of our favorite activities to do was cuddling on the couch reading holiday picture books. Sometimes there were old favorites; other times they were the latest arrivals at our local library or bookshop. This post is a mix of holiday classics and newer arrivals to the shelves. Hopefully you'll find a few titles to add to your "must read" list (links are included with the cover images). Please share your favorite holiday picture books in the comments!
SANTA MOUSE, by Michael Brown, illustrated by Edfrieda DeWitt
MR. WILLOWBY'S CHRISTMAS TREE, by Robert E. Barry
PICK A PINE TREE, by Patricia Toht, illustrated by Jarvis
RED AND LULU, by Matt Tavares
CHRISTMAS FARM, by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Barry Root
OSKAR AND THE EIGHT BLESSINGS, by Richard Simon & Tanya Simon, illustrated by Mark Siegel
THE TREE THAT'S MEANT TO BE, by Yuval Zommer
HANUKKAH BEAR, by Eric A Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
OLIVE, THE OTHER REINDEER, by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
SEVEN SPOOLS OF THREAD: A KWANZAA STORY, by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Daniel Minter
DASHER, by Matt Tavares
THE TREES OF THE DANCING GOATS, by Patricia Polacco
Happy Holidays from all of us at 24 Carrot Writing!
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and our last-minute preparation lists grow from one or two quickly scribbled Post-its into full-fledged Gantt charts, 24 Carrot Writing would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for joining us on the creative journey—for sharing the twists and turns of the creative life on a road scattered with goals and carrots! This week, may you claim snatched moments of solitude amidst family, friends and feasts in order to pamper yourself, write or sketch a little something just for fun, or maybe just have a quiet chat with a family member you see all too infrequently (and who might have an interesting story to tell if asked the right questions!).
We are thankful to have such warm, supportive individuals who cheer us on and share the highs and lows of the writing and illustrating journey. Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us!
Francine, Annie, Kelly and Amanda
To celebrate October, and to whip our writing efforts into a productive fourth quarter frenzy, you are cordially invited to join us on
the 24 Carrot Writing Facebook page for our :
3rd Annual 24 Carrot
Writing Trick or Book Treat Party
Join the Writing Trick or Book Treat Party by sharing your favorite writing trick or tip, or treating your fellow writers to a book recommendation. Share your writing tip, or a recent children’s book that you have loved and/or used as a mentor text on our Facebook page.
When you share, we will enter you in our October 31 drawing for signed copies of children's literature. We are keeping most of our titles masked! But our picture book prizes include a signed copy of Alison Goldberg's I Love You For Miles and Miles and Jannie Ho's Bear and Chicken and our middle grade prize is a signed copy of Erin Dionne's Lights, Camera, Disaster!
You don’t need a costume, but you do need to be a part of our 24 Carrot Facebook group. If you haven't joined yet, what are you waiting for? You'll get a weekly Facebook update every time we post a new blog or book pick! To join, just click the green "Join Our Facebook Group" button on your right. Or you can find us on Facebook at 24 Carrot Writing.
Come join our Writing Trick or Book Treat Party!
by Annie Cronin Romano
The holiday season is here, and so is 24 Carrot Writing’s holiday gift idea list for 2017! If you’re looking for some unique gifts for the writers and book lovers in your life (or “carrots” for meeting your writing goals!), here are this year’s suggestions.
Know a writer or book lover who is expecting a new bundle of joy? Here’s a storybook baby blanket and baby hat that will carry their love of all things literary into the nursery. Available at www.storiarts.com, they both come in several storybook prints, including Alice in Wonderland and The Velveteen Rabbit. They're the perfect items to wrap up baby in the wonders of the literary world!
Usgearlaunch.com has a unique array of book-themed tote bags from classic to contemporary to just plain whimsical. You’re sure to find one perfect for any library haul.
Know a writer who loves shoes? At groovebags.com, you'll find bookish footwear to put your best literary foot forward. Be it sneakers or slides, they have something to fit your style.
Here's one for the ultra-unique column. For the writer who has practically everything, give the gift of interior design! Visit usgearlaunch.com to find stairway stickers to give your staircase a true
library feel. Just make sure the recipient doesn't
live in a ranch!
Do you like to unwind with a drink after an evening of writing? At uncommongoods.com, you’ll find glasses inscribed with some literary classics, including Hamlet, Sherlock Holmes, and Les Miserables.
If you know a Harry Potter fan (and who doesn’t?), here’s a fun timepiece available at pbteen.com to make sure he or she is not late for the next quidditch match! Or, if your
wallet is a bit fatter, they also have a Hedwig lamp to shed some light on bedtime reading.
We’ve all heard about the importance of reading those iconic pieces of literature. Know someone who needs a visual reminder? This clever scratch-off poster lists 100 iconic books rom classic to contemporary that someone (I don’t know who, exactly) decided everyone should read. After you finish each book, scratch the title space to reveal related artwork. Find it at uncommongoods.com.
Do you know any writers who don’t have a desk or can’t find the surface of their dining room table because their child’s science project had taken up residence? Problem solved! This lapdesk available at www.bedbathandbeyond.com lets them take their writing space anywhere. It even has a slot to stand up your tablet if that’s your technology of choice. Prefer to choose the fabric and size yourself? Visit the Lap Desk Lady on www.etsy.com to see a variety of sizes and styles.
My final suggestion…drum roll please? Books. (Duh, right?) Books about writing—the craft
itself and the industry of publishing—are welcome additions to any writer’s bookshelf.
A few suggestions include On Writing by Stephen King, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, collected and edited by Leonard S. Marcus, and The Chicago Manual of Style, which is on its 17th edition. From craft to industry to mechanics, these books are just a sampling of the staples every writer’s collection should have.
Even better? Buy them from an indie bookstore and support your local small business!
As always, be sure to give yourself a gift too:
the priceless gift of time to work on your writing in 2018.
All of us at 24 Carrot Writing wish you a happy, healthy,
and goal-accomplishing holiday season!
~by Amanda Smith
Usually we share our best writing advice, inspire you to set goals, and help you find strategies to meet those goals. We’ll be back to that soon enough, but it is December. Snow has fallen. Trees are decorated, cookies baked, gifts wrapped, and candles lit. So grab a cup of hot chocolate and a candy cane because December is a time of…
This season let’s take time to ponder our accomplishments and the goals checked off the list, our disappointments, and our triumphs in writing. Also, let’s reflect on what worked and why. Thomas Carlyle said, “The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.” Let’s look into our mirrors, acknowledge what we see, and start planning new writing goals for 2017.
A writing partner reminded us this is a season for generosity, and we should extend some of that generosity to ourselves. Once we have looked into that mirror, let’s give ourselves the gift of grace for what we didn’t do and focus instead on what we did accomplish. Hey, if ever there is a time for carrots, it is December! Leave yourself a little reward, all wrapped up with a bow, under the Christmas tree.
Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the season, let’s find some peace. Take some time to rest. Make room for solitude, so you can reconnect with your heart, passion, and dreams.
Hope is the desire for a certain outcome, a feeling of trust. Once we have reconnected with our passion, let’s set expectations, focus our efforts, and set yearly goals that will help us realize the hope we have for this new year. And keep working, because...
That being said, this season is also a time for family. Let’s trust our work, our characters, and our muse to still be there in the new year. For a few glorious days let’s enjoy the small moments with our families – the movies, the baking, the games, the songs, and celebrations. Let’s allow ourselves guilt-free time away from writing so that we can soak up all the precious expressions; gleeful laughter; teenage snark; fiercely frustrating, absolutely infuriating, delightfully humorous family interactions. (And don’t be surprised if some of those show up in future writing projects.)
We look forward to a productive new year filled with goals and writing tips, but for now, from our 24 Carrot Family to yours, Happy Holidays!
by Annie Cronin Romano
At 24 Carrot Writing, we believe in the importance of rewarding yourself with "carrots" when you achieve a writing goal, be it finishing an outline, brainstorming book ideas, querying agents, or honing your craft through writing exercises or research. Back in March, I posted a blog sharing some writing-themed carrot ideas (see "Give Yourself a Carrot"). Now, as the holiday season is upon us, here are some more creative suggestions to add to your own wish list or as possible gift ideas for your writer friends. Included are a few repeats from my spring suggestions and some new discoveries!
Like working jigsaw puzzles? White Mountain Puzzles has a few jigsaws with a literary flair. This "Reader's Paradise" puzzle will keep you busy with 1000 pieces of literary atmosphere.
Love candles? There are candles out there perfect for writers and book lovers alike.
Check out the options at Gone Reading and
fill the air with writerly aromas.
Check out Red Bubble for a variety of items perfect for any literary enthusiast! They have more than just bookish items, but you can search by keyword to find the perfect gift for writers and readers! Their phone cases are particularly creative.
Book-shaped saucers and plates abound at Gone Reading. When you're settling in for a writing session, this cozy cup and saucer will help get you in the "write" mindset! (Sorry. I couldn't resist!)
At Uncommon Goods, you'll find an array of gifts for writers, from literary scarves to story cubes. This writing prompt book, "642 Things to Write About," got positive reviews from those who purchased it. And all writers know that sometimes we need a little idea boost to get the ink flowing.
If you're looking for clever t-shirts or mugs with writer-ly or bookish sayings, you'll find them at Cafe Press. You'll also find some other unique gift ideas, like this tongue-in-cheek writer's clock.
Want some bling? At The Writers Store, you'll find vintage typewriter necklaces and bracelets. A perfect nostalgic gift!
Many writers like to decorate their laptops, notebooks and journals with stickers that reflect their personality. Find some unique ones at Red Bubble and Cafe Press.
Need some liquid courage to get you through a rough patch in your revision? Celebrating a full request? If Irish Whiskey is your thing, check out Writers Tears, available at Walsh Whiskey Distillery
and other online liquor retailers.
Don't go for the hard stuff? Steele Wines might have what you'd
prefer. Their "Writer's Block" label is available in several varietals, including Malbec, Roussanne (shown here), and Pinot Noir. And
if you're still waiting on that first royalty check, their prices
won't break the bank either! Cheers!
At Lithographs.com, they make literary-themed gifts ranging from tote bags
and t-shirts to posters, scarves, and even temporary tattoos! With over 200 titles
to choose from, including classics, contemporary, children's, and young adult,
you're bound to find a beloved favorite.
I hope you've found some treasures to add to your holiday list.
Or maybe you've discovered some future carrots to reward your
achievements as you meet your writing goals in the coming New Year.
And remember the best gift you can give yourself...
All of us at 24 Carrot Writing wish you a
happy, healthy, and creative holiday season!
by Kelly Carey
It's June and so it is time to assess how your annual writing goals are progressing. Use June Year's Eve to take stock of your accomplishments, reinvest in those goals that need more attention, and set yourself up for success in 2016.
To that end, I am re-posting a blog from June of 2015 and wishing you a Happy June Year's Eve!
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 the year. 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. In June, writing goals and resolutions everywhere can be given a solid scrubbing, 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 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 Eve in celebration of hitting our 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!
I took a peek at my 2016 writing goals and was thrilled to see that I am ahead on some of my benchmarks. For example, I've already hit my target goal for the number of workshops and conferences I had hoped to attend this year. Cue the big smile, the feeling of accomplishment, and the internal "you go girl". Then I noted some areas that I hadn't even realized were being neglected. I am way behind on writing query letters, and - what do you know - I had set a goal of revising a middle grade novel in progress. I had totally forgotten about that lofty goal. Lucky for me I celebrate June Year's Eve and can use the fizzy euphoria of this wonderful holiday to reinvest in my goals for the next six months of the year.
Pop some champagne and set yourself yp for writing success this year!
by Annie Cronin Romano
Like working jigsaw puzzles? White Mountain Puzzles has a few jigsaws with a literary flair.
This book "Best Sellers" puzzle will keep you busy with 1000 pieces of literature's favorites.
How many have you read?
The bookplates below are just a few samples of the designs you'll find at
Gone Reading, a web store for reading enthusiasts.
Ever wished a perfume could capture the aroma of libraries, leather-bound
books, and Mr. Darcy? Well, a few claim to have done it! Check out
Sweet Tea Apothecary for their "Dead Writers" scent (hey, I didn't name it!)
or head over to Demeter to discover "Paperback."
Okay...do NOT tell me you wouldn't love walking into that next critique
group meeting with your appetizer served on a book-shaped platter!
I mean, how fun is this? You can see all the size options at Gone Reading.
Wish you could wear a favorite book around your neck? Don't we all? Well, you can if you web surf your way over to Uncommon Goods. They've got scarves featuring passages from Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland, and Wuthering Heights.
I hope you enjoyed (and try) some of these suggestions for writing rewards.
Now, go treat yourself to that hard earned carrot!
And keep striving to meet your upcoming goals.
I'll share some more carrot ideas in a few months!
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