The Tortoise

Sometimes writing can seem like such a long process. It is easy to get distracted from your goal, and get sidetracked by other things that promise a quicker payout.  I tend to get distracted from my writing easily, probably because I have such a busy, crazy life, like most people.  It is hard to stay focused on the long-term goal.  Today in the rare two hours I had to myself I read a story from Kristi Holl’s book Writers First Aid-Getting Organized, Getting Inspired, and Sticking to It, and I wanted to share part of it with you.  I do have to give you a bit of background on it first: she begins by talking about a bamboo stalk and when you plant the tiny shoot it does not grow much even though you water it diligently, and then after five years you can expect it to grow as much as 80 feet.  So after telling you that here is the part of the book I wanted to share with  you.  “The tortoise approach is often ultimately the most successful, but it can take so lo-o-o-ong to succeed that discouragement can set in.  Picture again that Chinese bamboo tree.  It is sending roots down for years before its sudden rapid upward growth.  If you are writing and studying diligently, you are putting down a writer’s roots.  It’s critical time, with little to show others for your efforts.  But if you look closely, you can see progress.  You may not be making many sales yet, but there is progress in your writing skills, your marketing skills, your networking.  You are building a solid base that will support future growth.  It will be comfortable, steady growth too; it will add to your life rather than disrupt it.  As one Chinese proverb says, “Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”

Taking things slowly is okay.  Building a good writing base for your work is what you need to succeed in the long run.  There are some people who have overnight success, but that is the exception, not the norm.  Enjoy where you are right now in your writing career, and be excited about the future.  You will get there!

You can find more about Kristi Holl at her blog or at her website, and I will add links to my sidebar as well.  A little more about Kristi taken from her site: Kristi Holl is an award-winning author of 34 books for children, one nonfiction book for writers, and over 150 stories and articles for children and adults, as well as conference speaker and web editor. Her stories and articles have appeared in Jack and Jill, Child Life, Hi-Call, Your Life & Health, Touch, The Writer, Children’s Writer, and the SCBWI Bulletin, among others. She also wrote a mystery column and self-coaching column for the magazine Once Upon a Time.

Keep writing every day! Make it a habit.

Have a great week

Jodi~

Sneaking away….

I am going to make this quick as I only have limited time on my hands.  I have just realized that I may have mastered the art of sneaking away from a sleeping baby!  This takes an immense amount of skill and strength, if you don’t know why, well then you have never tried sneaking away from a sleeping baby.  Example:  Baby is awake, so you lay next to them.  You close your eyes to encourage them to close their eyes as well.  You lay absolutely still awaiting the moment when the baby’s eyes close.  The little hand twitches and you know it is then possibly safe for you to make your first move.  You start to slowly put one foot towards the ground but the darn bed squeaks and the baby’s eyes open…hold that leg, don’t let the bed squeak anymore.  (See this is where the strength comes in!)  Once the eyes close again you proceed, moving each limb slowly and steadily like you are doing tai chi.  You are now in standing position but you just stare at the little one for a moment to ensure they don’t wake again.  Then you creep slowly, like a burglar in the old movies you know up on your toes,   praying the whole way that you don’t hit that one creak in the floor.  Once you reach the door frame you are home free.  You do a silent cheer and then move on!

And take a guess at why I was doing all of this sneaking?  Of course to get a little writing time to myself!

Enjoy your day!

Jodi

Podcasts can inspire you~

It is amazing that you can really find inspiration for your next book just about anywhere you look.
I work the weekends, 3- 14 hour shifts (yes it feels as long as it sounds!) and I get a good chance to catch up on my podcasts while I am there (luckily we can listen to the ipod). I search for podcasts about writing, but have not come across to many. If you know of any please share them in your comments I would love to check them out. Anyway, sometimes in the afternoons I listen to a podcast called “Among Women” by Pat Gohn.  It is a faith sharing podcast, so it has a lot to do with the Catholic faith.  In the beginning of the podcast she usually talks about a saint and about that saints life. I love this, and take notes diligently because I hope to write some saint books at some point.  The second part of each podcast is an interview with someone from the community.  They share their story or talk about their book or just share life lessons.  It is very interesting and relaxing to listen to.

While listening this last weekend I was inspired to write my next children’s book because of one of the interviews that was taking place.  I will have to look back to see who it was with (sorry it is slipping my mind), but they were speaking briefly about how there are so many distractions in the world that take us away from focusing on Jesus.

“Very true” I thought

And so the idea was born, a little book called “I can’t hear you Lord” by me!  It is just in the rough draft stage, but I am excited about it.  I have it all written out, and so the polishing will begin!  I love that part.  I hope to get it finished within the next week or so….. we will see.  Then off to publishers it will go!

This will be my first book for the 12 x 12 challenge held by Julie Hedlund over at writeupmylife.com.  If you are at all interested in writing and need a little push in the right direction then check out this challenge.  It will be worth it!

Last thing that I ask is for any prayers or good vibes.  I have 3 things out to publishers right now.  One Catholic book that I sent on to Liguori publishing, a bee article that has been sent to Highlights for children, and then two poems that are entered in a writing contest being held by the Institute of Children’s literature.  I know I have to set myself up for rejection, but any help would be greatly appreciated!

Have a great weekend everyone, and don’t forget to keep your eyes and ears open for inspiration!!

 

JODI

New Challenge 12 x 12 in 2012

I love a challenge, and sometimes I work better when I am under a challenge!  Well there is a new challenge for 2012 and it is called 12 x 12 in 2012.  So what does that mean?  It means completing 12 manuscripts in 12 months in the year of 2012.  It is a big long challenge but I am up for it.  If you are interested, the challenge is being hosted by Julie Hedlund on the site writeupmylife.com (this link will take you right to the challenge).  I will add this site as one of my favorite links as well so you can find it easily.  This challenge has a dedicated Facebook group you can join and you can follow the blog as well.  Julie states in the challenge description that she will host several interesting guest posts by several people.  If you are up for a new challenge this year to get going on your writing then check it out.  I would love for you to join us this year.

Have a great week

Jodi

When Charlie McButton Lost Power – Review

When Charlie McButton Lost Power

We all love a book that relates closely to our own lives. We find humor in reading about those things, and laugh out loud because what we are reading is so true to our own experience.
I recently read a book to my children that I immensely enjoyed. The LOL factor hit a high as I sat on our couch reading to two little ones snuggled in beside me and a baby on my lap. Honestly I think I was laughing more than they were but only because I could completely relate.
So the book I am talking about is called “When Charlie McButton Lost Power”, by Suzanne Collins. This book was hilarious and so true to our “plugged in” society. The story begins with Charlie on his computer, blood-shot eyes. . . when the power goes out. The illustrations clearly show his distress as he races for a solution to his lack of electronics. I don’t want to give it away but in his hunt for fun from his electronics he comes together with his little sister Isabel. A day of creativity ensues full of tents, and make-believe. So what happens when the power is restored?!? Check out the book to find out.
I have included some photos of the book below so you can see how dynamic the illustrations by Mike Lester are. I just can’t say enough about this book, I loved it.

P.S. One funny side note about this story is that I also have children named Charlie and Isabel. How ironic!

Have a wonderful week!

Jodi

When Charlie McButton Lost Power

I am a WINNER!! PiBoIdMo is over again…..

Well the end of November came and went and that means the end of PiBoIdMo.  It is kind of sad actually.  I always look forward to the challenge that it brings.  Even though I tell myself I am going to keep up on it and find one idea a day, time slips away from me and I don’t do it.  I am so thankful that Tara Lazar hosts PiBoIdMo every year because it gets the ball rolling, it gets me started down the right path.  This year she added a facebook page which was totally AWESOME!!!! It was so nice to be able to visit with other people online about something I am so passionate about.  It was/is a great place to ask questions and get real answers from people who have already been successful in the children’s book business.

I won’t lie some days I did not write any ideas down because my day was so extremely hectic and out of control, but that does not mean they weren’t floating around in my head.  I have blogged about this before, but having your notebook handy at all times is key… I need to get better about using my ipod for my ideas because I do usually have that with me.  In the end I did get 30 ideas set on paper.  Only a couple have made it past just an idea, but for me that is success.

I am currently working on eliminating things in my life that are not necessary, to make room for those things I need to do everyday so that I don’t lose myself, and one of those things is writing.  Sometimes this cleaning and eliminating means letting people down, and saying no but it has to be done.  I find that when I don’t find time for my writing I become a somewhat depressed person.  Writing for me ignites my spirit, my creativity and the core of who I am.  Even if I am never published feeling the passion of writing is enough for me!

So here is my badge… I am a winner of PiBoIdMo…. I made it…. I am successful!

Jodi

Should I find an Agent?

So one of the questions I have been grappling with lately is whether or not to go out and search for an agent?  I think this something every writer probably goes through at some point.

I was making cinnamon rolls for my family today when I was thinking of this very subject.  I remembered the last time I wanted to make cinnamon rolls I did not have any yeast.  Now if I would have made the cinnamon rolls without the yeast would they have turned out.  Well maybe they would have turned out the something like cinnamon rolls, but it would not be quite the same experience when you ate them.

I think the same is true when writing a children’s book when thinking about having an agent or not.  If you do not have an agent it would be like missing the yeast.  You would still get the children’s book but the experience would not be the same.  You would be left to figure everything out on your own compared to having someone in your corner who knows the ins and outs of the industry and can help you get the job done.  I think of an agent like the yeast they help you “rise to the occasion.” (that was a good one!) The agent helps you get noticed by the right people.

I look at it this way.  My passion is writing and that is what I do best.  My passion is not selling books and figuring out deals with book publishers, so it would be better left to a professional!  Why wouldn’t you want someone in your corner helping you reach your goals.
So my conclusion is “yes” you should get an agent.  Now the real question is how do you find one.  Maybe I will cover that in another post after I figure it out myself.

Until then, have a great week, and happy writing!

JODI~