A weekend in SCBWI land with Heather Alexander from Dial Books for Young Readers and Elana Roth of the Caren Johnson Literary Agency has left me with a notepad of reminders, comments and do-lists for myself. Bottom line right up front: If I'm going to be a better writer, I have to take the advice given by those who know the business. The Arkansas SCBWI shows signs of declining. Numbers were low, enthusiam and questionning were muted and hesitant, but Heather and Elana pulled no punches. Getting published means giving lots of time and attention to the written product before you query or submit.
They both handed us paperwork that mimicked various stages of reviewing queries, making choices, categorizing, describing, and selling the manuscript to an editorial board. Good Grief! What an eye-opening experience. Twenty query letter in 15 minutes? You'd better believe it! Find one sentence pitches for stories and novels that run thousands of words? Oh, yeah. I loved this set of challenges. Thank you to both ladies for never letting up, for making us think outside the keyboard and our own rose-colored assumptions.
Making resolutions, they say in January, is meaningless. I say making resolutions is essential for charging the little grey cells. And so do others with more grace than I.
Mary Anne Radmacher, writer, artist. Woman with a 'fascination with words' and a 'commitment to intentional living.' She has a knack for touching my core of determination.
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”
Begin each day as if it were on purpose. (Oh dear, all those days I've wasted living on auto-pilot!)
Discover the tools to build your own vision.
The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be...because of all I may become, I will close my eyes and leap!
My resolutions are always the same: Keep revising until each sentence is sharp. Until each thought is clear. Until the child who reads my story will save it for another read later in life.
Thanks again to Heather and Elana for giving me new tools.