Balancing Time and Writing

A few months ago I began working again. Since then, time for my writing has seemed to become sparse. Everyday I get up, spend time reading, playing, changing, cleaning, and repeating this circle throughout the day. These tasks made finding time for my writing difficult in the first place, but when you add a forty-hour job to the mix it makes it nearly impossible. My job is a night shift from around 4:00p.m. till 12:00a.m. or sometimes even 4:00a.m on the weekends making me absolutely exhausted when I get up with the twins most days of the week. So obviously, their nap time goes unwasted as I use it for a nap of my own. But that was my time to write, so what is a girl to do? The answer? Stop whining and figure it out.

Writing is my passion, it always has been. Even in high school I was always most excited for my English class. I loved the emotions you could invoke in a person, I loved sharing my work with others even if they sometimes did not like what I wrote, and most of all I loved that you could teach people about your perspective just through a simple story. So why, if I loved writing so much, was I giving up so easily on my time for it? I guess I just got it in my head that it was impossible with everything I have to do throughout the day. Luckily, the itch to write something never truly goes away and as the weeks wore on without a single word written the itch only became stronger. The itch to write something never truly goes away and as the weeks wore on without a single word written the itch only became stronger. I ignored it for a while, but

Luckily, the itch to write something never truly goes away and as the weeks wore on without a single word written the itch only became stronger. I ignored it for a while, but there is no ignoring the writing itch. After sometime I had had enough so I sat myself down and reflected on all the time I had to write. There was the babies meal times and break time at work.

After taking a good look at my schedule I could not believe how much time I really had to write. Suddenly I had story upon story poping up in my documents folder once again, blog posts were being written, and critiques handed out one by one. I had had plenty of time to write all along, and yet I had almost lost my passion declaring it impossible. I am glad I didn’t, and now I know that there will always be time for my passion.

Writers Resources

Lately, I have been told there are just simply no real resources to becoming published as a children’s book author. Well, I am here to say that this is completely wrong. You can find ways to get your work out there in many different places. My personal favorite, and where I found most of the publishers I sent my work to, is the 2015 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. You can check this book out at libraries, or simply buy it on amazon or your local bookstore. This book is a godsend, it lists numerous agents and publishers and specifies if they accept unsolicited queries or not. Though, I still recommend double checking on the agents or publishers website as things can sometimes be outdated.

This is not the only place one can find publishers. The very childrens book you read to your kids this morning has their publisher listed right in the book! And while all of them might not accept unsolicited queries, I guarantee you will find some that will. It was by doing this that I found out about 15 of the publishers that I sent my manuscript to.

My third suggestion is this, and it is a simple one, your fellow authors. Other authors know how hard it is to get your work out there, they have done it and they probably hate the process just as much as you or more. This makes them more than willing to give their advice on the matter. If they are published, they might even have a list of publishers and agents you may want to send your work to.

The point of the matter is, yes, it can be hard to find these things on your own. But there are also a lot of people out there that are more than willing to help you. There are numerous resources for new writers, the only thing holding you back is your determination to find them.

If anyone is looking for an online critique group for their Childrens books then check out YaWrite. It is an amazing group with fantastic writers that desperately needs more Childrens book writers. Find the details here: http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/yawrite.shtml

OVER THE HUMP

I am pleased to say that I have recently made what I believe to be great strides in my writing career. Recently, I was published in TWINS Magazine, had a blog post from my website Twinning-it.weebly.com featured in Mothers Magazine, and even had a review published on a local restaurant’s website.

To authors who have had books published these things may seem like small feats in comparison, but to me it is getting over the hump to become a published childrens book author. Just being able to say that I have actually been published sets my tongue to tingling. I have been published! Every day I feel as though I am getting closer and closer to my goal and while there are times I find setbacks along the way, I could not feel more determined to reach that goal. Over this past year I have learned that no publication is too small, someday one of them may just make the difference for me, just as it did so many others.

Every night I fall asleep to thoughts of what my picture book may look like. What kids would think of it. Sometimes, I get so excited just thinking about it that I can’t sleep at all. It is that dream that helps me continue to send out query letters to this day. As always my message in this is the same. Start small and work your way up to the big leagues. Read every book you can get your hands on and attend every critique group you can to hone your skills. But most of all, don’t give up, I know I won’t.

Critique Groups

Critique groups are truly an amazing thing, especially if you have found some that match your writing style/your schedule. It can be a daunting task to find one that fits what you need and what you are looking for but once you do they are truly worth the commitment. In fact, I have found them to be so helpful that I think every author is a liar. We should each have “By” and then a list of about twenty or so people that helped us perfect every line of our story.

To all new writers I implore you to find a critique group or two before you start sending your manuscripts out. When I first started writing I was so excited, I wrote a book! I thought, as many first-time writers do, that it was perfect. Surely it would be snatched up by a publisher in a matter of months. WRONG! I sent it out too early to just about every publisher I could find and even my dream agent John Cusick….yes, I have a dream agent…don’t judge me. Wait until each of your critique groups think it is ready! If they don’t think it is ready then I guarantee your publishers/agents won’t think it is either. I know, this is a hard concept. It means waiting and waiting and waiting. Something I am not very good at, which is a large flaw in a writer because finding a publisher/agent is nothing but a huge waiting game. Now, because I sent my work out before it was ready I have to play an even longer waiting game.

So I am telling all of you new writers, wait! It’s worth it. Make that manuscript shine before you send it out. If you do the waiting game will be significantly shorter. And who knows, maybe you will get your dream agent/publisher.

NaNoWriMo entry The Beast is a winner!

Today I finished what was possibly the most difficult project I have ever taken on in my entire life. NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Not only was this my first novel but this was also my first NaNo. Before NaNo even started I outlined my entire novel, but since it was my first book I had no idea how many events it would need and ended up having to go back over and over again to add content to my book.

Because I am a mother of twins I could not work on NaNo at all during the day. I had far too much to do between the twins and cleaning the house. I would stay up till 3 a.m. every night working on my novel just to wake up each morning feeling like a zombie. But every second of pure exhaustion was completely worth it the moment I validated my word count and the feelings of pure achievement rushed through me.

All my life I have wanted to write a book. But it seemed like something that was too hard, too difficult. Every time I would sit down and start to write I would give up in a matter of days. Thinking that I simply wasn’t good enough. But now, I don’t even care if my novel ever gets published. I am simply happy that I did what I set out to do. I wrote a novel!

I know a lot of people didn’t believe in me, didn’t think I could do it. And for a long time I think that is what held me back from sitting down and doing what I love, writing. As it turns out I didn’t need anyone else but myself to believe in me. I needed to tell myself that I could do it. Finally, I did just that, and because of it I achieved my dream. So I am here to tell all of you, don’t give up! Believe in yourself and don’t let anyone get you down. Because if you believe in yourself, then you can do anything you set out to do. That is why I am going to make you this promise, even if it takes years of critique groups and I have to rewrite my whole story ten times, I will get this book published. Because I believe I can.

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month

This month I embarked on what is so far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life…aside from carrying twins for nine months of course… At first, I thought that people were crazy for thinking that writing 1,600 a day would be difficult at all, I write short stories twice that size in less than an hour after all! Well, when it comes to writing that many words a day toward a novel it is completely different.

I have seen so many people who have said that they go at this thing with nary a thing prepared and I have to wonder how they EVER thought they might win this thing in the first place. I spend the entire day prior to NaNo validating my timeline and making sure I had every little detail of what I wanted to happen on the list and I’m STILL having a hard time.

However, with that being said and even though it is only four day’s into the thing I am glad I decided to do it. It is an amazing exercise that takes sheer will and determination in order to get through it. Only four days in and I already I see people dropping out and giving up claiming it is too hard. Yes, it is hard, but I believe you are only making excuses as to why you can’t achieve your goal. I have twins after all and they take up a vast majority of my time and yet I have still managed to write my words every day, in fact, I am ahead of the curve at 11,127 words. Sure, my house is a complete disaster since I now use their naptimes to write rather than clean, and sure I am exhausted due cleaning what I can in the hours past my bed time, but the sense of pride I get everyday that I am actually doing this is well worth it.

So to all of you out there braving NaNo I am telling you, don’t give up, don’t make excuses. MAKE the time to do this and you will be all the prouder of yourself for it. It is only one month, you can do it! If this busy Mother of twins can do it then I assure you that you can too. Happy writing!

Don’t worry about what you’re writng or whether it’s good or even whether it makes sense.

-Lauren Oliver

Perks of Being a Writer

A few days ago I received my very first rejection letter and rather than letting myself be put down by it I found that I was instead bragging about it to all my friends. It is said that writers must have thick skin and I find that this is completely true. In fact, I think I become all the more encouraged when someone tells me no. As if I have to prove them wrong by being accepted by some other agency.

The same could also be said about my critique groups. At the first critique group I had ever attended I was told that my manuscript was nothing more than a list of complaints and a rebuttal from the child’s parents…they were right. Many people would have become discouraged from such a critique and quit right then and there. But not me. Instead, I took every single piece of advice to heart and checked out every book I could find on writing children’s books. I started going to four different critique group, each one honing me into what I hope to be a future published author until I finally had a manuscript I truly felt I could be proud of.

Another thing I find is commonly said about authors is that we are unsocial people who spend their days completely shut out from the rest of the world. Anyone who say’s this is definitely not an author. Being an author takes a certain kind of bravery. It takes a lot to take your work and put it out there for people to judge and be told every flaw in your work. It takes even more to keep going afterwards. Not to mention the numerous conferences authors attend every year where hundreds of us gather in one spot to learn the trade.

Being an Author means constantly learning because the field is constantly growing, expanding and changing. And it never seems like you can predict exactly which way the market is going to go and so we go to these things to listen to the wise talks of those who have thrown their work to the tigers and come out still shining. We listen to them as if they are gods, all of us secretly hoping to be one of them someday and yet only a few of us are destined to be. Not because any of us lacks the talent but simply because not all of us has the will to receive rejection letter after rejection letter. Not all of us can look at  these disheartening letters and somehow derive confidence from them. But I can. And that is why, someday, I will be published.

Perseverence is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.

-Walter Eliot