Saturday, March 27, 2010


Life happens. Sometimes no matter how hard we try to stick to our writing schedule, life happens and it’s not possible. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, getting back to my work-in-progress piece after being away from it for a while, was not easy. No matter what I tried, I had a “creativity block.” The words just would not come. I felt like giving up. I was stuck. Then I read an article online, which got me started again. One of the things that has helped me get back in the writing mode is to sometimes read another book. That was one of the ideas mentioned in the article. So I got back to the book, a historical fiction, one that I had started a while back. As the story flowed and I immersed myself in it, I felt my emotions stirring, my writing spirit returning. I was to the point where I was about to give up on my story. Then looking at it again, I decided it was a story worth telling. Inspiration? Maybe. But we can’t sit and wait for it to happen. We do whatever it takes to make it happen.

The article I’m referring to is 7 Reasons Inspiration Matters to Writers.” Written by Fred White on the Writer’s Digest blog, I found it to be so true and interesting. It helped me on a day when I was about to give up on a story, which I felt was going no where.

"No matter what your writing life brings, believe in yourself and keep moving forward. Most writers cycle between periods of self-doubt and periods of confidence." -- Writing Tip from Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Monday, March 22, 2010

School Visit

During one of my school visits a while back, I was pleasantly surprised when one little girl in the audience mentioned something I had not noticed before. After the book reading and during the writing process presentation, I showed a few newspaper clippings with pictures of animals doing amusing things. One was of five raccoons in a row drinking water from a puddle in the street of some big city. I use these pictures as writing prompts for the children to get ideas for stories.

The little girl looked at the raccoon picture on the screen pensively (I was using Power Point) and then said. “They are a family of five. You always see only one raccoon at a time. But in that picture, it’s a family all drinking water at the same time.” A family! I had never thought of the picture in that way. All the children nodded. They had smiles on their faces when they thought of the raccoons as a family maybe out on an outing. In the little girl’s eyes, she saw a family, which, of course, it was.

Another amazing thing that happened that day was unexpected. For me, anyway. When someone asked me how I got started as a writer and I mentioned I had won a national writing contest, to my pleasant surprise, they all applauded enthusiastically. They were genuinely happy for me. I was so moved by this crowd of fifth graders. Makes me happy I'm a writer. 

On a different note, have you ever thought about writing as a well-balanced writing diet? Here’s an excellent article from a Writer’s Digest blog by Stephenie Steele and Joe Stollenwerk about creativity. I enjoyed reading it and I think you will too. The article is titled, Flex Your Creative Writing Muscles.”

"The young child's mind is very much like a poet's mind." -- Charlotte Zolotow

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I came back from a trip a few days ago. While at the airport, I glanced around and saw a few people reading on their Kindles. I had a book. Once on the plane, coming and going, someone next to me had a Kindle as well. But the person next to him had a book as did I. We kind of smiled at each other.

Will I ever get to the point where I might buy a Kindle? I don’t know. Right now, I still like to feel the book in my hands. I like to turn the pages. I like to put my inspirational bookmark where I leave off. I like to carry the book in my tote bag. Puts a smile on my face knowing I’ll have some free time on the plane to take it out and read it. Maybe someday … a Kindle. But for right now, I’m sticking with my books.

"Touch magic -- pass it on." -- Jane Yolen

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Texas Library Association Conference

I’m getting excited about the upcoming Texas Library Association (TLA) conference coming to our city next month. I just had a peek at the roster of authors and illustrators who will be there either doing presentations or signing their books or both. It’s a thrilling experience rubbing shoulders with some of the greats. I had the privilege of participating last year. I signed books at my publisher’s booth and met so many great librarians and some teachers as well. It’s a great way to promote your books and set up school visits or speaking engagements. Lucky for me, I’m doing it again this year.

Hundreds of books and just as many publishers’ booths filled up the conference hall last year. It made my head swim. My feet were begging for relief by the end of the day. But it was so much fun being among a gathering of your peers who have the same passion for books. And getting your favorite books autographed by their authors is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

This year Scott Simon of (National Public Radio) NPR and Julie Powell of Julie & Julia fame will address the general sessions. For more information on this great event go to the TLA Website.

“Great stories give us metaphors which flash upon the mind the way lightning flashes upon the earth, illuminating for an instant an entire landscape.” – Paula Fox

Thursday, March 4, 2010

That time of year

It’s getting to be that time again – taxes! There’s some helpful advice on a blog in Writer’s Digest: Tax Tips for Writers by Chuck Sambuchino.

I keep careful records during the year of writer expenses and honorariums. I start a new spreadsheet at the beginning of the year, keeping tabs on a month-by-month basis of all the information I will need at tax time. Makes it a lot easier when that time of the year rolls around. I also keep receipts in a special folder for that year. Being organized is one of the ways to avoid last-minute anxiety when you’re doing your taxes. Keep everything in one place. Just keep adding to that folder during the year and you’ll have no problem at tax time. Know what is tax deductible and what is not. Don’t forget those conferences and workshops that you attended and paid for. Set up your own type of record-keeping system. What works for one writer might not work for another. Good luck.

“A relaxed mind is an open mind, and an open mind is prepared to accept new and creative ideas. Remind yourself to enjoy the craft.” -- Writing tip from Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner