Finish the story and submit it to us…we’ll choose our favourite and it will be featured on our website with your name and pic! Good Luck!
Even though I was surrounded by the immense beauty of this place, I felt violated, ugly and insecure. The contrast of being in such a religious place and having something so wrong happen to me was more than I could bear. Surely people practice what they preach here….Don’t they? I began to cry; tears of frustration fell over me and I’ve never felt more alone in the world than at this very second. An old man placed his hand on my shoulder and his translator told me what he was saying, “Why do you cry?” he asked gently. I was wary to answer but told him the truth, that I had been robbed of everything I had. He looked at me with a smile, “This is the most important lesson to learn; Until we practice good in our lives, our world will continue to be at war, brothers will continue to kill their brothers, mothers will continue to forsake their children, people will continue to steal and cheat and lie.” “But this is what our purpose is- to spread the word that it can get better; I am not anti-war, I am pro-peace.” In that second I felt a wave wash over my soul that I cannot explain. I looked at the old man’s wrinkled skin and into his warm brown eyes. We were connected by his words, by his heart and by his spirit of love.
Here’s a list of resources and ideas that you can implement on your journey to perfecting your craft, publishing and networking.
Read newsletters- Read any newsletter you can get your hands on, they offer a wealth of information in terms of new info and updates on publishers. Two examples of great newsletters are Children’s Writer and Children’s Book Insider.
Read Guidelines-Never send anything to anyone without reading the specified guidelines…otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and your manuscript could end up in the recycle bin.
Visit Bookstores-Check out current issues magazines in your genre and ask about what’s new in store. Find out what kids and adults are buying. Spend some time studying what the bestsellers are and why.
Use the Internet-There is SO much valuable information available to writers on the internet! Visit blogs, social networking, e-mail other writers and sign up for writing groups on-line. This will keep you on the pulse of the writing world and you’ll be able to do some self promotion as well.
Attend a Writing Workshop/Conference-These are SO FUN! I’ve been to a few over the past couple of months and have met some great people who are really talented. Workshops and conferences offer a chance to connect with other writers and to have your work critiqued. It is invaluable in terms of gaining insight into what’s working and what’s not in your current manuscript. Plus, you never know who can help you and who you can help in terms of networking.
Network-Get yourself together with as many like minded people and great things will happen. You could meet the right contact who know the perfect illustrator for your book, or perhaps you’ll meet someone who can offer editing services, or you might just meet a publisher or agent that can take your book all the way to the top!
Most of all, enjoy being an author; It’s one of the greatest freedoms in the world to be able to tell your story in your own way.
This morning I woke up early and did my guided pen exercise. I sat with a cup of coffee at the dining room table with a notebook and pen and closed my eyes; I listened to the silence and waited for thoughts to flow into my mind. Remember when you do this to let the words develop organically, don’t force anything and don’t edit. There are no good or bad thoughts-just ideas that may potentially create an idea for your next best seller.
Here’s my list:
follow your bliss
birds, nature, spring, cheer
yellow, renewal, rebirth
breathing, focus, meditation
enlightenment, emptying, purging
just be, stop trying so hard
health, vibrancy, flowers, gardens
butterflies, cocoon, guidance, sail boat
love, loyalty, look inside for strength, happiness doesn’t depend on others
fulfilment, stop trying to achieve happiness and go with the flow
follow the omens
stop trying to make things happen and let them develop as they should
listen to your inner voice
So as you can see I have a lot of information here but how can I turn it into a potential story?
A few examples could be; A woman is transformed like a beautiful butterfly when she emerges from the cocoon of dependency, she left her husband and started on a journey to find herself. Or a story about a young person who followed the omens to find their bliss in another part of the world. A story about how someone’s life changed because they got rid of everything that made them unhappy, they sold their home and belongings and went on a quest for enlightenment and found everything they ever wanted which was just to be happy.
You get the point, there is so much that we can do with the guided pen exercise and it’s all how you interpret the meanings of the words you’ve written. I encourage you to do the guided pen exercise once a week or whenever you’re stuck for ideas.
Does writer’s block really exist or is it just a writer’s way of being lazy, unmotivated or distracted? My personal opinion is that it’s the latter. We’ve all been there at one point or another in our writing careers and we know that some days are harder to write than others. I find the only time I get writer’s block is when I’m distracted; pick up any paper, or scroll through any news feed and there are hundreds of headlines that prick at your imagination and problem solved! You can and should write about anything because it keeps you in a routine and allows you to further develop your craft. Here are a few examples of actual headlinesthat I’ve seen that might spark a thought or two…
Woman switched at birth reunites with her mother who is her co-worker
Man survives lightning strike only to be hit again
Lotto winner loses fortune
Bird stops roller-coaster leaves riders hanging upside down for 20 minutes
Car stolen with three month baby inside
Computer algorithm detects drunk Tweeting
91 year old finally earns PHD 30 years after starting
Pet stolen from front garden finds way back home 1 year after disappearance
Conference interrupted by protesters
Cat Burglar (an actual cat and a true story!) obsessed with men’s underwear steals 61 socks and pants in two month span
Man builds the world’s fastest shed
It’s hard to believe that the above examples are true but I assure you they are! The point is that there is no such thing as writer’s block-go to the mall and watch people, listen to a conversation happening beside you in the doctor’s office, listen to the news and headlines, read the paper, surf the web and talk to neighbours…you’ll have more than enough ideas to work with! Try it and get the wheels turning again.Feel free to use the headlines as an excellent writing exercise. Happy Writing!
In the last post we talked about how to get rejected…let’s focus on the positive in this post and speak on how to get published!
BE ORIGINAL-Publishers want fresh ideas that stand out! This INCLUDES a re-telling of an old story in a fresh and original way! Look at all the remakes happening right now…
Use Charm, Humour, Satire-The Simpsons is a perfect example of satire and how to use it properly. Be charming, be funny and be yourself!
Use Playfulness-Write something totally outrageous like I want an elephant for my birthday and let the story get crazy…I wanted an elephant for my birthday so I went to the pet store…I brought the elephant home and let him sleep in my tree house… I cooked him 38 pancakes for breakfast the next day…etc. Make it BIGGER and BIGGER! A la mastermind Robert Munsch!
Be Sensible-When writing your query letter and don’t send things multiple times to the same publisher or to different agents in the same agency-keep track of your submissions.
We Need This Book-Write something SO dazzling that you make publishers say, “We NEED this book!”
Stay True-To yourself and to your writing, write what YOU want to write about!
Self Publish- If you have a story that you believe in TELL IT! Self publish and market it well and you could make and KEEP a lot of money.
Best of luck everyone…you don’t need luck, just write and write well!