I've know that I've wanted to write for children for about 5 years. this past year was the first year that I decided to get serious about it and treat it as something more than just a hobby. Since I've made that decision, I've seen a huge improvement in my skills, and my writing credits are slowly but surely adding up. At first, I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere, but then I sat down and looked at the few accomplishments that I've had, and though they may be small baby steps, I feel good about it. I'm heading in the right direction. This past year has made a huge difference. And as the New Year lurks behind the approaching Holiday Season, I'm excited to see what kind of progress will come with it.
Here's a small break down of my journey:
All my life (the fetal stage)= I've loved to write. I keep journals upon journals and wrote all kinds of stories as a kid. I was accused of plaigiarism by my 7th grade teacher, which scared the tar out of me. It made me a little scared to try too hard and it took a little of the joy of writing away. If only I had known what a compliment that really was, maybe I would've tried harder and stuck with it. Oh well. Live and learn.
Year 1 (newborn)= Read lots of picture books to my first child and thought "I'd like to do that" I wrote a story, got a rejection letter and thought "Oh, that's not as easy as I thought it would be." But I still wanted to write for children and decided to figure out how to do it. I bought books on how to write for children and decided to take a class.
Year 2 and 3 (baby)= I took a correspondence writing course with the Institute of Children's Literature. My mentor was Connie Heckert. She was wonderful and I learned a TON about writing for children and the industry in general. I started out thinking that I only wanted to write books, but found that writing articles was fun too.
Year 4 (first steps)= My course ended, I joined SCBWI carolina's, went to my first writers conference, joined a critique group and sent out a submission or two -- then received a rejection letter or two. My first success was winning a small writing contest with SCBWI.
Year 5 (I'm toddling!)= I subscribed to the Children's Writer Newsletter, which has been a huge help. This is the year I started getting some of my articles accepted. I think all of them, or almost all of them were leads from the Children's Writer Newsletter.
I went to my 2nd Writer's Conference this year and had a critique done by Caitlyn Dloughy at Atheneum. It was a great critique. She had a lot of good things to say. I'm going to send my MS to her when my revisions are complete.
This year I also committed to reading, reading, reading. With 3 young children, I thought this would be a hard commitment. However, I take a book with me wherever I go, and instead of watching t.v. I crack open a book. Not to mention audio books. This is another practice that has improved my skills (if I may say so myself). :0P
Year 6 = Will I be ready for preschool this year? Look at me now! I'm a toddler taking baby steps! Pretty soon I'll be running and getting into all kinds of messes. Oh, wait -- I maybe taking the analogy too far. Here's hoping I'll be running, without the messes. :0)
It's nice to look back and see some growth.
My goals for this year:
submit more MS's
enter some contests
Keep on keepin' on . . . .