Author: Janice D. Green Page 1 of 4

Where is your writing place/space?

Do you have a special place where you like to write? What makes it work for you?

Kathleen M. Muldoon wrote a chapter in her book Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market about the importance of setting up a place to write. Here are the first few paragraphs from Chapter 3, “In the Beginning”:

The book I most re-read while growing up is Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. This semi-autobiographical novel chronicled the lives of the four March sisters growing up during mid-19th century America. Despite the fact that I read this book from my favorite reading spot, the fire escape of our inner city tenement building, I still fancied myself as Jo, the second oldest of the sisters and an aspiring writer. Her need for private space in their cozy Concord, Massachusetts, home resonated with me. Whenever inspiration struck, Jo headed for the only place she could have some private writing time—a cubby she’d carved out for herself in the dusty attic.

Writing is a solitary, personal activity that requires a special place. Before you begin writing, determine where you will write. Before you crunch numbers to see if you can afford to rent an office somewhere, let me describe my “office” space.

I do not own a home nor do I rent an apartment. For the past 16 years, I have rented a single room in a friend’s two-bedroom, one-bath house. That room (one of the two bed-rooms) is about 10’ x 10’, and it suits me just fine. My friend allows me the run of the house for cooking, bathing, and entertainment. But my rented space is where I live and work. My writing nook is the 4’ x 4’ northwest corner of my room. I’ve set up a computer hutch in that corner, next to a window on the right that looks out onto our street and neighborhood. On the left of the hutch is my dresser, on top of which sits my printer and a three drawer Rubbermaid “thingy” that holds printing paper and envelopes. Going clockwise around the room from my computer hutch, on the other side of the window are two bookcases which form an “L” in the northeast corner, my twin-sized bed, a nightstand, a two-drawer file cabinet, my clothes closet, a chest of drawers, the door to my room, and a small roll-top desk which abuts the dresser. Oh, and on the carpet beneath the window is a cat bed meant to sleep one large, literary feline named Walter. Of course, Walter much prefers stretching out on the bottom of my bed, from which he can jump into my lap while I’m writing.

I tell you all this because I want you to know that no matter what your circumstances, you should be able to find a cubby, however small, that will be used for only one thing—writing. One of my colleagues, a prolific author and mother of four, has her space atop a card table in the laundry room. Any place will do it if affords you some privacy, comfort, and quiet.

I learned about Kathleen Muldoon’s book, Sowing Seeds at one of the Highlights Foundation Workshops where we discussed the importance of establishing a writing space. One of the other authors attending the workshop shared that her writing space was in an unused closet in her home. I marveled that her home was so large that she had an unused closet that was big enough for a writing nook, and found it amusing that even her husband didn’t know she was writing in there. What a cool get-away place!

Where do you write?What writing tools do you keep at your fingertips? What kind of surroundings best inspire you to write? Please share in the comments below.

 

Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children's Market

Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market

On Amazon Sowing Seeds: Writing for the Christian Children’s Market

 

Copyright: undrey / 123RF Stock Photo (featured image)

W2I! 2017 Conference date is set

Note the date and mark your calendars. The date for W2I! 2017 is March 24-25 and the place is North Greenville University.

The W2I! planning committee has met several times and gathered ideas and information to make our spring conference a success. We are also looking for programs and services we can offer throughout the year so it won’t seem so long between conferences.

We are looking into possibly offering some online video conferences with some of our favorite presenters that you can take part in from home. More information is forthcoming.

Do you need a quality critique on a manuscript you have written? We are offering the “2 for 1 Critiques” again. You can get two critiques on your manuscript for the price of one critique through W2I! Look on our W2I! website under “Critiques” to learn more about this program.

We are also looking into ways we can offer our published participants’ books for sale on our blog. These sales will help the authors as well as W2I!

Do you have any suggestions to offer the planning team for the 2017 conference or for other W2I! activities? We would love to hear from you.

Our sad news and regrets…

28623641_sOur Write2Ignite! 2016 conference has been cancelled after many prayers and tears and our many attempts to keep it together for this year. Please read the letter that has been sent out to the people who registered for a more complete explanation:

March 22, 2016

Dear Write2Ignite! Conference Registrant,

The Team has been looking forward to our April 1-2 conference keynotes and workshops. Despite all the planning for this event, we have received fewer than half of the registrations needed to fund the conference expenses this year. After much prayer and deliberation, as well as an extra publicity push last weekend, the number of new registrations, while encouraging, still falls far short of the minimum required. For this reason, we are regretfully cancelling the W2I! on-site workshop for 2016.

Given the current election season and today’s news from Belgium, perhaps our God is calling us to a season of renewed prayer and preparation for the challenges at hand.

If you have already sent payment via PayPal or check, your registration fee will be fully refunded. If you have paid for a professional critique, those critiques will still be delivered as promised. Write2Ignite!’s critique service will continue to be offered.

We will continue to offer blog posts, helpful links to sources for writers and artists, inspirational materials, and other resources to help build all of us, not only in the craft of writing and illustrating for children and young adults, but in our personal spiritual walk.

Our hope is to present one or more webinar workshops this calendar year, with a view to long-range planning for an on-site conference in 2017, and perhaps every other year thereafter. Please check the W2I! website for future announcements and programs.

We ask your prayers that we will follow God’s leading as we continue this group, plan, and conduct events to help writers and illustrators grow professionally and publish high-interest and high-quality Christian-themed books and articles for the younger generation.

Sincerely,

Debbie DeCiantis, Acting Director, for the Write2Ignite! Team

Photo copyright: majivecka / 123RF Stock Photo

What to bring to W2I! Conference 2016 – manuscripts, portfolio and more

Copyright: Gina Sanders / 123RF Stock Photo

by Janice D. Green

Are you polishing up all of your manuscripts? Do you have published works you can show? Both may be useful to you at the Write2Ignite! Conference 2016 (or any other writing conference you attend.) This post is to help you get them organized in a way for you to share them easily.

Portfolios

Copyright: Luis Molinero / 123RF Stock PhotoCreate a portfolio of articles and books you have published. I like plastic page protectors for a portfolio. They can be purchased in a soft cover binder with 12-24 pockets or can be purchased loose-leaf style to go into a 3-ring binder. Much depends on the quantity and kinds of published works you have to share.

Arrange your portfolio by the kinds of works you have to show. If you have magazine articles, put them together. If you write many kinds of articles or for a variety of magazines, sort them accordingly. If you have published books, you could include pictures of the front and back covers in your portfolio, and carry a copy in your bag if anyone asks to see it.

Be creative with your portfolio – let it tell a story of who you are and what you like to write. But be selective as well. If you are a multi-published author, you don’t have to include everything. If you have only a few published works, having them to show will give you credibility as an author.

Manuscripts

Have your manuscripts with you, well polished, and in manuscript form. If they are short (i.e. picture books), they can go into pockets in a notebook making them easy to carry. But if they are longer, file folders and an accordion-type expanding file that might fit into your tote bag might suit you better. Whatever you bring, have them organized so you can quickly find the manuscript you want.

Keep in mind that an editor or an agent is not interested in reading your entire manuscript on the spot unless it is extremely short. So be ready with a brief overview for each manuscript all on separate single sheets of paper. And be ready with your elevator pitch – a one-sentence description of your manuscript that will arouse the editor or agent’s curiosity so they will want to hear more.

Other Helpful Items to Bring

  • Plenty of business cards
  • Thank you notes to write to the editors/agents/authors you meet
  • Professional looking paper with project ideas that you can pitch
  • Book proposals of ideas you have already fleshed out
  • A note pad for taking notes
  • Extra pens
  • Your laptop for working on or revising projects
  • A briefcase or other good size bag–if you’re not bringing a laptop bag–so you have a place to carry all the materials you collect.
  • A bit of cash or your credit card is good to have. Sometimes people go out afterwards or they want to buy books.
  • Sturdy comfortable shoes

 

The sooner you get these things together, the better prepared you will be. Try to not leave everything to the last minute or you will be stressed at the conference, or worse – simply unprepared. I hope to see you at Write2Ignite! 2016!

 

Photo copyright: ginasanders / 123RF Stock Photo
Photo copyright: luismolinero / 123RF Stock Photo

Get Published the Easy Way!

By Amy Parker

image002At a book signing not too long ago, a woman approached and asked the seemingly innocent question I’m asked at almost every event. “So, how did you get published?”

 

Over the years, so many people have so generously provided guidance for my career, and I’m always happy to pay that forward by sharing my experience with other writers. I took a deep breath and tried to give her the short version.

 

While working as a contract editor at Tommy Nelson (the children’s division of Thomas Nelson), the publisher said in passing, “We’re looking for a bedtime book.”

 

I couldn’t believe what she had just said. I blurted, “I just wrote a bedtime book!”

 

“Well, send it to me,” she said, a little unsure. I was an editor, not a writer. Not yet.

 

Probably to the surprise of us both, the publisher liked it, she published it, and it’s been a hit! The strong sales of A Night Night Prayer paved the way for the book after that and the book after that and the book after that. . . .

 

That snippet of my publishing experience apparently satisfied the woman’s curiosity. She sneered, “Oh, so you did it the easy way.”

 

I blinked. I wasn’t quite sure how to reply—and she didn’t stick around to hear it anyway.

 

Had she lingered, I would have offered her the full version, my step-by-step formula to getting published the easy way:

 

  1. Have the good fortune of two parents who exemplify faith, hard work, and an indomitable spirit.
  2. Write poems throughout elementary school.
  3. Read everything you can get your hands on.
  4. Pour your heart into English and writing throughout high school.
  5. Take a full-time course load in college, while working and taking care of your family.
  6. Accept an internship (and internship pay) at a local publisher (while continuing #5).
  7. Fall in love with publishing. Abandon the job security of a teaching career.
  8. Graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, minors in Writing and Education.
  9. Search for months for an editorial job—any editorial job.
  10. Accept position editing healthcare education courses.
  11. Accept dream job as a children’s book editor.
  12. Be informed that your dream job has been eliminated.
  13. Cry
  14. Begin working as a contract children’s editor.
  15. Ride the roller coaster of freelancing.
  16. Read everything you can get your hands on.
  17. Pretend to be a writer. Pounce on every writing job you can get.
  18. In a delirious 2 a.m. stupor, write the words inspired by your three-year-old’s sleep battle.
  19. In similar delirious stupor, send that manuscript to the publisher.
  20. Pray
  21. Feel the joy of an accepted manuscript.
  22. Feel the pain of the editorial process.
  23. Feel the joy of a printed book—with your name on it!—in your hand.
  24. Stalk children. Read at every kids event that will let you through the door.
  25. Try every crazy promotion idea you can think of. Fail at half of them (if you’re lucky).
  26. Repeat steps 16-25 ad infinitum.

 

I’ve been entrenched in the publishing industry for almost two decades—as an intern, a proofreader, a copyeditor, an editor, a copywriter, a ghostwriter, and an author. And regardless of what spectators may say, there is no “easy way” to get published.

 

Paths eEvery path to publishing is different. But I can promise you this: it won’t be easy. Nothing worth doing is. But if you are sticking around to hear my reply—then you may just be dedicated enough to take that path anyway. And I would be honored to walk it with you.

 

If you haven’t already signed up for the Write2Ignite Conference in April, I highly recommend you do it now. It’s the only conference that I’ve seen specifically for Christian children’s and YA writers, and it is full of experienced presenters.

 

I’ll be there, giving three different workshops:

  • The Publishing Process, Step-By-Step
  • Both Sides of the Desk: The Editor & the Author
  • Rhythm, Rhyme & Musicality

 

I’m also delivering the keynote on The Plans God Has for YOU!

 

Come join us, and we’ll talk about your path to publishing, wherever you may be along the way. It will be a sneer-free zone, full of people who know the difficult path ahead—and choose to walk it anyway.

image001

 

 

 

2012headshotcolor eAmy Parker has written more than thirty books for children, teens, and adults, including the best-selling A Night Night PrayerThank You, God, for Mommy, and Thank You, God, for Daddy. She has also collaborated with authors ranging from New York Times bestsellers to her very own son. Two of these collaborations—Firebird and Courageous Teens—are recipients of Christian Retailing’s Best Awards. But Amy’s greatest reward is being a wife to Daniel and a mom to their amazing sons, Michael and Ethan.

 

Connect with Amy at www.amyparkerbooks.com.

 

 

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