Proudly Seizing the Day

Dear Fellow Children’s Writers and friends,

Where did June go? Don’t ask me! 🤷‍♀️ It was quite a transitional time for me as I began to emerge from our communal-stay-at-home-holiday; all be it rather tentatively; still not keen on shopping, or frequenting restaurants, but glad to be back at work. Still, June is gone and I did not want to see July slip away too without touching base. So how have you found adapting to life in these remarkable times, creatively, of course? I sincerely hope you and yours have all stayed healthy and safe.

Do you find a return of your mojo? See it as an opportunity to stretch your artistic muscles, whether creatively or appreciatively or perhaps both. I suspect you may like me have been joyfully inundated and none too proud of all the opportunities introduced and offered by our KidLit community both to each other and to our beloved audience.

What with Podcasts, Zoom Meetings, Midday Storytimes, online launches, homeschooling activities made available often for free, there’s certainly been no shortage of creative opportunities and outlets available to us, or families with kids learning at home, in what, let’s face it could have been and no doubt for some of us, financially, has been a trying time. (let alone any emotional baggage we may be carrying)

But now, I’m heading towards a little downer and that was definitely not the aim of this post. So what has Journeygirl been up to in June and July? June mainly saw me back teaching and nearing the end, also back at my Sacramental Coordinator role in the parish. Still, by now I was on a roll with both decluttering and writing as well as critiquing for my Creative Kids Tales Critique Group, so the last two months have been Busy with a capital B. Busy, but satisfying, with several online launches attended, two rounds of critiques completed (8 critiques and 2 of my mss critiqued by others) one Junior Fiction ms first draft completed, two courses completed, one new NF PB written as a result of one of those courses, one fellowship applied for as a result of the other, (thanks Aleesah Darlison and Karen Tyrell) two rooms fully decluttered and rearranged, two competitions entered, 3 mss submitted for assessment, one amazing Writing Bootcamp experience, one awesome online Conference over three Saturdays (thanks CYA for an incredible job and my family for giving me these full days to myself) and countless online Storytimes either fully or partially watched.

As you can see, Biizzzy! No, I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet, well maybe a little. Hey, I’ve achieved a lot and I’m quite proud of that 😁 and sometimes we creatives ought to say that out loud. The main reason I’m sharing all this, is to say that the Children’s Book Industry has stepped up so much and in so many ways over the last few months and it would almost seem ungrateful if I hadn’t too. There’s been and still are many opportunities out there for creatives, aspiring, emerging and experienced to support each other and to progress their own skills, dreams and careers. So, if you’re feeling a little stuck or just haven’t been aware, look around and grab hold of one of these opportunities with both hands! Pull yourself up and on to the road you want to travel. Answer the door when opportunity knocks- sure, but also seek opportunities out for yourself.

They’re not hard to find and they’re just waiting for you to grab hold.

So fellow travellers, stay safe in these extraordinary times, but don’t let them stop you seizing those opportunities,

Farewell for now,

Savour the quest,

Journeygirl.

Posted in Networking, Road to Publication, Work/Life Balance, Writing Conferences, Writing Groups | 4 Comments

As Promised- Self Evaluation Time

Hello fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,

It’s been almost two months; two meandering, trying months. So how have I gone with my own Mojo Kickstarting recommendations? And how have you gone if you took them up. There’s still ample time if you haven’t and an additional one at the end, for those still frozen by our current circumstances.

1. Grabbing some rays 🌞while I work, erm, ah, er… well let’s move on shall we?

2. Taking on a fresh creative pursuit 🧵🌿🤹‍♀️🩰while my preferred one eludes me- Yes, Yes indeed. I’ve revelled in some quiet personal sketching time. ✏️It takes me back to the less congested leisure time of my youth; that magical time where you have increased autonomy, but are yet unable to drive.

3. Prospecting and polishing. 50% score on this one, I’ve definitely been polishing (see number 4) but possibly need to do some prospecting. Although, due to the impact of recommendation number two, I haven’t needed to. That’s the beauty of the muse, give a little yourself and perhaps from a numerous angle and the muse will return it tenfold. I’ve discovered something about myself this last two months or at least admitted to it. I love Kidlit- the books, the people, the industry, but I’m not always realistic about physically writing Kidlit. Luckily for me, my preference is Picture Book writing and despite the complex task of coming up with a suitable kid-friendly idea and perfecting the word choice, the initial writing doesn’t take that much time. It’s less that 500 words after all. That’s not to say it’s simple, they have to be the right 500 words in the best possible order! But not the first draft, that’s what editing’s for😊And if I want to write anything longer than a Picture Book…? Well that might have to be the subject of another blog post.

4. Submitting? 👩‍💻📖🤞Yes, I’ve certainly polished what I have and submitted several manuscripts to publishers, when the Inner Critic allows.🌥 Definitely more than in the past. Still, I have much of that self-confidence highway to traverse, but I hear it’s one of which you never really attain the periphery.

5. Educating myself ✅ and enjoying it! 😁In fact, I’ve not only been learning but reflecting- a lot. (I’m sure I’m not alone there) That, the reflecting part, may also be the subject of a future blog post, perhaps even the same one as above.

How have you gone with kickstarting your mojo? As you can see I’ve had a varying degree of success, but I’ve discovered that another vital aspect for nurturing creativity during these historic times is to go gently 🤗 with myself. Beating myself up, for wasting this incredible writing opportunity- especially at this time, is counter productive.

So dear fellow traveller, nurture your creative spirit and take care of the rest of you too!

Savour the journey,

Journeygirl 😊

Posted in Organisation, Road to Publication, Writer's Conditions | 2 Comments