Welcome back fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,
I hope you have had a joy filled Christmas holiday break whether it was a short break or a longer one like mine. I know have been off the ‘cyberwaves’ for quite some time, but it has been a time of self-reflection, rejuvenation, inspiration and planning along with some writing of course. In fact I have several PB ideas, manuscripts and a competition entry already under my belt. I’m sure there’s some of you naturally driven people who have achieved more and kudos to you, you deserve your every success, but for me this is major, especially so early in the year.
This change is due in no small part to some incredibly insightful, positive and inspirational posts I’ve come across via Julie Headland’s the 12 Days of Christmas (http://www.juliehedlund.com/12days/) and Tara Lazar’s Storystorm previously PiBoIdMo. (https://taralazar.com/2016/12/19/piboidmo-is-now-storystorm/) The 12 Days of Christmas ran from the 26/12/16- 6/1/17 (with a couple of extra days leeway taking the closed Facebook group till about 9/1/17) and took the concept of New Year’s Resolutions and turned it on its head! It helps you take the focus away from all the things you failed to do last year and put it on to the things at which you succeeded, no matter how unimportant you thought they were. From there you build on your successes and areas of need rather that beating yourself up, then flailing aimlessly for another year, only to beat yourself up again at the end of the new year. I certainly know that feeling and I bet I’m not alone, go on- admit it, even those of you who aren’t writers, you do it too. We writers, however, are notoriously hard on ourselves.
The inspiration and the lovely bonus of likeminded support groups continued throughout January with Storystorm. An equally incredible experience, featuring an entire month of daily blog posts from authors and other industry professionals, with the aim of inspiring you to brainstorm 30 new Picture Book (or book in general, from this year on) ideas in 30 days. Warning, warning personal trumpet blowing alert– I now have 31 ideas including 8 fleshed out and 1 entire first draft WHOO HOO! That makes me a
I know there’ll definitely be more full drafts to come too, if for no other reason then that I intend to repeat the process in a condensed form in May with Paula Yoo’s NaPiBoWriWee. (http://napibowriwee.com/) For the uninitiated this is short for National Picture Book Writing Week, another American born concept gone international.
As you can see I’ve got the inspiration side covered and all for free incidentally, but not only have these experiences been inspiring, they have also helped me plan for the year ahead. To think about what I want to achieve and what I need to do so that I can achieve it. And then to budget for it. Remembering that if you are serious about writing for publication you need to treat it as a business and prepare adequately.
Prepare by writing, writing, writing. Step One-check.
Prepare by planning for it; seeing what/who is available, when and for how much and there is a LOT both nationally and internationally. The deeper I travel in this brave new writing world, the more treasures I discover. Speaking of travelling, don’t forget to include travel expenses in your budget. Step 2- check. In my case, this year I’m not planning to attend a Conference as I have in the past, not because they weren’t worthwhile because they certainly were. Instead this year I’ll be budgeting for memberships to the FAW (which I’ve always done and will continue to do because the people there have become my friends) and to SCBWI which I have always wanted to do as I know it’s a better fit for what I write i.e. for children. I’d never budgeted for this before, however, so never benefited from becoming a member until now.
I’m also planning on a partial mentorship this year. Then there’s magazine subscriptions; both children’s and industry and of course competition entry fees. As well as this there is the mundane but necessary annual expenditure of my Wordpress fee, it’s automatic renewal, but I still need to budget for it and finally I’ll have a small amount put aside as miscellaneous for that ‘must have/attend’ book/event/workshop, or even the $5 that’s right $5 I’ve already spent on the WriteOnCon an online KidLit conference. (http://writeoncon.org/) More on that surprise find next month or if you’re really quick check it out now and register for yourself. It starts ‘Fridayish’ (Thursday in the US)
Well I guess that’s it for now, except to say, I think I’ve made a pretty good case for the codependence of inspiration and budget. What do you think? I’d love to see your reply in the comments section below. Whatever your writing goals for the coming year, remember to find inspiration, research, plan, budget and above all write and edit the best manuscripts for submission that you can. Good luck.
Farewell fellow travellers
Savour the quest