Writing, Life, Balance

Hello fellow Children’s Writers and friends,

As I sat down to write this post, I found myself somewhat conflicted. I had two burning questions. One, was it time to write differently? i.e. More generally, not specifically about myself and my experiences on my personal journey to publication. And two, regardless of which way I chose, what would I possibly write about? I felt as though I had nothing new to say.

The first one turned out to be quite simple. Although I was wary of writing ‘my’ and ‘I’ so much, I needed to go back to the beginning. Right back to the earliest intention of the blog, which was of course, the sharing of my journey to publication in the hope it might help others. This means that although my journey, like so many others has some really slow, quiet, writing times and some ridiculously fast and busy non-writing times, to be true to this blog and its intention, I need to continue this way

The second question was considerably more difficult as I found myself creatively drained. It took a little while to realise that there was a very real and physical reason for this. As well as doing my ‘writing in the cracks’, I have been busy with both work and family. At one stage over a couple of weeks last month, I held five different paid and unpaid jobs. I kid you not! Life!

Looking back further, I was in no doubt as to why I was unable to find the energy to create. This year, I have had the immense joy of celebrating my daughter’s 18th, my son’s 21st, my mother in law’s 75th and my own 50th birthdays, as well my husband and my 25th wedding anniversary. Top this off with the 50th birthdays of my three oldest and dearest friends and this little introvert has expended an awful amount of social energy this year. The last of these being celebrated yesterday. Thank goodness my Dad’s 90th is not till next year! While it would have been nice to have these events spread out over a couple of years, each and every one of them was of great personal importance and very necessary threads in the tapestry of my year. As far as writing is concerned, I haven’t sat idle and even had a go at applying for a grant this month, which also was not without (technological) drama. As well as this, the creative fodder this year will definitely provide once the holidays kick in and the exhaustion subsides.

I hope this has given you a snapshot in the life of this writer’s journey to publication.

Farewell fellow travellers,

Savour the quest,



P.S. Look out for an early post next month as I again scour the net, to find the best gifts for you, my fellow writers this Christmas. Be sure to leave the post open and lying around.

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Five Things (it seems) My Mother Knew About the KidLit World

Dear Fellow Children’s Writers and friends,

Although my mother was not a member of the KidLit Community, it turns out she knew quite a bit about it. Here are five things she taught me either by word or osmosis that are standing me in good stead as I venture further into this incredible industry.

1. Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated

This is important at all times, but is particularly true of your dealings within Critique Groups and on social media. It is equally important if and when you have the opportunity to meet an editor as it is when you meet a newbie aspiring author. Of course what is required at these times may vary in wrapping, but essentially it’s the gift of respect you need to give.

2. Be Involved in my Community

From attending sports events to baking for school and church functions and fundraisers to volunteering, my mother was always involved in any community to which she/we belonged. In the KidLit community, this can translate into learning about the community via reading, joining groups, subscribing to newsletters, supporting literary or education based charities to name a few. It can also mean attending fellow author’s book launches, attending meetings, courses, conferences/festivals (if possible) and possibly even organising for an/some authors to; talk, do a workshop, write a expert’s piece for your (day job) workplace. If you’re lucky it might mean having the opportunity (as I recently did in The Duck Pond) to take on a leading role when someone else goes on holiday, takes a break or moves on.


3. Work Hard. Do/Be My Best

Practice makes perfect, try your hardest, challenge yourself, have a go, just do it! While these may seem like a bunch of platitudes there’s no denying that living by them produces results, ones that often surprise even ourselves. As with any creative pursuit, the harder and longer one works at it the greater their skills and knowledge become. So where I once thought, some people are just brilliant, talented geniuses (and some may well be) it turns out that practicing and at the very least immersing myself in writerly thoughts and observations has certainly produced a much higher standard of work than I was producing say ten or even five years ago.

4. Be Welcoming

This one relates directly to number one and number three, but needs to be genuine and honest or forget about it. How does one do this in the KidLit world? Simple, a smile never goes astray, img_3894nor does a kind or thoughtful comment, either on social media or in real offline world. Get to know other writers, be genuinely interested in them and their work and show it in your words and actions/emojis/GIFs.


5. Pray

Having done all of these things or at least the ones that resonate most genuinely with you or finding other suitable life lessons which relate- there are many- realise that there is a lot that is simply out of your control. So whether it be to God, Mother Nature, the cosmos, the universe, spirits of loved ones who’ve passed on, household gods- Doctor, Donna, Tardis- just kidding, seek assistance. Cross your fingers, join your hands, count your many other blessings, sprinkle water, light a candle, burn incense, blow your submission emails a kiss, or whatever ritual you choose, it takes some of the weight off you. Thus freeing you up to create. Then you can wish your manuscript babies well and let them go out into the big wide publishing world knowing you have done your very best, by them, your community and yourself.

Farewell for now fellow travellers,

Savour the quest,


Posted in Networking, Professionalism, Road to Publication, Submitting For Publication, Writing Conferences, Writing Groups | Leave a comment