One Writer’s Journey

May 18, 2018

Writing Retreat: See You on Monday

It has been a while since I got to go to writer’s retreat.  As much as I love events that focus on writing, retreats are my favorite.

A big part of it is that I get my own room.  I know – it sounds trivial, doesn’t it?  But I’m an introvert who works at home.  I’m used to a certain amount of time without other people around.  Workshops, conferences, and retreats are great for all the ideas and information that come my way, but they are also tough because of the amount of time I’m around other people.

But at this particular event participants get their own rooms.  This means that I can go in my room and work without interruption.  If I don’t care if someone interrupts me, I can prop my door open.  There are also plenty of public places where you can situate yourself if you want to chat.

Pacing yourself is hugely important for an introvert at an event.

Other than that, I’d recommend that you take Judy Blume’s words of wisdom to heart.  Most of us go to an event knowing that we need help with something specific.  It might be the pacing of a manuscript or knowing how to approach an editor.  Get the help you need but don’t forget to just listen.  There is so much wisdom to be had if you poised to hear it.

And if you aren’t hearing what you need?  Ask questions.

Pacing yourself doesn’t just mean spending time in your room.  It also means interacting with your fellow participants.  I’ve worked for Children’s Writer newsletter and RedLine Editorial because of connections that I made at writing events.  Get to know people and you will have connections that can help you get your foot in the door.

Have a great weekend and next week I’ll share some of what I learn this weekend.




February 15, 2017

You’re so lucky: Luck Doesn’t Drive Successful Writing Careers

horse-shoe-110987_1920Recently, Hope Clark, the editor of one of my favorite newsletters, Funds for Writers, wrote about someone telling her how lucky she is.  “You were lucky to have FundsforWriters to sell your books. I don’t have that luxury.”
Personally, I find it a little hard to believe that the person who said this can coordinate walking and breathing at the same time.  Rude comment on my part?  Probably, but you have to be a little clueless to think that Hope’s success has been as a result of luck.  Like all successful writers, she didn’t luck into success, she made it starting with FundsforWriters.  She built it.  Yes, she advertises her books in the newsletter but she worked hard to have both a successful newsletter and 5 novels?  6 novels?  I’d have to go count them to be sure.  It didn’t just happen.  Hope is world-class at looking for opportunities and working hard.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’m lucky too.  I get to work from home.  I get to write for a living.  I have ten books in print.  Well, guess what?  None of that just happened either.  When I started writing, I was going to write picture books.  I took a class with Pat McKissack and roughed out several manuscripts.  Then a friend started editing Young Equestrian magazine.
I wasn’t a magazine writer but she was looking for writers.  Hmm.  Take advantage of the opportunity or decide that it wasn’t right for me?  I went with Choice A.
Then another friend’s editor contacted me.  She needed someone who could write how-to articles for other writers.  Did I have experience?  Only in my regional SCBWI newsletter.  I’d never been paid and this wasn’t writing for children.  But again I said yes.
This is how I wrote and sold how-tos, book reviews, testing materials, crafts, science fair projects, pre-school class materials, and now nonfiction books.  I saw opportunities and I said yes.  I didn’t wait around for a lucky break.
Should I have focused on picture book writing?  I’m sure some people would say yes but that wasn’t the path I chose.  I’m not going to say that I’ve been unlucky but I don’t believe my career has relied on luck.  Instead, I rely on my willingness to see an opportunity and try something new.
What about you?  Are looking for opportunities?

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: