First Blog Award

I have been given by Pen of Passion the following award.roar.jpgIn my opinion, a good piece of writing has

1) A topic that catches my attention

2) Content that will keep my attention

3) Humor, writing to lift me up, or information to teach me something

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I would like to pass this award to these five worthy bloggers:

happywonderer, plummershollow, fatfinch, rjhenz, hikerdude.

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The rules are as follows:

1. Link back to the person that tagged you in your post.
2. List three things that you believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful.
3. Tag five other people via comment.

Waiting

How much time do we spend waiting?  When my daughter was a baby I couldn’t wait for her to be older so we could talk at the dinner table.  I recall my first semester of college when I thought college was so exciting I could be a student forever.  But that feeling subsided and I found myself waiting for time to pass when I would graduate.  Again, as an educator, I waited for weeks and days to pass until summer vacation.  Now I find myself dreaming and waiting for the time when I can retire so I’ll have more time for writing and publishing.  Today I’m having to wait one more week before I can get my pre-ordered copy of the Christian Writers Market Guide and decide which publisher I want to send my picture book manuscript to.   Wait, wait, wait.  We wait in lines, wait for grades, wait for Fridays, wait for special events…  It seems like I live in a hurry up and wait world.  Like sitting on “Go” but going nowhere.

It makes me stop and think.  How can I better focus on the present, on what I can do now, and think less about what I have to wait for?  I could use waiting time to get better organized, to do those chores I keep putting off, to be a friend to a lonely person, there are many things waiting for me while I’m waiting for something else.  Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Lord, help me learn to optimize the moment of my today and waste less mental energy on waiting.

Too many "don'ts" and not enough "do-s"

Writing submissions and slush piles are about to drive me crazy.  I have written and crafted illustrations for a Bible storybook which I have entitled The Creation. Now I am trying to figure out which publisher(s) to submit it to.   I went to Books a Million and to Barnes and Nobles to see which Christian publishers were represented there and to locate books that were most similar to what I am writing or planning to write.  Then I went home and looked up what I thought were the best matches in my Children’s Writers and Illustrators Marketto learn the particulars on how to submit my manuscript.  Every publisher I had selected was either not included in the book or had statements saying they were not accepting unsolicited or un-agented manuscripts. 

I cried. 

I posted my frustrations on my writing groups’ forums. 

I’ve been advised to attend conferences so I can “pitch” my manuscripts directly to some publishers.  I’ve only attended one such conference, and at that conference we were told specifically not to try to pitch our manuscripts to the publishers present.  We were told that it was rude.  But the lady I shared my motel room with encouraged me to look for Christian conferences.   I can’t afford the conference in Florida that she recommended, but I plan to apply for a scholarship for one that is closer to where I live and hope I will be able to get off work to attend it.  That one isn’t until May. 

Another option that was suggested to me was to send my manuscript to The Writer’s Edge.  If it was good enough it would be pitched to the publishers.  I studied their web page and everything looked good.  I was willing to spend the money to get a foot in the door with these publishers, and was preparing my manuscript and filling out the form to send it in.  Then I did a search on one of my forums and found all the reasons why I shouldn’t waste my money on it.  I’m looking a little at another similar writers’ service, but they expect money up-front as well.  The writers on the forum said that they heard publishers say at the conferences that they seldom look at the pitches on the printouts they get from these places.  I almost cried except I was relieved I didn’t have to spend all that money.

So here I sit at ground zero with a manuscript that I think is absolutely wonderful and I’m wondering how I’m going to get an editor to even look at it.  I don’t have a string of published work to brag on though I’ve done a lot of writing.  I have written feature articles for newspapers and have self-published some family books.  I was published once in a take-home story paper through the United Methodist Publishing House, but that was several years ago. 

I worked at the UMPH a short time while everyone still used typewriters and from that experience I understand about the slush piles.  I have personally separated the junk from the usable material for one of the editors there.  I also know that if I had sent something that had the quality of the book I am submitting, it would have been considered seriously.   

I suspect that the use of computers to make writing and editing your work easier before printing it on paper has played a major part in the tremendous slush piles that have become a burden to the editors.  It was my interest in writing that led me to spend over $2,000 for one of the first IBM PCs thinking which I thought I would use forever.  That was the first of many computers I have owned, my next one was a fantastic step up with a  hard drive that held a whole 40MG–enough room for all my software and files!  Unfortunately there have been many distractions in my life coupled with bad advice (like don’t send your best manuscripts first), and I have failed to persist in submitting the manuscripts I have written.   I have always found the hardest part of writing is researching the publishers and keeping the submissions in the mail.

So here I sit, highly frustrated, wishing I could think of some way to get my manuscript on a few editors’ desks.  I have a 2008 Christian Writer’s Market on order which will be delivered in the middle of January.  It may give me some more ideas.  But my restless A.D.D. spirit wants to do something NOW.  Why do I keep learning what not to do without finding what I can do?

Too many “don’ts” and not enough “do-s”

Writing submissions and slush piles are about to drive me crazy.  I have written and crafted illustrations for a Bible storybook which I have entitled The Creation. Now I am trying to figure out which publisher(s) to submit it to.   I went to Books a Million and to Barnes and Nobles to see which Christian publishers were represented there and to locate books that were most similar to what I am writing or planning to write.  Then I went home and looked up what I thought were the best matches in my Children’s Writers and Illustrators Marketto learn the particulars on how to submit my manuscript.  Every publisher I had selected was either not included in the book or had statements saying they were not accepting unsolicited or un-agented manuscripts. 

I cried. 

I posted my frustrations on my writing groups’ forums. 

I’ve been advised to attend conferences so I can “pitch” my manuscripts directly to some publishers.  I’ve only attended one such conference, and at that conference we were told specifically not to try to pitch our manuscripts to the publishers present.  We were told that it was rude.  But the lady I shared my motel room with encouraged me to look for Christian conferences.   I can’t afford the conference in Florida that she recommended, but I plan to apply for a scholarship for one that is closer to where I live and hope I will be able to get off work to attend it.  That one isn’t until May. 

Another option that was suggested to me was to send my manuscript to The Writer’s Edge.  If it was good enough it would be pitched to the publishers.  I studied their web page and everything looked good.  I was willing to spend the money to get a foot in the door with these publishers, and was preparing my manuscript and filling out the form to send it in.  Then I did a search on one of my forums and found all the reasons why I shouldn’t waste my money on it.  I’m looking a little at another similar writers’ service, but they expect money up-front as well.  The writers on the forum said that they heard publishers say at the conferences that they seldom look at the pitches on the printouts they get from these places.  I almost cried except I was relieved I didn’t have to spend all that money.

So here I sit at ground zero with a manuscript that I think is absolutely wonderful and I’m wondering how I’m going to get an editor to even look at it.  I don’t have a string of published work to brag on though I’ve done a lot of writing.  I have written feature articles for newspapers and have self-published some family books.  I was published once in a take-home story paper through the United Methodist Publishing House, but that was several years ago. 

I worked at the UMPH a short time while everyone still used typewriters and from that experience I understand about the slush piles.  I have personally separated the junk from the usable material for one of the editors there.  I also know that if I had sent something that had the quality of the book I am submitting, it would have been considered seriously.   

I suspect that the use of computers to make writing and editing your work easier before printing it on paper has played a major part in the tremendous slush piles that have become a burden to the editors.  It was my interest in writing that led me to spend over $2,000 for one of the first IBM PCs thinking which I thought I would use forever.  That was the first of many computers I have owned, my next one was a fantastic step up with a  hard drive that held a whole 40MG–enough room for all my software and files!  Unfortunately there have been many distractions in my life coupled with bad advice (like don’t send your best manuscripts first), and I have failed to persist in submitting the manuscripts I have written.   I have always found the hardest part of writing is researching the publishers and keeping the submissions in the mail.

So here I sit, highly frustrated, wishing I could think of some way to get my manuscript on a few editors’ desks.  I have a 2008 Christian Writer’s Market on order which will be delivered in the middle of January.  It may give me some more ideas.  But my restless A.D.D. spirit wants to do something NOW.  Why do I keep learning what not to do without finding what I can do?