Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Waiting Game

In the business of writing, a lot of waiting is involved. Waiting for that perfect idea to present itself. Waiting for the perfect words to flow onto the page. Waiting until you've edited it so many times, that you think you might be going blind in one eye. And that's all before you've even submitted your story.

After all that waiting, the waiting really begins. You have to wait for the acceptance or rejection of a person that you have never met-the literary agent. Then,if they like you, you have to wait for them to pitch your story to different publishing houses. If your story is purchased by a publishing house, you'll be waiting for someone else to rewrite your story, the right way-the editors:) And then, if you're really lucky, you'll be waiting another year or so for your book to be published. It's enough to drive a person mad!

For those who have been stuck in the cycle for years, I pray for you. For those of you who are just starting out,I pray for you. For those of you who are brave enough to endure this kind of rejection on a daily basis, I pray for you.

I pray that we will all be published one day. I pray that we will all become fabulously wealthy. I pray that your quest is short, but that your adventure never ends. And I pray, that this experience will make you a kinder, better human being for going through it.

Good luck fellow writers! May your "wait" be short, and your successes long lived.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


A Stanfordism is a direct quote from the lips of Jessica Stanford. We all have little "isms" that we make up throughout the years. When we reveal our "isms", we open up a tiny window to our very souls. Feel free to comment with one of your "isms" or life quotes.

Stanfordism #1 ( For Teachers during homeroom)
Are you doing something other than one of the 5 "ings"?
1. sitting
2. eating
3. reading
4. testing
5. or sharpening
If the answer is yes, you will be "changing" your color. (aka getting in trouble)

Stanfordism #2 (For Writers)
For a writer, writing is as involuntary and life sustaining as taking a breath or the beating of one's own heart; take away his/her pen, and the writer will surely die.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Blame Dr. Seuss!

We've all read the countless blogs and articles about rhyme versus prose. To sum it up, editors and publishers loathe stories that rhyme. Apparently, reading stories that rhyme is like eating spinach-beneficial, but hard to swallow. And while some rhyming stories are still being published, there are thousands of these stories in slush piles throughout the country.

My first set of questions is directed toward the children's writers out there. Has this recent trend in publishing stopped you from trying to write stories that rhyme? Have you abandoned your love of rhyme, and started writing only stories in prose? Or, do plan on waiting out this ridiculous trend in publishing?

My second set of questions is directed toward the parents of children readers. Since you are the book purchasers, your opinion matters a lot. What types of stories do you buy for your children? Do some of these books have rhyme? Do you agree that there are too many rhyming books in the marketplace? And lastly, what is your favorite children's book of all time?

As a writer of both rhyme and prose manuscripts, I do have a preference. When I write, I prefer to write in rhyme. When I purchase books for my children, I buy books in rhyme. If I really think about it, this could be due to the fact that my children are five and under. I think as writers, we tend to write what we know. Right now, I know everything there is to know about what boys five and under like to read.

But if I'm really being honest, I blame Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat, was the first book that I ever read on my own. And you know what they say about firsts, you never, ever forget them.

Dr. Seuss was/is the greatest children's writer of all time. He was a wordsmith. He was a captain of the imagination. He was a rhyming legend. And because of that, we celebrate a week in his honor, once a year. Now can you think of another author that has that kind of honor? I can't.

Rhyming, when done well, is a masterpiece of words. Rhyming, when done well, will stand the test of time. Rhyming, when done well, will sell, sell, sell.

So I won't stop rhyming. No matter what the trend is, I will write what I feel. Now matter what the trend is, I will write what I enjoy reading.

I will rhyme in my house
I will rhyme with my spouse.
I will rhyme in the yard.
I will rhyme in a leotard.
I will rhyme on a bike.
I will rhyme with my cousin, Mike.
I will rhyme in the tub.
I will rhyme til’ my hand’s a nub.

I do, I do, so like to rhyme.
Please come on back, to my blog sometime.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Are you Jane Goodall?

As an elementary teacher, mama of two boys, and an aspiring writer for children, I find myself doing a lot of crazy things in the name of entertaining children. In the past, I have dressed up like Thing 1 for Read Across America week, dressed up like the nun from Madeline for Storybook Character Week, turned my classroom into outer space and the grasslands of Africa for Academic Nights, kissed an actual pig for a cancer fundraiser, and have participated in some wild science experiments-just to name a few.

If your goal is to become a children's author one day, you have to get out there and interact with the kids. You have to know your market inside and out.

My advice-get out there and volunteer in the schools. Take your children or relatives' children out to do something only a kid would do. Do something that you used to do as a child. Watch cartoons. Get in touch with your inner child. Think of it as research.

I like pretend I'm Jane Goodal. I've befriended the local wildlife in an unusual jungle. They've accepted me in to their group; and they often let me participate in their daily activities. I've learned their likes and dislikes. I've begun to communicate with them in a rudimentary language-kidspeak.

In short, you don't have to be a teacher to write for kids. You don't even have to be parent. You do, however, have to know what kids like.

What will you do in an effort to start thinking like a kid?

Below is a recipe to make green slime. In the words of Nike, "Just do it!" Get in touch with your inner chid by doing something totally silly. You won't be sorry that you did.

Green Slime Recipe
box of cornstarch
enough water to make cornstarch a glue consistency
green food dye
1. take cornstarch and put in bowl
2. Experiment with water. Add some and stir. When you have a glue-like consistency, stop.
3. Add any color food dye, but green is best. It looks like snot.
4. Have fun!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Can you rhyme onomatopoeia?

Unfortunately, I can not post my stories online because that would make them pre-published. But I will, ocasionally, write a silly poem or short story that lingers in the back of my mind.

Most of the time, the short story or poem that I post will be kid related. Periodically, it will be about my hopes and dreams. All of the time, it is intended to make you laugh. When the man upstairs made me, he super-sized my funny bone.

This limerick is a funny version of my writing game plan. It's funny because it's unlikely. Most children's authors are not rich. Unless I write the next Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series, I can only hope for moderate success and the admiration of my peers-kind of like my career in education.

I hope the limerick makes you laugh!

There once was writer from South Florida,
who used personification, imagery, and onomatopoeia.
She wrote and she wrote,
until she could purchase a boat.
Then she set sail for the island of Jamaica.

The Maiden Voyage

So this is it, the maiden voyage, so to speak, of my blog for writers in the making. I'm filled with a lot of emotions as I type the first post, the biggest of which is fear. What if no one reads it? What if I make a trillion grammar and punctuation mistakes, and everyone realizes that I wasn't an English major in college?

Worse still, what if it's terrible? What if people see me on the street and throw food at me?

Then, my inner optimist kicks in and I think to myself, what if it's not terrible? What if people can actually identify with what I have to say? Better still, what if it gives people encouragement to try the one thing that they've always wanted to do and they become followers?

Then, of course, I start typing. Who am I deny to the world of such encouragement?

Right now, I'm just a girl who likes to write. But one day, I just know that I'll be published. Until then, I'm a just a girl, unpublished.

If you can identify with this and want to share my journey, you're more than welcome to tag along for the ride. I promise it won't be boring!