Update on the journey

Here is a blurb from my first ever Sunflower Scribe Blog Post:

In June 2010, inspiration struck. My first children’s book main character, Iris the Colorful Spider was born. The manuscript is written and now I am learning more about the editing and publishing process. The journey has just begun and I have finally found my focus. I want to be a Writer. I have come to terms with the fact that this may be a process that is years in the making but, I am up for it! Carpe Diem! I hope you enjoy the ride! I know I will.

So how am I doing in my journey now you ask?

Well, let’s see…

I’ve written 12 new picture book manuscripts, several short stories, and 1 1/2 chapter book manuscripts.  
I’ve submitted and received many rejections (heartbreaking!) as well as a handful of acceptances!  My acceptance rate right now is 9.5% (I’ve always liked thinking in percentages!)

But really that’s not the point….  
Do I still love writing? Yes! 
Have I improved at it? Yes! 
Do I still have a whole lot to learn? Yes, and I always will.
Have I met wonderfully awesome fellow writers who share the same dreams of publishing their stories?  Yes!

Each year my life experiences help to shape who I become as a Writer and where I turn to for inspiration.  It’s as much a part of me now as drinking water daily.  That is what the journey is all about.  Where are you in your writing journey? Or perhaps another type of journey altogether?

5 Things to do while playing The Waiting Game

I have to confess, I have become a little preoccupied with checking my e-mail and mailbox for the past few weeks…wishing and hoping to receive news about recent manuscript submissions. Of course, it can take many months to hear anything however, I’ve been told one of my stories is currently under consideration. (Squeal!) It is so hard to contain that shred of hope I have in my heart without getting carried away. I have desperately been trying to find other things to keep those pushy little — “today’s the day, go check the mail!” monsters at bay.

If you are playing the waiting game like me, here are five things you can try to get your mind off the waiting. Now if only there were a permanent solution…

1) Redesign your blog (I did this one this morning!)
Ok, ok — I have been told that redesigning your blog can be confusing to the reader. For me though, I think of it like revising a story. My blog didn’t quite have the look and feel I was going for. So I took a hard look at it, thought about my vision and revised. I am actually quite happy with the outcome. What do you think?

2) Do some yoga.
So I haven’t done this yet, but I intend to. Yoga calms me and reminds me to take deep breaths. It also helps to clear your mind and strengthen your body.

3) Network with other writers.
Have you ever visited Verla Kay’s Message Boards for Children’s Writers and Illustrators? I joined recently. It is a wonderful community of writers and illustrators. They share good news, bad news, and even no news! I also enjoy being able to relate and commiserate to people who know exactly how I feel and have been where I’ve been.

4)  Engage in an extracurricular activity or plan a vacation.
Love the beach or eating fondue? Maybe you paint or like dancing? I love to sing. Karaoke is like therapy for me and I have been wanting to visit British Columbia for quite some time…

5) Write something new or revise old writing projects.
Sometimes when you’re waiting for news it’s hard to focus on current works in progress. You can feel bogged down or blocked.  Maybe you can revitalize yourself by trying to write something new? Or take out something old and look at it again with “fresh eyes?” Sure, these stories will need some revision but it can be fun to reconnect to an old story.

Best of luck everyone!


My Personal Journey

I think it is quite apropos that my new music obsession (actually an old music obsession that has been rekindled) is with the rock band “Journey,” because I have been on quite an interesting personal journey of my own. You might notice my lack of blogging the past few months.

Well, in a nutshell…here is what happened. I was blessed enough to enjoy a family trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth ~ Tahiti, in early Nov. 2010. When I returned to a gloomy, rainy California I had a bit of a case of the post-vacation blues. Okay, more the a bit, more like a lot! Just as I was trying to recuperate and get over it I received my first rejection note from my manuscript submissions. I was expecting this of course but nonetheless I was already feeling down and this just tipped me over the edge. After that I didn’t get the urge to write at all for quite some time. Once my writing bug finally returned it took a turn for the personal ~ so for the most part I have been writing in a journal, which contains such inward thoughts, its hard to share them on a blog in such a raw state. Perhaps one day I will be able to or even turn it into a story.

By the way, upon further research, I revisited that rejection note I received and found that particular publisher does not typically respond if they are not interested in your work. Just knowing that, gave me a little glimmer of hope to send manuscripts to them in the future. I am able to think of it as less of the more final “no” to merely a “not now, not this project.”

Query Time

I am so excited to have sent out my first set of queries and manuscript submissions for my first children’s book, Iris the Colorful Spider in the past few weeks! If the query package process is foreshadowing the road I’m on it is going to be a bumpy one!

I spent several weeks researching publishing houses, manuscript submission guidelines, how to write query/cover letters and more! I also spent a big chunk of time on getting to know the books each publisher produces and whether or not it seemed like my manuscript would be a good match for them. Once I had completed all of these things I was ready to take a day to put together my packages and send them off.

And then the hitch…

First my printer decided to put big black inky lines all over the pages of my manuscript. There was not way I could send that out. It looked completely unprofessional. My hubby and I lost several hours to cleaning and checking the printer after which the printer died all together! Ugh!Then I decided to send my copies to be printed at Kinkos. I lost several more hours due to technical difficulties.  Finally, I picked up my finished copies from Kinkos only to find that half of my order was missing. Double ugh! The next morning I visited my Mother-in-Law and she allowed me to use her printer to print up those missing copies. I was finally able to send my packges off by Monday morning.

If anything I think this served as a reminder to me ~ this is not an easy breezy process. I may succeed but it’s highly possible I may fail this first time around. I am going to learn a lot and hopefully grow and learn from my experiences. I will keep you all updated on the progress of my submissions. It should be approximately 2 months or so before I hear anything. Some publishers will not contact you at all unless they want to accept your manuscript. Wish me luck!