Saturday, October 31, 2009

SCBWI Winter Conference 2010

This week I registered for the 2010 SCBWI Winter Conference and I have lots to be excited about.

My husband and I moved away from New York September 10, 2001 (yes, that means one day before 9/11). We haven't been back since. Besides the joy that comes with seeing old friends and being in the city again, I am quite excited to attend the conference.

On Friday, I look forward to participating in the Writing Intensive.

The three breakout sessions that caught my attention on Saturday are:

Literary Novels (Alvina Ling, Senior Editor, Little, Brown)
Contracts (Edward Necarsulmer, Agent, McIntosh & Otis)
Writing for Teens (Ben Schrank, Publisher, Razorbill)

So, are there any of you out there who also plan to attend? Please leave a comment!

WHAT I'M READING THIS WEEK: A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life (Dana Reinhardt) Hoot (Carl Hiaasen)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Setting Goals

Without goals, I get nothing done. Not even simple things, like cooking dinner. When it came to writing my first novel, I set a date--six months to finish the first draft. I achieved that goal and many others during the same six-month period. Whatever I'm working on, I have to give myself a deadline. If things come up, I adjust, but I try to stick close to the original goal.

This month my goal is to finish the final revision of my Work-In-Progress so that I can send it out to my beta readers for critique. Once that's done, I have the goal of finishing the first draft of my MG novel. I haven't set a date for completing that yet, but will do so as soon as I get started. Since November is NaNoWriMo, perhaps I'll set the goal to get it done by the end of November. Hmmm...

When it comes to submissions, I also have to set goals. Queries are the easiest thing for me to put off since it takes great courage and discipline to push that send button. Manuscript requests in the Inbox are my payoff.

What about you? Do you set writing goals? Do you reach them?

WHAT I'M READING THIS WEEK: Atonement (Ian McEwan) Hattie Big Sky (Kirby Larson)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why I Write to Music

My writing playlist: Baroque, Classical, and Romance (piano and orchestra) Chris Botti and Italian Opera (instrumental only).

I can write without music, but not very well. I think it has something to do with brain hemispheres. Music puts me in that imaginative and mysterious place (where spelling flies out the window and ideas pop up like dandelions).

Writing with music does something else for me--it makes me feel less lonely.

What about you? Do you listen to music while you write? Why?

WHAT I'M READING THIS WEEK: Crash Into Me (Albert Borris) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Dai Sijie) Corelli's Mandolin (Louis De Bernieres)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How Do I Climb This Mountain?

After two and a half years and five revisions, how do I find the strength to continue pouring fresh energy into this novel?

The mountain metaphor again. I climb this mountain one step at a time. Some days one step is all I can take--one page of revision. Other days I can take a few more steps--three to five.

Years ago I worked through Julia Cameron's delightful handbook The Artist's Way. One of the great bits of advice I learned from her is to keep my creative well full.

So when I feel like I can't possibly take another step, I stop at a clear stream and fill up my canteen. How? By reading great books and watching great movies. Another thing that fills me up is reading anthologies of writers on writing.

What about you? What fills up your creative canteen?

WHAT I'M READING THIS WEEK: Viola in Reel Life (Trigiani) Twisted (Halse Anderson) Catching Fire (Collins)