Thinking Thursday: April!

We are into the 2nd quarter of 2014!

Boomm clipart

Pow! clipart


Holy smokes, Batman. How did that happen?


Did you have any writing goals set for this year?
If so, how are you doing?
Why not set some short term goals for the next three months and see how it goes?

Having goals doesn’t have to be a bad set up. Give yourself something to work with.
Maybe write one new story or chapter our outline a cb/mg/ya book that’s been nagging at you.
Maybe take notes on various characters you see or read about that you can incorporate into something of yours.
Maybe try a different medium. Only type? Try long-hand. One write? Try doodling. Only draw? Try writing a scene out.

The possibilities are endless. By giving yourself freedom of new things, you give yourself playtime. I went to a sign painting event last month and had a blast!

So, get to swinging you cape crusader!!!

Let me know what you are planning to do to kick of the 2nd Qtr of the year and get your creative juices flowing.

Happy Writing!


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Thinking Thursday: Ideas… ???

Image courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich /

Image courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich /


“Where do you get your ideas from?”

This seems to be one of my most asked questions. Not just from students either, but other writers too.

I tell them everything! Which I know is a really vague answer, but it’s true.


When my children were small, I would watch their mannerisms and make notes. Listen to what they said and make notes. Paid attention to what they were interested in and made notes. But they are bigger than me now! I still watch children and take notes. They all want to know and absorb information. They are eager to know how to act or how NOT to act in certain situations. As a writer you can approach the same situation in different directions to get different angles on the story. Humor, literal, scary, ridiculous… you name it and the storyline will change.

What Is Happening

Listen to the news, read newspapers and magazines, and see what is going on. Then think… How would a child react to that? What would a child say about that? Is this something a child could relate to?
Stories can blossom out of a bad situation, a friendly situation, an awkward situation.


I love looking at pictures. Some catch my eye (and my brain) and get me thinking. It can be something as simple as a flower. It can be a scene with children in a bathtub. It could be the aftermath of a bombing and a tattered teddybear lays in the street.
Pictures are great jump-starters


Yes, DOODLE! Let your mind go free and create. Sometimes scribbling something on a paper and looking at it from different directions will let you ‘see’ something. Maybe a character? Maybe a setting? Maybe a situation to build on? Letting go sometimes kick-starts your creativity.

I tell students to really use their eyes and ears. Try looking at things from a different angle. Try listening to the underlying meaning to what is said.

IDEAS are everywhere.

We just need to pay attention.

Where do YOU get your ideas?
I would love to find out how you find your nuggets of ideas, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing, how do you get your thoughts out there.

Happy writing!

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www.Wednesday… 12×12 and Julie Hedlund




I wanted to remind everyone about this great writing challenge.  ^^^^^ Yep, that one. The 12×12 Writing Challenge is currently underway aaaaaand it’s not to late to join in. Buuuuuuuuut time IS running out! Friday, February 28th, is THE LAST DAY to register to officially participate in this years’ challenge.

What Is It About

12×12 is all about writing. You have 12 months to write 12 picture book first drafts. Seems pretty easy, right. *cue evil laughter in the background* Believe it or not, writing is hard, life gets in the way, and sometimes your muse takes a vacation without telling you.
With the 12×12 writing challenge you get the added benefit of a community of writers who all are trying to do what you do… in the same genre! You can bounce ideas off of each other, ask questions, express concern, post exciting details, and rant. hahaha. Even when someone else is asking a question, it may trigger an idea with you and you are off and running with an idea yourself.  The group is mixed with newbies, mid-range, and experienced writers. This is an added benefit. You get experience, you get the ones digging in, and you get the ones who are struggling and may see something in a different way that you haven’t thought of.

How To Join

You can click on the 12×12 picture above or click here.  There are 3 different levels and different fees that go along with them.

What To Do After You Join?

W-R-I-T-E! Put your butt in that chair  (BIC)  and get to business! That is part of the job description. You have to write, type, scribble, BLEED those words out and get them down.
There is a forum with 12×12 as well as a Facebook page where you can ask questions, post events, introduce yourself, find critique groups, post the first 250 words of your ms, and MORE!


Why am I posting about something that someone has to pay for? Because I use this challenge myself! This is my 3rd year doing 12×12 and I believe the motivation and people keep me accountable and moving in the right directions.
Does it work? Yes, if you put work into it.
Will it guarantee a sale? No, that is up to you. YOU have to work at this writing business. YOU have to research publishing houses. YOU have to submit and get those rejections. YOU have to not get discourage and decide that YES, THIS IS WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT TO DO!
But… you will have a whole slew of people behind you. Rooting you on! And enjoying it when that sweet success does happen. 🙂

There are other writing challenges out there too. I participate in quite a few. hahaha. I like challenging myself to become a better writer. How about you?

Let me know if you are participating in the 12×12 Writing Challenge. Or what writing goals do you have? How are you going to keep yourself accountable and achieve those dreams?
I’d love to hear from you!!!!

Happy Writing!

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Thinking Thursday… Think Happy Thoughts

Any happy thought?

Yep… that and faith and trust and a little dust…er, elbow grease.  😉

Do you have a dream?

Writing, drawing, cooking, photography, being a great mom…

Well all you have to do is have FAITH. Get a plan together. Make short-term goals to meet your long-term goal. What are the steps you have to take to achieve each short-term goal. Do they all build on each other to reach your long-term goal?
Take classes, practicing, meeting others in your field, trying different mediums… these are just a few things you can do to begin your journey.

Then there is TRUST. Take that first step. Join organizations, groups, communities. All these will not only give you knowledge, but will also give you support in what you are trying to accomplish. Trust is a lot. It is hart. It is worth it!

Don’t forget the DUST! Get in there and get involved. Time to roll up the sleeve and put your back into it. Trial and error DOES NOT mean you fail. It means you are trying. I rather have a million fails, then to look back and wished I had tried.

What are your happy thoughts? Those things that make you want to spread your wings and soar.

Mine? Well it has actually changed over time. To begin with… I wanted to write well.
Once I really dove into it, my plans changed. I wanted to become a published author.
Now? I want to be able to call writing my full-time career.

Let me know what your happy thought is. Or what you are doing to achieve your goal.

Good luck and YOU CAN FLY!

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Thinking Thursday: Platform Building

As a writer, I know you have heard this…

“You need to have a platform.”

But what is a platform?           How do I get one?           What do I do with it?

Well, I attended Katie Davis‘ Lunch ‘n Learn yesterday and she broke it down so even I understood it…

Platform equals Communication with Transparency.
Communication equals Loyalty.
Loyalty equals Fans.

Wow! Thanks Katie!!! I think as writers we have to come across to our audience as real as possible. Yes, we are human… We make mistakes, we hurt, we laugh, we cry, we want to throw our hands up and go screaming down the street!  But we have a lot to offer to… advice, tips, and a shoulder to lean on.   🙂

In a way I think illustrators have an easier job. They have drawings and illustrations that people can see. This helps build their platform.
So let’s think about: Comedians. They  have “a look” and “a style” they use.   Actors. The have a “genre” they are famous for and while their “look” may change, you know it’s them. How can we incorporate that into our platform?

Image courtesy of Andy Newson /

Image courtesy of Andy Newson /

  • Blog about your experience. NO TWO PEOPLE ARE THE SAME. Tell us how you see it.
  • Social Media. I am spread out across the internet. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+. Get yourself out there.
  • Website.  Yes, I had one BEFORE I was published. Agents and Editors will go looking for you. People who like you will hopefully give you some “LINKY LOVE” when they talk about you.
  • Videos… I am working on videoing my children’s book reviews. You can give presentations, how-tos, etc. Videos get more exposure on searches too! Videos don’t have to feature you either. If you are camera shy you can always video a powerpoint. No you to see.    😉
  • Reviews… Books, people, web sites… Tie it in to you!

All this will give you a platform. IE: SOMETHING TO STAND FOR!

You know like Super Man…

Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom /

Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom /

EVERYONE knows he stands for Truth & Justice.

LET ME KNOW how you are building your platform! Or how you plan on building it.

Happy Writing!

ps- Don’t forget to “LIKE” this post if you found it useful and please feel free to “SHARE” it on your Social Media. THANKS BUNCHES!

Tips on a Tuesday: Writing In The New Year!

Hello everyone.

Tips! I love them. I take them to heart. I try to follow them and incorporate them into my writing. How about you? What do you do to help take your writing further? What do you do to expand your knowledge of the craft? Here are a few things I am doing this year:



There are many challenges out there to push you in your writing, keep you accountable, and find a community of writers. Starting off the year, I am participating in 12×12 Challenge, Start the Year Off Write, and ReviMo. (click on the badges to find out more and participate yourself!)  Eventually PiBoWriWee and PiBoIdMo will come. AND ***SNEAK PEEK! SNEAK PEEK!*** I am working behind the scenes with some colleagues to get a challenge to kick the Summer months off. SO STAY TUNED TO THIS BLOG!


The best thing about participating? The people! Let’s face it writing is an isolating profession. Writing challenges bring people together and brain storm, talk about the craft, and somewhere to have a sound board.


There are some great organizations or groups you can join too. The SOCIETY OF CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS, The CHILDREN’S BOOK INSIDER, and The INSTITUTE OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE RX are just a few.  These groups share insider information on editors and agents. They also post exciting news such as winners of awards, new sales, and new businesses that are opening in the field. PLUS there are many, many, many groups on FaceBook that you can search for. These groups share support, encourage writing, network about the writing field, and on and on I could go.   😀


The old adage “Write what you know.” is true. So READ what interests you. Read for the entertainment and enjoyment of the piece. THEN read it again… look the format, outline, and white space of the material. Map it out with high and low points. Break it down… even picture books have layers!!! What is the overall theme? What is underneath? Type it out! YES, type it out. You will get a feel on how the manuscript flows, not the end piece, but the actual words. Really dissect the work and get to the bare bones of the material.


  • Read how-to books!!! Yes, MORE reading.
  • Take classes. You don’t have to go to college to do this. There are plenty of courses available online… some are free.
  • Discuss your manuscript with like-minded people. I’m not talking about your spouse (unless they write -and in your genre) or your best friend or your children. Get someone else in your genre to give you an honest critique. Critique groups are a great way to build your craft and make your writing stronger.

So that should give you are great start to begin your writing journey OR to give you a boost on your continued journey. I would love to hear about what you do to give yourself the shot in the arm and get your writing going! Leave me a comment below!!!

Happy Writing,

Thinking Thursday… PUSH yourself. Go ahead. DO IT!

That’s right. I’m on the sidelines over here. Yelling at you to do something this year! What? Do I HAVE to get pom-poms or something to motivate you??????? Trust me. I’m not getting into a cheerleadering uniform. HA!

I’m pushing myself. Yep, I am. I use to be pretty good at drawing. BUT I let it fade. I still love to doodle, but am not consistent with my work. So what am I going to do about it? Well I’ve joined Alison Hertz’s FaceBook group… DOODLE DAY. This group has drawing prompts to keep you going, honing in on your craft, and sharing your work for others to see. I have some art books, some new pencils, and a new sketch book too! HA! NOW I have to proceed forward.   😉

I’m also pushing myself more on MARKETING! GAH!!!!! I said the dreaded “M” word!!!!! *da-dum-DUMMMMMMMMM*    But learning how to get a following on my blog… on FaceBook… on Twitter.. on Instagram… on GoodReads (YES, they all are important) will push my platform further and my name will be better known.  I had started Marketing Monday quite a while ago now, but it doesn’t seem to have become what I want it to. I am planning on using that platform better this year. To help myself and you out.

Let me know how YOU plan to  “PUSH 2014”  into the best year ever!!! Pick up a pom-pom  */* and leave me a comment!
See you soon,