Tag Archives: writing

Spring is in the air! What I’ll be doing on my summer vacation…

urlWhat will you do with your summer vacation? It’s not too early to plan. I swear I saw a sprig of green outside, just the other day (before the temperature dropped back down int0 the 20′s). Spring is officially here this week, folks! Which means it will start getting warm soon. And the days will get longer. And walks about town, or through the woods, or with your dogs, or to the store, might actually be pleasurable. As spring looms in the very near future, I can’t help but think about summer. Because sometimes I have difficulty being in the moment, and also because I like to have a plan. Summer is one of my favorite times of year (in my top 4). Publishing slows down a bit, so I get to take some time off, I read a ton, and I try to nurture myself. Here are two of the things I’m planning for the summer:

I’m going away. To write. That’s right. To write my own writing because I’m a writer. I need to take myself all the way out of my life to do this, because as you might know, I’m also an agent. :-) It’s not like I stop agenting when I focus on my own writing though. It’s just that I allow my own creative urges to move up a little on the hierarchy of what I’m set out to accomplish on a given day. And this summer I’ll be doing that in an exotic locale.

I’m running another Writing Yoga® Retreat with my buddy Stefanie Lipsey. Last year’s retreat was so lovely. We lead a small group of writers for the weekend in exploring a work in progress, getting our butts on the yoga mat, and finding connections between the two. We also had a lot of fun, laughed a lot, shared our work, made new friends, gossiped with some big time editors, and generally got rejuvenated and inspired. You can read a little bit about last year’s retreat here, here and here. If you’re considering attending this year’s retreat (August 14-17) please apply soon. Registration ends on March 31st, and if we don’t get enough participants we will have to cancel. You don’t need to be any particular level of writer, just committed and actively writing. Last year’s retreat included both agented and un-agented, published and unpublished participants. If you need more information, feel free to email questions.

So, what will you be doing this coming summer?

 

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How I Woke Up My Muse: Writing Fiction in 2014

Calliope, the muse of poetry

Calliope, the muse of poetry

In my  writing life I’ve been searching for a BIG IDEA. I mean, I’ve had a bunch of ideas over the years. I have an idea for an historical YA which I may never write. The research and “getting it right” is very daunting, because it’s such an important story to me. I’m not sure I have the writing chops for it yet either. And I’m ok with that. I’ve been searching for another idea, something that I feel I can do.  I’ve been sending messages to my muse, who happens to be a lazy little bitch, and she just hasn’t been answering. I hate when people (or muses) do that! Just answer! Well, when I least expected to hear back from her, she chimed in… (on a side note, I’m pretty sure my Muse doesn’t look anything like Calliope. I suspect my Muse wears ripped jeans, Doc Martins, and a Grateful Dead t-shirt, stinking of patchouli, drinking coffee, and smoking clove ciggies… or that might just be teenage me…)

Joe McGee in a great green room.

Joe McGee in a great green room.

Aaaaaaanyway. Last week I went to see The ABC of it: Why Children’s Books Matter at the New York Public Library, with my client Joe McGee. Joe was breezing through NYC on his way up to his residency at The Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he’s almost done with his MFA in writing for children and young adults (you’re welcome for the plug, Joe!). What was particularly great about seeing this exhibit with Joe, besides the fact that he’s fun and great company, was that we really dug in and talked about writing for kids and I didn’t have to be the “expert” on it. We had the exhibit to stir our imaginations and I had Mr. McGee who was primed for thinking about kid lit, as he embarked on spending 2 weeks immersed in more learning about it. And we had such a great time at the exhibit, which you should definitely see if you’re anywhere in the New York area before March 23rd (SCBWI Winter Conference attendees: make the time for it!).

 

I love Ferdinand.

I love Ferdinand! Don’t you?

So on my way home, inspiration struck! Was that the faint scent of patchouli I smelled? An idea came to me and I texted Joe with a title and a “what do you think?” Now that was a role reversal! He and I riffed back and forth with it via text, laughing all the way, while the aroma of clove cigarettes got stronger. And now, BIG IDEA in hand, I get to squeeze in time to write every day. Rather than spending time gazing at an empty page on my computer or in my notebook, cursing that little bitch of a muse of mine for being an absentee-parent of ideas, at the very least I know what I’m trying to write about. Don’t be surprised if you see blog posts in the future from me replete with complaints and/or advice on how to move through writer’s block, or the suffering and anguish of trying to write and be an agent, or whatever… But for now, for today, I’m riding the high of starting the year off knowing what I’m writing.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’ve learned something, and when that happens I like to blab about it all over the place so maybe others can get something from it. Here it is:  My muse lives in the space of conversations about writing and creativity and talking about great books. I immersed myself in some of the finest children’s literature written (see the pic of Joe above; the one of me in “the secret garden” didn’t come out…sorry), in  a (concrete) way that I hadn’t done before, and voila! La Muse peeked her head around a corner and whispered in my ear.

How about you? Is your muse out to lunch, on vacation, in absentia, or otherwise being a deadbeat? What do you do about it?

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Writing in 2014: Some Things You Might Want to Do

timemanagementThere are so many things I’m looking forward to in 2014! I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve cooked up, because they require planning and calendars and time management and stuff, and I don’t want folks not to be able to participate in something because they didn’t have enough time to work it out.

First of all, I’m having a client retreat at the end of January, which I’m totally psyched for. Obviously this isn’t open to everyone but I wanted to tell you about it anyway. Some of my clients (from all over the country!) are joining me for a weekend of inspiration, socializing, workshopping, writing, face time with their agent, and general merry-making! I. Can’t. Wait.

imagesSecondly, I’m offering an 8-week class, Workshopping Your Novel, in my Long Island home office, beginning in February. There is both a morning class and an evening class, to accommodate folks’ different schedules and needs. With only 5 people in each class, you’re guaranteed close attention. If you’re looking to put some structure into your writing life, this is a great opportunity. You’ll be committing to producing 5 pages a week for group critique. Plus, I’ll serve coffee (in the morning) and (herbal) tea (in the evening)! If you have questions or concerns about whether this is for you, that aren’t answered here, just email me.

yoga-positions_b4syex5vrkThirdly, I’m very pleased to be offering the second annual Writing Yoga Retreat this summer with my colleague Stefanie Lipsey, the creator of Writing Yoga®. I intend to blog some more about where yoga and writing meet (for me), so I won’t go into that now, but if this even remotely interests you, I recommend you check out the website and register soon. This is a small retreat (15 people tops) and people have already begun to register, even though it’s not until August. Don’t get shut out of this amazing opportunity!

I’m still working on filling my writing conference calendar for 2014, so if you belong to SCBWI or another writing organization and would like me to visit, please get in touch soon. I really love going to conferences, meeting with writers, teaching breakouts and speechifying!

So 2014, here I come!

 

 

 

 

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