Spent the past week of my life in this beautiful spot as an attendee at the Oregon Coast Children's Book Writers Workshop.
Five days of instruction from picture book, middle grade, non-fiction, and YA (young adult) authors plus wise words from editors and agents on the state of the industry and what they want from those of us seeking publication fill a notebook and my head.
My manuscripts came home with scratchings and arrows and rewrites all over them as the personal critiques sent me on a roller coaster of wonderings …emotional ups and downs when my pieces were found lacking to one….and interesting and full of promise to another. Suggestions for revision from published authors or those who represent the big NYC houses seeking the next big kid lit hit headed me north one day and southeast the next. Yet every lecture underscored what we all know ….. you MUST write your own stories!
I dipped into a funk on day four. Out of gas and feeling like my sweet and tender writing style aimed at young children was just not going to fit this wild, crazy and edgy age had me depleted. The need for a strong social media presence - websites, blogs, Facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr - sent this 64 year old into a dither. I wondered if the time this required was worth the time away from kids and grandkids, walks, gardening, my husband, my retirement plans, and more.
And then, as so often happens, a nugget or two to slip into my pocket came my way. David Gifaldi, middle grade author and staff member for the 2014 OCCBWW spoke on Storytelling - The Wonder and Why of it? He talked about times as a writer when he asks himself Why do it? Then, he makes a list for himself. And almost always, he finds Wonder and Astonishment at the top of his list. YES -- me, too. I love to wonder! I stuck this one in my pocket. And at the end of that long day I slogged my way back 'home' and my brother shared one of his favorites …Dead Last is better than Did Not Finish …. is better than Did Not Start. I grabbed onto that one too.
So I'll keep at it and keep looking for the WONDER.