Holiday meetings are the best.
Our writing group held its final meeting for the year and oh what fun it was! There were pretty gifts and sprinkled cupcakes—and heck, even prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe. And PAGES; yes, we managed to consume treats, whilst still making time for each of our critiques.
We worked through 2 queries (1 rated PG-13; 1 rated G), 1 red carpet synopsis, 1 alien picture book manuscript, and 1 sleep-inducing essay (or not) for the insomniacs among us. We were also fortunate to receive personal feedback from LD’s 6 year-old son, aka the Simon Cowell of children’s literature, who we lured a critique from with Lindt chocolate Kinder eggs.
All in all, it was a productive meeting, with ‘minutes’ to boot, albeit recorded on a yellow sticky note (the jumbo kind—with lines). It was a terrific meeting, stuffed full of encouragement and advice (and a party dress exchange?) as we journey the road together to that paranormal place called publication.
And so, for the record, here are the sparkly business bits.
Restless Writers commitments for 2011:
- LD: to tweak her query & synopsis for sending to agents in January
- LD: to do a proposed table of contents for her humour non-fiction project
- LD: to submit a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul
- MM: to revise her sleep essay for submission to the Globe & Mail
- MM: to clear her plate of indexes (for good, this time)
- BJ: to revise her picture book and send the baby to agents
- BJ: to continue querying her middle-grade fiction
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all! May you have the time, the wine, and the gusto to write your pants off this season.
The weather was good to us today. The rain even held off til the end of our event—a garage sale in the country. Today, we edited our home (and our lives) and it felt GREAT!
It took us about a week to clean out each room in the house in prep to sell our wares. And oh the lovely wares: bikes, beds, games, and gadgets. Accumulation. Everyone does it. And for me and my hubs, two greenies at best, we definitely have our share of objects destined for repurposing and recycling. We are dreadfully guilty of giving treasures new life, which means, parting with trinkets can often feel like selling a kidney.
And people want them organs, let me tell ya. The characters came a-crawlin’ in seek of something for nothing: wedding goers (dressed to the nines) killing time till dinner, dudes ditching family picnics, musicians waiting their gig-time downtown, antique dealers, farmers, cyclists, the boo radleys—the works. We also had the escarpment tourists and the boldest barterers, looking to trade six cobs of corn and a cantaloupe for an old wagon. And what the hell? Guess what we had for dinner? Yep, corn on the cob.
Having a garage sale today felt a lot like editing my manuscript. It went something like this. Clean a room. Remove crap. Change my mind. Put crap back. Take another look. Remove the crap again. Repeat. This is a similar process of revision that I scuffle through with my middle-grade fiction novel. The only difference being: I have sold the damn wagon—and not the manuscript.
Progress update: My agent-search continues, with 3 full MS requests & 5 partials. Bring it on. Haggle me. I’m ready.
Call it passion. Call it purpose. Call it Starbucks.
For me, inspiration comes from the same place that dreams come from. It’s a place beyond understanding, knowing, and controlling. It intersects all aspects of life, particularly my writing world.
Inspiration arrives in dreams, in music, in conversations, and even in memories. Thoughts gather subconsciously until they manifest into words. I never can predict where my ideas will come from and how long they will stay with me. So, with that, I offer the following advice to writers.
10 Tips on embracing inspiration when it strikes:
- Spend time with your species (artists are influenced by other artists).
- Listen. Inspiration surrounds you. Eavesdrop on life (politely).
- Appreciate everything—the beauty in all things, moments & experiences.
- Be wild. Stop making sense and start making nonsense!
- Do not try to force inspiration (forced inspiration is like caffeine—it pumps you up, then you crash).
- Stop hiding (we writers like to hide). Interaction with other human beings is an important source of inspiration.
- Be open to change. And never lose your sense of curiosity.
- Follow your bliss. Do what you love in some form or another.
- Feel your pain. Sing the blues.
- Be yourself.
This post was inspired by a recent writing workshop that we, Restless Writers, attended as part of the Quick Brown Fox series. Workshops are simply one way to inspire and inject life in your writing project(s)—and sometimes, they can even put your manuscript into the hands of a willing agent!
We’re all seeking some form of inspiration in our lives—to feel alive, energized, engaged in meaningful creative activity. What inspires you and where does it come from? We’d love to hear from you.
Today marks the kick-off to the fourth “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the Guide to Literary Agents blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. The agent judge for this round is Regina Brooks, founder of Serendipity Literary in Brooklyn. She is the author of Writing Great Books for Young Adults.
I’m submitting my novel, BILLIE BOOTS, YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING to the contest. If you happen to be writing a book-length kids novel, this contest is for you too—check it out!