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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Creativity for Free

Tonight my Artist's Way class (led by the ridiculously talented and beautiful, Caroline O'Brien) discussed risks and the fact that we don't take creative risks because we want to be guaranteed a positive outcome.

Sound familiar?

Julia Cameron, in Finding Water, writes, "We think that  risks have to be large and noteworthy.  We want a payoff  in terms of our career. In order to free up our creativity, we need to be able to do some creativity for free,that is, with no guaranteed outcome.  We need to practice some creativity that is not goal-oriented. Put simply, we need to let ourselves play."

Ears perking up? Good.

So what small creative risks will you allow yourself to pursue this week?

Grab a pen and scribble the five tiny risks you will take towards playing.

I'll share mine. Perhaps that will get you going ...

1. Paint my toes bright blue
2. Write a blog post in voice of my character
3.  Bake my favorite childhood cake: chocolate with chocolate fudge frosting
4. Write a blog post about taking creative risks (check!)
5. I will spend time at a children's book store for the pure joy of it

Got creativity?

Yah you do.
Play your heart out and post any risks you took.

"It is making of art, not the reception of your art that makes you an artist"

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Letting Go and...Letting Your Character Be

How easy I forget.

I forget again and again.

Writing is not a one shot, sit at your desk, and flesh out your entire story deal.

I forget that characters reveal themselves slowly, very s l o w l y.

Back story is their story.  So better take a back seat and listen.

My writer's tip for better listening...

1. Walk away from your computer.
2. Grab a pen and paper
3. Go outside and sit somewhere your character would sit
4. Now write a letter to yourself in voice of your character.

Be open.
Be present.
Be interested.

You'll like what you hear.

Listening to the voices that tell their individual stories
is what we authors do.

Let go.  Let be.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Timeline: 30 Years of Liberating Lit

 Got banned books?

Checkout this beautiful resource from the ALA website, Banned Books Week.
Use in the classroom, at home with your children, or to simply understand how the fight to liberate literature continues...

Read on!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Banned Books Week

I am in LOVE.
With books.

Today was a great day in publishing.
32 new titles were unveiled.
A birthday book bash to remember.

I find it fitting that Banned Books Week coincides with today's release date.
Love it, in fact.

If you find yourself in need of a little Banned Books enthusiasm, I leave with this gorgeous video.

It says it all.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WriteOnCon(ference) A Month Away...Let's Go?!

WriteOnCon Is A Month Away?!

What is WriteOnCon?

WriteOnCon is an Online Children’s Writers Conference (rated MC-18, for Main Characters under 18 only) created by writers, for writers.
Cost: Free!
Who: That’s the best part—it’s for EVERYONE!
Attendees don’t need to take time off work, travel, or spend a truckload of money. They can enjoy the conference from the convenience of their own homes, for free—and the schedule is designed around working hours. (Transcripts are also available of the entire conference, should anyone have to miss part of it.) And everything for the conference takes place within this website, which means everyone with basic Internet access will be able to participate in all aspects of the conference—no additional software or technology required.
During the conference, keynote addresses, agent panels, and lectures are presented as blogs, vlogs, moderated chats, webinars, podcasts, and livestreaming. There is also a critique forum, where participants can post query letters and writing samples to receive helpful feedback and comments from their peers and industry professionals. And, as if that weren’t exciting enough, there are also daily contests, giving random winners everything from books to personalized critiques from agents.
It’s everything great about a writer’s conference, without any of the cost or inconvenience. August 2011 can’t come fast enough! And don’t miss our Monthly Live Events in the meantime!

This year, they welcome literary agents Cheryl PientkaDaniel LazarPeter KnappMichelle HumphreyMollie GlickEmily KeyesSarah Davies, andKatie Grimm!
Something interesting...

"There may or may not but definitely are additional agents on our faculty, but we can’t tell you who they are, because they’re Ninjas!

That’s right! Our Ninja Agent program will be in effect this year, which means industry professionals will be in the forums, looking at your query letters, pitches, and anything else they want! We’ve had some great success stories from the Ninja Agents, and we encourage you to get your queries and pitches solidified in preparation for the conference."

What do you say writer friends?  Let's do this!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Great Expectations...

I've been on hiatus. A blogging hiatus.  Way too many expectations about what I should and could be blogging about were clogging my imagination.  Life was happening BIG time and I decided to slow down and take a breather.

I'm happy to announce the blog is back.  Life is still happening. And the blog lives on.

Only this time it is going back up and out into the world without those silly ties to expectations.  

It is what it is.  What will be will be.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Write as if No One is Reading!...Failure Means Nature Will Find A Way....

"Where Tree Meets Sidewalk Nature will Find A Way"

This photo (courtesy of The Matador Network on Facebook) caught my eye and my heart today.

It's Easter Sunday and I think, just as this tree meets the sidewalk, writers too, have to meet the page. Writers endure huge obstacles and challenges in the ever changing face of the publishing world. 

It's easy to lose hope, to become disillusioned by the publishing process.  On Writer Unboxed  guest blogger, author Robin LaFevers shared some poignant truths. Robin, a multi-published author and co-founder of the blog, Shrinking Violet, says, "Just as we must dance as if no one is watching, we must write as if no one is reading.

Sometimes the only way we can get to a place where we can do that is when everything else we’ve tried hasn’t worked, or has worked minimally. Years of encouraging “great writing but I’m just not passionate about it” type rejection letters. Languishing in the mid-list. Or having a career tank altogether.

Sometimes, when you have nothing left to lose is when you finally have the courage to stop holding back".

Seeing "failure" as a critical step in our process is authentic and as real as it gets.  
Just as the tree meets the sidewalk, we too will find a way.

Links and mentions...

before I forget...I also think of Allen Zadoff, author of, Girls, Food, and Other Things I Can't Have. He's worth checking out too.   Gave a great workshop at SCBWI westside schmooze.  Spoke to this so very eloquently...


Monday, March 19, 2012

A Critical War on Books and Race. Matt de la Peña's, Mexican Whiteboy Fights Back.

I'm inspired tonight. Very inspired.  Thanks to Matt de la Pena, I've got some urgent blogging to do.

In case you haven't heard, "on Jan. 1, after a new state law targeting Mexican-American studies courses that are perceived as antiwhite was upheld, it became illegal to teach Matt' s book,  “Mexican WhiteBoy” in Tucson’s classrooms. State officials cited the book as containing “critical race theory,” a violation under a provision that prohibits lessons “promoting racial resentment.” See the attached link for the full article...Racial Lens Used to Cull Curriculum in Arizona

As a teacher, a latina and writer I must stand up and say, "No, not okay."

Stories are meant to be told.
Stories are here, like it or not.
They validate, educate, and honor.

They give us dignity and grace, as Matt de la Peña knows.

Stories make us.
They shape, define, and foster understanding.

I'm with Matt. I'm telling my story.
...sticking to it.

Censoring won't stop stories.
Censoring won't hide truths.

It's the American dream to be your story.
It's the American dream to live it, breathe it, honor it.
The dream to take your story; your life, in the direction of your dreams applies to all.

And that's exactly what I'll do.
Thanks Matt, I needed that reminder.

Got some stories to tell?... better get to it!

Si, se puede!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Back in the Saddle Not The Wheel.

Whew.  What a ride.

Holidays, family in Brazil, a cruise ship, a return to the classroom, and a giant hamster wheel made for one busy mind. I had all the excuses and reasons to opt of out of working on my picture book manuscripts.  Even my blog took a back seat to the hamster wheel that is my inner chatter.

Self-defeating? Indeed.
Today I read a great article in the SCBWI bulletin by Donna Gephart titled, Stop This Hamster Wheel and read a couple of my favorite blogs. Sharon Creech included.
I could bear the guilt no longer.
I packed up the wheel and got back in the saddle,
here and now.

Sitting in stillness.
Closing my eyes and letting it, the inner chatter go.
Goodbye wheel.

Setting my intention back to bigger wheels...
the wheels that churn out my dreams.

Feels good. Real good.

Try stepping off your own hamster wheel today.
Take one giant baby step towards your goals.
C'mon you can do it!