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READ WRITE INSPIRE. Welcome to my Words, a place devoted to making Reading and Writing for children more Inspired.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Time to Bolt

The Rabbit Hole. A simple concept concocted by Kate Eltham of the Queensland Writers Centre to encourage us to peel ourselves off the couch, stop making endless cups of coffee and actually finish those WIPs. The aim is to write 30,000 words (you can set your own Word Target) in 3 days or at least type THE END. Kate is calling for all procrastinators, those who've run out of bottom adhesive and any other insane individuals up for the personal challenge to join her at QWC in Brisbane on Friday 8 July, Saturday 9 July and Sunday 10 July. You can also join in online, add your own updates and stay connected via a special QWC Facebook Page. You'll need to supply your own laptop and food in both instances. Sound like the motivation you need? Register now by emailing RabbitHoleWriting@gmail.com
After all it is the Year of the Rabbit. What better way to celebrate than with a completed manuscript. See you down there...

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Survival of the Fittest

Any wildebeest will tell you that the Key to Survival is Adaptation. Eat or be eaten, prey or be preyed upon. But how exactly does this translate to writing and in particular children's writing? And how does adaption lead to success? Let's have a brief search through the savannah for the answers...

1. Adapt your hunting and housekeeping requirements to the bare basics. Pretty soon your family will Adapt to the idea that the floor of their den looks far better with dust than without. Teach them how to hunt their own wildebeest and encourage them to watch Masterchef more.

2. Adapt with the times. Study the herd. Recognise and acknowledge trends. You don't have to follow them and write what every one else is writing. Far better not to. But by astute listening, reading and watching you will soon be able to figure out what (still) works, sells and more importantly is favoured by readers. One of my favourite methods is to stand quietly in the children's section of any library and watch them, any age group, deliberate over what to choose from the shelves. Listening to their excited recommendations to friends and parents is priceless market research.

3. Adapt your thinking. You might be an old lion and afraid of new tricks but never think just because you can make your words sound pretty in a sentence that you have it all. Be on the hunt for new techniques, ideas and methods to enhance your skills. Attend workshops, blog other writers' sites, visit writing festivals, enter competitions, learn about the industry, join writers' groups Anything that gives you more tools to help you sharpen your edge (claws).

4.  Adapt yourself to the life of a well known author (if you're not one already!) OK we've assumed the pov of the wildebeest now so, blend in. At first at least by attending launches, festivals, bookish events. Not only are they an often fun and relaxed way of meeting like minded others but can also allow you time to get to know industry personnel, publishers, editors and agents. Foster your professionalism at all times in these circumstances. Don't stalk them into the toilets and try to ram your latest manuscript down their throats.

5. Adapt to conditions. When that deadline is creeping up on you, don't feign nonchalance and continue grazing like you've got all the time under the sun to do it. You know you don't. The better able you are to meet publishers requirements, submission guidelines or competition entry instructions the better chance you'll have of being recognised as a more attractive prospect. Remember you're in a herd of millions with similar aspirations (consider trying to crack the picture book market!) The aim is to get your head above the crowd. And when you do get noticed, be prepared to run very very fast. The route to publication requires a whole new focus and strength to complete.

6. Adapt to disappointments. The thicker your hide the better protection you'll have against future scathing book reviews and school visits that go awry. Rejections in any form are hide enhancing. Get used to them. Rejoice in getting them.

7. Adapt to Opportunity. Second chances are rare in life whether you be wildebeest, lion or struggling children's author. Make the most of the ones that do happen your way. Seize the moment. Be prepared to launch your thirty second pitch about yourself or your book to anybody who has ears or eyes any where and at any time. Because you never know who is listening or watching...

Yes it can seem daunting at first. But the key is to never ever give up or let your guard down. From what I can tell, writers themselves are a fairly non judgemental, non predatory, encouraging bunch happy to pass on their own tales of Adaptation and Survival to ensure that you don't make the same mistakes. Listen to them, adapt them to suit your own style and goals and one day success is sure to stare back at you.

The rest we know is a matter of pure chance and timing!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

No Comment

Close your eyes and imagine a TV Test Pattern. For Gen Y and beyond, close your eyes and imagine a close up over pixelated picture of a rainbow. Then imagine the words: 'Due to technical difficulties, there has been a break in transmission. We apologise for any inconvenience.'

Due to my curious inability to deal with anything more technical than a mechanical lead pencil, I have somehow dis enabled the Leave a Comments Tag on my posts. This situation is currently being rectified, which means I'm thinking very very hard about it.

I'd love to get your comments on possible remedies but CAN"T! Meantime Hold Those Thoughts.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Thought of the Week ~ Never save something for a special occasion
Every day in your life is a special occasion.

And speaking of special occasions, two things;

Number One: How are those Best Breakkie lists coming along? I'll share mine next month.

Number Two: I have now flown the resistance coop and into Twitterdom. So please feel free to follow me loop the loop or tweet or toot or whatever.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Listing to Starboard

Are you an Obsessive List Maker? Symptoms for OLMs include walking into the local shops and forgetting what you've come for (can't live without a shopping list), staring stupidly at an open pantry and having no idea what to cook (can't live without a menu plan), sitting down to work on your manuscripts then after answering a zillion emails wondering what you're supposed to be writing about (need a work schedule). Sound familiar?

I'm nothing without my calendar and lists to remind me of when my next free moment is to take a breath. They keep me sailing on an even keel and only really cause upset when I fail to complete them (over ballast my boat).

But apart from structuring our day to day existence a little better, lists can also be a springboard to more exciting prospects, memories, ideas, stories...Now we're getting into Flow Chart territory but more on that another day.

I am fond of "Top Lists". Top Fives for instance can be used to provoke thoughts and memories, spark conversations and discussion. Each month I'll try suggest a Top Five Topic (will have to add that to my To Do List) Nothing too difficult or fancy, but I encourage you to make your list, think about why you chose those things and you never know, an idea for a story may be lurking just below the waters ready to be netted.

This month's Top Five Topic ~ Name your Top Five Most Memorable Breakfasts. They may be special because of the location, whom you were with, what you ate, the occasion they marked etc. Good luck listing!

Monday, 16 May 2011

No time to Mooch in May

Here in SE Queensland a razor edged chill is already slicing through our morning air. The rains have eased and the sunshine begs one to role up their sleeves. It's almost winter but there's still time to reflect on Mothers' Day...I enjoyed one of the best in years. Definitely something to be said for a child's choice of gift as they advance in years. Still I cherish the handmade books and cards and proud smiles above all else.

The Gold Coast held its annual Literati Festival this month as well. This free event hosted by Gold Coast Council Libraries spanning two days, enabled anyone with a love of books, reading and writing to participate in a range of seminars and author encounters. It's an excellent vehicle for learning more about the craft of writing and industry supporting it. This year featured authors included Nick Earls, Angela Savage, Tess Evans, Louise Cusack, Kate Holden and Phil Brown to name a few. Definitely worth marking in your calendar for next year.

Yesterday I attended the launch of Peter Carnavas new picture book, "The Great Expedition" at The Avid Reader Book Shop in Brisbane. Peter delighted young and old a like with his accordion playing and warmed us all with his story inspired by the great journey of explorers Burke and Wills. Can't wait for the next one.

Or to visit Krissy and Fiona again at Avid for another hot choc.

Inaugural Post

Greetings one and all (lucky if I do get one reader!) Welcome to my first ever post. Scary stuff this setting sail into the world of Blogdom plying through never before chartered waters but terribly exciting too. I invite anyone who is interested in reading, writing, children's lit and all the wonderful floatsam jetsam associated with it to comment and get in touch. I often take up a great deal of time and space not saying much so am eager to hear from others who are established kids authors, illustrators, industry personnel, keen readers or like me brilliant butterflies about to emerge any day now from their unknown cocoons...