T.A.A. CARES – Author Spotlight #2 – Julie Hedlund’s Epic Hybrid Author Adventure

As I mentioned last week, T.A.A. CARES is kicking into overdrive for the winter holidays, and in honor of Picture Book Month, our next author spotlight is children’s author Julie Hedlund-

Photo-2-crop (Julie Hedlund Mini)

(Meet Julie, the ORIGINAL “Guru of Gratitude”)


I first discovered Julie when she first guest starred on an episode of “Brain Burps About Books” (Episode  #78, to be exact, which you can listen to here: http://katiedavis.com/78), the #1 podcast about the business and craft of Children’s Publishing, founded and hosted by author-illustrator Katie Davis, who discovered Julie by following her progress back in her “Pre-Published” days as a blogger who back in January 2012 fueled the spark of the picture book writing challenge known as 12×12 (Now in its second year) that has already become a living phenomenon for picture book authors and illustrators the world over.


For those still unaware, 12×12 is a writing challenge specifically for picture book writers and author-illustrators. It’s a YEAR long program designed to provide support, tips and tricks, and inspiration to the writers who participate. Anyone who’s tried to write a picture book will tell you that it’s NO CAKEWALK (What is a “Cakewalk” anyway?) To put it bluntly, and forgive the cliché, it’s harder than it looks. Really.

In some ways, 12×12 is like the picture books writer’s equivalent to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month that begin in November 1999 and been held yearly every November since), in terms of an active community support from fellow writers, the event’s founders, and over the years various bestselling authors providing pep talks, and sometimes taking on the challenge themselves.

Some authors even BEGAN their emerging careers via NaNoWriMo, though not necessarily debuting or otherwise publishing the books they originally drafted during NaNoWriMo.

But there’s  one KEY difference to keep in mind. Unlike NaNoWriMo, or similar MONTHLY events like PiBoIdMo (National Picture Book Idea Month)  where you just have to jot down 30 IDEAS for picture books, not full drafts, or NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month, Originally Founded in April 2003, and has since occurs yearly in March), 12×12 is a YEAR LONG program where the goal is to draft as CLOSE to 12 picture books that you can get, and at those who register in early January are eligible fabulous prizes, and introduced in 2013 was the chance to get critiques from agents, editors, and published authors that can help take your manuscripts to the next level. But you NEED to register in early January to be eligible, and on that note, and there’s something else that’s to key to remember.

Starting in 2013, 12×12 (Which was free its inaugural year) has evolved to a tiered-payment model, partly because year-long events take a LOT of planning, administration, moderating, rounding up authors, agents and editors to lend their expertise and support that takes them away from their own work, and yes, a fair amount of money, for the running of the site and its community, and being able to offer such rad prizes for the writers who take part.

Also because while this event can help writers, writers are also in business, and like in any other career, we balance our charity GENEROSITY (Things we gladly give away to our blog readers, newsletter subscribers  close writer friends, etc.) and things we charge for to maintain our livelihood.

Keep in mind that many writers are also parents, have spouses, and often have to work two or MORE jobs for the bulk of their income. Not all authors are able to earn a living solely through their writing.

I’m not a parent or married, but I STILL HAVE issues with finances, or lack thereof, and like Julie, I too am trying to find ways that will earn me income without putting my writing dreams on indefinite hold.

Something a few of my writer friends (Who are parents and in some cases caring for their own now elderly parents) are being forced to do. Authors provide services that  allow them to stay in the business of publishing, even if the path to selling your first book (Or your second, third, or 20th) is LONG.

PiBoIdMo (National Picture Book Idea Month) is also run in a similar manner regarding eligibility for the prizes author and the end. Though PiBoIdMo, and most other writer challenges are free to participate, some like NaNoWriMo appreciate donations to both keep the site (and it’s conjoined community) running as smooth as possible, and to give back to worthy causes.


It’s on that note I get to what I ask my T.A.A. readers to do to help support Julie. In addition to founding and hosting her 12×12 picture book wiring challenge; she’s a regular contributor to the “Brain Burps About Books” podcast, got repped by a literary agent, published her first picture book APP called “A Troop is a Group of Monkeys” illustrated by Pamela Baron, is now also available in print, both from Little Bahalia Publishing, and contributes to CBI’s “Fighting Bookworms” clubhouse community (For paid subscribers of the monthly Children’s Book Insider newsletter) as their “Guide to the Future of Publishing.”



She’s also a SCBWI member (As am I, though my membership expired this month and I have to wait until December to renew…[Sigh])


Her (Potentially) next picture book is a bedtime verse tale called “My Love for You is the Sun” will also be published by Little Bahalia Publishing, but here’s the twist, being a small press, Little Bahalia can really worth directly with authors in a personal,  more intimate way that larger publishers often can’t, partly due to their larger overhead costs, unless you’re one of their bestsellers (And even then there are countless variables involved on a per author basis), but what larger publishers can lack in being more personable with their authors, can (At least PARTLY) make up for in wider distribution, better line up reviews on sites like The Horn Book, Kirkus, and School Library journal, connecting with library systems nationwide, and some significant marketing efforts in addition to whatever authors do on their own.


Plus, larger publishers (I don’t mean JUST “The Big 5” Folks!) are also high-end indie publishers like Candlewick Press, Chicken House, Nosy Crow, and FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX (aka The ORIGINAL “F.S.G.”) having more pull in brick and mortar retailers, which for print books (ESPECIALLY in the children’s book market) is a BIG DEAL.


Ebooks have their place, and are a strong preference for some teens and adults, especially if space for print books is limited, etc. But children by and large (And adults, myself included) still prefer print books, and in picture books especially, are still the preference of teachers and parents, especially the “rare few” who are able to make time to read to their kids, day or night!


In order for Little Behalia to publish, “My Love for You is the Sun” they need additional funding for the illustrations, and final production costs they can’t cover alone, and Julie (With assistance from her agent) worked out a deal with Little Bahelia Publishing to start a Kickstarter campaign to earn the needed funds, which would allow Little Behalia to add this book to their future release list.


Here’s what I ask of you, my loyal readers (Especially if any of you are authors or have blogs tied to children’s books, parenting, or literacy) to spare some time (And Money if possible) to Julie’s crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter-

 (FYI, that GORGEOUS ILLUSTRATION is only ONE of the 20+ pages of art to accompany the final printed book)


As with my previous spotlight for “FETCH” this is a project I believe in, and I know from following Julie since 2012, she is a writer you can trust. I would NEVER spotlight projects on T.A.A. CARES if they didn’t come from real people who put their trademark grit and heart into it.

Even though publishing is a business (Which is hard for me to type because I feel it can have negative connotations due to the jerky scammers that sadly do exist from time to time. It’s NOT always “Lack of will to work hard” but “Lack of MONEY!” which isn’t the same as saying “I don’t want to pay for good help” but I just can’t fund it all alone. Period.), writers still need to put PASSION into what they do.

Potential readers, especially kids and teens, know when you’re not genuine. While authors need to have tightly written stories to warrant the costs of publication (ESPECIALLY authors who self-publish with no help from a publisher) they still NEED the love and passion ONLY THE AUTHOR can provide. But even the most business-savvy authors can’t do it ALL ALONE!

Kickstarter (Among a few other sites) is another way for authors who can’t head up the costs to publishing themselves, and because Kickstarter’s platform is “All or Nothing” if the total needed funds aren’t meant, the project “fails” and all donations are returned to their respective donors. (Called “Backers” on Kickstarter)

To crack down on jerky scammers, and to aid in avoiding various integrity issues, Kickstarter also has to screen and approve proposed projects, so you need to be sure your proposal covers EVERYTHING, and like with traditional publishers and literary agents, projects can be rejected, but once the project’s approved, you’re in the system, and from there it’s up to you to ensure you do all you can to promote the project (In a sane NON-spammy way!), and let fate do the rest…


As an soon-to-be published author myself (Also via the small press route) it allows me to give back to authors on the same path as me. To deliver the most genuine and passion-soaked stories I can to share with the world, and (While I do want to make some money) I long for the day to receive a letter (Paper or iPad) from a kid or teen who fell in love with a book I’d written, just as the authors I love and admire touched my heart and inspired me to be part of this wonderful tradition of storytellers.

In closing, my loyal readers, I ask you to spread the word, and if you can, spare whatever money you can to ensure that like FETCH, “My Love for You is the Sun” finds its way not just to publication, but to the readers (Young and old) who need it most. You know I will.

Until next time, may the fantastic fauna be with you.



I’m Back From Camp!

[sz-youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebYgE97-kwg” /]

Hi All, 

Sorry for the downtime, AGAIN.


I was having one of those “Tech Happens” periods.

As such, I needed to move the site to a new sever (Landlord Maintenance for websites 

for you non-techies) among other things…


I also had to take a break from blogging last week because I was at camp-


7736437820_f55cd78a55_o CAMPING 1


No, not Summer Camp.  


4583505380_0871677cde_o CAMPING 2


Definitely NOT a family camp-out!


(It’s hard enough to engage with my more emotionally reserved

relatives with the comforts of home,never mind in untamed



Besides, Pepper (My canine alter-ego) is in no shape to protect

me from a bear in his golden years.

(12 human years = Older than 70 in dog years, I think…)




 -My  Sweet Pepper, Photo by Me-

(Doesn’t look “Geriatric” does he?)

That said, he snores now, but I’ve adjusted easier

than the relatives I live with to that development this




Anyway, the embedded video at top of this blog post is my new welcome video for



If any long time T.A.A. readers ever doubted what my site was about after

three years, now you know for sure. (LOL!)


Seriously though, this video is what I learned to do at “camp.”


But I didn’t have to head to some shoddy cabin hideaway in the mountains,

where the breeze has to be just right to get a strong internet connection or

cell phone signal, and lots of luck to avoid unwanted guests-


316240_364169667028049_1160620348_n - WILD BEAR

Hey, Hey, Hey! Yogi, that’s not…



This camp I could do at home and where I learned to create my welcome

video for T.A.A. I’m talking about “Video Idiot Boot Camp.” An online, on-

demand training course that teaches even the most tech phobic souls how

to create videos.


Whether you’re a writer like myself, or another type of entrepreneur, you

NEED video as much VITAL as having a  professional (But NOT sterile)



That said, for those of you  who find just moving your site from Blogger or

some other more kitschy blog or site platform to WordPress (Whether that’s the curated, less customizable WordPress.com, or self-hosting your WordPress site like I am) is/was a battle all by itself, the idea of making video sounds like yet another task that asks WAY to much of you.

I get that, and while I’m more tech savvy than some of my relatives, I

couldn’t, for example tell you how to “Master HTML 5.”


Or ANY form of HTML period.


I don’t know HTML or CSS as intimately as I do a book I

love reading (and RE-reading…) or preaching my gospel on the variety

and depth animal fantasy offers beyond picture book land.

(Much as I love and respect picture books as a reader, even if the writer in

me can’t yet give the skill and brevity those books demand…)


But let me tell you, folks, with Katie as you guide, all you have to do is show up

and do your best.


You WILL get a decent video at the end of this 8 lesson

course. But don’t just take my word for it, let Katie give you the lowdown,

in her own words below-


[sz-youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9gsAE-IkS4″ userdata=”Taury” /]

You’ll also find out how to take the first lesson of V.I.B.C. FREE before you decide to buy! (Take advantage of that sample, it hooked me enough to slap my money down) and I’m glad I did.


While there’s always more to learn in life, you CAN reach a level of competency that works for you, I FINALLY believe that for real, after a decade of trying to get my writing career off the ground, and while I’ve sold my first book, that’s not where I can, and most importantly, WANT to stop. Keeping in mind I‘m also trying to get my new novel drafted, on top of running T.A.A.

 Making sure my blog reasonably up to date, launching my e-mail newsletter (Which I hope you’ll subscribe to for fun and exclusive content you won’t get elsewhere), and learn how to make videos, which put a lot of other things I need/wanted to do this month on hold, often looking overly flaky to my family, but that’s what I had to do. But keeping busy was important, so I could patiently wait to hear back on edits for my upcoming middle grade novel, GABRIEL (Title subject to change), and I did that and still doing it.


Well, that’s all for me today, and I’m taking yet another hiatus, this time it’s onMY terms (As opposed to outside interference, like my site giving me headaches every other week this month!)


As long as “Tech DOESN’T happen again” I will be back Monday.


Until then, please subscribe to “Bites From the Cheese Shop” the official newsletter from T.A.A. (Talking Animal Addicts) Also, by subscribing, you’ll also be the first the learn when my novel is set to release, and have a chance to win a personalized, signed copy, by your lovingly frazzled literary rat, trying to hold me dreams, responsibilities, and sanity together, one day, one blog post at a time, among the other writer-centric things I do.


Your frazzled literary rat (and 1st gen VIBC graduate)

Taurean (Taury) 



P.S. Please comment on my welcome video when you can. I’ll be revising it s

on and I may use your suggestions. Be honest, but kind. That said, for my

first serious attempt at video, it’s okay.


Revisions aside, I EARNED this badge-









P.P.S. (I’ll share my diploma picture later…)



Letter From The Editor (April 2012)

Letter From The Editor
Lessons Learned, Lost, and Re-Learned 

From A Childhood Safe haven

While some things in life aren’t as fun the second time around, whether’s it’s changing tastes in food, clothes, etc, some things seem bring comfort and joy like nothing else does. Like a good book, movie or song, there are television shows that have that magic quality that can’t be easily defined and rarely can explain in words.

One such show for me: The Busy World of Richard Scarry.

This show was often what gave me the strength to face another day, and after I left home for preschool and first grade, I’d often try to program the VCR to record while I was away, often it never worked, which is more a commentary on how tech illiterate I was then compared to now. Which is why I was ecstatic when we got our first DVR cable box, no tapes, and setting up recordings was WAY easier, and unlike VHS tapes, they never wear out.
Later, you could even record shows with the television off. 

I used to wear out VHS tapes I had of this show (Don’t know what VHS is? Feel free to look it  up or call Mom, I’ll wait…) which I recorded or rented back when Blockbuster still had “Video” in their name, in the pre-Netflix era, when HDTV was still a pipe dream, at least for the non-millionaires.

Anyway (Sorry for going This Old Tech on you)Fast forward to last year, when the series started releasing on DVD, after being off the air (In the U.S. anyway) for over a decade, and I bought one, and happily, it’s as enchanting as I remembered it, but the reason this is a focus in my letter is not what you might think if you’ve followed T.A.A. for some time. 

We read books, not just to inform entertain, or both, but also to escape from the craziness that cane overwhelm our lives, and make us lose touch with others and ourselves. As I touched on in the start of this letter, gave me the opportunity to see a world I wished I could live in, a world where I had the freedom my grandmother and mother had when they were children. To best illustrate this, I will use a familiar song to prove my point-

Hey! It’s time to laugh and play (So have a happy day!)

If you think only baby boomers are stuck in the past, think again.

Those of you raised on 21st century luxuries may not understand where I come from, but there was a time when the happiest things in life didn’t come from the internet, or the latest Apple whatever.

I was a late 20th century kid (Later an Early 21st century teen) who longed for the past. Back to a time when you could have adventures in your backyard, a tree house with secret handshakes and candy bars where even the strictest of parents would never find them. To hang out with my posse of friends without it needed triple strength parental supervision, and needing a ride wasn’t a way of life.

Even today, what small towns lack in trendy malls and gourmet food stores (Which I would miss, being a foodie) it more than makes up for in freedom and exploration that many kids, especially in cities or strict parental eyes, rarely experience outside books, or movies, and even video games.

Lots of things to do and see (It’s so much fun to be…!)

Part of a world where you don’t need a carpool to explore your neighborhood.

Nowadays, it seems the time to enjoy being a kid grows shorter and shorter, and the pressure to grow up gets more and more intense, and if strict parental upbringing wasn’t hard enough, pressure from teachers and society doesn’t help, and while some students need that extra help, we shouldn’t force it in a way that makes an already trying stage of life a living nightmare, and I hope there are parents, teachers, and other caregivers or education insiders who get the real  dangers of pushing academics, however valid, to the extreme.  

Cracking the whip on academics doesn’t mean parents or teachers have to “Crack a kid’s resolve in half!” it should never mean that. We’re trying to inspire and raise future generations of responsible and respectful adults, not turn them into neurotic, bottom line, money- grubbing megalomaniacs, am I right?

I’m not a parent, and I am definitely not a teacher, and as much I as I don’t want to unfairly tread on toes of those who are, as someone who didn’t get the benefits of having two sane parents, a home that was welcoming and comforting, however small, and siblings you lucked out in liking to be with, you come at this from a different (No LESS valid) perspective.

As much as I hated living the opposite of so many around me, it made me the writer I am today, because I can see what folks thrice my age really don’t get, or even care to get, which is really distressing for the kids they’re trying to teach.

Since many of the mom writers I know are the opposite extreme to my mom, and they know who they are, I have hope that my greatest fear mentioned above will not be the epidemic that seems to be more common with each passing year in this century thus far.

We’ll keep your spirits soaring (While we’re exploring—our busy world…)

During my teen years, when the whole “dark” aspects to life seemed to be glorified to the 11th degree, in the books and movies aimed at my demographic, I was still watching the kids shows on PBS and early Nick Jr. stuff (Pre-1999-2000, just before Dora exploded on the scene). I also became more interested in pleasure reading at that time, but instead of classic Judy Blume or some ambitious “adult” novel, I was reading middle grade fiction, and the occasional picture book, and my own original fiction writing began some time later.

You can make a lot of friends (The good times never end!)

Sadly, I made few real offline friends, and those I did either moved away or grew apart, or whose parents hated me and forbade me to play with them (But that’s another story for a different Letter from the Editor), and often I have to be my own friend, not always easy, and not the same, but it can be done. This often results in feeling awkward at social events, the few I’ve outside school, so the less invasive nature of the internet made it easier to connect, and while people sometimes misread me, at least a lisp or talking faster than a chipmunk auctioneer helped.

Each adventure and surprise (Will open up your eyes…!)

While I continue my struggle to embrace this concept in real life, in my imagination it’s second nature.

One (Arguably, ONLY!) advantage to being a loner is you get to know yourself in a way some extremist extroverts may not be in tune with, and while no one likes a self-obsessed prick (Or selfish grump, to be more kid-centric) there are time when focusing on you does others as much good as it will you.

I had to live in my head a lot growing up. Before I was a reader, it meant throwing myself into the television shows and movies I loved. I was also into gaming, especially RPGs, whether that was an early sign I’d be a storyteller later on I’ve yet to figure out, but I didn’t become the reader I am today until my teen years.

While I knew I wasn’t the only odd one out, it wasn’t until I began my writer’s journey this started to sink in.

I (virtually) met my support team of writers who remind me that I didn’t suffer alone, for they also weathered their storms of family troubles, crushed dreams, and constant identity reinvention.

While many of them weren’t trapped in their homes as I was, and in some ways still am, they persisted and earned whatever flexibility and successes they have, whether that’s a book deal, getting an agent, or just moving out of the house, none of which I can say yet. I can only hope to be half as helpful to someone else one day.

Every day there’s something new (And you’re invited too!)

No matter if your 2 or 22, 10 going on 30, 25 going on 50, or whatever’s in-between or beyond, for most people, life got better later, so maybe that’s the path I’m on now. 

I haven’t arrived at my major destinations yet, and despite what some timeless sayings preach, the journey to get there’s simply is FAR from a joy in itself in my case, so I cling to what little optimism I can most days, however illogical. We’re not robots, you know.

Still, there are days when I wish I could upload a “Anger Free” program into myself, and would anything to turn off my “Envy-Inferiority to other writers” switch.

Many great poets often say something to the effect of “No one lives without suffering.”

Here’s what I say, “Suffering may be part of life, but we’re not given life to only know suffering, for that’s a life I wish on no one.”

So, in closing, say it with me-

IT’S TIME TO START THE SHOW! (The Show of Life, that is.)

Best Wishes and Cheesecake,
From your busy editor and literary rat,

Does Your Story "Choose" YOU?

What I mean by that is: have you ever had the experience where you wrote a story that was “handed to you” opposed to something you had in mind? When I say this, I don’t nessecarly mean you get the fully formed story and you can draft it in months or a week, as opposed to many years, even decades.

I’m talking about stories that may hit too close to home for the writer, but they just had to write it, no matter what, and whether or not they publish it, it seemed to help them in some way.

I often hear writers talk about this serendipitous, impossible to explain experience of a story they need to write, but normally wouldn’t, or even didn’t want to write/enjoy writing, but later saw it was worth it.

While I feel less down on myself to hear writers, especially those farther in their careers than myself at present, admit to this, I personally have not found this experience either helpful or enlightening, and maybe that comes from my impatient and stubborn nature.

I feel like a hypocrite for saying this, but I feel conflicted with this issue, and as someone who strives to be less restrictive with what I write, I struggle with being free in my writing, because most of the time, it’s led to my biggest flops, and no amount of editing will fix it.

I know about living with a mental illness.

I know about living with a parent with a mental illness.

I’m not in denial about either of these things. But I don’t want to write about it.

Not as fiction.
Not as nonfiction.
I just don’t want to go there.

Even if I did, the distance needed to not just be a tedious rant is nonexistent.

I’ve often heard writers say that sometimes what you don’t want to write is what you need to write, and I’m not talking query letters (They go without saying!) but writing stories about topics or subjects you either are too afraid to write, or simply don’t want to write because they can hit too close to home, or your angst/depression/rage towards the issue(s) involved with personal experiences in certain topics cloud your ability to write (and rewrite, yuck!) the best story you can, instead of a one-sided rant, and we get enough of that from “reality” television as it is, and if you don’t want to be part of that world, and I sure don’t, why add to it?

I’d LOVE to hear other sides to this topic. Please share your experiences of instinct and happenstance in the comments below.

I’d like to think I’m not alone, but sometimes I wonder, I think my old critique group friends are braver than I am in this regard, or they just hide their mixed feelings so well I’d never know.

Until next time,

Goodbye (For Now)

Sorry I’ve gone dark again, but life’s been one nightmare after another, and because of this, I have some sad news to share.

T.A.A. will be on indefinite hiatus from regular updates until May 2012. 

The reasons are multiple, but all I can share is that I did everything in my power to avoid this decision, but I can’t, and it’s not fair to those of you who follow T.A.A. and gave me such support to string you along with my being unable to commit to this blog like I always meant to from the beginning.

Without getting whiny about it, my writing’s at a standstill, I can’t read without feeling intense rivalry, and I suck at the business aspects of this career, it’s just not my nature, and nothing I’ve learned can make that change, and I tried.

I can’t be a kid again, but I’m not an adult either, I just look like one, but a beard and dreams alone do not an independent soul make.

Allyn, Kelly, and Cat, I know I owe you prizes from this month’s giveaways and I will still give them to you as I promised, please be patient as money’s going to be tighter than I first anticipated.

This isn’t goodbye for good, but I don’t know when I’ll really be ready to return, but this blog will remain up and I’ll update now and again, but I can’t promise regular daily or weekly updates at this time.

I apologize for those I disappoint with this decision, but it’s the only sensible way I know to do this.

Until next time, whenever that may be,
May the fantastical fauna be with us all,
This is your literary rat signing off,


Quantity over Quality

UPDATE (8/18/11): Edited for clarity. 

No, I’m not saying quality should take a backseat to quantity in general, because no one’s getting far these without turning in polished work as competition gets fiercer.

But you can’t improve what’s not there.

By that I mean we can’t improve writing we haven’t written.

So many stories stay stuck inside writer’s noggins and never see the page, or computer screen, because we let fear of writing another dud stifles our output and the joy that only comes from just doing it.

While chances are much of what we write isn’t publishable, it can be hard to go from project to project, not unlike an assembly line, because in order to write our best work, we have to invest our passion as well as the time to physically produce it.

When projects don’t sell or improve, even after years of refining and tweaking, it can just be da** frustrating and scary to begin again, for fear of the same outcome. While I agree with the countless number of writers who’ve told me that this shouldn’t stop me from writing entirely, it’s vital to let ourselves know it’s OKAY. We can’t let these fears rule our lives, and stop us from writing, but for the sake of our artist’s sanity, we must acknowledge they exist.

Admitting your pain doesn’t make you weak, just don’t let it warp your mind, or rule your life from the shadows, both of which happened to me many times. Only until I hit rock bottom do I see the mess I put myself in.

This year, I will get back much of the diligence and joy I’d lost, when I let what frustrates me about writing get in the way of actually writing, and to do that, I must relearn a skill I had at the beginning. Something I lost when things got tough. Just writing my story.

Not thinking about agents, editors, query letters and the like until I’ve written the story from beginning to end, no matter how rough it will be, because I can only improve by having something to improve. For me, my writing output is more important right now than overall quality.

Fear can’t take hold of a writer who blazes his temples on the keyboard.
(Or for those of you who write early drafts in longhand: Gripping tight to one’s pencil, or pen, as the writer scribes with sharp, and almost rhythmic precision)

Charging in replaces Worry with Work!

That said, once daily (Or consistent) writing has become a natural part of you routine, you will feel good about having things out of your head and in plain sight on the page, and yes, it will be rough, and feel like you’re just setting yourself up for nightmarish edits or rewrites down the line, but remember, the point at the beginning is to have your story on the page, and finding joy in that alone.

If you’re a writer who’s more comfortable with thinking analytically, you can adjust the flow of drafting to meet your needs, or the needs of a particular project.

But for writers who are too petrified to write for fear of not improving, like me, just start typing now!
Longhand drafters, pen or pencil it out, without looking back!

Right now, you need to get a draft your eyes can see, and only then can you edit, remove, and revise as needed.

I know many writers who are quite comfortable with planning out the story as best they can before writing a draft, to lessen errors that come about from being too in the dark about the plot and motivations of the characters involved, but sometimes, or for some writers, just diving in’s the best way.

I tried outlining many times, and truthfully I did learn many things worth learning, but often it made me a paranoid coward who barely wrote a few paragraphs, and while I do agree that knowing what you can in advance will make you less likely to stall finishing a draft of your story or novel, sometimes going in blind’s the only way if you know dawdling’s an issue for you.

Remember, the point of this exercise is to keep fear and self-doubt from having the chance to keep us from doing much of anything, the fear won’t go away, but tell yourself you refuse let it add to the problem.

Now once you’ve finished a draft of your story, novel, or query letter (Hate those letters!) take the time to shift gears so editing is just another step in the process, and feels less like barbarism, and let’s be honest, sometimes it does, positive as we try to be.

This is also the time to call back the Quality Control Cops. now that you’ve finished a draft of your manuscript, they’re input in the form of beta-readers, writer’s groups, and even your homicidal inner editor, will help you, not just hurt your resolve.

If I can do it, nearly anyone reading this now can as well, so do your creativity a favor. Finish the story already!

Until Then, to loosely quote Nike,
Just Write it!

This Literary Rat’s hitting, or rather, I mean "Reading" The Books, This Time,With Joy!!

As many of my writer friends know, I’ve had a hard time reading books without either jealousy or feelings of inferiority cloud my judgement. Many warned me to start putting my self-pity in check, and they were right, but it just took a long time to get there, but I have and I’m ready to fight back!

I’ve got a lot of reading to catch up on, and I don’t mean books on craft (Though I need all the help I can get with query letters!) but actual books. The novels, Poetry, and nonfiction books I was not able to enjoy because trying to improve my craft like I did, came at the price of not reading like I should, and used to before query letters broke my resolve more than once the last two years.

I know many writers do well thinking about books in this manner, many of my favorite writers go by their own version of the self-study method, but for me, it just makes the frustrations I already felt even worse. For me, books I read for me, and not for school, need to be fun and engage my interests.

I have to first read to enjoy it, and maybe after I can find some technique I can use to help my writing.

But first and foremost, I have to enjoy the book I’m reading, the books that made me decide to be a writer in the first place. I lost touch with that part of myself for too long, when I struggled so hard to fix my weaknesses, but I’ve got it back and I’ll make D*** sure I’ll never lose it again.

I’ll explain more on what I’m doing differently for the better later on today.

Until Then,
May the Fantastic Fauna Be With You