Heading Into the Holidays

The holidays are coming!  The holidays are coming!
While writing a children’s novel these past two years, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to stay focused and on track during the madness of the season. As an unpublished author, it’s very easy to tell myself, “Well, my novel can sit for a few weeks while I…
…put up the Christmas tree
…purchase/wrap/deliver presents for my children’s teachers
…get the holiday shopping done for my family
…take a breather to sit by the fire and read the Books section of the NYT…and kick myself for not working more seriously on my OWN book.”
This January, I’ll be traveling back to the New York City conference of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).  I’ll bring my manuscript for the 2nd year in a row, this time MUCH more polished, much more revised, and much more ready for agents and editors to look at.
I plan on meeting with agents and editors while I’m there. Will I land a contract?  Last year when I attended, I had fully hoped so.  I now know my novel needed more time and revision.  I’ve been patient.  I’ve been working as hard as I can, both on this novel and on my new and unexpected column for Patch.com. I’ve still got a bit more time to finalize my draft before I head to the Big Apple.  I plan to make the most these 45 days until I leave on Thursday, January 27, 2011.  I’m now keeping a calendar of how many days are left until I’m there.
One of the most inspirational kicks in the pants I’ve received this week was an email from one of my critique group partners, Meg Fleming Lentz.  She’s a writer you’ll definitely hear more about in the coming months and years.  She’s fantastic, both as a writer AND as a team player.  She’s got the enthusiasm of 10 people, and she encourages everyone to be their best.  She just sent this suggestion to the members of our critique group:
When I was in LA two years ago, the editor Dinah Stevenson from Clarion Books gave a talk on “The Four C’s.”  Here are a few notes:

1)  CREATIVITY-  “Be Brave enough to live creatively'” she says, “Write something ONLY YOU can write.”

2)  CRAFT-  “Being a skilled practitioner of your craft is being good at writing.  Don’t settle for almost right words.  Craft is a process.”

3)  COMMUNITY- “Through helping others, we help ourselves.  Man ceased to be an ape… vanquished the ape… when the first book was written.”

4)  CHOCOLATE-  “Treat yourself.  Writing is hard.  Getting the work published is the easy part.  Decide what your “4th C” is and decide when to reward yourself!  Mine happens to be chocolate.”

I think we should share our 4th C with each other… just a small something.  If your not-so-guilty-pleasure after meeting a goal is chocolate, then bring 4 chocolate bars… if you treat yourself w/ a guiltless-game of Suduko, tear a few pages out of your favorite Suduko book and let us have at it, or if you treat yourself w/ “FREE READING TIME”… find 4 favorite previously read books that are lying around and recycle them w/ AWESOME writers such as ourselves.  Let’s keep it easy,simple… and stress free.

I’m looking forward to our meeting…and figuring out what I should bring for the members of my critique group who SO inspire me to keep going, ESPECIALLY at this time of year.

5 responses to “Heading Into the Holidays

  1. Meg Fleming Lentz

    Oh you are SO sweet, Christine! x’s and o’s all around!

  2. Great post, Christine. I’m glad to hear you’ll head to NY again in January. I plan on visiting sunny LA for the August 2011 SCBWI conference.
    I know how exciting and nerve-wracking it can be to prep for these things, so I wish you all the right words. 🙂

  3. Margo, I have chills reading your words. I was thinking about you today while I was at the Evanston Public Library, and thought to myself, “I must find out how Margo’s doing.” I believe in ESP, do you?

    Thanks for the well wishes. How’s your novel?

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