Monday, January 31, 2011

A Frugal Day!

It was good to be home. The kids both stayed home; they had minor colds and we all missed each other, so it was a good bonding day.

I baked like a fiend. Kai and I made banana bread to use up all the frozen bananas that had started to get too ripe and two pumpkin breads to use up half a bag of walnuts. Then I made the "tightwad gazette quiche", which turned out awful - I over cooked it. I insisted the kids eat a bit if they wanted cake. Kirk took one big bite and threw up, I'm not kidding. Compliments to the chef....;-) The remaining pan was left out on the deck for the birds and squirrels.

Otherwise, we made conscious effort not to waste. I made salmon patties to use up half a jar of bread crumbs and we reused the bath water for Brandi's bath. I find when I'm not wasteful (even when it doesn't make a lot of difference financially) I just feel better about life.

Good wishes! Supposed to be a big snowstorm tomorrow, so we may have another stay at home day. Kids loved the light bright sets I'd gotten at a garage sale this summer and stashed for just a winter day like today. Kirk has been choosing to sleep in Kai's room lately and they call it a sleep over party.... Eileen

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Take away lessons from conference.

Today was day one of the conference, and it was definitely inspiring to hear from some great authors/illustrators. My takeaway from the break out sessions with editors and agents was that your focus should be writing a great book. The gimmicks about marketing, query letters, contracts, etc. is far, far down the list. Numbers 1-10 should just be writing well.
I really enjoyed one of the key speakers, Jules Feiffer, both writer and illustrator (he did the pictures for Phantom Tollbooth). At 83, it is so clear how much joy he finds in his work, which he calls play. He said he goes into the process unafraid, in fact expecting, it may not work, but also knowing inside he'll make it work, even if it doesn't the first four or five times.
The other take away, oddly enough, is how nice it is to have less stuff to manage. I brought three dresses and a coat. I have no stuffed closets, no knickknacks, no crammed drawers of stuff to deal with - I can see the appeal of living simply for writers;-).
Good wishes to all. Tomorrow is day two, then I have a six o'clock evening flight back to Wisconsin.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hello from the Big Apple

Hello from the Big Apple. The International Children's Writers conference starts tomorrow and I am in three small group sessions in which I will be able to meet agents, editors and other writers, which I'm quite excited about.
The trip is not too terribly expensive. I bundled the airfare with a hotel (2 star), which saved a lot. And although the hotel is the most no frill of no frills, sort of like a youth hostel, it is only a short way from the convention, so I can walk. And there is a wonderful airport bus that for $5 (plus $3 tip) got me to within 1/2 block of my hotel - got to love public transport.
I stopped by the beautiful NY public library for awhile this afternoon to see an exhibit about Marie Curie that was really interesting (and free). Now I'm up in my room on the 28th floor and can see the McGraw/Hill headquarters so hopefully that is a good omen;-).
Best wishes. Eileen

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Off to New York City tomorrow to the Int. Writer's Conference

I am excited and a bit nervous, a bit disappointed the whole thing is taking so long (I was there last year for the toy fair), but try to keep reminding myself all good things take time. Ironically, I was watching Oprah's Master Classes and Simon Cowell was on and he said patience was the key to success. He said he'd been interviewing someone for his company and said, "You start at the bottom, but in ten, fifteen years, you can really be making some money and know the industry." He said the young man looked at him like he was crazy - ten years!!! - didn't six months sound better;-). I can relate! Sometimes my blog is a reminder that I've been at this a long time with no real breakthroughs and that can be disheartening . . . and a good reminder that the journey is the key. Good wishes to all! Eileen

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a happy 2011. I turned 43 the past week and feel very blessed in my life. I'm excited about improving my writing and watching the kids grow and learn, trying to be more in the moment and more focused on the good in each moment. I went to a dinner last night with six other women, all trying to start businesses and realize there are many kindred spirits in the world. Happy journeying to all of us. Best wishes. Eileen

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Some disappointments - some blessings

I submitted some of my story to a professional writer who teaches a class. She sent back very detailed feedback, but also was blunt in that the book is simply not ready to be sent out. It has a lot of challenges, both big and small. So I will still go to NY to "network", but I will not submit the book. On the plus side, I am staring anew with some very good directives like having a specific point of view for each chapter, to put more conflict within scenes to drive the story forward, to use dialogue more naturally (I have some long patches that border soliloquies) and to tighten up the motivations of the characters.

A blessing was someone calling who had found my i-phone on the street in front of the bookstore where I attended my first writers' critique group. I'm so happy to have my phone back! I'm not sure if the group is the best fit for me, but I appreciated their very supportive attitude.

So good wishes. Remember even two steps forward and one back is still a step forward;-). Good wishes. Eileen