Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stimulas Package for Writers & Illustrators

The phrase "stimulus package" is being thrown all over the country, creating all kinds of emotions, but many of them at least some degree of relief. It's easy, writing or illustrating by yourself (which is pretty much necessary, unless you are part of a writing team) to get discouraged, to listen too closely to the doom and gloom part of the news, even the publishing industry. You may feel lethargic. You may feel blocked.

Here's a tactic: reduce your negative news time, and create your own stimulus package. How? By getting out and mingling with like-minded creative spirits. Check out your local SCBWI chapter for events. Many of them are even FREE. Here in S. California, we have gobs of things to light your fire. Go to and go to something - anything. Then, newly creatively stimulated, tell your story.

Friday, February 6, 2009

On Critique Groups

I'll shout this from the highest mountain: I LOVE MY CRITIQUE GROUP! Okay, for those of you who are toying with joining or starting a group, you probably already know that it's a good idea to share your work with fellow writers before you send it out into the world. You could wake up, thinking your manuscript is lookin' good and ready to go. When you actually hold it up to a mirror (your fellow loving writers), you scream in horror! Not only is your manuscript having a bad hair day, but there's a rip in a very conspicuous place, a stain from something it sat in without you knowing about it, and a long thread not connected to anything in particular. They will, lovingly, help you figure out how to style the hair, sew the rip, remove the stain, and pull the thread. They will help you get your work lookin' good and ready to go.

Here are just a few of the things I love about my group:

We forge some amazing friendships
We put our work up for scrutiny so it can become what it's meant to be at its highest and best
We laugh
We cry
We remember why we are writers
We remember why we are readers
We become better writers
We become better people
We are humbled
We are re-ignited

For those of you living in the S. California area, check our SCBWI tri-region website for ways to find or start a group and other ways to meet fellow writers and/or get your work critiqued.