October 28, 2013


How much perseverance do you have?  Do you throw in the towel after receiving a rejection? Do you easily give up when the writing muse fails to show up?  Do you quit because you don’t have the time to write?  Being a writer is not for the faint-hearted.  But with anything we desire to succeed at, whether it’s writing or tackling something new or difficult, we must keep on trying. For example... 


With a little more time on my hands since my daughter started her freshman year at college, I looked into taking a French class.  I had enjoyed the subject in high school and had always wanted to learn more.  This summer after corresponding with the teacher at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington Kentucky, I learned that she wanted me to take a beginning level class.  She expected students to buy the workbook and read through it before class started in the fall.  But when I opened the pages and began to do some of the exercises, it was way over my head.  So many rules and exceptions.  How would I ever be able to learn French?  I seriously thought about not taking the class.


But curiosity won me over and I decided to give it a try.  To my delight, the teacher was fun and the lesson was easy and enjoyable; however, since class size was too small, the teacher moved our session to a different day (and a more advanced class).  This class was taught almost entirely in French, so I got about 50% out of what was taught.  It was intimidating and challenging.  Luckily the following week, the teacher announced that a beginner’s class would re-open now that she had more participants.  Thank goodness, hallelujah!  Here, the pace would be slower and the information easier to grasp. 

But...what if I had given up?  What if I had not tried the upper level class?  Would I have even heard of the new beginner’s class?  My dream of learning more French might have been squashed.  So, I’m glad I stuck with it.  I guess you could call it tenacity.     

And that is what writers need when facing hardships or a challenge.  We get rejections; we stare at a blank page waiting for inspiration; we face critique partners who tell us that our manuscript needs more work.  Yet through it all, we must be tenacious. We must find the courage to continue writing despite the roadblock that stands in our way.  We know that sometimes this very roadblock will steer us to another path that will lead to success. To writers, giving up is not an option.  The only option for success is to persevere.

October 18, 2013

Leave well enough alone

I love publishing poetry for the Kid's Imagination Train.  Recently, I received a cute poem, but the meter and rhyme were off.  Since I felt that the poem had potential, the author and I worked together to edit it.  In a few days, she was awarded with an acceptance. The poem was slated for publication in a spring issue of KIT. Then, a few weeks later, the author wrote back to me. She wanted to edit the poem—again!   

Please, never consider doing this.  It's rare that an editor will work with an author to revise work. Generally speaking, editors edit manuscripts without author input.  Seasoned authors are aware however, that editors try to keep the story or article as close to what was originally written even though some words or paragraphs are struck. 

For example, when a manuscript of mine was accepted by a leading children's magazine, I was allowed to proof the piece before publication.  Upon reading it however, I found that major parts had been edited.  At first, it was shocking.  Then I realized that the editors had vastly improved it.   

In time, this poet will discover the ways of the writing world.  She'll discover that editors have a vision of how a submission should appear in print.  She find that editors want to publish outstanding work.  She'll realize that once a piece is edited and accepted for publication, it’s time to let go of the submitted work and move on to the next writing project.  

October 11, 2013


Generally speaking, I don’t care for change.  I like things to stay the way they are.  So you can imagine how freaked out I got when the grocery store where I had shopped for over twenty years had been enlarged and remodeled.  That meant more walking (okay, that's a good thing) and hunting for items in places I never dreamed they'd be.  But that was nothing compared to how I felt when change affected my writing world.

About a year ago, Stories for Children magazine and the educational publisher Viatouch closed.  Suddenly, I lost two editing jobs.  I was totally crushed.  Though I didn't earn much, I loved reading other writer's manuscripts and preparing them for publication.  

After grieving for a while, I decided to take action.  Since the markets for children’s writers had been dwindling for years, I felt that a new kid's magazine was needed.  Hence, the Kid's Imagination Train magazine was conceived and developed through much sweat and tears. Now, writers have another market where they can see their work in print.  Now, children can read fantastic fiction, exciting nonfiction, intriguing book reviews,and kid-friendly lesson plans, plus, they can illustrate their favorite stories!  

If you too, have been affected by change, you probably know that you have two choices.  You can do nothing and mope and complain about it, or you can deal with it and move on.     

I would urge you to move on. Learn from the change.  Stay positive.  Look for opportunities. Think about what you can achieve.  When you take action, great things can happen—just because of change.