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April 22, 2018

Recharge Your Writing Battery: 
Pay Attention to the Squirrels 

Children's Writer's World warmly welcomes a post 

by children's writer Regina Montana

Believe it or not, squirrels can provide an introduction to your publisher and mentor.  I know because a poem about a squirrel helped me gain entrance to the wonderful world of Kids Imagination Train, our online magazine.  I owe my squirrel a debt of gratitude.  

Here is his story.  During a class picnic at Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. about five ago, my husband and I decided to help our daughter with the school outing for her third-grade class. At one point, an unsuspecting boy decided to put his ice cream cone on the ground by a tree to join a baseball game that had just started up. All of a sudden, I noticed a squirrel scamper down the tree, grab the ice cream cone and high tail it back up the tree to enjoy the treat of his life. I quickly reached for my phone just in time to take a picture. 

Over time, I knew there had to be some kind of story, or even a poem about my squirrel.  And so “A Squirrel’s Lucky Day” was written and accepted.  I believe there are so many “squirrel” stories all around us if we remain open to them and pay attention.  Mother Nature is always ready and willing to provide ample material when we look and listen for what she has to offer. Just like our phones need charging, we writers must also recharge our batteries. 

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends going on an artist’s date weekly in order to “replenish our inner well of images and inspiration.” Taking a solitary walk outdoors might provide the perfect opportunity to feed one’s soul and become inspired and who knows, you might even encounter a squirrel performing an amazing feat. 

Regina Montana is the Promotion Manager for Kid's Imagination Train ezine.   She has a Master of Education Degree and has tutored and taught privately.  Regina contributes pieces to KIT, is a member of SCBWI and subscribes to Children's Book Insider, where she enjoys taking webinars on writing picture books.  She has been on the journey of writing children's picture book stories for approximately eight years. 

You can visit Regina's website: www.reginamontana.wordpress.com

April 15, 2018

12 Ways to Have a Fabulous Career Day Presentation 



Last spring, I was invited to the School of Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington, Kentucky for a Career Day school visit.  My goal was to tell students what it's like to be a writer. 


As giggling students entered, I asked them to have a seat and scoot closer so that we could interact better. Then we discussed education paths, salaries, a daily routine, how to get published, and the pros and cons of being a writer. 

The session ended with a question and answer period.  The students had been prepared and asked thoughtful questions.  They really wanted to understand the writer's life. 

I had fun meeting these young writers. I hope you will consider doing a school visit, too.  Here are some ways to guarantee your Career Day presentation will be a hit.  
  • Communicate with the career day coordinator beforehand about when to arrive at school.  Find out how many students will be in each session.  Find out how long each session lasts.
  • During your presentation, keep an eye on the time.
  • Allow a few minutes for students to ask questions at the end of the presentation.
  • If students don’t have any questions, ask them questions.  For example, ask them what they like to write.
  • When students ask a question, tell them that’s a great question before you answer it.
  • Jazz up your table. Bring writing books, a fancy fountain pen, framed writing quotes, pictures of your writing space. Make your presentation inviting and interesting.
  • Invite students to scoot chairs close to your presentation table. 
  • If students prefer to sit to the side, be sure to address them as well as the students sitting in front.
  • Keep note cards of your presentation handy in case you need to glance at them.   
  • Be aware that the school intercom may interrupt.  (This happened two times during each session for me)
  • Have something on the desk that is interactive and will make students curious.  I had a box with a card on it that read: What’s the secret to getting published?  When they opened it, they found the answer: be unique and never give up. (Their faces lit up when they read that)
  • Thank the students for coming and give them your business card to contact you if they have more questions or hand them a bookmark. 



April 1, 2018

10 Tips on Handling Disgruntled Workshop Participant 

Last year, I gave a workshop at the Carnegie Center for Literacy in Lexington, Kentucky on publishing with a small press. The turnout was great and the group was attentive and eager to learn.  

Throughout the lecture, most people asked thoughtful questions—with the exception of one individual.  His comments were unnerving.  He put me on the spot.  He challenged and put down my ideas and recommendations.  

I had never experienced anything like this in other workshops I had given or at workshops I had attended.  It was shocking to me that anyone could be so bold.  Luckily, my thoughts were on the lecture, delivering important information and sticking to the schedule, so his rude behavior did not distract me too much. 

Most people who attend workshops are eager to learn.  But sometimes, there's an individual who is provocative.  Here are some tips in handling a disgruntled participant:

  • Be aware that not everyone is going to like you or your workshop.
  • Be aware that an argumentative participant may be present.
  • Take note that your expertise may be challenged.
  • Don't argue. 
  • Take a drink of water to calm your nerves and to gather your thoughts.
  • Listen and be polite.
  • Give a short reply and move on.
  • Defer comments to the end of the presentation.
  • Thank everyone for coming.
  • Take solace in knowing the majority are present to learn, not challenge. 

Don't let a bad experience keep you from giving workshops.  Presenting valuable information is a win-win situation because you can teach other writers and it allows them to get to know you and your work.  Consider presenting a workshop to build your writer's platform.

I'd ♥ to hear from you.  Be sure to leave a comment.