NaNoWriMo-Day 2

It is day two of NaNoWriMo and I’m already 1,667 words behind. I will not apologize. I’ve had an especially productive month. I sent out a re-re-re-re-revised draft of my manuscript to agents and have already gotten one request for a full. (NYC agents- I hope you and yours escaped the worst of Hurricane Sandy.)

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that for the last few weeks I’ve also been deep in grant writing mode. Yesterday I got my AROHO application official postmarked and sent! I’ve had wonderful support from friends. A special thanks to Women’s Studies/Sociologist professor, friend and fellow student of the world, Kim Simmons whose tweets kept me going! The best part was this wonderful email from the AROHO group:

Anna,
You’ve made the commitment.  To yourself, to your work, to the world.  This is the beginning.  Thank you for cultivating your creative vision and sharing it with us. We are honored. Your proposal is one step closer to being shared with the world.  A world that is waiting.
Yours,
AROHO

Now I know that everyone gets this email, but there was something about this idea… making a commitment to myself and my work. It’s a commitment whose real beginning was about a decade ago. Let me tell you, it is a hard commitment to keep. It often comes with guilt and self-doubt. Yesterday, when I handed over that envelope, I was more sure than ever that the commitment I made was the right one.

So with that commitment firmly in place, I embark on the next project. This month I’ll be posting things that inspire and inform me. Today– two blog posts on organizing your daily writing to meet your goals.

Rabbit, Rabbit. Five on November first.

  1. I am confident that my AROHO Gift of Freedom Application will be in the mail today. I’m searching Norfolk, VA for print/copy services and hope to brave the very spread out and convoluted roads around lunchtime. The process has been a wonderful. I’ve revisited my blog posts, education, professional development as a writer/illustrator/educator, manuscripts, and community service and honestly- I am happy with what I’ve done with my life. Those who were going to apply but are dealing with Hurricane Sandy, the deadline was extended until November 15th. 
  2. I’ve been away from home this week and miss my children. For some reason, I’ve always had to parent Halloween on my own for the past many years. This year they went with neighbors and had a blast. I called last night for the report, three pounds of candy for the younger son, and two pounds for the older one. They agreed that they’d be donating most of that to the Candy for Soldiers program *after they save the Snickers for me*.
  3. I’d like to know more about the demographics of kidlit authors and I’m considering a survey. Some of it will be about advances, and agents ala this survey from Tobias Buckell. Some of it will be about women in the arts, grants, childcare, day jobs. These are issues that I struggle with and completing the AROHO application brought up a lot of emotional and intellectual issues for me. If there is anything you were wondering about our community, leave me a note in the comments and I’ll see if I can include it in the survey.
  4. Today is day one of PiBoIdMo and NaNoWriMo. If you have been working with Jo Knowles you may have started a bit earlier with JoNoWriMo. All of these online communities are great for writers because they offer 1) Goal setting 2) Accountability and 3) Support! Who doesn’t need support? I need TONS! Personally, I will be working on my new middle grade novel project. I love shiny new projects. This one has the benefit of being shiny and new but I’ve already done quite a bit of planning for it. Scenes have been workshopped at VCFA, and a synopsis has been written. I can see the climactic scene clearly and I’m eager to start the journey towards it. My calculator tells me I’d have to write 1,666 words a day to get to a 50,000 word novel but I’m happy with a daily 1,000 word goal. I’m in this for the long haul folks and hope to have a draft by Winter Break.
  5. Election day is Tuesday. Vote. I know you are sick of the ads. Vote. Some of you think voting doesn’t make a difference. Vote. I lost the election to the Maine State Legislature in 1996 by 27 votes. Vote. Some of you say that it doesn’t matter who wins. Vote. You’re wrong. Vote. I don’t usually wax political here on this blog because I don’t want to alienate anyone. Vote. But if you follow my Twitter feed you know I support President Obama. Vote. If you want to know why, please contact me. Vote. I’m happy to tell you my reasons. Vote. This video says it pretty well. Vote. If you haven’t registered or don’t know where to vote, check out the Rock the Vote Election Center. People starved and died for your right to vote. Respect their sacrifice, please… Vote.

Hurricane Sandy and the Grant Application

First, a shout out to all of those dealing with the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy in the hardest hit areas of New York City and New Jersey. I’m watching these Weather Channel pictures full of worry– water in the subway tunnels, houses destroyed, beaches where beaches shouldn’t be. I’m crossing my fingers that you are safe and well and that your life gets back to normal in as short a time as possible.

In an odd twist of events, I am with my husband in Norfolk, VA while my children are in New England with Grandma. The last I heard she had stocked up on candles, water and ginger snaps, so I’m hoping everything is okay. I have no cell signal where I am, but wifi is strong, so I’m watching Facebook and Twitter trying to piece together the situation at home.

Here, the worst of the winds were last night. Low lying areas are flooded and TWC reports that the area received 8-10 inches of rain. This morning the rain has stopped and the winds are receding.

While I’m in our hotel room, and hubby is at work, I’m busy trying to complete a grant application. It’s a big one– the A Room of Her Own Gift of Freedom.  The $50,000 grant (yes you read that right) is the biggest I’ve ever applied for and the most arduous. Five essays, financial info, a writing sample, and a community service component make this quite a challenge. So why am I doing it? The process forces me to clarify and communicate my goals and motivations as a writer. Also, my kiddo told me I had to. “Mom, if you got this, you wouldn’t have to keep looking for another job. You could just write. You’d be so happy.” Out of the mouths of babes. So my baby, I’m writing these essays for a happier me, because a happy and fulfilled Mom is what you and every kid needs.

The envelope has to be postmarked November 1st. Please send me good-writing, no-procrastination vibes. 

 

Attention “Minority” Authors and Illustrators: Approaching Deadlines for Awards/Grants

Two big deadlines are coming up for kidlit authors and illustrators of color.

One, the New Visions Writer’s Award from Lee & Low Publishing.

The NEW VISIONS AWARD will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500.

Submissions are due October 31st. Click for details. 

The second, is the new SCBWI On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award.

The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. The grant will be given to two writers or illustrators who are from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America.

Two writers or writer/illustrators will each receive an all-expenses paid trip to the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York to meet with editors and agents, a press release to publishers, a year of free membership to SCBWI, and an SCBWI mentor for a year.

Submissions are due November 15th.  Click for details.

Please share freely and encourage those who are eligible to submit!

Member Monday: Old news or news to you?

I’m just back from a two-week research/family trip to Italy where I visited Florence and small red-roofed, hill topped towns in Tuscany. I’ll be posting more about that later this week, but first I’m passing on some of the news, blogs and articles that I missed while I was away. Perhaps these are just old news, but perhaps you missed some of these too. Hope they are helpful.

Most important on my list is this announcement from SCBWI. The On-the-verge Emerging Voices Award. I’ve been sitting on this since before my trip, itching to tell you all about this news and then they go and announce it at the LA SCBWI National Conference. Follow the link above for the full press release but here is a quick snippet.

The annual award, established by SCBWI and funded by Martin and Sue Schmitt, will be given to two writers or illustrators who are from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children. The purpose of the grant is to inspire and further the emergence of diverse writers and illustrators of children’s books.

Here is the link for the grant eligibility, process, and deadline. 

This issue is close to my heart. I hope that writing programs across the country, most notably VCFA, my alma mater,  and Hamlin College– and publishing programs, NYU and others will stand up and take notice. Action can be taken to increase diversity in publishing. Here are some thoughts from the CBC Diversty blog from those in the industry.

Here is a wonderful post from Laurie Halse Anderson that discusses the lack of diversity on the recently released NPR YA list.  Happy & Sad about the NPR Top 100 YA List In her post she also posts the following links which are important enough for me to list them again here:

On NPR’s Very White Best Young Adult Books List, by Shaker Laurie.
Reading in Color’s Booklists

And… one of my favorite sites The Brown Bookshelf.

(The link for the NPR Top 100 YA List is here if you haven’t seen it.)

In other old news:

Women On The Rise Among The World’s Top-Earning Authors This is an interesting article on celebrity authors but I’m not exactly sure what it says for the rest of us. The article celebrates that there are now six women on the list at all. Perhaps I’m a glass half empty person, (No, I’m not.) but what I see here is a continuation of women earning 78% of what men earn. Even if you go from the Stephen King’s $39 million (instead of James Patterson’s $94 million) 78% of that is about $30 mill. That- and below- is where we find the women.Of course, once you get into the millions of dollars, this may matter less but it is still true. For more on gender and writing see my post here or take a look at VIDA- Women in the Literary Art’s annual count for 2012. 

Publishing Is Broken, We’re Drowning In Indie Books – And That’s A Good Thing Okay. I need a while to both read and process something like this but if you are interested in the economics of the publishing industry and are concerned/interested in the changes in traditional vs. digital, this is the article for you.

That’s it for today, friends. Read, write, draw and do at least one of those outside. Two weeks and counting until kids go back to school in the home of Creative Chaos.

Member Monday: Quick Links Version

Good morning friends!

I’m on a final push with my WIP so I’m keeping today short, and informative with links to other important stuff.

1. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the upcoming call for proposals for the 2013 NESCBWI Annual Conference and gave some tips here. The actual CFP document is now released and can be found here.

2. If you are a PAL member and have a book launch or release coming up, take a look at the SCBWI Book Launch Award Winners. With the award, fellow SCBWI members Hilary Graham and Sherry Shahan were free to explore creative marketing ideas to help their new books succeed. Need money to help with your launch, take a look at the requirements here.

3. Nominations are now being accepted for the SCBWI/ Jane Yolen Mid-list Author Awards. Any current SCBWI member can nominate another current member who has published at least two PAL books but has not sold anything for at least two years.

4. Are you going to SCBWI LA this year? (I’m not because I’ll be in Florence, Italy researching a book  seeing my husband!) I LOVED when I went in the past though. It is laid back in a California way that New York is not. It is warm. There is a pool. There is dancing. And there are great and helpful workshops. FMI here.