Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Summer Musings

I've been quite fortunate this summer.
My writing has been productive.
My days have been leisurely.
My gardens have been fruitful....We actually had enough strawberries from all the rain to allow me to make a batch of strawberry jam. That is the first time that has happened in 20 years. So yummy!
And our family vacation was fun.

This is also the first summer in a long time where projects from teaching haven't interfered with my days, so I've actually been able to feel what it means to relax and turn my attention to my creative work--writing--without distraction. The goals I set for spring are being met, with numerous new picture book manuscripts completed and my MG is half-way done. Hooray!

One of my activities in summer is to help raise Monarch butterflies that I bring in as caterpillars. Raising them inside in enclosures ensures so that they won't be eaten by other predators and beetles that visit their home among the milkweed plants.

A couple days ago I saw a butterfly flitting around the milkweed that grows along the rock wall of my garden. Thinking it was a Monarch that had finally returned from Mexico or California, I grabbed my camera to take a picture.

Alas, as I got closer I realized it wasn't a Monarch. It was a Swallowtail visiting the showy flowers in bloom for their nectar.  But still beautiful.

I've heard the Monarchs have been slow to return to our area this year. Until then, the milkweed awaits and nourishes other butterflies that visit.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Spring into Writing

It's here.
Don't let the snow fool you. This is springtime in the mountains.
#SnowShoeing Last weekend

After what has been a long winter with days made gray by skies capped with heavy clouds, SPRING is standing on my doorstep -- threading its yellow light across my lawn, nudging the crocus flowers from the flowerbeds, and urging the tulip flowers that are still sleeping in bulbs beneath them to take notice.

In my yard, salmon pinks will follow purple.

These small events... that make SPRINGTIME springy... make me happy.

They awaken the creative sparks, leading me in slightly new directions, allowing me to see manuscripts I've been working on in new ways, making the revision process more crisp and fresh.

With such feelings stirring, it seems near impossible to do anything but breathe more life into the characters that have been reaching out from the page.

Which means it's time for spring cleaning. Or rather, re-energizing.

For that, I'm springing into my writer's chair at my writing desk and tackling a new list, which really is nothing more than the same old list, but with more verve.

1. Write. Write new. Write fast. Write now by visiting the ideas for picture books I've jotted down in notebooks over the last few months at different conferences and in different settings. Choose 10 of the best ideas and crank out rough drafts for at least 5.

2. Write more. Write with focus. Write with intention. Start with the most promising draft from above and revise that into a 1st draft to work on. Repeat for the others.

3. Write through Resting. While those manuscripts simmer on the back burner through April, work on finishing the first draft of the middle grade I've got going.

A full sunbow (like a rainbow
 and a moon bow) encircled the sun during our trek
4. Revise and Restock. I write most of my drafts in notebooks, so I'll have to allow time for restocking ink. Jetstream pens are my favorite. And one of them ran out of ink today. (Which is good, because it means I've been writing). (But I'm okay for now because I've got pens in bundles. Well, 6 to be exact.)

5. Assess my spring and summer calendars. Set goals, plan ahead to make deadlines. Summer won't last forever and I want to make the most of it.

6. Continue sharing and learning what I can from my writing groups and critiques and conferences. Yes, Write.

7. Keep writing, and keep reading, and repeat.

Happy Springtime!

View from a snowshoe trek last weekend above Bear Lake, Utah, #AllSnowAndSunshine