Quarterlife+


My last post

Posted in Aging,Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on July 4, 2016
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Okay, well this is my last post. This is my last post here anyway (kinda). I started this blog when I was at the peak of not having a clue as to what I was doing with my life. I didn’t know what I wanted and I didn’t know myself. Talk about a being a warm body of confusion, huh?

At the ripe old age of 31 now, I am happy to say that I do have a few more things figured out. I am most proud to say that I have grown a great deal. One of my cousins once told me that being in my 30s would be so much better than my 20s. I think I’m starting to see what she means. In my 20s, I was trying to see how and where I fit in. Now, I’m more focused on trying to see what makes me happy and how I can make that a constant.

With that shift in mindset, I feel like this blog doesn’t quite fit where I’m at anymore. For this reason, I’m starting a new one that more closely reflects where I’m at right now and where I see myself going. The timing just seems right. Everything was turned upside down in my life thanks to that March flood where my family pretty much lost everything. (And yes, we do have flood insurance at our new place.) I’m also into a few new things (that I will discuss as soon as I can, I promise).

So, for those of you who have been following my journey, thank you. I ask that you please stay with me as I enter this next phase of my life. My new blog will be as follows:

ashleyfranklinwrites.wordpress.com

When everything is up and running, I will post there (and cross-post here for a bit).

 

Making a GoFundMe Account was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Posted in Family,Life,Life changes,Random Experiences by Ashley Franklin on March 14, 2016
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Let me say this: I don’t come from a lot. In regards to a conversation I had with my grandma one day about our family not having much, her response was this: “Much? All most of us have is our blackness!”

Obviously, my grandma is a tiny comedian. This basically means that working hard and doing what we need to do to get things done is a lesson that we learn early. It’s not a lesson that was lost on me. I’m someone that stretches every penny to make it go further. I stalk sales and coupon codes. I don’t believe in paying full price for anything.

Last week, my home was flooded and we had to evacuate. The flood water wasn’t just around our home. It was coming in, so we had to get out. We got out with a plastic bin, a suitcase, and a couple of trashbags of assorted things.

When you live from “check to check and a half,” as I say, missing days of work are few and far between. When the breadwinner of your household can’t get to work for a spell, that puts a major wrench in things.

I don’t like asking for help. I’m one of those “If I’m supposed to have it, I’ll work for it until I can eventually get it” types of people. You’d be surprised how quickly you go through money after staying at a hotel, buying essentials, and buying food to support a family of four (w/ 2 kids under the age of 5) without depleting all of your host’s resources. My mother-in-law has been wonderful, but this is all still unexpected.

I’d had several people suggest that I make a GoFundMe, and I didn’t like the idea of seeming like a beggar. Is that pride? I’m not sure. I don’t consider myself to be a proud person. I am blessed that I am still able to do a little online work, but reality set in that this is bigger than me. There’s that old saying that “Into every life a little rain must fall.” I just got a lot of rain at once.

 

 

Pre-MGMing: Day 2

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on February 24, 2016
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Today is all about brainstorming. I’m going to be completely transparent. All I have for this Middle Grade Mastery course is an idea. Don’t get me wrong, I did submit a pitch for the scholarship.  (Shout out to Dr. Mira Reisberg and the folks over at the Children’s Book Academy for offering the Andrea Davis Pinkney Merit Scholarship!) That pitch is all I had until today.

Like any mom, I sometimes have to hide from my kids. I most often hide in the tub. So today, me and my tub journal were able to come up with a few possible titles (three to be exact & one isn’t too terrible). I also named my main character, gave her a nickname, and came up with a few problems for her to get over.

Let’s hear it for the tub journal!

Pre-MGMing: Day 1

Okay, so I am probably the LEAST organized person ever. How I’ve managed to survive this long is nothing short of a miracle. So, last week was the end of Susanna’s Making Picture Book Magic course, and I can truly say that it was filled with lots of information gems. Be it that I live my life on my computer, and occasionally get sick of staring at a screen, I decided to print out the course’s lessons.  They’re sitting in a stack right now, but i have plans for them. Seriously, I have an expanding folder and a couple of 3-ring notebooks.

Surely that’s a recipe of something akin to organization. All I know is  that CBA’s Middle Grade Mastery course starts on Monday, and I can’t go into it half-stepping. I’m thinking of designating one notebook for picture book related things, the other notebook for current writing, and the expanding folder for the MGM course.

I think I can work with that. We’ll see. How do you stay organized?

 

 

ReForReMo (maybe next time)

I had eagerly signed up for ReForReMo as soon as we were allowed. With what I perceive as the success that I had during PiBoIdMo, I vowed to not miss another children’s book challenge again! Well, some vows are made to be broken.

While I really want to participate, I simply can’t. I just finished Susanna Hill’s course yesterday, and I’ll be started CBA’s Middle Grade Mastery course at the end of the month.

Maybe if I wasn’t working I could pull all of this off, but I simply cannot. I’m only one person, and these tasks are many. I’m not a fan of doing something halfway. Let me change that. I’m not a fan of doing something that I love halfway, and I love to write.

If you have the time to do ReForReMo, do let me know how it goes. I’m all ears. If you’ll also be a part of CBA’s Middle Grade Mastery course, I’d love to know that too. Being a part of the writing community can benefit your craft. It can also make the journey a lot less lonely.

Sheena the Sour Salesgirl (contest entry)

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on February 8, 2016
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It’s that time again! Susanna Leonard Hill is having another holiday contest.  For the First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Contest, your Valentine’s story has to be 214 words or less and include a grumpy character. You can find the full contest rules here:

Oh, Boy! We’re Going To Have Some Fun Now!

I’m not going to lie. I had no idea it would be so hard to write with so few words. It made my soul a little sad, and I was grumpy while revising. Still, I did manage to pull something together in the end, and here it is:

 

Sheena the Sour Salesgirl

Sheena sells seashells down by the seashore each and every Valentine’s Day, but today frosty weather has made seashell selling slow.

“Snow?” Sheena asked, surprised as a snowflake somersaulted towards her shoe. “Please, go!” she said with a kick.

“Valentine seashells for sale!” shouted Sheena. “Humph!” she said, crossing her arms, as customers skedaddled out of sight. Sheena shook her head sadly at the snowflakes.

To her right, the smoothie store added a sign. “Now selling hot chocolate,” Sheena sneered.  “Now that’s a sneaky selling trick.”

When the sign changed, customers came back. Sheena shook her fist angrily towards the store’s customers.

To the left, Sheena saw the Surfing Spot add a sign. “Now selling teddy bears,” Sheena sneered.  “That’s the second sneaky selling trick I’ve seen today.”

When the sign changed, customers came back. Sheena shook her fist angrily towards the Surfing Spot, the snow, and then her seashells.  She sank in her chair and sulked until an idea nearly smacked her in the face.

“Snowshells for sale!” she screeched. No one came. Sheena sucked her teeth and snatched down her signs.  “Silly snow,” she sputtered.

“Charms?” asked a small voice.

“No, seashells,” snapped Sheena. “Scram!” She saw the ocean-themed bracelet too late. Sheena smacked her head. “SHUCKS!”

Well, that’s all 209 words of it. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Best of luck to all who enter! The prizes look fabulous.

Timing is Everything

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on February 6, 2016
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In a nutshell, I was too early. I queried too early, and I’m not trying to make that same mistake this time. You see, the thing is, it wasn’t until towards the end of the year that I realized that I’d queried agents too early.

I can say that now because I can admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I was also in a rush. I was in a rush without realizing that I needed to spend more time cultivating my writing. I know that I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again because it’s so true:

It’s one thing to write. It’s something totally different to write something according to industry, agent, or publisher expectations.

That’s not to say that you write for them, but you do at least need to make sure that your writing matches their interests when you go to submit. You want your writing to show that you know what you’re doing.

Trust me. It’ll save you a lot of time and wasted energy. unnecessary stress.

Dear SCBWI

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on January 27, 2016
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Dear SCBWI,

I’ve heard so much about you that I feel like I already know you. Still, I’m nervous about the possibility of our new relationship. You see, there are so many out there selling dreams with a hefty price tag. It’s enough to make a girl’s head spin!

I can’t deny that you’ve come highly recommended from so many others, and you do seem so solid when compared to others.  While that gives me hope, it also makes me apprehensive. What can I get out of this relationship? Have you already given the best part of yourself to others? What’s left for me? Will you be good to me as well?

We may be destined for each other! Who am I to get in the way of fate? (Well…my paycheck might, so give me a couple of weeks.)

Though I can’t deny the butterflies, I am excited for what may come. Here’s to new beginnings!

Love,

Ashley

Picture Book Magic (the beginning)

I’m taking a class! Writing isn’t always about writing. You can write well, but it still won’t get you anywhere for several reasons:

  1. There’s no audience for it.
  2. Bad timing.
  3. You write well, but the format or style isn’t right.

I’m trying to do my part so that there are fewer and fewer reasons as to why I”m not a published author. So, my first big step of 2016 was signing up for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Picture Book Magic course. I’m doing the self-paced version, but she does have an interactive version.

I’m only on my second day, but I like it so far. The main appeal, for me, is that the lessons are 30 minutes or shorter. That works for me! As someone who always has too many things going on at once, easily digestible lessons are essential. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

ReviMo hurts

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on January 14, 2016
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So it’s revision week, Meg Miller’s ReviMO, and it kinda hurts. I always tell my students how important the revision process is, and I stand by that. I have never told them that revision doesn’t suck. I stand by that as well.

I have one favorite manuscript that I’ve rewritten like 8 times. To me, that’s like 6 times more than I’ve ever revised anything. Apparently, I know nothing. (Side note: I’m really going to need Jon Snow to not be dead. I’ve had plenty of time to process it, and I still don’t accept it.) In one of our blog posts for the week, which I’m too lazy to dig up, the author spoke of having revised a draft 39 times.

The ambitious writer living inside of me almost cursed.

Still, I’m not getting any bites with my current version of the story, and while it sucks to give it an overhaul, that’s my mission of the night.

I’m not sure where my writing journey will lead me, but I can definitely say that I’m learning every step of the way. Part of me wants to say that I hope it doesn’t take me over 30 drafts to get a manuscript right, but I think the better thing to say would be this:

I hope that I have the drive to do however many drafts it takes of whatever manuscript in order to reach the level of success that I hope to achieve.

 

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