Quarterlife+


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.

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.

 

Writing Goals vs. Writing Expectations

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on January 3, 2016
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I feel like goals and resolutions give you too much wiggle room not to do them. You don’t meet a goal, hey, you just set a new one. If resolutions stuck, some people wouldn’t be making the same ones every single year. That’s just my personal opinion.

That being said, I have some writing expectations for 2016. I expect to write at least 12 picture book drafts. That is a lofty goal. If it wasn’t there wouldn’t be a 12X12 group. I don’t need cheerleaders like that. I’m sure that works for some folk, but a big, organized group would probably do me more harm than good at this point. Why? I hate when people feel left out, so I always feel obligated to respond or help or lend an “ear.” I’m not going to get much written if I keep letting myself get distracted. Does that mean I just don’t care about anyone else’s writing goals? No! Do I believe that we’re all in this together? No! We’re not. Wait…that’s a good thing.

Each writer has his/her strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and dreams. Personally, I think that my own desires are pushing me towards needing more critique partners and spending more time actually writing.

Will I still be available to lend a helping hand or an ear to someone who is up and coming like myself? Of course! I just have to pace myself.

Oh, so what’s my other writing expectation for the year? I plan on writing a middle grade novel. I bet you didn’t see that coming, lol.

I have huge expectations, I know. But, I’ve already written two picture book drafts since the 1st of the year. Are they polished? No. There’s a picture book revision week/ month starting soon, and I’m saving revisions for that time.

I’m  all for working smarter in 2016. Let’s see how this goes. Wish me luck, good fortune, and growth.

 

The year I got off my butt

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 29, 2015
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You know what’s funny about wanting to be a writer, you have to actually write to do it. Mind blown, huh?

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, but this was the first year I actually put forth the effort to reach that goal. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know that the journey would be this intensely hard, but it is.

I don’t do well with no, and I don’t do well with things that take forever. (I’m pretty sure I was pregnant for like 3 years!) Still, I am sticking to it. That’s a major accomplishment for me, and I hope expect to do even better in the new year–especially when it comes to actively writing and being a part of writing communities.

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list of 2015 successes:

  1. I completed PiBoIdMo with more than 30 ideas.
  2. I received a mention in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday contest. ( I won a book!)
  3. I put myself out there and joined a critique group.
  4. I applied for things! (mentorships, scholarships, etc.)
  5. I made some new writer friends who are super encouraging.

I don’t think that’s too shabby for my first year. Besides, the year isn’t over yet. The next couple of days could still be filled with goodies.

Facebook Rations/ Writing Surplus?

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on November 20, 2015
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So, I realized that I incessantly check Facebook from my phone. I imagine that I waste a huge amount of time doing that, so I’m going to take the app off my phone. I’m probably too lazy to actually type in the url.

If I do just so happen to overcome that hurtle, I’ve decided that I’m going to put myself on a Facebook fast. I’m only going to check it once a day.

I want to see if I am more productive. I can find a million reasons as to why I don’t have enough time to write. This will be one less excuse.

I’m battling my inner procrastinator and excuse-maker.

Why don’t I just stop checking Facebook altogether? Well, I can’t really do that since I’ve joined a few writing groups. I’m not into self-sabotage. I’ve recently realized the importance of being a part of a writing community.

Writing isn’t so lonely after all. In fact, it’s comforting being a part of a group, sharing the same dream. Go figure.