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).

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

I wasn’t a finalist, but that’s okay.

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 15, 2015
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So, as my previous post mentioned, I submitted an entry to Susanna Leonard Hill’s holiday contest. I spent around 2 hours writing it, so I”m not upset about it.

I”m probably not upset for the reasons that you think. Do I think that I would’ve done better if I’d spent more time on it? Nope! It usually takes me a shorter amount of time to write something when my “creative juices” are flowing, and the neighbor’s dog peeing on my tree gave me all of the inspiration that I needed. What a muse!

Here’s what I got out of entering the contest:

  1. I’m over my fear of failure/ rejection. I haven’t submitted to that many agents, but I’ve submitted to enough to get me a little down in the dumps.
  2. Friggin’ Susanna Leonard Hill read and commented on something I wrote.
  3. Other writers read and commented on something that I wrote.
  4. I found more writing resources!

All in all, it was not a bad two hours spent.