Growing plants made me think about how to grow as a writer, especially during the next months as school is ending. Here are some tips to think about and try.
1. Know what a good plant or manuscript needs.
An appropriate pot, soil, sunny/shady spot, right amount of water
Well-rounded characters, a problem, tension, conflict, surprise ending, precise words...
2. Know your shortcomings.
I don't have a green thumb. Need advice.
Ask for help. Join a critique group. Join online communities such as SCBWI Blueboards, Facebook writing groups such as Sub It Club (a group that discusses all things about submitting manuscripts to editors and agents)
3. Do research.
I look up the name of the plant to check exactly how to care for it. (even so, it still dies)
Research from the experts or their books (mentor texts)
*take a class--I just took an online class, How to Write a Novel by Nancy I. Sanders
*read blogs--my new favorite is Picture Book Builders written by numerous published authors and illustrators
*read "how to" books--I just reread editor Cheryl Klein's Second Sight
*stay informed to the kidlit world by subscribing to "The Weekly," a weekly email sent by my writing friends who run the web site Kidlit 411. They interview an author and illustrator each week and round up helpful blog posts and classes for that week.
*read ICL's weekly newsletter
4. Share your beautiful plant/story with the world.
I post photos of beautiful flowers on Facebook. (unfortunately they're not mine)
You can join some Twitter pitch contests coming up in June to get an agent's attention so that your story can get out into the world.
*PitMad is for all genres taking place on JUNE 4th, 8am-8pm in the Twitter world, run by Brenda Drake. You post your 140 character pitch for agents to read. If they want to see your full manuscript, they will "like" or star your tweet. It's great fun, keeps you on your toes. I've had some interested agents this way. (Agents pop in and out and read at their leisure during that day.)
*PBPitch is only for picture book writers, a picture book Twitter party on JUNE 24th. This is something new, the brainchild of my writing peeps. It will be similar to PitMad in that you type your pitch into Twitter, and agents who represent pbs will be reading them.
I hope you have a successful growing season. If you have any questions or know of other opportunities, be sure to let me know!