Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Support Your New Year’s Writing Resolutions!

Here’s a fabulous way to jumpstart your writing goals for 2013! My friend and colleague Julie Hedlund launched the first 12×12 initiative in 2012. Members were challenged to write a picture book draft a month, so as to conclude the year with 12 completed manuscripts. The idea took off like wildfire, with hundreds of members […]

Ideas on the Go

I’ve been honing my Story Radar, and have found the holiday season to be more abundant than ever with respect to prompting ideas.  The problem is, most of them come to me when I’m on the fly… and if I don’t document them immediately, by the time I get home they’ve gone. So I’ve been […]

Who Can Help Me Tell This Story?

This week I had the joy of interviewing my friend and picture book hero, Peter H. Reynolds, for the Children’s Book Hub. As usual, Peter said a million inspiring things and shared a number of jewels about writing.  Among them was a reference to his own writing process that set off lightbulbs in my head.  […]

Voice Exercises

As every singer knows, exercises that strengthen and warm up the vocal cords are essential in order to sing well.  Painters do studies, and dancers stretch. But what about writers? This Fall, I’ve been taking a workshop entitled “Imagining What You Know” with the incomparable Roger Rosenblatt. Each week, Roger has given us a new […]

Chekhov, the Picture Book Author

Michael Chekhov – nephew of playwright Anton Chekhov – was an esteemed Russian-American actor, director and acting teacher. Among those who studied with him were Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood, Anthony Quinn, Ingrid Bergman, Jack Palance, Lloyd Bridges, and Yul Brynner. Constantin Stanislavski, with whom Chekhov collaborated at the Moscow Art Theatre, referred […]

Just Start

The summer before last, I became a student in the Southampton MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program where I am also a faculty member. (I know, it’s a little crazy, but it’s actually great.) Since then I’ve had the good fortune to take courses with such gifted writers and teachers and Billy Collins, Jules […]

Illusions of Progress

One more gift from Peter H. Reynold’s workshop last summer: I.O.P, or “Illusions of Progress.”  Now, for some this may have a negative connotation.  An illusion of progress, as opposed to the real thing… could sound like busywork.  But it’s Peter’s view (and I agree) that I.O.P. can be a great motivator. Look! I already […]

Story Radar

Here’s another jewel I picked up from Peter H. Reynolds’ workshop last summer:  “Story Radar.”  This is a term Peter uses for the technique of always being on the alert for ideas and inspiration.   An expression, a character, an event, a question, an image – anything can ‘wave’ to you on any given day as […]

If Your Life to Date Were a Children’s Book…

… what would the title be? This was a question Peter H. Reynold posed to his workshop participants during last summer’s Southampton Children’s Literature Conference. Then he did something extraordinary. Each of us came up with our title, and Peter then designed a Peter H. Reynolds book jacket around that title, and listing our name […]

Something Utterly Inspiring

My daughter attended her annual book fair at school this week.  Among the books she wanted me to buy for her was Clarice Bean, That’s Me by Lauren Child. I was happy to do so, since Lauren Child is one of my heros. Best known for creating the hilarious Charlie and Lola in addition to the […]