Monday, March 7, 2016

March: A Time for Making Your Own Luck

Things are exciting around my house this time of year - March means St. Patrick's Day! And while I am only a wee bit Irish (my great-great grandmother Nellie Hines married into a long line of Pilgrims), my mother-in-law is 100% Irish so therefore my kids embrace the holiday. My husband helps run the parade contingency for our town when they march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and my youngest daughter is a budding Irish step dancer.

And even though I love making soda bread and drinking a pint now and then, there is one thing I don't fully embrace - the luck of the Irish. I certainly think there are days when you may be luckier than others, whether it's due to the stars being aligned or because you're just due. But at least as far as work and writing go, I think you have to make your own luck. So while it would be nice if there were leprechauns to send our your manuscripts, or agents and editors waiting at the end of the rainbow, I truly think you just have to do the work and make your own pot o' gold!

So here's what I've been doing and what is coming up this time of year. It's exciting, and hopefully the work will pay off.

ABC - applying butt to chair.

Critique Group - can't say enough how great it is to have like-minded individuals to bounce ideas off of. Find a good group, and make sure to GO.

Writer (and other) Friends - they may be in your group or not, but they are people you can meet up with for coffee, to ask silly questions of that you may be afraid to do anywhere else. You may only email them or know them from a Facebook group, but they are your people. I say 'and other' because one of my favorite people to bounce ideas off of doesn't even write. But she is an expert in children's literature and I trust her opinion above most.

12x12 Challenge - If picture books are your thing, or you just want to try writing them, this is the place. You can only join in Jan/Feb but the rewards last all year. The community is amazing and what's better than having 12 manuscripts in your pocket come December? (And Julie Hedlund is awesome.)

Making Picture Book Magic - This 4-week course is perfect if you need picture book 101 and then some. Susanna Leonard Hill gives you all the basics to go on your way and create something magic.

SCBWI Conferences - (April) I'm attending in New England but they are all over the country and SO good. This year's theme is (RE)INVENTION. I'm planning on meeting up with friends, volunteering, and getting a manuscript critique with a great agent.

Whispering Pines Writer's Retreat - (March) Whispering Pines was listed by SLJ as one of the great children's writers retreats with good reason. I went last year, and learned so much. SLJ article
But again, there are others around the country that may be closer to you. Find them!

Taking Chances - last month an opportunity came for a fun night at a party in NYC with writerly people. I met up with 2 other writers and we took a drive down. We got to meet some great people and make connections that we might not have made otherwise. And even if that's all we get out of it, we had a great time, and left with some yummy lasagna.

So by the end of April at the very least, I will have 4 new manuscripts, 2 more critiques, a few new writer friends, and a TON of new knowledge. And just maybe, I will be one step closer to the pot o' gold!

Here's hoping you all make March lucky!