I started writing because a friend (an accomplished author of numerous books) heard me say, "I wish I had time to write." Given that little wish, this friend encouraged me by bringing me writer's magazines, books on writing techniques, answering my questions, and encouraging me to begin the journey. That was a long time ago, and for several years I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. During that time, I also shared my journey with emerging and new writers, so in a sense, I was paying it forward. But then I took a long writing sabbatical of sorts, and no longer wrote or paid it forward to other writers. Now my writing career is beginning anew, and I am struggling to discover where and if I belong. No, I am not giving up. I am merely reflective on the journey and if I have what it takes to walk that path.
Yes, as a whole since I started writing again three years ago, I've made great strides. I've seen my first non-fiction book and my first picture book published. I've written numerous articles for kids magazines, and my first Tween historical/adventure novel will be released by MuseitUp Publishing later this month. But I would not have made it this far without the help from other writers who decided to pay it forward. It was their answers to my questions, willingness to read and critique passages that seemed to be stuck in the mire, their mentor-ship, and their constant encouragement even if it wasn't intentionally directed at me. These writers always seem to pay it forward. To them--the wonderful people at the Institute of Children's Literature and the Writer's Retreat, I say a heartfelt "Thank You."
Now, it's my turn. I am not gifted enough to tell other writers how to pace their story, or how to define their plot, or even how to determine if a story is worth telling or not. Those are still things I struggle with on each project I begin. However, since most of my life these days seems to be in a classroom with kids, I decided to share a project for kids. It's a simple power point presentation on writing a picture book, but it covers many of the subjects--similes, metaphors, alliteration, rhyme, and prose--kids need to learn in order to write their best stories. So here it is. Feel free to share.