Skip to main content

Sometimes You Need A Shove

Like most of my life, my writing takes me in so many different directions. Sometimes I'm writing articles for an online outlet, sometimes I'm blogging, sometimes I'm working on an article for an education site I work for, but when I'm writing for myself I'm usually writing children's books or thinking about writing for children in some way.

I guess for a long time I've thought about my children's book writing as my hobby. I've read other people's writing and been a huge proponent of promoting children's books and their authors. I blog about them. I connect with them on FaceBook and Twitter. I am a fan, but I am not one of them.

Though I probably write as much.
Though my work is damn good, if I do say so myself.
Though I've accumulated quite a volume of work despite my claiming it is a hobby.

Last night, out of the blue, I received an email from Barbara O'Connor. If you don't know her writing, you need to. Her work and her thinking move me. We connected once when I was reading her book The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis to my first graders. She agreed to Skype with us. Her Skype was fantastic. She spoke to the kids as if they were adult writers. She told them what moves her and how she gets her ideas. It sparked a wildfire of writing in my classroom. After that Skype, I friended her on FaceBook and Twitter. She's quite funny on both. We began communicating more and more. Our emails became more like letters between friends. She has watched me move from teacher to (dare I say it) writer. Barbara encouraged me to join SCBWI. When I asked her recently if I should spring for the New England SCBWI conference in April--her answer was "Absolutely!" So I paid for it and felt a bit like a fraud. I wondered what real writers wore to conferences. I wondered if I should bring pencils to stick behind my ear for the conference.

She must have known how I felt because her email to me said:
Be Brave. Be ready and willing to offer yourself up on a platter, exposed to the world...and open to judgement and critique.  
Be Brave and knock on the doors that need to be knocked on and be the person you may not be comfortable being yet need to be sometimes. 
Don't be afraid of failure. It's part of the process and makes the successes all the sweeter. You've got this, girl. You are smart and passionate and in love with what you are doing. A winning combination.  
EVERY SINGLE successful writer has been where you are. Every one of them. You're ready to move forward now.  
*pushes you* No make that *shoves you* in the right direction.
Here I go, armed with not one but twelve (!) manuscripts and some research notes about a non-fiction book I'd like to try. This Friday I head to the NESCBWI conference.


  1. Have an inspiring time! I like the phrase, "Be Brave." Needed that this morning as I anticipate a parent teacher meeting.

  2. So, so exciting!! What an amazing message to receive from one of your mentors. Have a great time at the conference. Please share!!

  3. Aw, shucks. *blushes* You're awesome in every way. YOU GOT THIS, GIRL!

  4. What a blessing to have O'Connor as a catalyst for your dreams! We all need a push from folks now and then to move us forward. Have fun at the conference; can't wait to read a Slice about it.

  5. Your enthusiasm and genuine love of writing will make this event life-changing. I feel it. Can't wait to hear how it all goes. Blow by blow. Brave step by brave step. You got this!

  6. How exciting! Good luck and have fun at the conference. I hope you will share what you learn.

  7. Love hearing your voice in print. Read this NYT article on Jodie Foster ( via Vicki Vinton). the fear of failure seems to be a muse for her.

  8. You'll have a marvelous time, and it's the next step for your "hobby", isn't it? How wonderful to receive that thoughtful "push".

  9. Yay for you and for this "hobby" - which gives us all such joy.

  10. You are a powerful writer of personal narrative so I have no doubts that - You Got This!! Enjoy, learn, laugh and play. Can't wait to read your work!!

  11. Wow, Kim, what exciting news! I've been a fan of your writing ever since first encountering it last March. You have a powerful way with words! Enjoy the conference and have fun! Can't wait to hear about your adventures!

  12. Thanks for sharing such positive news! It's a great opportunity for you and I love the support you received from another writer. Enjoy! Learn a lot!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Find Their Gifts

When I work with gifted kids, I'm amazed by their lack of understanding about what interests them. They know how to surf the net exhaustively for Youtube videos that make them laugh, but not what skills and practices further their interests.

Developing interests and passions is critical to these students. Many people out there tell me that this is not just for gifted kids, that their average developing child needs to know how to do this too. While of course I agree that this is true, I also think that typical academic, fine arts, and sports programs are available in most communities are enough to engage and motivate most kids. Not true of gifted children who become jaded, disinterested, and shut down quickly when a program doesn't meet their needs.
Most people think of gifted students as being prodigies who know exactly where their gifts lie. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I often question if some children who are identified as gifted will ever find thei…

Moo by Sharon Creech

I moved to Maine in 1982. I was a thirteen year old freshman in high school fresh out of a childhood in New York City. It sounds more exotic than it really was. The Maine I moved into wasn't so rustic. The town, Cape Elizabeth, is quite upwardly mobile––think Boston suburb. I remember distinctly the day my friends told me we were headed to the Fryeburg Fair. I had been to a few Maine county fairs over the summers I spent Downeast on the coast of Maine, so I knew what to expect. The 4H clubs mesmerized me. These kids who took such control of large livestock were amazing. They knew what they were doing. They were all pig whisperers and lamb crooners. These animals I knew nothing about in the real world were kept clean, safe and show-worthy by kids who looked to be no more than nine or ten years old. At sixteen or so, I felt too old to learn how but man did I want to join that club.
Wordsmith Sharon Creech has come out with the new middle grade novel, Moo. It is kind of a verse nove…

Writing Short, Day 1

I've taken a new position. I'm now an editor and writer at a company called We Are Teachers. I do some article writing for them, but I also write very short pieces designed for emails or giveaways. I didn't think I'd like this kind of work, but I do! It brings me back to the importance of knowing how to write short. I've talked about this before, but here's the book I'm referencing:
And thank you, Roy Peter Clark, for soothing my guilt about writing specifically for the Tweet. In “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times,” this amazing writer praises Twitter’s 140-character limit as a tool for “intelligent cutting.”
So, as a way to get better at my new craft, I'm re-reading his book and actually doing the activities at the end of each chapter. The first: Practice writing plain sentences that contain a grace note, one interesting word that stands out. ___________________________________________
As did Proteus, I move forward into change. I figure, I …