Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A place to write

I"ve finally decided that my tiny house might just be a tad bit too small for a writer (me) and a college student (my teen). We won't discuss her snakes and fish -- they're in her room.

There is no longer a place for me to spread out the items I need to refer to when writing.
Teen has taken over the living room to study in and the coffee table is covered with miscellaneous stuff of hers.
The 'dining room table' (in a nook of the kitchen) now only contains two places for us to eat, because the rest of the area is taken up by the sewing machine.  Some day I want the sewing machine to have its very own cabinet, but as for now - this is where is stays.
My 'desk' in my bedroom is covered with bills.  (it's a small portable writing desk)
My office (which the floorplan of our two bedroom/ one level condo says is supposed to be the dining room) has several other projects scattered around, plus three filing cabinets, a bookshelf, and four of those plastic stacks of drawers.  The fourth wall is the sliding door to our patio.

So = where can I go to spread out and focus on writing?

I now go to the teen's community college and use carrols in the library there.  Comfy chairs with small tables for laptop and one small notebook.  But if I have to really spread out, they have comfy chairs at larger (but not too large) tables.  I have used both of these and am in love.  I can really focus there because everyone else there is focusing on studying.  No music. No talking in the background.

So far I've rewritten that picture book that the picture book workshop at LoonSong said was a middle grade short story into actually being a picture book.  YAY!

I've completed one pass through of my young novel, correcting the mistake I learned about at LoonSong.  (It began as a picture book.  Then I attempted to convert it to a Chapter Book, but it ran away from me and grew like Topsy. It's now a young middle grade novel.)
Next I'll do several more pass throughs and see if I can whip it into shape.

Today I brought about 20 email printouts to use as references while I wrote a letter to my ex-agent.  (He's two years behind in sending me my royalties.)

Home is for eating and sleeping.
I've decided to write at the college library.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

LoonSong Writing Retreat Adventures

If it's September, then it's time for LoonSong.

For the past couple of years, I've taken the long trip to Minnesota, up close to the Canadian border to attend this writing retreat.  Each year I learn something new, enjoy meal and lectures about writing and children's book art with other Children's Book Writers, plus still have time to sneak off to find places to write.

This year, since I live on the west coast and planes like to fly to Minnesota in the mornings (very early in the morning), it took me 17 hours to get there.  (only 11 hours to get back, tho.)

Why 17 hours?
Well, firstly I had to get up at 3:00 in the morning, to catch the shuttle at 4:00-ish, to get to the airport by 5:00, to board the airplane at 5:45 am.  Then there was the layover at Minneapolis. I always enjoy roaming around that airport because I can get food (great chicken marinated sandwich) plus stock up on chocolate covered orange peel at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company store.
Roam is the correct word because our plane from the west coast landed at area G and the smaller flight to Duluth takes of either at B or A.  Yes, I get my mile walk in that day going from gate to gate.  (and yes, I reversed that walk coming back home - and got more chocolate)

Once landed at Duluth, then I have to drive 2 more hours north to Elbow Lake Lodge.  This trip I learned not to trust my phone's GPS to get me there because it had me turn off the direct road and spend an hour getting lost in the woods.
I had asked the car rental person if they would consider the car being attacked by a moose as an act of God.  But they only laughed.  So, at every turn/ over the crest of every hill, I expected to run into a moose.  (didn't happen.  whew!)
I finally decided the GPS was crazy, went back to the original road, and eventually found Elbow Lake Lodge.
Did I mention that I lost all cell service and it got very, very dark on those tall grass overgrown road/paths in those woods?

Anywho, the almost week there was great.
I learned two shocking things about my writing.  One was that a picture book I had written was actually a middle grade short story.  Well-written, but NOT a picture book.  No wonder it hadn't sold.
The other thing was a correction I needed to do in my novel, which I am now fixing and rewriting.

Yes, I do want to go back next year.
You might want to come, too.