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Two (Yes, 2!) Months of Intense Writing Instruction

February 2, 2020

As I neared the end of the year, facing 2020, I knew I’d be writing new goals for myself. These are not ‘work’ goals, as you probably would guess, since I’m technically retired. But for several years I’ve been using a planner to anticipate and order my life more intentionally.
Of course the planner is designed for business executives, office types, managers, supervisors…but it has a built-in process for weekly review and a categorical focus. Well, I’m not an office type anymore…to a degree, anyway. The goals format suggests things like meetings, deadlines, first-steps, etc. All things that go with supervision and management. But, my goals aren’t that neatly ‘managed’ or ‘defined.’
Instead, my goals at this ripe age of life fall into areas of Spiritual, Relational, Art, Physical Health, Experience, and of course, Writing!

So naturally, I included a solid 2020 year kickoff for my Writing goals. I have three goals, and they all depend on some improved discipline in my writing life. So, I vowed to participate fully in two month-long activities to support those goals. One in January, one in February.

Tara Lazar’s STORYSTORM is a month long challenge in January that takes the writer through 30 valuable insights offered by writers, agents, and editors in the kid-lit business, and challenges us to write down 30 picture book ideas. They don’t have to be great. They don’t have to be finished. They can be cheesy, stupid, crazy, or bland. But they DO have to be written down. Ideas come from everywhere, and participating in this is a sure fire way to get an idea to start growing. I’ve done StoryStorm before, even back when it was PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), and some years succeeded with 30 ideas, and some months with maybe 15. I didn’t even do it last year, with all the changes in our lives. But this month, I succeeded and it’s a fantastic feeling.

Now, the NF Chicks, a distinguished hatch of awesome non-fiction writers who have contributed to our writing community for years, and with a full heart for us pre-published eggs laying around, are cheering (cheeping, maybe) for us to peck through our shells and leap out into the world of writing facts for NF Fest Participant Badgekids. Not just raw facts—but discovering and sharing  the heart of the facts, the amazement of true stories, the surprises hiding in little known or much known histories. I’m beginning this adventure this month, and the ideas are fantastic and inspiring.

“Community” develops around these kinds of events, and that vital aspect–community– nurtures the writing heart.

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Christian Writers of Literature for Children and Young Adults




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