Becoming an author really started back in 2009 when someone at Eli Lilly believed in me enough to grant me the Creativity Fellowship. This fellowship sent me to writing conferences in LA and on St. Simon Island, bought my first laptop, paid for a children's writing course, and paid for a membership to SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). I also received a first place Children's Writing Award in Georgia that year.
This boosted my confidence enough to submit stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul and Highlights Magazine. After publishing there, I decided to carve out some time to write each week and go to as many conferences as possible.
I am happy to say that 2013 was a great year too. My story, I am Not a Pirate, was published by Tate Publishing and released in November. When I went to Oklahoma to record my audio book, I met with the acquisitions editor and she took another story, Nicken Chuggets! This will be coming out in 2014.
I also have a contract for a non-fiction work, Maggot Man, being published by Royal Fireworks Press. This came about while attending a conference in Indianapolis and visiting with an editor at an exposition booth!
I was also fortunate enough to visit several schools to share my love for writing with kids. What an amazing experience! I got to do a storytime at the library, was invited to speak at the Lions club, had a book signing at the Willow Switch, and was honored at the Jasper Foundation Gala. What a fun ride it has been!
I am happily plugging away at a new picture book that I can't wait to share. I am trying to be patient and polish and edit as much as possible before submitting. It is hard when you are so excited about a story.
My New Year's Resolution for writing this year is to try to carve out more than the once-a-week spot I currently have to write. I am going to do something writing-related everyday. I am realistic enough to know that I cannot commit a certain amount of time at this point, but if I am firm about dedicating some amount of time each day, it is a step in the right direction.
I have spent some time over Christmas break working on some of the non-writing tasks of writing…creating author profiles on Amazon and Goodreads, updating my website, starting a blog, etc.. I hope to also create a Facebook page soon. I am off and running to a good start for this year after completing the "Picture Book Idea Month" in November. I am participating in "Start the Year off Write" provided by Shannon Abercrombie next week and will also be participating in the "12x12 Picture Book Writing Challenge" provided by Julie Hedlund. These are all great opportunities to learn from other writers and from some amazing editors and agents.
I am excited to see what 2014 brings. I plan to write, learn, and write some more! I hope all of you are working towards your dreams too.