Posts Tagged ‘Failure’

Mar

11

2014

The 2014 NY SCBWI Conference–Part 3

Filed under: Check-it-out, Conferences, Publishing, SCBWI, Writing, Writing for Children

We are on the 2014 NY SCBWI conference recap homestretch!!!! But just like with attendance at a conference, even though you’re sad to have it come to an end, you should also be feeling those itchy fingers wanting to write and create now that you’ve been inspired.

One of the very best Keynotes of the Conference was by Kate Messner: The Spectacular Power of Failure

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Everyone in the room was affected by the power of Kate’s words. Why? There were multiple reasons, but the biggest were that ┬áKate’s a dynamic speaker and the topic was relevant to everyone. Relatable and inspiring. Here are some of her best moments…

*Why do a talk on Failure? Because we share the shame we feel over the fear of failure.

*Be Brave. But it’s okay to be afraid. Of course you’re nervous–>if it weren’t , it wouldn’t be worth doing.

*Fight or Flight Fear is different than Fear of Failure, but it’s just as strong.

*On Art and Fear: You learn how to make your work by making your work.

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I saved my chocolate fix for just the right spot…

*The act of sitting down to do the work brings on the idea fairy. (My idea fairy obviously likes chocolate-that’s why we get along so well.)

*Fail Fast, Fail Often: Sometimes losing can help you win.

*If we want to make art–failures are pretty good trail markers pointing us in the right direction.

*A problem that is insurmountable is manageable, when we talk to a friend. We are not afraid of our friend’s failures LOL!

*The only thing we can control is how we do our work. (Can I get an amen?)

*Failure let’s us be role models.

*High-stakes testing undermines divergent thinking. (I seriously LOVE this!)

Thank you, Kate–this pep-talk was exactly what I needed, right when I needed it. You’re the BEST! <3

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Next up…Keynote Panel: The Art of the Picture Book

SS–Shandra Strickland

OJ–Oliver Jeffers

MF–Marla Frazee

RC–Raul Colon

PB–Peter Brown

Moderated by AL–Arthur Levine (If I have to tell you who he is–you haven’t done your homework well enough)

 

Just a few little tidbits that stuck to me…

*SS–When something isn’t working: sometimes you have to walk away to figure it out.

*MF–It’s hard to know when a piece is going downhill. I keep thinking I can fix it.

*SS–Turning down a project that doesn’t resonate is an ability that comes with maturity.

*RC–The illustrator doesn’t just want to illustrate the text–they are there to extend it.

 

Additionally Peter Brown got into a lively debate about authors and illustrators having more connection and collaboration in the picture book process. Everyone else on the panel felt strongly about giving the illustrator room to create without the influence of the author. Peter understood this, but felt there were advantages for authors to learn to think more spatially. I will tell you that he was getting a lot of cheers from the picture book writers in the audience LOL! In my humble opinion, both sides of the debate were fascinating and relevant.

 

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I’m going to be honest–I was so bummed that Sharon Draper had to cancel due to a family emergency. I’d just finished reading OUT OF MY MIND with the boys and we are HUGE fans. But Nikki Grimes is such an eloquent speaker and writing royalty, I couldn’t stay disappointed. In fact, I could listen to her description of a girl’s first kiss all day long. Her voice. Her words. He perception and humor. It was amazing.

*I have been day dreaming for the better part of my life.

*It’s all right. Just keep writing. You’ll figure it out eventually.

 

Some other conference highlights as the big weekend comes to a close…

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Tomie dePaola giving out the Tomie dePaola Award for Illustration

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Jane Yolen giving out the Mid-list Author Grants (And it was her birthday!)

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Hanging out with my roommie. It was Jeannie Intrieri‘s first national SCBWI conference. I think she’s hooked. <3

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Getting more Kate Messner books for the boys and I to read. <3 We are uber fans!!!

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The hustle, bustle and blur of everyone trying to meet their favorite authors and get their books signed.

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And the moment you realize that it’s a l-o-n-g time until the 2014 LA SCBWI Conference in August. *le sigh*

I’ve done it! Another conference blog for the archives. Even though they are a lot of work to put together, I know I’m going to continue to look back at these memories and bits of wisdom and be so glad that I’ve journaled them. I also really enjoy how many people have told me how much they love the conference blogs. You guys rock!

What other kinds of blog posts–here or on other sites–do you find the most useful/memorable?

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Jan

4

2013

Writing Book 2? You Resemble a Pregnant Race Horse

Filed under: Revision, The Opposite of Gravity, Writing, Writing Style

Yesterday I was keeping my promise to myself and focusing on revisions. I even hauled my laptop and marked-up manuscript to the lobby of the dance studio. I was kinda pumped because I was able to focus and move through my notes while sitting in the middle of three classrooms that were blaring different sets of music and instructions. I was in the zone. How could that be? There have been days when I’ve had the perfect work conditions and get less done. *head thunk* I sound like I’m asking for an answer from you, but I’m not. I know the truth. For me its a combination of being ready and being determined.

READINESS: The truth is there are times when I just don’t know what to write. And for some of those times, it’s good for me to take a moment or two or however long it is, to mull over what I’m doing. I know I need to let the thoughts that sit in my finger tips, tumble around in my deeper places. I believe there is more to me than I’m capable of understanding and sometimes I just have to trust myself. I’m learning and changing and growing constantly and all of that takes time. But in all fairness, there are moments when I’m just scared that I suck and I think I’m not ready. Book 2 is kinda hard folks. It’s not unlovable, but it’s kind of like the second time you get pregnant and you realize it’s not going to be anything like the first time where you got to sleep when you were tired and people pampered you and stuff. Book 2 is like…Hey–I know you’re tired but you have a two year old with a fever and you need to get up every 45 minutes because they are crying and uncomfortable. And I know you have a sensitive stomach right now, but the baby just vomited across six rooms. And to top that all off, don’t expect a baby shower either or time for a spa day… Yeah, Book 2 is kind of like that, but different. Word vomit is a little milder on the stomach. LOL!

DETERMINATION: I’m absolutely a person who loves to work from home with my own schedule–I like my creative freedom. I like to be able to juggle my family life. I like to run. I like to have less stress. I like to avoid laundry by doing social media. BUT–I benefit from having some manageable deadlines. The people pleaser in me responds to that. Give me too much, too quickly and I will get it done (I’m one determined and competitive person on the inside) but I’ll be reduced to sludge. I’ll burn out like a shooting star. I’m not a race horse who responds well to spurs in my side, but lead me to the starting line and tell me that I’m not as good as the other horses and I’ll run my ass off to prove it isn’t true. There is a kernel of strength within me that gets me over that finish line. I need a little push, but not a beating. That’s when determination works best for me.

Thoroughbred horse racing

So what happens when readiness and determination collide in a perfect storm? Well, I get stuff done. I mean–I’m still scared. I’m pissing in my shoes every time I stop to think about it all too closely. BOOK 2!!!!!! Failure is such a bigger target than success. But I’m at that point where I know one thing for sure. There is something that scares me more than writing a bad book–it’s writing no book at all. It’s that simple and THAT just makes me laugh and revise. Ready and determined.

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
Bill Cosby

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

Buddha

 

Now I’m totally inspired for another day of revisions!!! What calms your fear of failure? What gets in your head and keeps you from moving forward? What’s your best overcoming failure story? Got another good failure/success quote to share? Have you been pregnant a second time????

 

 

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