Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ms. Panda's Progress Report

Welcome back! 

Day 5 of the Blogathon and I have learned so much from participating already! 
One of the most important blogs I read came from the Blogathon's coordinator, Michelle Rafter.  She writes about being a newbie in the blogging world and what works and what doesn't. 

You can read it here:

It's pretty much common sense: like don't skip two weeks in between blogs, stay on topic, comment on other's blogs, reply to comments that others post on your blog, etc.  I mean, I knew I was goofing up last month when I only posted four times.  I made excuses like, I don't want to write just "fluff" and that I wasn't inspired, etc.

But the reason I originally started this blog was because I wanted to document my journey into the Children's lit world.  I've had stories in my head for years and I even wrote rough drafts of many of them.  Some came out as series, others not so much.  But they were all great ideas and I loved sharing them with my family and friends!

However, talking about things and doing them are very different actions.  My support group continuously pushed me to produce something tangible so that they may eventually read my stories to their kids. I realized I was only holding myself back by not going for it all the way!

So, I started this blog.  I joined Children's writers groups on Yahoo! and, started following publishing houses on Twitter and even went as far as to declare myself an "author" on my own Facebook page.

From one of the meetup groups I joined, I learned about and started attending a critique group for Children's authors.  Our first meeting was a hit and I left feeling super inspired!

A couple of weeks later, it was time for my work to go under the chopping block.  After the critique, I felt discouraged.  Everything the group had to say made perfect sense intellectually, but emotionally I felt sideways.  I think it was partly why my progress slowed down a lot in April.  I lost some of my steam and my momentum got stuck in some metaphorical quick sand.

And I know that I am not alone.  Many writers, just like me, join groups and feel discouraged by them. 

Today, a writer from posted:

"I joined this group over a year ago with the thoughts of submitting for publication a picture book I'd written. I've never been published... nor have I tried. However, after hearing comments and reading the books you've all suggested, I've been reluctant to send it in... because it rhymes. Apparently poor rhyming skills can kill any thought of being published pretty quickly and, being a newbie, I lack confidence that I'm doing it correctly."

I cannot stand how "experts" rip apart rhyming, as if it were some lesser form of literature.  I naturally rhyme when I write and feel it helps me create stories with excellent rhythm for reading aloud.

As with any critique group, or writer's forum, the information presented is there for the taking, or leaving.  All writers are at a different place in their journies and I can respect and honor that.  However, for me, the one most important lesson that I learned so far:


I obviously have an idea that I genuinely feel needs to be added to the vast arena of literature out there.
I realize that if I keep learning and investigating, I will eventually make that idea come to life!

So, for today's progress report, I award myself an A+, for getting back on track and realizing what is right for me!


  1. I like your lesson at the end about staying true to oneself and agree that talking and doing are two different things. The Nike company's slogan is very useful when trying to get out of the habit of making excuses.

    The Madlab Post

  2. Thanks Nicole! A very wise person recently advised me to "Stay true to myself," and I feel it is the best advice for anything you do in life!
    I agree about the Nike slogan, and in addition to it I offer the words of Yoda,
    "Do, or do not. There is no try."
    Gotta love Yoda! ;)