Today we’re hosting Day 2 of a 5-day virtual tour for Joan Leotta’s new children’s book, Summer in a Bowl.
This tour is sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center.
In today’s post, Joan tells about her life as a writer.
The Writing Life
I do write daily, sometimes just in a journal or jot down the start of a poem or revise a poem.
I start my day with Bible verse reading to set myself on a good path, remind myself why I am writing, even the frilly things I write.
Then I play words with friends to get my mind limbered up. On MWF I go to my exercise class.
And then it is time to write.
As a good journalist, I deal with my deadline work first.
If I am on deadline, those files are open on my computer.
I put the deadline on a calendar and I give myself intermediate deadlines – for the end of the research and interviews and another for the first draft.
My goal is always to have the article/essay done a day before it is due but I try to work up to the date the things are due.
Remember, it is very important to have time to put together a good first draft and an even better second and third draft!
While I’m working on the deadline items, if I feel bored or “antsy” I check through my files for things I have started – short stories and poems that do not have a deadline.
I try to shape them, find their center.
Sometimes when a story (fiction) is not working, I practice making it into a piece of flash fiction or take a poem and turn it into an essay or a short story.
Actually, my first two picture books started out as poems.
When an assigned, contracted piece (journalism or fiction) reaches a stopping point, I get up and take a walk, or do some housework (ok, rarely, that) or sneak in a few minutes work on poetry to give my mind a switch-up. E-mail and Facebook are traps in those cases.
What to write about is never a problem for me – I see interesting topics everywhere and my brain is strange enough to make up new angles on many topics.
But I often see prompts in contests and in news items that catch my attention.
And I open up a new document on my computer.
When I am in my email, I try to read the tips on marketing and the tips on technique – especially those on technique.
I am trying to reorganize myself so that I spend one full day mostly on marketing.
At the end of the year, I take an inventory – how many submissions I made, how many were accepted, how many won awards and sort the articles, poems etc by type, by month.
In this count, I include the newspaper articles and other business writing I do.
When I get low, I can look back and remember those successes to keep me empowered as I push on through that day.
To follow each day of this tour, get the links at the National Writing for Children Center.