I have an agent!

I’m super pumped to announce that I now have an agent!!! I’ll be working with Hilary McMahon at Westwood Creative Artists, and I couldn’t be happier.

I had a terrible cold over the weekend, so when I woke up to Hilary’s email, I thought I was dreaming. Or hallucinating. I ran downstairs to tell Trenton (who is the best husband ever and was taking care of the kids so I could sleep in), and we all broke out into a happy dance. Even Owen, who had no idea why were celebrating but who never turns down a good dance party!

Exciting times ahead! Thank you for reading 🙂

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“Make Good Art” – Neil Gaiman

This morning I watched Neil Gaiman’s speech “Make Good Art”. I’d recommend this video to everyone, not just people who consider themselves “artists”. After all, we’ve all been artists at some point in our lives and in various fashions. The child forced to participate in a school art class is an artist. The adult picking out their outfit for the day is an artist.

Neil said he doesn’t think of himself as having a career because that would have implied he had a career plan, and he never did. Rather, he had a “bucket list” of what he wanted to do: “write an adult novel, a children’s book, a comic, a movie, record an audiobook, and write an episode of Doctor Who“. He says he didn’t have a career, he just moved to the next thing on the list.

When we were in grade one, we didn’t think about everything we should have accomplished by grade three. We accepted the grade we were in at the moment, and then we moved to the next grade. That’s what Neil’s list reminded me of: feeling content with our present developmental stage rather than beating ourselves up for not being bigger and better.

Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed balancing a few projects: working on revise and resubmits from publishers, writing an adult novel through a grant process, compiling ideas for self-help sites that asked me to contribute, and beginning work on a technical writing contract I recently picked up. Now I recognize it’s all a journey, and I don’t need to do everything at once–I can simply make my way down the list.

Finding time to write

I’m at my dining room table, looking out the window at the tiny birds toddling across my front lawn, the swing hanging from its pine tree softly swinging in the breeze, and the sun-soaked flowers in the neighbour’s garden. This has been my writing view for the past month.

Every Friday, I write.

It’s so nice to have this weekly ritual, this precious time to sit down and do what I love. In fact, carving out this time is a necessity in our crazy busy household! Owen and Max’s current game is to take all the pillows off the couch, stack them up into a tower, and then hurtle themselves off it and onto the next couch. Max just turned 16 months.

But on Fridays, the house is quiet. Trenton drops the kids off at daycare on his way to work, and I gather up all my writing essentials—coffee, laptop, breakfast, COFFEE—and make my way into the dining room, where I might sit down and immediately feel inspired, or I might spend a half hour trying to find the right music playlist.

Some days, I easily write 2500 words. Some days the people walking past distract me and I let them distract me. I used to think I had to push myself to write a certain number of words a day (Stephen King aims for 1000), but now I recognize some days are more productive than others, and that’s okay.

When I first started writing, I used to force myself to sit and write when I wasn’t in the mood, and the result was I got very little done. Now I give myself permission to relax. I find that if I give myself that break, the words will come more easily the next day. And when they do, I put the kids down and madly type whatever idea was percolating while I was driving to a friend’s for a play date, or riding the train at the amusement park, or changing a poonami.

Fridays are for writing, but the writing process isn’t just about getting words down. It’s about letting creativity flow—giving your imagination the time and space to allow creativity to flow.

I’m so thankful that I have this time every week to dedicate to my writing and to myself, and I highly recommend all writers give themselves this gift. We all live hectic lives with jobs, family, and other commitments, which means we don’t find as much time as we’d like to write.

TGIF everyone! I hope you find time to do what you love this week.

The dreaded synopsis with multiple characters 

After struggling to write a synopsis for my current WIP with dual POV, I came across this article and I was finally able to write a decent breakdown of the most important events. Before I was basically writing two synopses–one for each character–and there was a lot of repetition. This article helped me realize I didn’t necessarily have to list each event in the correct order and that I could cut down on the number of characters mentioned by encompassing them in their collective role, ie. “the police”.

I recommend this article to anyone struggling to write a complicated story synopsis:

How to Write a Synopsis When You Have Lots of Characters in Your Story

Trust

If you’re following the new Instagram account I made this week, you might have already seen my post on this, but I wanted to post the second photo…and of course ramble on about my life. That’s what blogs are for, right?

In one of my creative writing classes the prof had us do an exercise in free writing, which is where you write whatever comes to mind for a set period of time without worrying about spelling, grammar, etc. Free-writing loosens the writer up and produces raw material, sometimes revealing thoughts the writer never knew they had, which can be quite personal!

So I love the section on ‘Trust’ in Diana Trout’s book on journal spilling. She suggests that if you’re worried about writing something too personal, cover it in a layer of gesso afterward. That way you’ve gotten your thoughts out, no one else can read it but you still know what it says, and it creates some super funky artwork!
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It’s been a long time since I’ve written in a journal, but I’m contemplating starting again. I used to LOVE writing in a journal as a kid. I loved that I could add artwork, I loved that I could throw it in my bag, I loved that I could make something entirely ME.

To tell the truth, I’ve had some trouble getting into blogging. For the most part it’s because I’m an incredibly private person, which works against me as a writer when you need to sell yourself haha. But also, I grew up writing for myself, so the idea of writing for other people is new to me. Gotta admit, I’m liking it though! I’m amazed at the writing community I’ve managed to meet in one short week on Instagram. So many awesome people going through similar stuff. I don’t know many other writers where I live, so the online community kind of rocks.

Okay, that’s it for today.

Do you journal? Or do you prefer to blog?

Happy Monday!

Follow with inspirational quote to help beat the ‘Monday Blues’:

keep moving

This is what I’m telling myself as I’m only 10,000 words away from finishing my current WIP, woot! Of course I will still need time to edit, etc., and I’m racing against a clock – baby #2 is due at the end of April! In my bio I totally lied and said I have two boys already, I know, but that was at the recommendation of not dating my book ;). It has been a crazy two weeks with the release of INSTALOVE!!! Thank you to all of you who have read it and let me know you enjoyed it. It’s nerve wracking sharing your work with the world so I appreciate the kind words more than I can say. A week before the release I was told the baby might come early, so I’ve been taking it a bit easier than I was before. Fingers crossed this little nugget bakes a while longer!

I hope you’re all finding ways to enjoy your Mondays and that when you hit roadblocks, or life showers you with lemons, you somehow find ways to enjoy it and keep moving forward!