Tag Archives: the anitas

We Never Stop Talking

One member of our writers group had just returned from a trip to Holland and he brought chocolates from Amsterdam for us to enjoy. Each chocolate wrapper featured a Van Gogh masterpiece.  

The talking never stopped! Last week the children’s writers group I belong to gathered at my home. 
Three members were missing but that didn’t stop the rest of us from having a great time exchanging personal news, reading pieces of our writing for the group to critique and sharing plans for upcoming writing projects we have just started or are envisioning. We discussed an article that provides statistics on the state of children’s writing in North America. It included facts and figures about the success and efforts of those of us who write for a young audience. We had a lively debate about the article’s findings.  

After the evening was over I thought about why I love my writers group so much. 

Jodi one of the members of my writing group signs books at the launch of her novel Family of Spies

My writers group inspires me. Hearing about the successful publishing track record of some members motivates me to keep trying to get one of my manuscripts published.

Larry who is a member of my writers’ group signs a copy of his latest novel Coop the Great for Mindi, another member of our writing group

My group makes me more accountable. I want to have writing to share every time we meet and that often gives me the push I need to make time for children’s writing in my sometimes hectic schedule filled with other writing assignments I’ve accepted.

At the Manitoba Book Awards with members of my writers’ group. Several members of our group had been nominated for awards.

I know I’ve become a much better writer because of the critiques I’ve received from my group. Recently I was getting ready to submit a manuscript to a publisher. My submission needed to include a query letter, biographical statement and synopsis. For two months I read those documents at each writers group meeting and each time my writing friends helped me improve them, till they were finally at a stage where I was ready to submit them.

Gabriele another member of writers group signs copies of her novel Broken Stone at her McNally’s launch

My writers group gives me confidence. Their praise and encouragement keep me believing that someday I too will get a manuscript published.
And finally, my group provides entertainment and friendship. Before we sat down at my dining room table last Thursday to ‘get down to business’ so to speak, there was time for a lively chat about our families, activities, travels and life challenges.

My writing group at our Christmas party last year

I realize my writers’ group enriches both my personal and writing life and I am so grateful for that!

Other posts………..

In Good Company

Family of Spies

A Writing Inheritance From My Grandparents

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Why Do You Keep Doing This?

What’s so great about being a children’s author? I am part of a writers’ group called The Anitas and at our meetings we often talk about how hard it is to be a writer for kids. We’ve all met people who blithely report, “I’ve decided to write books for children,” as if it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. We joke they might try becoming NHL hockey players or Hollywood movie stars instead, because honestly breaking into the publishing world of children’s books these days is kind of like winning the lottery!

 Since I was leading our Anitas meeting this week I decided instead of focusing our discussion on what’s so hard about being a children’s writer we’d take a look at the rewards.

 I combed the web for possible ideas, entering every kind of search term possible. I could only find one article that talked about why it’s great to be a children’s author and it contained some pretty unrealistic ideas. So I decided I’d get personal and think about why I have been working so hard to become a published children’s author. I haven’t had a book or even a story published yet, despite many attempts over the last four years. Why do I persevere? What’s in it for me?

Version 2

One of my first forays into the publishing world was as the editor of my high school newspaper the SC EYE. That’s me at the head of the table. 

Learning something new

I’ve been a published writer for a very long time. I had my first story in a newspaper at age ten and at seventeen was the editor of my high school newspaper.   I’ve been a newspaper columnist for the last thirty years and I’ve had my work in numerous magazines, curriculums and anthologies.  But I’ve never published a book or story for children. Figuring out how to do that has been a huge learning curve for me. I’ve taken classes, gone to conferences, entered contests, attended workshops and joined a writer’s group. Every time I write a new story I realize I still have lots more to learn and I like that!

in herschel

I got to know the talented and hospitable Sue Neufeld while researching a story in Herschel Saskatchewan

Meeting interesting people

The other authors in my writing group The Anitas are not only critics who help me improve my manuscripts; they’ve also become my friends. Each one is such an interesting person. I took a course with children’s author Pegi Dietz Shea. I learned to know her personally and became acquainted with her fascinating writing journey. I went to Hershel Saskatchewan to research one of the novels I’m working on and met a couple who proved to be not only a valuable resource but also warm and creative people.

mlclass 82-83

My class of students at Elmdale School in 1982.

Connects me to kids

I was a teacher for thirty- five years and when I retired I quickly discovered I missed spending time with kids. Writing stories for them is one way to keep my head and heart in the world of children. I have taken on two part time jobs that allow me to connect with children on a regular basis and part of the reason for doing that is because I know if I’m going to write for kids I need to stay involved with children.

Gives me a challenge

It is precisely because it is so hard to become a published children’s author that I really want to achieve that goal. It keeps my brain sharp, my life interesting and my attitude optimistic. I know the process is more important than reaching my goal of being a published children’s author. But accepting the challenge to keep the process going no matter the difficulties is enriching my retirement years, giving me something to strive for and providing a way to focus on the future.

 There are lots of reasons why it’s great to write for children. Each author’s list of reasons is sure to be different. What’s on your list?

 Other posts……..

Writing Dividends

Launching Not One Book But Three

What Are People Saying? 


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