Friday, June 20, 2014

Tag You're It! Writing Process Blog Hop

Yeah! It’s summer time! I remember playing tag on the lawn as a child. Now we’re playing again! This time my writerly friend, Beth Stilborn, a.k.a. Elizabeth Starborn tagged me on the Writing Process Blog Hop. What fun, Beth! Thank you.

While I catch my breath, let me tell you about my tagger. I first met Beth last year through JulieHedlund’s 12 x 12 group, The Children’s Book Hub Facebook page that Beth co-hosts with Emma Walton Hamilton, and at Katie Davis’ Video Idiot Boot Camp.

Beth and I just might break out into a duet. We share a passion for theater, music, and the Arts in children’s education. Beth is also the associate editor of the Children’s Book Hub monthly newsletter. If that isn’t enough to keep Beth running, check out her excellent copy editing and proofreading service.

Arghhh! Matey! This is me storytelling at South Primary School in Chillicothe, Il.  The students became the "crew" as we sang, danced, and read cue cards during my original story of The Tale of the Scurvy Ol' Sea Dog!  

While we are safe at home base, let me tell you about my writing process.

Right now, I’m in the middle of the fabulous class co-taught by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and  Mira Reisberg : From Storyteller to Exquisite Writer: The Pleasures and Craft of Poetic Techniques  over at the Children’s BookAcademy.  There is so much wonderful information; it will make you jump up and down with excitement. Sudipta and Mira are masters at explaining things with examples, weekly webinars, and critiques.  My rhyming picture book about bugs is coming along nicely.

I am also researching and getting ready for the WOW Writing Retreat July 7-13th with the amazing Kristen McGill Fulton. Nonfiction is the name of the game at this retreat for me.  I have two manuscripts that will be critiqued. One story is about a saint. The other story is about a man that invented something that we use everyday.

Everyone has a story. It is my mission to help emergent writers of all ages articulate their own stories,write about them, and share their words. I love when authors find their voice and experience the sheer joy of writing. Love You More Than You Know, an anthology about moms sending their sons and daughters to war, helped us lighten our burdens and helped us to heal.

I write because I must. I write for the sheer joy of writing! I write because I love to read. I write so I can share these two passions. I write so that I can listen to others tell their story. When we share stories, we find out we are more alike than different.

·      I need quiet time. When my five kids were little, I would stay up way too late because that was the only time it was quiet in the house. 
·      I keep a sketchbook journal. Bring on the crayons, glitter, and pictures. When I let myself play with words and pictures, I get creative. I also free write (write with abandon) and go back and highlight the parts I like, leaving the rest behind.
·      I move. Walking can get you into the zone and solve things when you are stuck in a manuscript. Acting out stories can shed some light on your manuscript too! Try a hat or costumes. Walk and talk like your main character.

·      I work with my writing partner or critique group. Sometimes just talking it out will help a story. Getting feedback is also key in reworking my manuscripts. Remember writers are really rewriters!
·      Deadlines and chocolate help keep me focused.

Happy writing! So on with the chase! These are the lovely writers I tagged. 

 Kristen McGill Fulton writes nonfiction picture books and some historical fiction. She is represented by Kendra Marcus at BookStop Literary. Kristen is a wonderful writer and teacher!  This is what Kristen had to say:

 One of my favorite places is my office stacked with shelves full of nonfiction picture books in alphabetical order of course. I believe that a writer must write everyday. Whether it is for a story, blog, or personal journal- practice makes perfect.  I currently am occupied with preparing for WOW Nonficpic and our summer Retreat 2014. I teach an online nonfiction class called Nonfiction Archaeology and believe that it is awesome :-) But, I am a little biased.

My husband Rusty and I have three children, all grown and enjoy much of our time traveling around the US in our RV that we lovingly call Chalet Fulton. I absolutely love daffodils and it makes me smile just saying the word.  I love my pajamas and comfy slippers. Iced Tea and Diet Caffeine Free Coke are staples in my home. I play a silly game called Clash of Clans on my iPad and can whop some butt with my army of minions.That’s it, that’s me in a nutshell. Not complicated or fancy, just me. 

The fabulous Sue Heavenrich is a freelance environmental journalist, but behind those Clark Kent glasses is a gal who is passionate about writing for kids. In her past life she’s taught science, been a camp counselor, taught skiing, home schooled her kids, and now works part time in a small-town library. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her counting bees, following ants, or chasing that Bad Woodchuck out of the garden.

Her children’s articles have been published in Highlights, Ranger Rick, Boy’s Quest, Cobblestone, and Wild Outdoor World. Sue reviews STEM literature and writes about science at Archimedes Notebook  and reviews kid’s books at Sally’s Bookshelf.


  1. Great post, Janie, and catching up on what you're up to as well as Kristen, Sue, and Beth.

    1. HI Tina,
      It is so much fun to see what everyone is doing!

  2. This is a fun post Janie! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Janie, I enjoyed getting to know about how you "work." Great images for this post and also I like the font you used. Think I'll get creative on my next post and pick new font.

    1. Kathy, that was my first time trying a different font. I liked how it looked too!

  4. Great post, Janie! You're great at playing tag! I enjoyed learning more about your writing process and the great things you're working on. Hope you enjoy WOW (how could you not enjoy WOW?!) Thanks also for the fabulous shout-outs for my work. A duet would be such fun!

    1. Beth, I would love to play and sing with you any time!

  5. Great post! It's always interesting to see how other writers work. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Anna what are you working on now? Are you a pantser? What is your "method"?

  7. Janie: Your writing process sounds like it keeps you hopping this summer. Thank you for an outstanding post. All the best. ~Suzy

  8. Janie,
    Thank you for all this inspiration, sharing & tips.
    I luv your process - especially the movement.
    Thanks for bringing Kristin Fulton in, too!
    Have a great reading & writing summer, everyone.