Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: What Does Being a Writer Mean to You?

I may not have a lot of followers, but at least my name is getting out there enough to finally receive an angry email! *GASP!* I know... However, I rather enjoyed it. It let me know that some of the things I may say (or forget to mention) make somewhat of an impact. It's not my goal to spark arguments, by ANY means, and in fact, I kind of feel the point of this blog is to bring about the opposing affect! I want to know your views on things. This is a free and safe space, friends.
Remember? Bethany = very clean (both by law and personal hygiene) Hippie!

Anyway, to get to today's thought:

We've all seen this...

Or even this...

And, let's face it. They're hilarious (I'll even admit to having the PB one as my desktop background picture!) and sometimes kind of true. It's interesting to me to find the way the world views writers and illustrators of any kind, let alone ones that write or illustrate for kiddos. I could probably fill an entire separate post just on the reaction we get when we explain what we do. But as creatives, that doesn't (SHOULDN'T) matter!

What matters is the way we view what we do. What matters is the characters we create, the lessons we teach, and the fun we share! For me, being a writer means constant adventure. It means peace, and understanding that a child can look at something I have written and relate so much they fall asleep at night with my book in their arms. It means compassion. It means truly getting to know my boys and what makes them tick. It means accomplishing goals, overcoming fear, and discovering something new about myself.

But, to me, being a writer also means never having a vacation. Seriously! Can you take a vacation from your thoughts? Nope! It means being stuck hours on end over one simple sentence- I once sat and revised a WIP for two hours, only to discover that I'd simply changed twelve words around. It means patience... loads and loads of patience. It means rejection, humility, and anxiety.

So please tell me (and be honest!),

What does being a writer mean to YOU?

I cannot wait to hear your answers. I hope this lifts discouraged spirits this week. I find that when others are having a difficult time believing in themselves, all it takes is a simple reminder.

Happy writing, everyone!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: What does Jennifer Young Ponder About?

Hi, y'all!

So, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. You might know her- she's getting famous!- it's...

Jennifer Young!!

We met through... Wait, what did we really meet through? For me, it started when she was my competition in the first round of the MeeGenius Great Author Challenge. I read her book, and I said (completely out loud!), "Oh CRAP. I'm so out of my league." She finished 9th that round, and me? *whispers* 57th... Anyway, I ended up sending her a message on Facebook asking her if she was a finalist in that challenge. Long story short, we both went through that loooong ordeal together, and now we're pals! She's awesome and she just got her first book published (have I mentioned that 100 times yet?!)- but I'll get to that later. For now, Jennifer... the stage is yours!

I feel so honored to be here at your blog today Bethany. To top it off, you want me to be a guest ponderer!!! How fun is that?! I always love hearing what you have to say on Wednesdays. So here's a big THANK YOU for having me on. I will try not to disappoint and to stay in true likeness of your fabulous feature.

I have always had goals set for myself.
Graduate college- check,

et married – check,

Have kids- check,
Yes, there's more that I won't bore you with. But, when it came to my writing I didn’t set up a long term goal plan. I think it was because at first I wrote in hobby form (a little here and there). I'm good at short term goals and I know I will always write but I’m still not sure how much.
So I find myself pondering-
When I imagine myself older, many many decades from now…okay maybe just a few, I imagine myself as a writer but I wonder what level of writing I want to be at? Will I look back at my life and be happy with having only a few stories published or will I be disappointed I didn’t take time out to write more? Will I be satisfied creating hundreds of stories and publishing dozens of them? Will I become a full-time writer, part-time writer, or will my writing still be a hobby? These are the questions I wonder about myself.
Are you a goal setter when it comes to your writing or
do you sometimes wonder about your writing life, like I do? 
If you do set goals, what type are they and do you make them easy to obtain?
Thank you, friend!

Guys, Jennifer's debut eBook ,
Poison Apple Pie, is available now! Please go check it out! Also, she has a fantastic blog that you can get to be clicking HERE.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: Celebrity Perks?

WARNING! This post is two-fold, and the end might end up looking a little like this:

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More on that, later. Anyway, the first part is, have you noticed my blog's pretty new makeover?? I feel so special! The illustrator responsible for my beeeeautiful banner is none other than the amazing Valerie Parker! Isn't it great? Round of applause for Valerie!! She is an emerging illustrator whom I have encouraged to join SCBWI. She's all signed up, and ready to learn! Please welcome her to our incredible community!

 Also, the I Ponder... series has an official badge! One of my dearest, sweetest, most selfless friends, HANDMADE this for me. The tree is made from scraps of very meaningful bits of text... She even threw an elephant somewhere in there! So, it is literally a picture of her fantabulous craft (I hope to have it framed and put on my wall soon!), but the simplicity and elegance of it makes me happy and proud. Thank you, Laura Fay!!!

Please feel free to take the badge to your own site...
Your thoughts are valid here, so you deserve a badge for sharing them!!

Alrighty, time to get to this week's thoughts. Deep breath...

I have been annoyed, no, mad, no, FLABBERGASTED, with something I see growing in serious popularity amongst the kidlit community. I know that you might be too, so I can't wait to hear your thoughts. I am appalled by just exactly how many CELEBRITIES have picture books out there! Good grief! You name a celebrity, odds are they have a children's book. I looked at a list last night, and some names like Jewel (coming later this year, I believe) make sense! She's a well known poet and songwriter. So I get that. But, Terrell Owens? Joy Behar? JAY LENO?? And believe me, these are just to name a few! These people are great at their day jobs- there's no doubt! But the fact that they are rewarded the opportunity to write something that we put our blood, sweat, and gallons of tears into, based on their NAMES alone, seems absurd.

Steven Colbert did a spoof with Where the Wild Things Are Author, Maurice Sendak. Mr. Colbert jokingly (I hope!) talked about how it's not hard to write a Picture Book. All you need is to be a celebrity. Of course they go off on a billion different tangents, but the point is still made. As long as you have a name that people know, YOU can write a book!

It had me rolling on the floor! Here's part 1:

Funny, right? Okay, back to business!
You know what is worse? Most of the books that celebrities write are GOOD. Have you read Billy Crystal's I Already Know I Love You? Tear-jerker-city, I tell ya! And there is no doubt in my mind that ANYTHING written by the insatiable Dame Julie Andrews is perfection. But I can't imagine that Snooki's inevitable children's book will be anything to line up for (no, any legal team out there... I am NOT saying that Snooki has a book deal. However she will be having a baby this year, so she's qualified, right?).

Yes, I'm a bit peeved. Yes, that is unlike me. And YES it squashes my sense of creativity (going back to last week's post). I sit here and struggle to get attention from agents, publishers, and even my own children for crying out loud! Pity Party, table for one?

Calm me down, friends. Tell me, what do you think?

Do the celebrity perks of writing bother you,
 or do they motivate you to work harder? 

Alright. I'm off to take the chill-pill my 3 year-old has just invented (ingredients include- but aren't limited to- sandwhich crust, carrots from the floor, and bits of napkin). I've been informed that the sound of my angry fingers on my keyboard can be heard down the hall. I think that's my cue to take a breather!

Happy writing, everyone!