“Revising Revisions”

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Manuscript revisions are something I look forward to spending time on, rather than dreading. Maybe I’ve trained myself to realize your first or rough draft is not as hot as you think it is. It’s far from perfect and always needs a LOT of work.

I try to catch as many “mistakes” as I can before even showing my manuscripts to any of my critique partners or for-hire editors. Actually, it’s almost as a courtesy to them. Their time is valuable, plus I want to make sure they’re seeing my best work, even if it’s not a bona fide done product.

That brings up another side to revisions: revising your revisions. When I get suggestions back from my critiquers, I’m always excited to see what they have to say, see if it rings true with my vision, and then jump right into revising. Or is that, jump “write’ in! I love it, because revising manuscripts gets messy and is oh so fun. Maybe I just like marking up my stories with ink.

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One of my messy revisions on my manuscript.

A struggle usually ensues as I revise my revisions. Most of what my critique partners recommend is valid and I must therefore find a way to weave their suggestions into my revisions to make it a stronger story. It may mean more research or rethinking the beginning, ending, conflict, or all the above. But, it will be a better story once I add my spin to it.

Beware, true revisions are hard work. They’re necessary and a must if you desire to be published. And keep in mind, once an agent and editor takes on your project, they’ll be sending you revision suggestions of their own!

You input: Do you enjoy or dread revising your manuscripts?

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“Life In-Between Writing”

So far, this year has been a hazy dream that is slow to shake.  DarkMtClouds_IMG_6115_wmk
When health issues arise, the writer often feels an obligation to keep on writing, revising, and producing new ideas. I’ve often been able to do that through the years.

But at times, some health situations are too serious, too fatiguing, and catch onGroupSaguaros_wmk_IMG_2593_1e off guard that writing is not possible in the normal vein. It is during these times that the writer must rest and find new strength to heal. Do not feel guilty or feel like you have abandoned your craft.

I have found my characters will wait. They even tend to encourage me to rest and let them relax as well. Often they appear stronger themselves. Strong enough to help me mend myself, along with the story that my characters live within.

What I’m finding is that though my life feels a bit dry and colorless now, it will bloom again and burst full of color. From the fog to a Barrel Blossoms_wmkcolorful life – full of writing, ideas, and renewed health. In fact, I know it’s not that far off, it’s just within sight. I’m already catching glimpses because the creative mind never stops.

Your input: When a health problem has you lying flat, how do you help yourself to heal? When you’re too weak or fatigued to write, how do you maintain your writing in-between life?

“Father’s Day Forever”

I credit my loving Dad, Albert, with raising my brother and me to respect everyone no matter their color, race, creed, or religion. My Dad served his country and was a wonderful provider for our family as a house painter contractor.

I also credit my Dad for my love for animals, especially dogs. I remember

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My Dad, Albert.

when he brought two dogs into our home that he had rescued. The first was our first family dog, Poppy. The second one was a fuzzy puppy he brought home in his lunchbox. He had found the little pup abandoned in the house he was painting. I named him Teddy.

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My Mom, Evelyn, holding Teddy who my Dad rescued and we adopted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps what I sense strongly in my heart about my Dad was how he encouraged me to follow my dream of being a writer. Because of his inspiration, my writing career began in Journalism. That led to my internship and job as News Producer at Tucson’s ABC-affiliate, KGUN-TV, in which I did some feature reporting and wrote news copy for the 10PM newscast. He helped shaped that influence, because many of my memories are of him reading the local newspaper while watching the news on TV. I guess my Mom did as well.

Though my Dad took off for Heaven before I discovered my desire and passion of writing for children, I know he’s behind me 100%. He always has been from childhood to adulthood. I know he’d love the fact that many of my picture book manuscripts feature animals. He’d be amused and pleased.

So, I say Happy Father’s Day to my supportive, fun-loving Dad who always had me as the apple of his eye.

Your input: On this Father’s Day, how has your Dad shaped your life?

“Mother’s Day Forever”

My Mom supports my path of writing from journalism to children’s books.

Even though my beautiful, sweet mother resides in God’s Heaven, I’m celebrating with her. All it takes are the happy memories of Mother’s Days of yesterday.

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And suddenly, she’s here again, right next to me, smiling and laughing. She’ll read the card I give her and say, “Oh how pretty.” My Mom, Evelyn, will make a fun expression of anticipation as I hand her the bouquet of roses with a “thank you.” She’ll slowly smell them with delight and say, “Awww! So beautiful.” Not as beautiful as you, I’ll say.

First, well go to church and then out to lunch and dinner. We’ll enjoy conversation and more laughs with family. I’ll admire her quietly throughout the day and realize she’s just as striking as those colorful roses. Much more so.

At day’s end, I’ll hug her close and tell her I love her again. And look forward to seeing her again the next day.

Nothing has changed. I know I’ll see her again.

Happy Mother’s Day, my beautiful, sweet Mom! I love you forever!

Your input: What are your fondest memories of a Mother’s Day past?

“The Promise of Spring”

For the second time in my life, this  spring season is peppered with serious health Desert Poppies_wmkdifficulties and also sprinkled with hope. Being someone who doesn’t like to go into details about my personal problems, especially on social media, I’ll just say I’m full of much optimism, hope, and healing.

My setback has affected my writing life – writing children’s manuscripts that is. I haven’t been able to write since November, and I’m okay with that. It may be another six months before I can again. Yet something tells me it will be much sooner.

But the nice thing about writing and creating is that it’s flexible. You can stop when you need to and pick up where you left off. While it’s nice to write everyday, it’s not always doable or a reality for many, no matter the reason. That’s not to say I’m not thinking about my stories, or reading about the writing craft.

Maybe the better advice is to always have the frame of mind to write everyday. Or to be poised and ready to write as the window of opportunity presents itself if you have unavoidable obstacles. It doesn’t mean you’re not dedicated to your craft of writing – just truthful.

For the second time in my life, I will power through this rough path. IMG_0827

But I’m not alone – I have faith and hope. And isn’t that what this Easter and Spring season is all about? Cross_effectsclose2_wmk

“The darkest hour is just before dawn.” I believe!

Your input: When faced with health difficulties, are you able to write anyway? Or do you take a break and give your body a chance to heal?

“When Christmas Sneaks Up”

Usually, I start shopping for Christmas in October or earlier. I mean – plenty of parkingchristmastree2015_wmk__img_1570 spaces, no lines, it’s warmer. As November hits then it’s time to shop online. Not so bad, as all presents will arrive out of town and state on time.

But this year, I didn’t “wake up” from the Thanksgiving tryptophan until a few weeks ago. I found myself scrambling – I raced to the keyboard with mugs of hot chocolate in hand. Yes, my fingers did the frantic shopping.

Then I discovered one of the best places to shop for everyone – for toddler to the over 30-somethings on my list – online and local bookstores! Who doesn’t love exercising their minds and imagination, or being entertained and discovering new worlds? There’s just something about books (or gift cards to bookstores).

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Now that my shopping is done, Christmas cards sent, and some decorations hung – I’m playing joyful and inspiring Christmas music. I realize I’ve been prepared for Christmas deep inside the whole time because the Person of Christmas is always with me – reminding me how simple and peaceful that first Christmas was.

Merry Christmas!

Your input: When and how do you prepare for Christmas, and are books on your giving or wish list?

“The Relief of Clicking the ‘Send’ Button”

The idea for my most recent picture book came to me in the spring when the air is light. Looking back to the first draft, I have to chuckle. It’s so sparse, choppy, and wrapped around one thought, as cute as it may be. Thank goodness for critiquers and revisions.

It’s a truth that critique partners and revisions are kind task masters. They teach one how to flesh out manuscripts that are much too airy. The balance is to keep a picture book manuscript near or under that golden 500 words count and not lose any of the plot, arc, or theme. Shaping your story into its best form is hard, even stressful work. You ponder, prance, even pulsate around it. It encompasses your days, hours, and thoughts.

Then comes the time to prepare your manuscript for submission. You triple check to make sure it’s error free. The writers you know and trust who have read it or critiqued it say, “It’s ready to send.”

sendbutton2_wmk_img_2064 “Yes, it’s time to press that button!”

You almost panic for a moment. Really? It’s ready? You’ve been so used to having it to revise, change, contemplate, play with, and even talk to it. You’ve grown used to the joy of working on your manuscript.

“Yes, it’s time to press that button!” Okay, it is time.

Though you love the process of writing, when your manuscript is finally at its best and ready to be released out into the inboxes of agents or editors, you realize this is it. It’s time to take several deep breaths and let go, both of the manuscript and yourself. No more excuses or procrastination. Therein is your relief.

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The relief of sharing your manuscript with those outside your circle. There’s even freedom in the sound of clicking the “Send” button.

Click.

Boy, I do feel better!

Your input: Do you stress or find relief in submitting your manuscript?

© Lynn Rogalsky