Sunday, August 24, 2014

Squeezing Writing Into Summer

Squeezing writing into summer is like squeezing into a bathing suit.

It was that kind of summer. 

There wasn't enough hours in a day...

                    ....days in a week...

                                     ....weeks in a month...

                                                          .....and months in a summer.

There was    Workbaseball gameschauffeuring kids to various activitiesfamily reunionstravels

But wait. There's more!

I managed to squeeze in some writing time too.

I enrolled in Mira Reisberg and Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen's The Craft and Pleasures of Writing Poetry for kids, participated in Sudipta and Kami Kinard's Kidlit Summer School, and signed up for Kristen Fulton's Nonfiction Archaeology class.

Enrolling in these classes kept me writing by helping me get into a routine. I  was forced learned to manage my time.  I didn't need to diet to squeeze my writing into my summer. All I had to do was loosen up the strings. I made time to write. I wrote whenever and wherever I could. It was the prescription I needed to keep my writing active and healthy.

Here is my review of each of the classes I've taken this summer:

From Storyteller to Exquisite Writer: The Pleasures and Craft of Poetic Techniques
This 5-week course is packed with information. It is perfect for beginner and seasoned writers. The course covered the basics of writing picture books and focused on rhyming and poetic techniques to make your story sing. The weekly webinars are perfect for questions and answers about writing in general. Mira also has a wonderful segment called Mondays with Mira in which she shares with you her favorite picture books and explains what makes it a great book. Included in the course are generous bonus materials which was a course in itself. 

The most valuable is the one-hour critique session you get from Mira and Sudipta. The critique groups formed within the class is optional, but I highly recommend it.
The online class costs a bit. If you don't have the funds, Mira has been generous in offering scholarships for her classes.

If you aren't able to enroll in the class, here are a few resources I highly recommend:

Rhyme Weaver by Lane Fredrickson
Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul
Word Magic for Writers by Cindy Rogers

Nerdy Chicks Kidlit Summer School 
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Kami Kinard are a dynamic duo! They put together a blog-based, four week writer's workshop that runs during the months of July and August. The daily blog posts are filled with writing advice and information on improving your craft that is written by various authors and writing professionals. Their faculty includes award-winning PB, MG, and YA authors.
Their summer session will motivate you. Each day you are given homework that will inspire your own writing. This summer's focus was on character development, which I found to be extremely helpful. They also offer weekly webinars where Sudipta, Kami, and other guests answer your burning questions about the craft of writing.

I have to confess that I could not keep up with the homework and ended up dropping out mid-way. Okay, I admit it. I am a summer school drop out. Shhhh....don't tell.  Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile session and I enjoyed the camaraderie of the summer school group. It's just that half-way through, I was inspired to take a nonfiction class which I will review below. 

The best part of Kidlit Summer School? It's FREE! It can't get any better than that. 

Nonfiction Archaeology
This is a four week class that is offered monthly by author, Kristen Fulton. She hosts a weekly webiner and daily blog post. This class is still going on. I am three weeks into the class and have gained a wealth of information. I have to say that I am loving this class so much! I am in awe of Kristen's intelligence, writing, passion, and organization skills. I want to be her!
The class is so organized in that the lessons are introduced in a sequential manner in which you would write a nonfiction picture book from beginning to end. So as you are taking the class, your are already on your way to writing and completing a nonfiction story. In the webinar, Kristen discusses the lessons for the week and the blog posts that follows reinforces everything that she's covered. I can't say enough about this course.

If you are thinking of writing a nonfiction picture book, I highly recommend Kristen's class. It is worth more than the price you pay for her class. Kristen is so generous in sharing her wealth of information and has gone over and beyond what I expected. 


So there you have it. If you need to ignite your writing, consider taking a class or participating in a challenge offered by generous writers. Don't worry about squeezing writing into your summer. Make the summer fit into your writing! 

"Writing is like a vacation. I get to travel anywhere my imagination takes me" ~Romelle


  1. I really admire that you squeezed in so much writing along with your busy summer schedule! I'm afraid I've not been nearly as productive as you. :)

    If you're still looking for classes, Susanna Hill's Making Picture Book Magic, which predates either of Mira or Kristen's courses, is one of my all time favorites. It also is laid out such that if a student is diligent, he/she will have a completed and polished story that's ready to submit.

    Also, Renee LaTulippe's The Lyrical Language Lab is awesome! She is a university-trained poet with credentials and her knowledge of poetry and poetic techniques for prose writing is unparalleled. She is, like Susanna, a terrific and patient teacher.

    Have a terrific week, Romelle!

    1. Ooh....Susanna's PB Magic class and Renee's Lyrical Language class were on my radar! Those are great recommendations. I actually wished I did sign up with them. Don't know what happened, but I'm a sucker for writing classes so I may just enroll with them too. Thanks, Teresa.

  2. Thanks for the great resources! you did squeeze a lot into summer.

    1. You are welcome, Lauri. Yes, it was a lot but I enjoyed it. Typical type A!

  3. I'm impressed by your diligence and productivity this summer! I signed up for the summer school but I was truant the whole time. Oops. I second Teresa's suggestions. It's great to always keep learning & improving. I signed up for an in person writing workshop this fall - we'll see how it goes!

    1. Sylvia, I will see you in detention! LoL. Truancy is better than being a drop-out...I guess. I am the latter. The in-person writing workshop should be good. Can't wait to hear about it when you're done.

  4. WOW! You sure did a bunch! :) I love your quote at the bottom. :)

    1. I could say the same for you, busy-guy! Glad you like my quote. I was pretty surprised I came up with it. Lol.

  5. Wow, that is very impressive! I was definitely not as diligent as you. I did look into a MOOC (massive online open course) for the fall, so we'll see how that goes.

    1. MOOC sounds...massive. Intense. Scary-fun. Can't wait for you to tell me all about it.



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