Routine Time

My kids started back to school this week. They all have new routines to get used to. Instead of sleeping in, they have to get up early. During the school day, they have to get used to different classes and different teachers. Instead of having leisure afternoons, they have homework. Drop off and pick up times have changed. It’s zoom here and zoom there.

My own routine has changed as well. Not only am I back in the driver seat as head chauffeur to the various school we have to go to, but I have to get back to fitting all my errands into the early morning hours so I can have time to write before my chauffeuring time starts all over again in the afternoon.

It’s nice to be able to sit and write without the extra noise and distractions. Yes, I love it when my kids are around, but I do enjoy the quiet moments when I can let the creative juices flow nonstop.

It’s good to get back into a routine. Sometimes we need that bit of organization to force us to get certain things done. Maybe in a few days my kids will be thinking that, too.

Working Around Summer Deadlines

With my kids home for the summer, and my deadlines still looming, I’ve been trying to juggle between being an attentive mother and a serious writer. It’s  not easy. I don’t want to miss time with my children while they’re home, and I don’t want to blow my reputation of keeping ahead of my deadlines by falling behind, especially since these are paid opportunities. So what do I do?

First, I try to work when the kids are busy. When they’re watching a favorite TV show, or playing one of their video games, or even playing outside, I can work on a rewrite or jot notes for a story. Then I look for opportunities when we have appointments. All my kids had dental appointments this summer, so that added up to 30 minutes of work per child. That could be a whole story, or at least a good outline. Finally, my kids love sleeping in. I love getting up early. That gives me precious minutes where I can research or write.

Of course, there are times when I need to work while they’re not busy. I’m blessed with pretty understanding kids, so as long as I devote some time throughout my day to them, they are a bit forgiving with an hour or two (or sometimes three) where they know I must get something down on paper (a.k.a. word-processor).

When summer comes to a close, I will note all those deadlines I was able to make (ahead of time!) while still spending valuable and quality time with my kids. It just takes creativity in making those spare minutes work.

Mental Notes

My family took a day trip to the beach the other day.  I had intended to do some writing while I sat and relaxed, but I ended up looking, listening, and observing everything. The day was unexpectedly cold and cloudy. The sand was smooth in some areas, grainy in others.  The waves boomed and crashed and hissed, kicking up handfuls of mist as they collided into each other. As the waves grew in intensity, the surge sometimes reached out and swept over sand castles and beach chairs. There were people of all ages, wearing a variety of clothes, with some speaking German or Dutch. All of them seemed to enjoy their time, making the best of the weather and the ominous surf.

Sometimes I think we need to just watch. We need to capture images in our heads so we can draw more vivid word pictures when we write. I’m glad I just didn’t sit and write. I’m glad I took mental notes so I can use them for another day. I already have some ideas in mind.

Finding Answers; Sharing Solutions

Research is vital to any good article, especially one that needs to be substantiated with accurate information. I just finished my research for a story that is due next week. Although I haven’t stopped to add up the number of resources I’ve used as of yet (I will very soon to type up my bibliography), I did refer to many books, articles, and websites.

I really enjoy researching. I guess it’s that hidden detective in me, always pursuing those little clues that will lead to the ultimate solution. And now with the internet, I can visit locations and gather data that I would normally have had to travel many miles to acquire.

Yes, research is fun. But now comes the most challenging part: taking ALL that information and transforming it into an interesting, yet concise story that educates and entertains my young readers. I guess this is why I like writing: I can fulfill that urge to find the answers to my many questions, and then I can turn around and share that knowledge with others. What a wonderful job I have!

What a Moment!

This past Sunday my book was listed as Book of the Month for my church, with people having the opportunity to purchase copies at a table in the courtyard. This was a really nice honor, since it was very rare for our pastor to include children’s books among his recommendations.

In between services I normally sit in the courtyard near the book table as I wait for my husband who serves in another part of the church. But this time I didn’t want to sit too close, so my kids and I moved several tables away.

While we were waiting, a few people approached me so I could sign their books. It was my pleasure to do so, and at one point someone asked me to be sure to put the date on it, too. It wasn’t until much later that I recognized the significance of that moment. I was signing my name onto a book about the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 2010: exactly 234 years after the original document was signed by two of our Founding Fathers!

Eight years ago I would never have dreamed that I would be a writer with a book published about

Book Signing in Montclair

This past Saturday I was at the Barnes and Noble in Montclair, California for another book signing. I had a fun time talking to friends, family, and some new friends I made during my time there. One young girl named Angelica originally thought the author of the Junie B. Jones books was coming in. Although a bit disappointed, she really liked my book and ended up buying one. She was so excited to have me sign her new book, that she even had my young daughter sign it, too!

Another young lady by the name of Sophia enjoyed looking at the pictures while her father read a few pages.

Plans are in the works for me to return to this store in September, but I will update when I have a confirmed time and date.

Fan Mail

I just received a packet of fan mail from some of the students at Lankershim Elementary, where I spoke last week. Most were a few sentences, thanking me for coming to speak about being an author. They even drew pictures of me at the bottom of their pages. One little girl added a cute note: “I liked your shoes.” I had to laugh at that one.  

These were my very first fan letters. I will cherish them always because they will remind me of the fun I had speaking to the kids and answering their multitude of questions. Such minds! Such imaginations! I just hope that I was and will always be an inspiration to others.