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A couple of weeks ago, I asked for help choosing between two blog posts I’d written in order to revise one of them for submission to a travel-writing anthology.  I was once again amazed at the generosity of this writing community when I got nearly 20 responses.  You all helped me so much, not just by putting forward your opinions about the post, but by motivating me to actually get the piece written and submitted.

You see, it turned out to be more work than I had initially anticipated because I had to take a post that assumed a great deal of knowledge on the part of the reader — that I was traveling in Italy and why, previous hikes I had taken, photographs of the landscape, etc, — and turn it into a piece that someone with no previous knowledge of the blog could understand and appreciate.  I had to add in context, description and motivation.  Because of other commitments (the Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference, for example), I had just a few hours of one day to get it ready.

I felt daunted and wanted to quit and wait for the next call for submissions.  But I couldn’t.  Not after so many of you had taken time out of your own busy schedules to help me out.  It was with you all in mind that I forged ahead and submitted just minutes before the deadline closed.  Regardless of what happens with that submission, I am glad I persevered.  Thank you for being the motivation I needed to get the job done!

When I put out the call for help, I promised that I would write a post highlighting your blogs, if you have one, and why I like them.  This is not at all hard to do since you are all so talented. Here you all are, in the order you commented.  Please, readers, check these guys out!  You will be glad you did.

Head Ant: You know any blog that headlines with, “Life is a Picnic” is going to be fun.  Head Ant does posts on books, crafts, parenting, writing, recipes, you name it.  I love how she integrates all of her interests into the blog.

Jenny Sulpizio: I “met” Jenny at this year’s WriteOnCon when we swapped critiques of stories.  She is a talented writer who shares her experience with parenting and life in general on her blog.  Right now I’m loving her “Christmas Countdown” series!

Catherine Johnson, Writer: Catherine, who I’ll forever think of as Kangaroobee, has been a friend and supporter almost from the beginning of this blog.  A fellow children’s book writer and a gifted poet, her posts never fail to make me smile.  She even writes book reviews in poetry!  She is always there with a kind word of encouragement – someone you definitely want in your writing corner.

Nancy Hatch, Spirit Lights the Way: Nancy and I have been following each other for at least a year now, and her posts never fail to make me stop, think, and discover how I can appreciate life a little more.  She is candid, honest, interesting and writes on a multitude of subjects.  She has an active readership and often the best part of reading her posts is going through the comments – the discussion is always lively!

Cathy Mealey: Cathy is fairly new follower, and I don’t think she has a blog.  However, she has very kindly sent me several emails with links to articles on topics she knows I’ll be interested in.  Seldom do people take those kinds of extra steps these days.  She was also the lucky winner of my Colorado Picture Book Writers giveaway!

Joanna Marple, Miss Marple’s Musings: Joanna is a fellow picture book writer and poet, and we share a wanderlust and love of world travel.  I also appreciate how her love of nature and animals finds its way into her writing and her blog posts.  She also does fantastic picture books reviews from a writer’s perspective.

Clara Bowman-Jahn, Clarbojahn’s Blog: Clara is another writer I “met” at WriteOnCon (see why you should attend that conference??).  Clara is also a fellow Writers’ Platform-Building Campaigner and has been doing a much better job keeping up with it than I have – lol!  Her posts are very helpful to writers wherever they are in their journeys.

Bagni di Lucca: I “met” the two ladies who write this blog, Debra and Liz, while I was in Italy.  They encouraged me in my writing about the Italy trip, and I have come to live vicariously through their blog.  I think of them as “off the beaten path,” not just in Italy but everywhere they travel.  They provide the juicy, intimate details of a place – the things you wouldn’t necessarily think of seeing first.  They turn ordinary into extraordinary and the photography is stunning.

Stacy S. Jensen: A fellow Coloradan (although we haven’t met in person yet) and children’s writer, Stacy’s blog and her Facebook page are packed with goodies for writers seeking to improve their craft and make their way along the publishing journey.  Our degrees of separation keep getting smaller, and we are just going to have to meet soon (hint, hint).  She’s led a fascinating life and, like me, places an emphasis on the practice of gratitude in her weekly Thankful Thursday posts.

Sana Johnson Quijada, A Friend to Yourself: Sana’s comment to my “call for help” post was her first, and I am so glad I got to “meet” her and familiarize myself with her blog.  She is a psychiatrist and a writer using her blog in a very important way – teaching us how to be a friend to ourselves by evaluating our thought and behavior patterns to weed out those that are not in service to our well-being.  I dare you to read a few of her posts and not be inspired.

Susanna Leonard Hill: Susanna must be one of the most supportive bloggers of children’s book writers and readers that I know.  It seems every time I leave a comment on a kidlit blog, Susanna has already been there.  She is a multi-published author of many wonderful picture books, including the adorable Punxsutawny Phyllis (niece of Punxsutawny Phil of Groundhog Dog Day fame).  She does pitch contests, giveaways, fun Friday photos and more.

Rebecca Gomez: Rebecca writes poetry and fiction for kids and is also an artist.  She writes very thoughtful posts about the art of writing for children.  Obviously a fellow grammar geek, I love this post of hers on apostrophes.

Julie Farrar, Traveling Through…: Julie Farrar is also a fellow Writers’ Platform-Building Campaigner.  She is a woman, like myself, searching for work and a life with more meaning and passion.  Her posts are beautiful and thought-provoking, and as an added bonus, she lives in Germany and posts gorgeous pictures from there!

Sons of Thunder: This fellow’s blog tagline is, “God, Cuisine, Life, Poetry, Music, Ships, History, Treasures.”  That about covers it. 🙂  Therefore, I think everyone can find something on his blog.  I’d also like to add that he is the most creative commenter EVER.  Seriously, his comments are better than my posts – lol.

Alice: Alice, I have no link to any additional information about you :-(, but thank you for your comment!

Alison Pearce Stevens: Alison is one of my online critique group members.  She writes both fiction and nonfiction picture books and magazine articles.  Her science writing is top-notch and I never fail to learn something when I critique them.  She is also shopping a middle-grade novel which I read, critiqued, and LOVED!  She has laser-sharp instincts, which makes her an excellent critique partner.  My writing is much better because of her insight and honesty.

Lynnette Benton: Lynnette writes not one, but two creative writing blogs, including Polish and Publish: Tools and Tactics for Creative Writers.  An accomplished writer and creative writing instructor, she shares her wisdom and street smarts with all of us.

Hannah Holt, Lightbulb Books: Hannah is the only person on this list I’ve met in person – at last year’s Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference.  She didn’t make it this year because she had twins early in 2011 and they’ve kept her pretty busy these days. 🙂 Her website is fun and quirky, and one of her picture book manuscripts won a Letter of Merit from the Barbara Karlin Grant Committee this year!

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Patrick Ross of The Artist’s Road.  On the same day I was wavering about submitting the piece, I read a on his blog, The Artist’s Road, entitled, Do You Suffer from “Not Quite” Paralysis?  Give it a read if perfectionism has ever gotten in the way of just getting something done and sent out.

I love the fact that connections made on social media networks turn into real friendships, and that asking for help in this venue is the norm rather than the exception.  Thank you all, once again!

When was the last time you asked for, and received, help in a way that touched you?

Categories: Authors, Children's Books, Friendship, Italy, Picture Books, Poetry, SCBWI, Travel, Travel Writing, Writer's Platform-Building Campaign, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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10 Comments

  1. Not only is this one of the incredibly nicest blog posts I’ve ever read – so sweet of you to take the time to thank everyone! – but it’s also introduced me to a number of these bloggers in such a friendly way that I’m inspired to go visit all their blogs since you like them so much 🙂 Congrats on getting your piece done and in on time despite all the competing pressures. I hope it turns out well for you, but either way, it was great writing!

  2. I’m so glad you finished it! 🙂

    I can’t wait to check out all these great links!

  3. Great job, Julie! Way to get the article done and sent off and thanks for the awesome “shout-out” in the process too. Woot-Woot!

  4. Thank you so much for your kind words, and link to my site. As far as my comments being better than your post… I disagree wholeheartedly. They are greatly inspired by your post, though. I find when I spend more time navigating one particular persons site, insights, reviews or creative works, while absorbing as much as possible, I become more acquainted with what is really in their heart.

    It’s so much easier to have a conversation with friends, even by time delayed comments, than it is to try and think of a few words to leave my footprints on dozens of sites. Sadly, most of us have so little time to do this these days, as much as we would like to.

    It almost makes me feel sorry for some of the bloggers I love to read, who become overwhelmed with so many followers,and in some cases shows in their posting content and delivery. ( Almost )
    God Bless You
    paul

  5. Stacy S. Jensen

    You are too kind. And, I’m so happy you finished. When I read your post it made me think about a submission I have been toying with – Do I have time? Is it ready? What am I thinking – can I write this? After reading this, I’m pushing through with it. I’m visiting the post by Patrick Ross first and then I’ll make my way around to the others. Thank you.

  6. What a terrific introduction to so many wonderful bloggers. And thanks for your kind description of SLTW.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you on your submission.

    When we write: we learn, we teach, we grow . . . no matter what happens, we win! 😀

    Write on!

  7. Thank you for your kind comments. I look forward to your blog posts. Good luck with your writing.

  8. What a lovely post. I am also glad you got to finish your writing in the knick of time. will definiately be visiting these other blogs you have mentioned. How sweet of you.

  9. Thanks for the pingback and shout out of my blog. I have to lol when you say I’ve kept up with the writer’s platform. Not this week! I have an ear infection and been trying to keep up with http://www.themuseonlinewritersconference.com all week. If you can try and register for next October.
    So glad you finished your submission even though it was tough. I think it shows courage and fortitude.

  10. Wow, thank you for taking the time to comment in such depth. I thoroughly enjoyed reading more about these fellow writers and their blogs and am now going to check out those I don’t yet know, and revisit those I do. This kidlit community is so supportive – I love it!

    Good luck with that submission, and do let us know.

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