One of Louise's favorite writing books

For today’s Tuesday 12 x 12, please welcome Louise Nottingham.  I love that one of Louise’s blogs focuses on poetry, as I am working on writing more poetry myself this year. I have no doubt you will one day be published and acclaimed! 🙂

The Adrenalin Of The Challenge!

Unpublished writer, unrecognized artist, wife, mother, grandmother, and woman of extreme silly imagination! I wonder if I can get that on the label of my urn? 😉  of course I will want to change ‘unpublished’ and ‘unrecognized’ to published and acclaimed! Fingers crossed everyone!

I have to say I don’t know how I stumbled onto the PiBoIdMo Challenge, but I think it must have been some chatter on my Facebook Wall.  I have over 300 ‘Facebook friends’ who are near and dear to me as well as being totally unknown and unmet! Most are writers and authors.  I do so love the book chatter that the authors share. When Tara Lazar started chatting about her past success with a Picture Book IDEA Month I was intrigued. Then when someone compared it to National Novel Writing Month, which I have started often but ‘won’ never (!), I thought “this is something I can do and win!”  I was right! I did it! Throughout the month I found that what I liked most was the accountability and encouragement of the other participants.

Years ago, a library coworker and I had poetry challenges every April (National Poetry Month) We did a poem a day challenge with each other via email each April.  After a couple of years, we expanded that challenge to a full year.  At the end of that year I was so pleased with myself and so grateful to her.  That’s how I feel today when I think of November. No longer is November the month of writing frustration, but the month of ‘idea’ success! I can hardly wait for next November.

Late into the November PiBoIdMo challenge, someone said that they challenged themselves, the year before, to complete one story a month to draft, I thought to myself, “I wish we had a similar support group for that!” THANKFULLY Julie Hedlund stepped up to be our facilitator and leader!

Because of the 12 x 12 in 2012 Challenge I have written daily.  I have been challenged with a marathon in February.  And in March I am going to flex my writing muscles to do a chapter a day (challenge) as well as writing at least one picture book!

Best of all I feel like I am making wonderful friends who have been so encouraging to me! I have been lucky enough to connect with someone in my area who invited me to her critique group, something I have missed after moving from my previous home in Florida.

Before I end I want to share what I have on my bookshelves. I own a large collection of picture books, and juvenile chapter books and a couple of young adult chapter books.  I also have many books on writing. I have books on writing plots. I have books on writing flash fiction. I have books on writing character. I have book on writing for children. I have books on illustrating the story. I have books on marketing your books. I have books on publishing and self-publishing books. And yes, all of these are plural: books!

If I have to pick three books specifically for children’s writing I would pick:

Children’s Writer’s Word Book.

Most of this book is just a children’s level thesaurus but in the first few pages it talks about how children read. It also suggests what words work best for what reading grade level.  I really like this feature. Although I used this more a few years ago than recently, it’s still one I would recommend be on all children’s writer shelves.

Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz

This is on every illustrator’s shelf, but it should be on every picture book writer’s shelf. Especially if you are NOT an illustrator! On Facebook there is often dialog on what words to cut and how to ‘write for the illustrator’. Read this book and check out some of the books Uri uses as examples.  You will begin to get a feel for what is the writer’s job vs the illustrator’s job.

Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine

Ok, Gail wrote this book for young writers my granddaughter’s age, but I love how she is able to talk about gathering your ideas and writing about them.  Many books for children are total fantasy with fairies and elves and dragons and she taps into that magic fantasy.

In closing, I hope you have enjoyed your time with me as much as I have enjoyed the past unpublished author Tuesdays.  I want to thank each of you for your encouragement! I wish each of ‘us’ luck in our writing pursuits!

And I have a couple of blogs I invite you to visit: Remember when I said I used to write a poem a day? Now it’s a haiku a week! Did I mention I was a children’s librarian for 5 or 6 years? During that time I started reviewing books on our shelves, which I liked, for our patrons.  This year I started wanting to keep track of what I read this year.  I am already behind on that, but I do post a few now and then, so stop by every once and awhile to see what I am reading.

Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Books, Children's Books, Goals, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Poetry, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. It’s great to get to know you more through this post, Louise. Your writing plate is full. I like that you’re able to write every day. I, too, love the encouragement and writing pulse of this group. I enjoyed your haiku blog; I like haiku poems.
    Best wishes in your writing!
    ~Tina Cho

  2. Louise, its great reading your interview and getting to know a little more about you. Thanks for sharing your book choices too! I feel fortunate to have you as a colleague in both the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge and the Chapter Book Challenge. You are always very helpful and full of ideas. 🙂

  3. Thank you Louise! I’ll check out your blogs, they sound like a lot of fun! Your book choices are great! I told a writer she needed to buy Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz and she just stared at me like I was talking nonsense.

    November=idea success. Thank you Julie for having Louise. 🙂

  4. Thanks for a wonderful post, Louise and Julie! It’s always so great to get to know 12×12 members a little better! Louise, I like that you like Gail Carson Levine’s writing book, which I have not read but intend to! I often find that books on writing intended for kids are really good! I love Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, and Patricia Reilly Giff has a good one too 🙂

  5. So great to learn more about you Louise! Thank you so much. For the book recommendations! Can’t wait to check them out!:)

  6. Louise you are an inspiration! I would love to one day challenge myself as you do with writing. Thank you for sharing your story and your favorites from your bookshelf.

  7. Louise – nice to know you! You have a wonderful website – I haven’t gotten to the poetic site yet – but I love the book reviews- and DRAGONs – I love DRAGONS, as a matter of fact I have a WIP about a dragon. So thanks for the insights. Blessings on your endeavors this year!

  8. Louise, I just bought the “Children’s Writer’s Word Book” at your recommendation. I love learning more about people in our network. Good luck with 12 x 12 and your poetry, Louise.

  9. Louise, great post! I, too, love “Writing Magic” – also another book written for young writers called “Spilling Ink” by Anne Mazer & Ellen Potter. They are so much more fun to read than stodgy books on writing meant for “real” adults. Not sure I will ever be a “real adult” (which could go a long way to explaining why my bookshelf looks a lot like yours!).
    A also love the haiku a week idea.Think I’ll try it: just the perfect size for an index card…

  10. Julie, again thank you for putting the spotlight on someone whose name I’ve seen on comments, but didn’t really know anything about.
    Louise, how lovely to meet you!! Thank you for sharing part of your writing journey…and the book resources will be a big help in mine. 🙂 My first “real” job during college was in the children’s section of our local library…I’ll definitely check out your blogs…books…children…winning combination. 🙂

  11. Hi Louise, It was fun getting to know more about you. You’re book selections are really helpful. The Children’s Writer’s Word Book is now available as an ebook. And I won Gail Carson Levine’s book right here, from Julie in a giveaway! Well, I’m off to check out your haiku this week.

  12. Nice to ‘meet’ you Louise! And glad to be encouraged to write poetry again. Wrote a silly haiku on my blog today. Also appreciate the book recommendations!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  13. Wonderful post! I’m definitely going to look out for that Writing magic book. Thanks!

  14. Great recommendations! I have used both Writing with Pictures and Writing Magic. The other book that is so helpful is Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook. It is helpful for any writer who wants to make excellent word choices. It also explains the whole form, in easy to understand pieces.
    For revising, Kate Messner’s Real Revision is a gem.
    It seems like you’re constantly challenging yourself, Louise!

  15. Thanks for the post, Louise. Glad you found a critique group at your new home. Online or in person, critique partners make what sometimes feels insurmountable a pleasant journey!

  16. Thanks for the post Louise. I’d been following your poetry blog for a while, but I didn’t know you had another blog. Great post, and best wishes on your “published and acclaimed” pursuit. 🙂

  17. Nice post Louise! I enjoyed reading “Writing Magic” with my daughter, as she loves Gail’s fairy tale re-tellings. It was a fun, accessible book with interesting exercises for adults and kids alike. Best of luck on your 12 X 12 pursuits!

  18. Louise, I love that you wrote poetry for a whole year via email with a co-worker. How cool is that! What an accomplishment!

    It was nice to get to know you better and I appreciate that you shared the books at the end of your post!

  19. It’s great to get to know you a bit better, Louise! And thanks for the book recommendations (it’s great that your post prompted more recommendations in the comments, as well.)

  20. This is great! I like how you talk about challenges! I like to try a lot of challenges even if I don’t win but it is fun to do and see what everyone else does.

  21. Great post Louise! I definitely want to get my copy of Writing Magic.

  22. That Children’s Writer’s Word Book looks as if it would be handy.
    Thanks for this.

  23. Super post, thank you for being an inspiration, Louise. I really appreciated the book recommendations.

  24. Louise, Thanks for sharing this. (I’m late to say this). I’m glad you shared a book for children about writing. A PB author recommended a poetry book to study and it’s a children’s book. It’s short and perfect. I hope you can fit your edited title on your urn one day far, far away.

  25. Thanks for sharing, Louise. 🙂 Thanks for the book recommendations.

  26. Louise, This is an inspiring post. It’s wonderful that you are writing every day and are a part of several different challenges. I imagine your writing is improving daily, too. Thank you for the book recommendations.

  27. I loved Writing Magic, and found it very helpful. It’s geared to kids but relevant for adults too, and it’s not only about magic, but fiction writing in general.

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