Jan 23

How to Keep Your Writing Moving Forward

Writing Tips
Contributed by Regina Montana
Ever get stuck thinking of what to write next? Ever afraid the next idea just won’t come?

Well, here are two ideas to release you, dear writer, from the stress of what to write next or how to get your protagonist from point A to point B.
1. Get out of yourself and learn a new skill
I’ve mentioned this numerous times to friends and family, I have always wanted to learn the organ.  I have very basic piano skills that I learned as a teenager.  I can play a simple piece as long as there are just a few sharps and flats.  So, the opportunity recently arose for me to learn the organ.  

How could I refuse? My pastor said I could practice on our chapel’s small electric organ.  In return, I would try out my skills before mass this summer while people are entering and exiting the church.  So I would just provide some uplifting music before the services began.  

I would have almost 6 months to get my skills up to par.  It is said that when we try different things, we often hone our skills in our target area, read “writing ability.”  As I write this blog post, I await my first organ lesson next week.  I will keep you posted as to how it progresses.  
2. Volunteer.  Do one small thing for someone else
In his book Life is Messy, author Matthew Kelly writes about what constitutes the good life.  People often think it is about achieving material success: a big house, a nice car, travel opportunities and the perfect job.  He does not discount these things unless these things are “all you’ve got.”  

The last two pages spell out the answer.  Fill your life with goodness.  So what does that consist of?  The author says that to live the good life, we must give of ourselves by being kind, generous, helpful and well, yes, good.  But good in a staggering way.  

We all have gifts waiting to be tapped.  When we use our gifts and give of ourselves, we are lifted up and get a real sense of the good life.

And, by implementing these two ideas, we can lighten up and declutter our minds by focusing on new projects and helping others.  Then, voila!  That empty space might just fill up with inspiration, and, with some luck, the perfect ending for your children’s book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina is a children’s literature writer of poems and picture books. She has written for the ezine Kids Imagination Train, and is a member of Children’s Book Insider where she contributed two articles to, as well as a member of SCBWI.  Regina is also a teacher with a Master of Education Degree.  She has raised two children of her own and is now a grandmother of 5 who give her lots of ideas when she listens carefully.
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. 

Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
 
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Dec 19

Writer’s Block – What Can You Do?

Got Writer's Block?
Contributed by Regina Montana

Just about every writer faces the inevitable: writer’s block.

You stare at the page and nothing comes. It can be debilitating and depressing for the beginning writer, but not just for them. The blank page stares back and dares writers at all stages of their career to fill it up, but with what? 

I would like to make the following suggestions that others have tried and found to be quite helpful.

1.	Take a walk. It’s amazing how a solitary hike or walk in nature can help the imagination run wild. When there’s no pressure, writers are free to let their thoughts roam where they will. You can take in all the sights and sounds around you and invite the Muse. I have even asked my main character for advice as I’m walking. What will you do next? How will you solve the problem you’re facing? 

2.	Change genres.  If you’re writing a picture book, try writing a poem or non-fiction article for a children’s magazine. It helps to lessen the pressure on your brain to let your thoughts change gears for a while. What stirs your imagination? What kind of animals do you find interesting? Do you have a green thumb? Try writing a free verse poem about the geraniums you planted that look beautiful.

3.	Try your hand at painting. I actually found myself transformed as I took out some acrylics and water colors and decided I would sketch illustrations for two poems I wrote. It didn’t matter that they were not great. I enjoyed seeing the bird I wrote about take shape and even got a few compliments when I shared my drawings.  I read an interesting quotation about how trying other forms of art can help inspire creativity, get the juices flowing and flex one’s creative muscle.  

4.	Pick up that guitar you used to play. I learned to play the piano as a teenager and, despite my very basic knowledge, I love to sit down and play a few tunes when the moment arises. I now have the opportunity to learn the organ which has been a lifelong dream. I met a music teacher and she has inspired me to pursue this path. I will be able to practice on our church organ with the permission of my pastor. Maybe I’ll be better able to hear my characters talking to me and telling me the path they want to take.   

5.	So do not despair. Here are a few memorable quotations for Overcoming a Creative Block

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. You cannot intellectualize creativity. You can think about something before or after – but not during.
—	Ray Bradbury

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up.      
—	Isabel Allende

Hope these tips help you when the inevitable bout of writer's block hits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina is a children’s literature writer of poems and picture books. She has written for the ezine Kids Imagination Train, and is a member of Children’s Book Insider where she contributed two articles to, as well as a member of SCBWI.  Regina is also a teacher with a Master of Education Degree.  She has raised two children of her own and is now a grandmother of 5 who give her lots of ideas when she listens carefully.

Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.


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Oct 10

Writing for Children: Enjoy the Journey

Tips on your writing for children journey

Contributed by Regina Montana

Writing for children can be a wild ride. It is full of ups and downs, but success will depend on your tenacity to stay on that bucking bronco. Remember those scenes of cowboys holding on for dear life and then getting thrown off if the bronco was too hot to handle? Maybe this analogy is a slight exaggeration but in some ways it is not.

I’ve been on this bronco ride for about eleven years now. As I write about what it takes to stay on this amazing journey and hopefully become a published author, a few essentials come to mind:

  1. Believe in the message of your story. And not just believe, but be passionate about children reading this very unique book.
  2. Remain positive and don’t get bogged down with the rejections that inevitably will come. It’s all part of becoming a good writer. Be your own best friend. Talk kindly to yourself and celebrate small steps along the way.
  3. Read as many books as possible in the genre you want to write in. You can often find picture books read aloud on YouTube so a trip to your local library is not necessary.
  4. Attend webinars and join the many online writing groups and magazines including SCBWI and CBI. They will help you navigate the world of children’s literature. Find a mentor or critique group to bounce ideas off of.
  5. Write for at least a half hour every day. Keep a journal and write whatever comes into your head without editing. Feed your soul often by taking a walk alone and allow your imagination to wander. You might just get inspired and meet your main characters along the way. Remember: Ideas are everywhere. You must remain open.
  6. When your manuscript is finished, have it professionally critiqued by at least 4 people or services. There are many to be recommended. Develop a thick skin since it’s in your own best interest to have multiple sets of eyes reading your story.
  7. Try to find joy along the way. This journey is not for the faint of heart. If your expectations are not too many out of the gate, you can take your time, learn to write well and accept professional advice. You might just become a published author one day. The emphasis is on “one day.”
  8. Keep some inspiring words, figures or sources of inspiration nearby to look at. A figurine of my main character Sophie, a rescued tortoise, sits on my table as I write her story.

Below are my favorite books for beginning writers:

The Artist’s Way- Julia Cameron
Take Joy – Jane Yolen
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
Writing Picture Books – Ann Whitford Paul

Hope you find them helpful too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributor to Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi

Regina Montana is a children’s literature writer of poems and picture books. She has written for the ezine Kids Imagination Train, and is a member of Children’s Book Insider where she contributed two articles to, as well as a member of SCBWI. Regina is also a teacher with a Master of Education Degree. She has raised two children of her own and is now a grandmother of 5 who give her lots of ideas when she listens carefully.

Children's ghostwriter

Check out my 200+ page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent and marketing your books.

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