Monday, July 30, 2012

Master Jedi Renn has Spoken!

For a Children's Book Writer nothing is more important than making a child laugh, allowing a child to see themselves in a story, and/or winning a reader over.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a pitch to Renn's Pitch Contest! The entries were so creative and fun to read and it is definitely evident that you all have the power to do the above!

Master Jedi Renn has spoken and the winner of the contest is...

Beth Stillborn!!!

Congrats, Beth!  I will be in touch regarding your prize.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Bethany Telles

Not only is today the 4th installment in my new Friendspiration Friday series, but it is also the conclusion of Renn Week here on The Write Routine. 

Let's face it, we cannot conclude Renn Week without giving special mention to his amazing mom.  So today, I would like to introduce Bethany Telles as my Friendspiration!

I am relatively new to the Children's Book Writing community.  In fact, I have only been pursuing this field for a little over a year and did not join a community online til I participated in Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) in November of 2011.

However, it became very clear early on that Bethany Telles was a special member of the community.  Although she lives clear across the country from Brooklyn, NY in Clovis, CA it was easy to become her friend and immediately feel a bond. 

At first we had small chats on the PiBoIdMo Facebook page, and later on the 12x12in12 Facebook page.  We then became Followers of eachother's blogs and Friends on Facebook.

Bethany's blog, Perched in a Tree, features wonderful little musings on both life and writing.

I think what stands out to me the most about Bethany is her unapologetic authentic-ness.  You see, life for Bethany is not always peachy.  She is the mother of two young boys and the wife of a man who has a very demanding, dangerous and somewhat secretive job.  And so, yes, sometimes she probably doesn't get the chance to write every single day.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  And with this newest 3 day stay in the Children's Hospital, life can seem scary. However, like a true artist, Bethany is honest about the ups and downs and allows her readers to see inside of that amazing soul of her's.

It is the fact that she has such a wonderful heart that she is willing to bare no matter how unpretty it may look that makes her accessible and likeable to her readers.  She's that friend that invites you over for coffee and you laugh and cry together around her kitchen least that is how it feels each time you read her work.
My e-Book!
Through all of the crazy occurences this past year, I do want to make sure to acknowledge that Bethany was a finalist in the MeeGenius Writing Challenge  and her first e-book "Waiting for James in a Sea of Pink" was published!!  If that's not a testimony to perseverance, I don't know what is! 

Balancing life and writing can be tough.  Bethany proved it can be done. 

So on this rollercoaster of life, Bethany grabs onto her writing community, her family, her Faith and her talent.  She is amazing.  Its not surprising that Renn has endured all of his latest struggles with a smile on his face.  It is obvious to me that he inherited that smile from his mama.

Do YOU have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to on a future Friday? Please send an email to and we will make that happen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Writers Weigh In: Renn's Pitch Contest

Alright, Writers!  Today is still Renn Week at the Write Routine, as well as Wednesday Weight In.  We are going to change it up with a little contest. 

From what I can see online, Renn is doing really well and is enduring his stay in the hospital with the true spirit of a Jedi.  (If you do not know Renn's story, please look to Monday's post).  However, he's still not home yet, so let's continue to show the love.
Photo: Little hero... Finally in his room!
Today I would like you all to Weigh In with a very special pitch contest!  Let's hone our skills while also making a little guy smile.

Pitch a story about a main character who undergoes a struggle (like Renn) and has to go away for a while to deal with it (in Renn's case, to the hospital).   The story will be about how they deal with This struggel and their time away and how they overcome in the end.   The  main character should have many of Renn's characteristics (brave, smiley, etc).  You can read his story again to get yourself acclimated with him.

Pitch your story idea in the comments section. 

When he is able, Renn will choose the story he likes best and the winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate!

Sound good?  Ready to play Renn's Pitch Contest?  Writers Weigh In!

Pitching closes at midnight PST on Friday, July 27th, 2012!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Renn's Story: A Call for Togetherness

For many adults, entertainment provides an escape.  It doesn't matter if its watching a movie, cheering on a sports team or reading a book, entertainment helps adults escape their reality and live in another world for awhile.

For kids, most of the time reality doesn't need to be escaped.  Instead, entertainment provides time for togetherness and community.  Whether its going to the circus with your family, watching a movie with your best buddies or curling up with a bedtime story its about being with the ones you are with. 

Today I would like to share a story about a very special 5 year old and his mother.  They need our togetherness, our community as they enter the hospital for some tests.  Its a scary time.  But, Renn and Bethany, today I hope you can feel our togetherness.  Our love.  Our support and encouragement.  Imagine that you are in a big comfy chair with us reading your favorite bedtime story.  Its about togetherness...and escape if needed. 

We love you and hope to hear good news soon.  My prayers are with you. 

Here is Renn's story, as told by his mother, Bethany Telles.

You see this little man? ---------->

Well, he's my oldest son. His name is Renn, and he's 5 years old. In less than a month, he'll be going to Kindergarten. He loves Star Wars and knows everything about all six movies... Seriously. He's very smart (okay, yes, I'm a teensy bit biased!), and has said some of the most hilarious things I have ever heard in my life.

Back in February of this year, Renn began having seizures. I mean, out of NOWHERE. They are not your stereotypical lying on the floor, twitching, convulsing, and drooling type seizures (those are called Grand Mal seizures). He has what is known as Petite Mal seizures, which are far less scary to watch (unless you're the person's parents!). He'll begin by shuffling his feet, pointing at or asking about a million different random things, and then his body will "spasm" and he'll flail his right arm out, and might run in a circle while clapping or hopping.

We ran him through the gambit of tests. He had a CT Scan, an EEG, and a MRI... I must admit, with each test, my heart sank. It was hard to watch. But him? With each test, he got to be a cooler and more intelligent Jedi. The resilience of this child... I can't even explain. Anyway, the CT scan came back clear. MRI? Perfect. But the EEG? No such luck. The doctor said it was just "ugly". Believe me, I didn't spend years in medical school learning how to read EEGs, and to me, that thing made me cry.
So in March, we got hit in the gut with a load of the heaviest bricks. Our little boy was diagnosed with Complex Partial Epilepsy.


That word just didn't make sense. He was perfectly FINE all this time! Would he be able to live a normal life? Would he be able to drive one day? What did that word mean, exactly? It truly is unbelievable how little we knew about the disease, and what kind of stigma it holds for those who don't know. I've long dealt with people not understanding my disease (I'm a Type 1 Diabetic- have been since I was 10), but now? Was I going to have to go into each teacher at every new school year and whisper quietly all the restrictions he was to have? NO. I just wasn't having it.

Luckily, his Neurologist- thankfully a close family friend of ours- calmed me the heck down. He said Renn would be just fine, and there were no restrictions. He'd be on medication, and once it kicked in and he stopped having seizures, we'd recheck in a year and see if we could start weaning him off the meds. That meant there's a chance he'd outgrow this!

Hope! There was hope!

But, three months, three heavy medications, seven different dosage changes, and many seizures later, that one year goal seems further and further out of reach.

Tomorrow (July 23, 2012) I will be taking Renn to our wonderful Children's Hospital, where we will admit him, and he will be monitored for at least 72hrs on what's called a VEEG (Video EEG). The goal is to find out what, exactly, is going on in that beautiful, innocent brain of his. I am praying for answers. I don't think there is anything worse, short of losing your child, than not knowing what is going on with your baby.

Why am I sharing this? Well, one- I'm a writer. I have to write, and as I've explained before, it's extremely therapeutic for me. But, two- I am sharing this because I know I have a family, here. A family that cares about what is going on. But more than that, we write for kids everyday, so odds are, we kinda like them. :) I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, I can lean on you in this hard time.

So I am making a request... If you wouldn't mind it this week while Renn is in the hospital, could you share this picture and story with everyone you know? I will be making it my profile picture on FB, but you certainly do NOT have to go that far. But maybe ask your friends, families, or followers to pray and/or share? I want to be able to show Renn, as he sits and sits and sits during the VEEG, that there are people in the world praying for and thinking of him... That he CAN get through this, the only way Jedis can... By using the Force. :)

Please share this story and/or Renn's picture today on your social media outlets.  And please feel free to leave comments for Renn and Bethany here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Julie Rowan-Zoch on Jon Agee

Welcome to the third installment in my new Friday series in which YOU get a chance to guest blog about someone who has inspired you in the writing community! I look forward to hearing from many of you.

Today Julie Rowan-Zoch joins us from her garden in Colorado to introduce her to her Friendspiration.

Please welcome, Julie...

First a round of applause for Marcie - it looks like the beginning of a beautiful inspirationship!

I am honored to introduce Jon Agee to anyone not yet familiar with this talented author/illustrator of numerous picturebooks for children, and a series of wordplay books enjoyed by all ages. His first was published in 1982 (If Snow Falls, Pantheon) but his fourth finally put his name on the map: The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau (1988, Farrar, Straus, Giroux).

I only recently discovered the work of Jon Agee, but its impact on me as a picture book maker has been none-the-less powerful. He is as capable with words in telling stories as he is with pictures, a trait I don’t find to be common. His books on palindromes, oxymorons, spoonerisms and tongue-tanglers are visual proof of an artist in love with words. Agee mentions on his website ( that he was influenced by the work of Tomi Ungerer, also one of my top favorites in the picturebook pond. Between the bold, simple lines and casual yet careful use of color I feel Agee’s straightforward and quirky humor, like butter in my belly-fly!

How could I not be taken in by someone who says this about writing: “I like taking an implausible, off-the-wall idea, and seeing where it will go.”

Esteem for a master craftsman is one thing, but each book of his I read convinces me to embrace my crazy ideas and run with them instead of fretting their salability. I think I’ll stick to his advice: “Absorb stuff and see what happens.”

Graphic designer and picturebook maker Julie Rowan-Zoch is a NY transplant soaking up the sun on Colorado's Front Range.   When she's not writing or illustrating she can be found with a garden shovel or local brew in hand, or biking to the library.

Do YOU have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to on a future Friday? Please send an email to and we will make that happen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Keeping Routine in Summertime

Summer is usually a time for adventure and travel.  And it is also a time of disrupted daily routine.Whether your kids are home from school or you are away from home staying in a hotel or your social bbq-ing is leading to later nights than usual, it can be hard to accomplish what you need to do on any given day.

I really feel the disruption when it comes to my marathon training.  I train with my team on Saturday mornings, however for the next few weekends I am traveling.  Therefore, I have had to map out runs in other cities, sometimes for 8-10 miles, or seek out the nearest treadmill.  It definitely causes extra work and research on my end.

Luckily, I don't write on the weekends, so that routine has remained relatively unharmed...although busy weekend travel leads to exhausted Mondays when I really struggle to be creative.  So I have limited what I set out to accomplish on Mondays, usually focusing on blogging and researching only.  I then spend the rest of the week focused on writing and revisions.

What about you?  How do you keep your writing routine during the summer?  What changes and/or accommodations do you make in order to keep momentum?

Writers, Weigh In!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sleep, Perchance to Dream: 5 Tips on Resting

"There is nothing a good night's sleep won't cure" sounds alot like advice my mother would have given me after hours of crying over a boy who broke my heart.  And although this advice seems incredibly basic there is a lot of truth to it!

Whether you are a Wall Street Trader or a pre-published KidLit author, finding a good balance between work and life is key to productivity.  Included in that balance should be a healthy daily dose of sleep and rest.  And even in marathon training, there are days of rest within the weekly schedule.  Though it can be tough to step back and let go on rest days, it can be most beneficial in the long run.

I write this after a very busy weekend spent in Canada that found me stuck at the Toronto airport last night waiting for a severely delayed fight back home.  Therefore, I am running on very little sleep...something that I have never been very good at.  And as I sat at the airport gate last night I could feel my potential for productivity today slipping away.

Today I realize I am not going to get much creative work done on my WIPs, but instead of getting upset I want to focus today on how to add rest and sleep into the Writer's Routine.
  • Keep a notebook handy.  You might tell yourself that you are going to rest and not do any writing, brainstorming, or revising on a Rest Day, however its very hard to "turn off" the writer's mind.  So, keep a small notebook handy.  If any ideas come to mind on a rest day, write them in the notebook and then let go.  They will be there tomorrow.
  • Unplug.  Many times "resting" means not even turning on the computer for me.  Its too tempting to open up my WIPs file or to start and do research online.  So, perhaps even for a few hours a day or one day a week, unplug. 
  • Crosstrain.  In marathon training we crosstrain, meaning we use our muscles in a different way than running.  In the long run it actually helps keep you toned and makes you stronger.  So why not use your creative muscles differently on a Rest Day?  Go to a museum, take a photography tour around your neighborhood, paint or doodle, bake.  Do anything creatively that does not include writing.
  • Reflect and Dream.  Most of us need to be asleep to dream.  So on a rest day, spend time thinking about what it will be like to open a box of your published book or visualize your first book signing event.  Reflect on things that you have accomplished and celebrate how far you have come.  And then dream of what is to come. 
  • Sleep.  It sounds simple, but it isn't.  However, you need to find time to sleep.  Whether it means going to bed a tad earlier on a Rest Day or letting yourself sleep in a tad longer, you will be doing your creative-self a favor.  It is said that Robert Louis Stevenson came up with the plot of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde during a dream.  And Paul McCartney said he discovered the tune for the song "Yesterday" in a dream.  For more, check out Wikipedia's list of Anecdotal accounts of sleep and creativity.
So do yourself a favor.  Find one day this week and give yourself permission to make it a Rest Day.  Although it might seem counterproductive, I guarantee you will return to work the next day stronger and refreshed. 

Happy Writing  Resting!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Beth Stillborn on Beverly Brenna

Welcome to the second installment in my new Friday series in which YOU get a chance to guest blog about someone who has inspired you in the writing community! I look forward to hearing from many of you. 

Today we welcome Beth Stillborn.  Beth is a very active member of the online writers communities, PiBoIdMo and 12x12in'12.  She is also an administrator for the incredibly successful Children's Book Hub.  Through these sites I have grown to both know and admire Beth. 

Please welcome Beth as she shares her Friendspiration with us...her cousin, YA author Beverly Brenna!

How exciting to be in at the beginning (well, near beginning) of Marcie’s new feature, Friday Friendspirations – and what a great idea it is!

It’s also exciting for me to share with you my Friendspiration, who has been inspiring me since she was a little girl and I was a slightly bigger girl.

Beverley Brenna has been a part of my life since her birth. I was six years old at the time, and didn’t realize that not only did I have a new cousin but I also now had a life-long dear friend, cohort in zany escapades, and a writing inspiration and staunch supporter for my own writing efforts.

Bev was writing stories before she could read or write (her father was adept at “reading” her scribbles), and she had poems published on the kids’ page of a provincial rural weekly newspaper at a fairly young age. I was so proud of her! I still have a clipping one of those poems by “Persicaria.”

I tend to yack a lot about writing, Bev just gets on with it. Somehow, while working (first as a classroom teacher, then special education teacher, then special education consultant for the city school board, and now professor of education in a university), raising a family (she and her husband have three boys, two of whom are in university, the youngest is still in high school), accompanying her husband to London, England while he worked on his doctorate (he’s a drama professor), and then getting her own doctorate, Beverley has managed to write and be published in several genres: picture books, middle grade novels, YA novels, short stories and poetry.

My favorites of her novels are her two YAs about a young woman, Taylor Jane Simon, who deals with Asperger’s Syndrome and with becoming an adult: Wild Orchid and Waiting for No One. The third book in the trilogy, The White Bicycle, is due in the fall of this year, and I am waiting impatiently for it (although I really don’t want it to be the last book about Taylor). For reviews of the books, please see Pat Tilton’s blog, Children’s Books Heal.

Bev is very warm and generous in her support of my writing, and, indeed, of my being. She’s my go-to person when I have school or theatre related questions for my books. (She’s an actress as well as an educator, and her husband is an actor and director as well as professor.) She is definitely a Friendspiration to me!

To learn more about Bev, check out Bev’s website, 

When I asked Marcie how long this post should be, she said, “as long as you need to tell us how fab she is!” Well, I could go on and on about how fab Bev is, but I think the best way for you to find that out is to read her books. Thanks, Marcie, for giving me this opportunity to talk about one of my favorite writers – and one of my favorite people.

Note from Beth: When this post is published on Marcie’s blog, I will be at the Stony Brook Southampton Children’s Literature Conference, and so my replies to your comments may be delayed, but I will get here to reply at some point!

Do YOU have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to on a future Friday? Please send an email to and we will make that happen.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Help me trust my gut!

Today I need to hear stories about authors who went with their gut, despite what critics said and they succeeded!  I know those stories are out there.  Jodi Moore, author of the highly-acclaimed WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN (Flashlight Press) shared one such story on my blog a few months ago.

Jodi said that when she took DRAGON to her first NJ SCBWI conference she signed up for two Peer Crit Groups which were each moderated by an editor.  In one group they said it was a great story but she needed to make sure the reader understood that the dragon was real. The other group said she needed to make sure the readers understood that the dragon was imaginary.  And then the editor at Flashlight Press asked her, "Is the dragon real or imaginary?"  Jodi stuck to her original thought and said, "Its for the reader to decide!" And that's just what makes this story so wonderful!

In fact, the marketing for the book really plays up the idea of the reader deciding...proving that Jodi was right all along!

If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in.
And that's exactly what happens to one very lucky boy at the beach. Dad is busy sunbathing and Mom is busy with her book, so the boy and dragon roam the beach together, flying a kite, braving the waves, and roasting marshmallows.

But no one believes him when he shares the news of his magnificent dragon: Mom only hears the roar of the ocean, Dad thinks the dragon feather is a seagull feather, and know-it-all sis claims there's no such thing as a dragon.

That's when the sandwiches mysteriously disappear, claw prints are found in the brownies, and dragon-giggles erupt from the strangest of places. Heh-heh-heh.
Is there truly a mischievous dragon running around on the beach or is someone's imagination running wild? Decide for yourself When a Dragon Moves In

Congrats, Jodi for listening to your gut and thank you for sharing your story!  It is stories like this that help me when I feel confused about critiques I might receive.

Anyone have another story?  I could use the inspiration...

Writers weigh in!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Boy + Bot : A lesson in simplicity

When I first read "Boy + Bot" by Ame Dyckman (illustrator: Dan Yaccarino), I was struck immediately by the sweet simplicity of the story.  Within 240 words, 24 pages Ame and Dan create a whimsical world where a kid can meet a robot while just out gathering pinecones and an instant friendship is born!

So often we are told that, in today's market, stories need to be told in 500 words or less and we rebel.  We make all kinds of excuses and defend why our work is different.  We cling to our 600, 700, even 900+ word manuscripts.  I've been there.  But I also realize that at times I am getting in my own way. 

"Boy + Bot" is a complete story.  There is nothing missing.  It is 240 words.  It can be done. 

Another thing that strikes me about this story is the amount of story that is told in "pictures only".  Let's face it, Ame was given one of the BEST illustrators for her book and he did an amazing job.  But so much of the story is told in wordless spreads.  Boy affixes a drawing of Bot to the refrigerator; Bot sticks a picture of Boy on his torso. Boy sips chocolate milk from a straw; Bot chugs oil from the nozzle of a can. We are able to see the growth of this friendship without a single word.  It brings to mind the Wild Rumpus spreads of  Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are".

But as a Picture Book Author, how do you achieve this?

I have a few manuscripts that I have been working on and have been visualizing much of it in illustrations only.  However, often we are warned against too many illustration notes.  And sometimes I feel like it is lazy of me to not write about the action and just allude to it in illustration notes.

I know some of my readers are friends with Ame...perhaps you can send this link to her and we can have her weigh in.  :)  I would just love to know how those wordless spreads came to be.

Bottomline, "Boy + Bot" is the quintessential picture book for today's market: the simplistic tale of a quirky friendship, the amazing illustrations which enhance the story, the witty humor, the bright colors.  Congrats to Ame and Dan!  I only wish I had written it!  :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Carol Higgins Lawrence

Today I am kicking off a new Friday series in which YOU get a chance to guest blog about someone who has inspired you in the writing community!  I look forward to hearing from many of you. 

I am also going to use this series as an opportunity to introduce you to members of my Critique Group in NYC.  They are a group of fabulous people and I think you should know who they are. 

Carol Higgins Lawrence joined my Critique Group in January 2012.  She has been a wonderful addition to the group, always providing insightful, carefully thought out critiques of others' manuscripts.  Her own works are so sweet and poignant, brilliantly capturing tender moments between children and parents.  She is both a delight to read and a delight to know.

Please welcome Carol Higgins Lawrence.

What do you do in real life? 
I am an adult literacy instructor. I have 2 part-time “paid” jobs at the moment. I teach computer literacy for a non-profit organization and I teach English as a Second Language at college. I live in Brooklyn with my husband, our 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 5 years old and I used to write stories and give them to my father. He’d smile, read my story aloud, pay me a quarter and congratulate me every single time.

How often to do you write?  Where?  What time of day?
Honestly, it varies and I’ve stopped beating myself up about that. My current work and family schedules allow me to commit to writing at least 2 times a week. I write on Thursdays and Fridays in the morning from 9:00-12:00 and I am 100% focused for those 6 hours a week. I’m always working stuff out in my head; some thought, idea, story or inspiration so that I show up prepared to produce for my weekly writing time. If I am inspired or have time to do more writing in a particular week, then I consider it gravy! I write using my laptop on the couch or in my bed. I write in the mid-mornings because I have my best physical and mental energy at that time of day. I’ve recently realized that it is pointless, unproductive and downright frustrating for me to try to write in the evenings or on weekends when my energy is low and while I’m trying my best to be an active and caring wife and mother. I’m accepting of the fact that as my life changes so too will my writing schedules.
What was your favorite story/book as a child?  and why?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. The Grinch was such an interesting character. I was captivated by the illustrations and language and I’m a sucker for a Christmas story. I also liked the Mr. Men series by Roger Hargreaves. I loved the simplicity of each character and the straight forward storytelling.
…I know you asked for one, but I couldn’t resist :)

What kind of stories do you like to write? 
I like to write stories about the small tender moments experienced between family members. I like to conjure the sights, sounds and feelings that remind me of my childhood. My hope is always that readers will connect emotionally with my stories. Also, as a writer of color, it is important to me that I represent the experience of children of color. So often, we do not see ourselves and family life normalized in different forms of media, including children’s books. I like writing books for children of all ages. A few years ago, I was writing more YA stuff. My poem, “Patriarchy”, was published in a YA poetry collection entitled Black Girl Talk by Sister Vision Press.  For now, my focus is more on picture books. Many of the stories I’m working on currently are inspired by members of my family and my 2 children.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer, a photographer, a writer, a hairdresser, a writer, an interior decorator, a guest writer on the Oprah Winfrey Show, a writer.

If you could go back in time and tell your 8 year old self one thing, what would it be?
Always focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. In fact, if you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else, forget about your weaknesses entirely.

 What is the greatest piece of writing advice you have ever received?
                Write what you know.

Thank you, Carol! 

Do YOU have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to on a future Friday? Please send an email to and we will make that happen.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Drowning in a Sea of WIPs? 5 Tips

Last week I celebrated the many accomplishments I have made over the last 10 months of pursuing a career as a Picture Book Author. 

Two of such accomplishments have been participation in Paula Yoo's NaPiBoWriWee which yielded 6 manuscripts for me, and Julie Hedlund's 12x12in'12 which just hit the halfway point and has yielded 6 more manuscripts.  But that's not all, I also have a few other manuscripts that I have been working on here and there through classes at Gotham Writer's Workshop and the like. 

What does this all add up to? 

My WIPs (Work in Progress) folders, both on my computer and in my filing cabinet, are overflowing!  Its enough to be overwhelming at times.

So what is a girl to do?

5 Tips to Stay Afloat in the Sea of WIPs

  1. Change Perspective.  First off, recognize that these manuscripts are in fact WIPs and therefore do not get overwhelmed.  As a writer, its scary to think of the well of creativity completely drying up, but the overflowing WIPs folder is a reminder that creativity is indeed flowing.  So celebrate the amount, don't dread it!
  2. Enjoy Variety.  Treat your WIPs like your closet.  Basically, with a great big selection of WIPs you can browse through the offering and decide what suits you today.  What character do you want to spend time with?  What world do you want to explore today?  Feel free to change manuscripts as often as you change your underwear!
  3. Allow for Rest.  There are some WIPs that need to sit for a bit.  They have been critiqued and revised quite a few times but are still "not right".  Therefore, the WIPs folder is a nice place to let them relax for a bit.  When its time, they will be read with fresh eyes. 
  4. Have Fun with Them.  Just because all of those WIPs are sitting there staring you in the face telling you they need to be completed and made "submission ready" asap does not mean you need to listen to them.  Instead, look at the WIPs folder as your playground.  Spend time practicing writing pitches for them.  See what would happen if the main character of one WIP decided to join another WIP.  Play around with POV or prose/rhyme.  This is your creativity garden...therefore, be creative! 
  5. Commiserate.  Ask any writer, published or pre-published, and they will tell you that they have mountains of ideas and WIPs.  We are writers.  That is what we do.  We write.  Its a badge of the profession.  Therefore, talk to your other writer friends about how many WIPs you have.  Compare numbers.  Pitch one of the plots.  Mention what issues you are having.  Its amazing how just talking about a manuscript can help unlock ideas.  Even a simple question posed by the person you are talking to can get you started in the "write" direction.