Peg366's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Writing Journey

« on: August 28, 2010, 01:11 PM »

Whenever I am feeling like I should just stop writing, I come across something like this that renews my desire to write. It is nice to know that even the great writers have those times when it didn’t come easy. This appeared on Verlakay’s site and was posted by Stephanie Theban. Thanks Stephanie for sharing this.

I heard Phyllis Reynolds Naylor speak today.  She said that she used to say she had received a thousand rejections, and then she felt bad about it because she didn’t know if it was true.  She had her secretary go back and count them.  there were actually over 10,000. 

Ten thousand rejections.  She read a series from one editor who said things like, you don’t understand how to construct a story, I hate to see you spend so much energy on stories that won’t work, you can keep sending stories to me, but I won’t publish any of them until you learn something about story.

And as she said, a lot of acceptances.

It was a great reminder to perservere.


Stephanie Theban aka Leeth


Since I have not yet had the pleasure of getting a pb book contract, there are some areas that I have little to no experience in. I’m looking for comments on how to do a book launch for an article I’m writing. Would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

I have been fortunate in this life to be blessed with a child that is not mine biological but truly mine in my heart. Jessica is my niece and we have always shared a special bond. I couldn’t be prouder if I was her mom.

 On May 23, 2010 0f this year, I got the chance to see her graduate with honors. It’s hard to believe the little girl who swirled gracefully in front of the TV pretending to be Kristi Y. and Michelle Kwan (as we watched ice skating) is now a young woman.

That young woman has been so supportive of my writing career and I hope I make her as proud of me as I am of her.  She’s dared me to dream, helped me learn how to live that dream and pushed me to write on.

Congratulations Jessica.

I am getting to the point in my writing career where school visits/presentations are soon going to be happening. In this presentation, I was looking for the how-to-do a  school visit aspect and what I got was a lot of fun. I found myself laughing at Speaker Mike Shoulders as I took in the info.

From personally assisting with a magic trick, to viewing pictures of Mike as a child, to clapping and rapping with my fellow attending writers, Mike Shoulders drew me in. His enthusiasm was contagious.  With a wink of the eye,  he asked questions of the crowd and used volunteers with props.

During his presentation, Mike talked his books and how they were published.

Micheal shared that he was once told that he would never be an author and that was 12 books ago. His entire presentation was based on the principle of continuing to have hope and not giving up. He explained that the journey for each author is different and that is what makes us all special.

If you want to be an author, Mike says, develop some goals, learn all you can about writing, work with a critique group and/or editor and then, realize the power of your words. Read, read, and read some more. Then, write, write and write some more. Get familiar with the works of those authors that are your idols. Go through their works and find the things that you like and use those techniques in your writing. Go to  conferences and workshops. If you see something that you like it is okay to use the technique but not the entire presentation.

Mike’s suggestions include: Use the uniqueness of your personality. Being pro-active. Blog. Guest blog on other’s blogs. Read blogs from people you admire. He added that while some people use mail-outs to solicit opportunities to do school visits, he feels that word of mouth is the biggest way that he gets a school visit.

During a conversation with Mike during a break, he talked about positioning himself around the room to make a contact with all the different people. He explained that a wink and a smile make each person in the room feel like that he is speaking directly to them. Kids and adults alike respond to that personal touch. (I can attest to that.) He said he uses props with kids, like a magic coloring book, to keep their attention. He spoke to me about the use of his voice tone to keep his audience listening. He varies the pitch, tone and voice level.

When I asked him one piece of advice he would want to give to us writers, he said,  “Believe in yourself.”

Thanks Mike, I plan on using that advice.

Emails of good news are always something I look forward to.  Yesterday, I got two of them. The Institute of Children’s Literature’s Web Editor Jan Fields has taken two more articles from me for their newsletter. One article will appear in November 2010 and the other will appear in December 2010. is the link if you would like to click on over and see what the new magazine is all about. It’s new to the scene but is destined for success.

Getting one’s foot in the door with regards to a writing career  just might start with building “writing credits” by submitting stories and articles to magazines for publishing consideration.  Magazine editors are always looking for top-rate articles and stories.

Wondering what type of articles to send. Well, be sure to check out the individual magazine’s submission guidelines before sending in your submission. Read current and back issues to see the style of stories published in it. The more you know about the magazine you’ve selected, the better chance you have at a possible publication.

My most recent acceptance came from the same editor, Jennifer Reed (former Wee Ones Editor now Editor at Guardian Angel Kids), that gave me my very first acceptance in 2006. Jennifer know her stuff and is a pleasure to work with.

 Here is an excerpt of my article from Guardian Angel Kids:

The Ragbrai Race
By Peg Finley
It’s a warm July day. It’s Ragbrai (pronounced Rag Bray) and means Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Across Iowa. You might ask what is Ragbrai? It is the longest and largest bicycle ride in the state of Iowa with 8500 week-long riders and 1500 daily riders which is when most families participate.

Ragbrai started in 1973 as a challenge issued by Don Kaul, a Washington columnist, to his friend John Karras. John Karras then wrote an article encouraging others to join them. Originally, 300 riders began the ride. At the end, 115 riders completed the tour. The event is an annual ride. Riders come from all over the United States and the world. According to tradition, bicyclers dip their back tires in the Missouri River at the start of the ride and their front tires in the Mississippi River at the ride’s end.

Ragbrai’s average distance is 472 miles. Riders, even kids, bike an average of 68 miles per day. Along the route, eight host communities are picked to be, using one as the starting point and one as the end point. The other six are overnight stopping points.

Bikes of all kinds and bicyclers of all ages, from ten months to 83 years, make the seven day trip with the help of their friends, family and other bicyclers. Tents are pitched and suppers cooked over the grill. Kids sit on the ground listening to music.

Months in advance preparation begin. Local residents offer spots for cyclists to pitch a tent or park their buses. Results from pies baking contest welcome the cyclist. Spaghetti dinners are prepared. Kids’ bike safety courses are offered as well as races are offered.

The wonderfully talented Becky Levine has given me the opportunity to be a guest blogger on her blog in April. I’ll post when it goes up so you all can read it. I’m shaking in my boots and I don’t even have socks on. lol.

I’m scared I won’t be a good guest blogger. In order to get past that, I made myself stretch myself as a writer. I’ll let you know what happens.


I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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July 2009

September 2018
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My Favorites:

I love the children's movies Wizard of Oz and the Neverending Story. Both movies make me feel the lesson that hope is alive and well. After seeing UP this past week, it just might have a chance at being added to this list.

I love the cool colors of blues and purples.Those colors are peaceful for me.

I love The Velveteen Rabbit. Even as an adult, I still feel the urge to cry when he becomes real. I know, silly, but a good book can make me laugh and cry as it takes me on a magical journey.

Authors and Illustrators:

Authors, Author/Illustrator, Illustrators that I know and/or Like.


C= Children

MG= Mid Grade

T= Teen

YA= Young Adult

A= Adult


Bonnie Adamson *

Kathi Appelt *

Tedd Arnold


Natalie Babbit

Molly Bang

Bonnie Becker

Jan and Stan Berenstain

Judy Blume

Tracey M. Cox

Linda Crotta Brennan *

Jan Brett

Janie Bynum *

Eric Carle

Pam Calvert

Nancy Carlson

Beverly Cleary

Kevin Scott Collier

Sharon Creech

Doreen Cronnin

Tomie dePaulo

Kate DiCamillo

Kathleen Duey *

Dotti Enderle

Jan Fields *

Denise Fleming

Mem Fox

Kelley Milner Hall

Amy Heist

Kevin Henkes

Ellen Jackson *

Jeff Kinney

Jackie French Koller

Ursula K. LeGuin

Leo Lionni

Lois Lowry

Mercer Mayer

Robert Munsch

Laura Numeroff

Linda Sue Parks

Dav Pilkey

Patricia Polacco

Peggy Rathmann

Bethany Roberts

David Shannon

Aaron Shepard

Donna J. Shepherd *

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Jerry Spinelli

Diane Stanley

Chris Van Allsburg

Rick Walton *

Lisa Wheeler

Mo Willems

Karma Wilson *

Audrey Woods

Jane Yolen *

Favorite Websites:

Favorite Blogs:

• ShelfTalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog
• Alice’s CWIM Blog
• A Fuse #8 Production
• Cynsations
• Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent
• Editorial Anonymous
• Miss Snark’s First Victim
• Writing for children and teens

Favorite Quotes.

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