Recently I wrote something on one of my private FB writing groups that caused an outcry of anger. Honestly I didn’t mean it as a political statement and when so many people got angry I was genuinely surprised. My statement was something along the lines of “I don’t come to this group to talk about gender or race, I come here to get ideas for writing.” During the insanity of anger over this statement, I felt sick to my stomach. I was sad. I felt misunderstood. I am usually a fighter. I will argue with anyone. My weapon of choice is words and I use them pretty well. Lately though, I’m working to stand back and think before jumping in. In the end I never replied to anyone, then I deleted my original post and left the FB group.

Without the time suck of FB–I focused my time on the thing that really matters to me–my writing for children. I’ve signed up to take a course at the Institute of Children’s Literature. I learned about the school many years ago and always wondered about it. I found out that Katie Davis bought the school with her husband and I’m a huge admirer of her work. Check out her new TEDx talk about procrastination. I originally signed up for this course because I wanted someone to give me deadlines around my children’s book writing. I was willing to pay for that because I had stopped making appointments with myself to write. The first assignment in this course was fantastic. I started thinking about my career as a writer for children. I didn’t realize that a course which is practical can help you feel like a writer. I’ve uncovered some ideas and thinking about my writing that I never knew I had.  The resources I received prior to the course are fantastic: from the “2016 Book Markets for Children’s Writers” to the “From Inspiration to Publication”. I have a kind of purpose I’ve never had before. I can’t recommend this course enough. There are ten lessons and, though some people complete the course in a full year. I am planning to complete it over the summer. I was assigned an instructor who works with me one-on-one. It means I have a writing instructor, editor, and critic personally available.

What does this have to do with my opening paragraph? I stopped being impulsive especially around things that don’t matter at all, like FaceBook, and I started being more participatory in the trajectory of my life. I always thought if I didn’t jump in right then and there, I would disappear, but this isn’t true. I am right here as I’ve always been, but now I’m doing the work I want to be doing instead of being distracted.

My plan?

  • Write everyday for two hours
  • Take FaceBook off my phone
  • Read three children’s books a week
  • Subscribe to several children’s magazines
  • Engage in my ICL course every day