Please visit my website: www.AuthorJessicaShaw.com to see what I’m up to or for contact information!
A few weeks ago, because of a work related transfer for my husband, we moved from Texas to Missouri. Not a move we planned, more of a dumped in our lap, huge life decision with little time to make it kind of thing. We never intended to leave the house we lived in or the community we’d grown to love over the past many years. We never dreamed we’d move away from our extended families or have to transfer our kids out of their school district, away from their lifelong friends.
And yet, here we are, starting over, unpacking twenty+ years of accumulated *stuff*, box by box. It’s been tough.
Families move all the time, of course, often unexpectedly. We’re certainly not alone in this experience, and realize we have much to be thankful for. So we’ve powered through the range of emotions, the countless hours of lost sleep, strained backs and biceps, and soggy, toppled boxes full of broken items in our flooded moving truck…and again in our storage unit. And our experience here so far has been rewarding. People are warm and friendly, the schools are impressive and welcoming, and the weather is beautiful (85 degrees in August/September feels much better than the 100 we’re used to).
Good times are ahead, I know, and I’m sure it will start feeling like home if I can just finish unpacking all our stuff! It’s hard not to get distracted…as I’m unboxing, I’m finding gems: photos, keepsakes, and precious notes my kids wrote in their early years. Things that I might not have seen for another twenty years, had I not had occasion to move them. And I’m revisiting story ideas, too–finding inspiration as I sift through my writing notebooks.
Change is hard, but with change comes tremendous opportunity for learning and growth. Life feels fresh, invigorating, and ripe with possibility, and that excites me! Boxes can wait, time to write!
So. It has been eons since I have updated my blog. But, oh, I have been busy writing. I have a freshly revised middle-grade novel, a young adult novel still in progress, and many, many (many!) picture books. And oh, yeah, one more shiny, new, wonderful addition…an agent. MY agent. That sounds just as awesome as I dreamed it might:) I am ecstatic to report that I am now agented by the amazing, witty, wonderful Jessica Schmeidler of Golden Wheat Lit! She gets me. She gets my writing. She believes in me, and is excited to help me get my books out there, in readers’ hands!
I started writing for kids fifteen years ago. Mostly poetry, in the beginning. It took a long time to break into the magazine market. I remember my first Highlights acceptance. I think that’s when I felt I could legitimately call myself a writer (I was wrong, by the way. If you are actively writing and learning and writing some more…you are a writer!) Over the years I was fortunate to have more magazine sales. I joined SCBWI. I worked hard. I kept writing. I frequented Verla Kay’s amazing Blueboard, (which has now merged with SCBWI and is THE message board to hang out at, for anyone writing for children).
I started to have *almosts* with agents. I had R&Rs. I had personal rejections with great feedback. I MADE AMAZING WRITER FRIENDS WHO HELPED ME GROW AS A WRITER. That really does warrant all caps. Being actively involved in crit groups and socializing online with writers at all stages was crucial to getting to this point. Learning to take–and give–constructive criticism, staying abreast of the ins-and-outs of the ever changing KidLit market, and cheering on writer friends each step of the way…these things are all part of the journey. Necessary, life-changing, character-building steps along the path. And I hope to never stop growing as a person, as a writer.
Here I am, on the children’s floor of the beautiful Kansas City Library, signing my author-agent contract…and another shot of the children’s reading area. #LoveThisLibrary
And in front of the 25-foot book spines that line the library’s parking garage
And this is the giant chess board on the rooftop terrace of the library. That’s right, they have a rooftop terrace! I could have spent the entire day in this library, but only had a couple of days in Kansas City. Put it on your library bucket-list! It is truly amazing!
Even when I’m working on a novel, I can’t stop writing picture books. I. Love. Picture. Books. Playing with words, creating fun characters, telling a funny or quirky or touching story, all in just a few hundred words. It’s the best kind of magic.
I’m super excited to be participating in PiBoIdMo again, and coming up with more fun picture book ideas! It starts in just a few days, so if you love writing picture books and you’d like to learn more about it, click on one of the PiBoIdMo images in the sidebar. Hope to see you there!
Looking to be inspired? Work at your own pace? Have access to webinars and great info from successful kidlit authors and illustrators?
Oh yeah, and it’s all FREE. The focus is on writing great characters. There’s still time to sign up for Nerdy Chicks Rule: Summer School 2014. Here’s the link: Kidlit Summer School 2014
I was honored to be named First Runner Up (North America) in the 2013 Greenhouse Funny Prize contest, recently! I’m excited and hopeful…for my Ninja Baby series, my current YA WIP, and my new teaching position:-)
Congrats to Lisa and all the short-listers!
Also, thrilled to have sold another poem to the wonderful folks at Ladybug/Carus!
Happy Writing, friends!
I write middle grade and young adult novels, but my first love was picture book writing. I love the challenge of telling a complete, entertaining story in a few hundred words. One that children and adults will want to read again. And again.
At least, that’s what I strive for.