Today I asked the question: What do elephants and seashells have in common? For me, it’s submission day today for manuscripts to be uploaded to our editor appointments for the 2017 CYA Conference. The deadline is really tomorrow, but leaving it until the last minute is not a good idea for me. I don’t want to get caught out and cause myself more stress than necessary. So, elephants and seashells have been on my mind today, because they are the topics of my two submissions.

The first is called: If You Meet an Elephant and it is a Picture Book text. It is a quirky and humorous look at a variety of possible scenarios, and outcomes, should you happen upon an elephant while you are out and about. It is suitable for 4-6 year olds.

The second is called: Broken Shells and it too is a Picture Book text that tells the gentle and uplifting story of seven-year old Willow who, with the help of some family members, discovers beauty can even be found in broken things.

I have to say putting these two manuscripts together has been a journey over quite some time. Writing Picture Book texts is not for the impatient writer who just wants to get on with things. There is an art to writing Picture Books and whilst it can be challenging, I relish learning the craft. Yes, I do get frustrated and sometimes to the point where I have to pack the story away in a drawer somewhere until I am ready to try again. No matter how tough things get, I always return. Sometimes I need time to develop the skill set required to complete the job.

Being a member of several critique groups is very beneficial and helpful. I have learned a lot from others and I always get nervous before a crit. But I remind myself that my crit buddies are not out to get me or put my story down. They are there to help me improve my story and find different ways of saying things. I usually feel good once I am there. Sometimes it is hard to give constructive criticism for fear of offending the recipient, but again, I remind myself of my motives; to help the writer, not to bully them. My thoughts settle and the time is mutually rewarding for my buddies and me.

So, the 2017 CYA Conference is coming up fast. I missed last year’s but went to my first CYA Conference back in 2015. It was a great learning curve and I met quite a few people who I have remained in contact with through networking.

This post is short. I wanted to post up my Journal Entry for today in an attempt to kick start some journaling about my creative life and the journey I am on. My time is mostly taken up with writing and life things and for the past month or more I have diverted my attention to my Picture Book texts, but now that they have been submitted, I can return to my Middle Grade horse series, Hampton Common. I am three quarters way through Book One – Pan & the Comeback Kid.

Until next time,

Happy writing …

Author: Debbie Smith

Author Bio

Debbie Smith is the author of a number of children’s short stories, poetry, picture books texts and is currently working on her first MG (middle-grade) novel, Hampton Common. She also writes for adults and has written the first draft of her adult outback novel, Lanolin on the Boards. Her debut children’s picture book, If You Meet an Elephant, is COMING SOON in 2019. Read about it here.

Debbie is the Founder and Creative Director of Shadytree Books. She tutors students in the Language Arts and Literacy areas, coordinates and runs Children’s Creative Writing and Art workshops for Shadytree Books’ StoryArts Holiday Program.

Debbie also helps other authors and creatives with their creative works in her role as a qualified proofreader and editor. For more info go here and here.

Debbie lives on the gorgeous Sunshine Coast near the lovely beaches of Noosa and it’s rich Hinterland life with her husband and gorgeous Cavoodle, Oscar. When Debbie takes time away from writing, she can be found at the farm riding her daughter’s Lippizaner horse, Obie, and handling and ground training her yearling Appaloosa foal, Joey.

Debbie loves hearing from other creatives and children, so please pop along here and say hello.