It’s the week of the Fourth of July. Usually I’m picking strawberries, planning a cook-out, and thinking about what the perfect location is to watch local fireworks (if I can get the dog calmed down-she DOES NOT like the boomers). But two days ago, our kitchen remodel job began. So instead of the usual (previously mentioned) activities, I’m calling subcontractors (yes, I’m serving as the general contractor), washing dishes in the bathroom sink, and inhaling dust. And did I mention-our washer decided to no longer spin the water out so I had to hand-wring clothes and dip the water out of the washer before the repair guy arrived! That was right before the insurance adjustor came to inspect our roof after last fall’s tornado that ran through our community. You get the picture. I’m not getting much writing done…

As I watch the demo of our kitchen and think of all the physical tasks that need to be done before something can be improved, I think of the correlation to my writing. Often, like my 30 year old kitchen, my writing looks a bit tired. It lacks that spark, newness, creativity. Yep, it needs remodeling (aka revision). Before a story can improve and be the best story it can be, it may need a demolition. Sometimes, even when I’m reluctant to change some very special piece in my story, I know it needs a sledge hammer. Some parts need to go in the dumpster. I have to move ahead with something that works to keep the story moving and fresh. When I’m telling and not showing a character’s feeling, I need to recalculate, get another writer’s opinion, use the five senses to welcome the reader into the “room”. If I’m not using an authentic voice, the story is going to look and sound like it’s happening to someone else. I like to live in a home that is reflective of my family and me (thus, the remodel). Characters need to live in a story that is reflective of their age, personality and problems. I put off remodeling our kitchen for too long. Luckily, I do not do that with my writing. If it needs a re-do, I attack it and look forward to a much better product at the end!

If you are a children’s writer or wish you were, there are many great “getting started” sources. The first one I would recommend checking out is

The owners are a husband and wife team with years of experience helping children’s writers. They share current advice, agent/editors interviews, marketing tips and submission offers in a monthly newsletter for a very reasonable cost. In the June issue, there is a great interview with Jane McBride-I credit her interview as a source of inspiration for this post.