Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Notes from "Don't Quit Your Day Job" FEB. 18, 2017

Attendees at the event

On February 18, 2017, the Bear Pond Books Educator Series hosted a working writers' workshop led by Ryan Kriger and Christy Mihaly. It was well-attended with about 25 participants, but in case you missed it, here are some notes:


Picture books these days are generally 600 words.

Know what the magazine you’re submitting to is looking for. For example, Highlights doesn’t want any “talking animals.”

“Don’t get obsessed with your one great masterpiece”-- Keep writing as you’re waiting to hear back from editors, etc.


Conferences like SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) can help you find out what is trending and what genres are “passe.”

At these conferences it is worthwhile to pay an agent to pitch your ideas to-- they will usually give you feedback. Many agents are not available to submit work to otherwise.

Writing is not an isolated task-- find your people.
  • This will motivate you to get to the writing table.
  • Deadlines are great for motivation.
  • Writing/critique groups make you a better writer.
  • Check out the Burlington Writers' Workshops.


When you’re not writing, do other things related to it, like getting yourself into schools. See what they are reading. Spend time reading aloud to a kid.

Ideas/Goals from the audience:

  • Check out Book Stock in Woodstock, VT.
  • Revise that manuscript in your drawer!
  • Find a critique group.
  • Read 2 books a month in your genre.
  • Find an accountability partner.

Download a PDF of the resources handout here.

Also, Christy wrote about this event in her blog post "To be a Writer, You Need a Community," published at GROG on March 6th. Read it here.