Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just one line. . .

Just one line is all I need to make my story complete.
Right now it's close, but not quite done, not quite nice and neat.

I know just what I want to say, but can't type it out just so,
The feelings are clear in my mind and I don't know which way to go.

All I need is just one line, and here I've written more,
Maybe I'll take an average, and even out the score.

My goal is to find that line, and finish it today,
The next step is to revise. . . but first I think I'll play!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Reflections on 2011

2011 was an interesting year.

I watched my children grow physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and in all other . ..allys imaginable.  I am so proud of all 4 of them!

I saw changes develop in my personal relationships with both family and friends that I never could have predicted.

I have seen my husband grow professionally and take on new responsibilities in his job. He is flourishing!

I have seen myself develop new strengths in a variety of areas of my life, and I am proud of myself.

I have also discovered areas of myself that I would like to change---I hope to work on those in 2012.

I hope that you all can take a few minutes of time to reflect on your 2011, and to think about what is in your future for 2012.

Best wishes, and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Writer's Block

Normally writer's block wouldn't be a problem, however, today it is really bothering me.  Normally I work very well under deadlines, today it is not happening.  Normally, I can come up with some sort of idea to at least start with, today I am drawing a blank.

I have signed on to be part of a collaborative book with many other authors.  I am writing the opening pages of the book, and I am feeling intimidated.  I agreed to do this because I thought that it would be a good challenge for me.  The opening of a book is very important, it is where you hook your reader.  It is where they decide if they want to turn the page for more. . .or not.

I have a topic, I know what I need to do, but the words are just not coming out right now.  I am worried that I am going to let down my fellow authors.  More importantly, if I let down my readers, they will not want to turn the page and read the works of the other authors and illustrators involved with this project.

I need an inspiration, some sort of 'ah ha!' moment.

I hope that I am up to the challenge. . . . wish me luck!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sandi Writes Books

This year my youngest children entered first grade, and after 12 years of having some portion of my children home with me every day, we have finally reached a point in the Hershenson household where all 4 children are in school full day.  This was VERY strange for me in the beginning of the school year.  So quiet in the house.  Just me, the fish, and the dog.

I decided that this was the year that I was going to make a full time commitment to writing.  While I have yet to be written a  check for all of my hard work, I am right now viewing this as an unpaid internship.  I have been gaining experience in all aspects of my 'company', Sandi Writes Books.

  • product development
  • editorial department
  • human relations
  • social media
  • marketing and promotions
  • technology
  • research and education
  • finance (nothing coming in just yet, but money is certainly going out for courses, contests, and books)

Ten years ago I certainly would not have predicted that this is what I would be doing.  I love it, and for now, I wouldn't want to be doing anything differently.

So 2011 is leaving me with a full time commitment to writing, let's hope that 2012 comes in with someone who is interested in helping me share my writing with the world.

Any takers?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Only 3 Days Left to Vote!

In just 3 days the voting round of the MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011 will be complete.  As of this posting, I am in 92nd place for my story, Dear Tooth Fairy, and 133rd place for I Am Penelope-Mae Pickleberg! (out of 398 stories)

This has been a fantastic journey so far.  I have truly enjoyed reading the stories of the other authors, and I have enjoyed sharing with my peers what this challenge is all about.  GETTING CHILDREN TO READ!

As a child I always had a book in my hand, in my backpack, in my desk, and next to my bed.  Children today, my own included, don't do this.  They have their iTouches, ipads, and laptops.  If they are going to read, they are going to do it through the means that they are most comfortable with.  That means electronically.  MeeGenius is just one of many ways out there that provides this opportunity for even the youngest readers.

I hope that you have taken a look at the website, and read some of the stories (maybe even voted for a few).  It doesn't matter who the winner is.  Just know that some lucky school is going to receive a FREE e-book library for one year.  Hopefully this will catch on, and other schools will find means to obtain e-book libraries as well.

It is our responsibility as parents, teachers, and authors to do whatever it takes to get our children reading!

So I ask you to click on the links above and VOTE.  Whether it by for my stories, someone else's, or both, please VOTE!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cybils Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literacy Awards

This is a fantastic list of books.  I have read a few of them, but not enough.  I think that I might print out the list, go to my local bookstore, grab a cup of coffee, and read through them.  Anyone want to join me?

Happy reading to all of you!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blog Updates

I have made a few updates to The Write Stuff!  Check out the column to the right!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

MeeGenius Author Challenge Update

With just 1 week and 6 days left for you to vote in the MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011, I though that I would give you an update of where things are at:

398 stories in the competition

I am currently ranked at #87 with my story, Dear Tooth Fairy,

I am currently ranked at #132 with my story, I am Penelope-Mae Pickleberg!

As I told you in my last post, I am determined to make a break into the industry, and this could be it!  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE vote for me (or at least read my story and make a comment--I love feedback)!  

I know that it is completely unprofessional to beg. . . but as Lori Degman said in her comments last time--"a published author is an unpublished author who didn't quit."

Friday, December 2, 2011

My New Strategies

Today is a day of mixed emotions for me.  I have had to temporarily let go of something that has been near and dear to my heart for a while, and I am trying to figure out how to make the situation a better one.  I knew that this was coming, but when reality sets in it is not the same as just thinking about it.

I have decided to take on a new outlook!  I am not looking at this as a lost opportunity, but rather a gained opportunity.  I will now have more time to work on developing my career as a writer.  While I may not become the next Tommie dePalo, Shel Silverstein, or Judy Blume. . . I can certainly try.

I think that I am going to work on some new strategies for breaking into the field.

Maybe I will put together a portfolio of all of my work and show up at the door of an agency.  I will WOW them with my charming smile, charismatic personality, and they will be begging me to read my works, and will be setting up my world book tour to begin right away.

Maybe I will hire a sky writer to fly my titles above the headquarters at Scholastic, Random House, and Houghton Mifflin Books.  The company executives will call off work for all employees so that they can schedule an all day search for the author who came up with those puff of smoke titles.

Or maybe, I can go into libraries and book stores around the country and clear out a shelf or two leaving a sign saying:  RESERVED FOR BOOKS WRITTEN BY SANDI HERSHENSON ONLY.

While my ideas may be a little grandiose, you can sense my determination.  I WILL get there someday, and hopefully, at least one of my manuscripts will land on the desk of someone who believes in my writing and wants to help me take it somewhere.  Someone who believes that my stories will get into the hearts of children, and will make a difference in their reading.

I will continue to enter contests like the MeeGenius Author Challenge and hope that people will like my style and vote for me.  Click these links if you want to see my entires(I would beg, plead, and grovel for you to vote for me--but that might be a little much )  and

I will continue to model great reading for my own children, and to talk about reading and writing wherever I go.  In fact, maybe I will make others so sick of hearing about it that they will want to publish me just to get me to stop talking.

In any case, thank you all for reading my lengthy vent--I know that I certainly feel better!  I now need to pick myself up by my slippers (since I work from home I don't wear boots to pick up my boot straps) and get to work!

Happy reading and writing everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reflection on PiBoIdMo

November 2011 was one that will go down in the history books for me in terms of my career as a writer.  No, I haven't been offered a contract.  No, I haven't found an agent.  No, I haven't won a Newberry Award.  What I did was grow as a writer.

This month not only did I participate in PiBoIdMo, but I truly committed myself to sharing my stories with children.  This commitment is in the hopes of enticing more children to read, and to enjoy it.  I have always written as a hobby, but now all of my children are in school full day, and I have the time to spend on perfecting my craft (although, I don't know if one ever reaches perfection--but we certainly can try).

To lay it out more specifically, in November I:

  •  came up with 35 different picture book ideas
  •  wrote 4 different rough drafts (2 of which are pretty close to being complete)
  •  joined an international online critique group.  
  • connected with 2 different illustrators so as to put together 2 different stories to submit to uTales (
  • have been promoting my stories in the MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011 in hopes of winning a free ebook library for my children's school 
  • interviewed a prominent member of the children's writing world (check back to this blog in the coming weeks to see the interview)
  • signed up to follow many, many, many more children's writing blogs
  • registered myself to participate in 12x12 in 2012
I feel like PiBoIdMo was successful for me.  I feel charged up and ready to write.  I hope that you do to, and I hope that someday you will all get to read the books that have come out of the great month of November 2011.