The dark night of the soul. As writers, we've all been there. We've all had those moments where we feel like our work is not good enough. Will never be good enough. That we are not good enough. In Courage to Create episode #5, Bethany Hegedus walks us through this dark night and leads us back out.
January feels like a fresh start, a new page, a time to move forward. But if you're experiencing a crisis of faith in your work and/or yourself, moving forward can feel impossible. Bethany delves into the hurt of rejections, the shame we often feel, and how we tend to turn that into wondering why we're not good enough and fearing we never will be.
She uses inspiring quotes and vignettes from Anne Lamott and Flannery O'Connor, both successful authors who have been through dark nights of their own. Bethany also reads a letter from one of her Write. Submit. Support. students and encourages listeners to send her their own letters detailing what they say to themselves when they're in a place of doubt and despair.
Most significantly, Bethany guides listeners back into the light and shows us how we can overcome our own dark nights and keep moving forward in our literary lives. You won't want to miss this inspiring episode of The Porchlight.
On this episode of The Porchlight we flip the script and interview Matthew Winner, Librarian and Podcast Host of All The Wonders, a podcast that we here at The Writing Barn hold near and dear to us. We just knew we had to interview Matthew for The Porchlight. Listen to this in-person interview at The Writing Barn during our Picture Book Intensive (for which Matthew was faculty).
Today's Porchlight guest is elementary school librarian, author, and host and creator of The Children's Book Podcast (formerly All the Wonders), Matthew Winner. He is the author of ASHA WENT WALKING, a webcomic for young readers, and in 2013, Matthew was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker.
Matthew and Bethany discuss the origins of his podcast and how he's just recorded his 469th episode! Matthew details the evolution of his podcast over the years and how he's come to use it as a platform for marginalized voices so that all children feel heard and seen. He believes books should serve as both mirrors and windows and talks about why this is so important. Matthew also discusses how he finds guests for his podcast and who his dream interviews are.
Join Bethany and Matthew for an open, honest, and inspiring conversation on this episode of The Porchlight. And find out all about Matthew and his work at: http://www.matthewcwinner.com
All The Wonders is a home for readers to discover new books and to experience the stories they love in wondrous ways. It is an entertainment channel, a variety show, and a modern library all wrapped up into one digital home. Be sure to subscribe!
In episode three of the new Courage to Create series, Bethany Hegedus takes us through the agent/client relationship, including what it should and should not be, how to make sure it's a fitting partnership on both sides, and how to be your own boss.
How can you know yourself first as a client before entering the relationship? How can you be wary of "schmagents" who are not in it to be your advocate? What do you need and want from an agent? Bethany answers these questions and more on how you can find the right agent and build a professional relationship based on communication and conversations, even those about the tough stuff. Plus she reminds us that continuing to do the work and study the craft and seek our own approval matter more than awards and reviews. Learn and be inspired by Bethany's wisdom and guidance as you navigate your own literary life path.
In episode two of The Porchlight's new series, Courage to Create, Writing Barn founder and author Bethany Hegedus asks listeners to answer the question why were you called to live this literary life?
Jamie A. Swenson, author of the newly released picture book A FALL BALL FOR ALL, joins Bethany on this episode of The Porchlight. Jamie has an MFA from Hamline University and is the author of four picture books and two chapter books, including BIG RIG and MEET WOOF AND QUACK. She's also an associate librarian and early literacy story teller who lives in Wisconsin and is teaching an online picture book class via The Writing Barn beginning in January 2019.
During their conversation, Bethany and Jamie discuss the challenges of writing rhyming picture books and the importance of punctuation and page turns in the picture book format as well as how a writer can leave room for the illustrator. They share their mutual love of author Phyllis Root and discuss how much they learn not only as students but also as teachers of other writers. Jamie shares how she makes time for her writing amidst her busy work and life schedules, and Bethany calls Jamie's commentary a master class in living the literary life. To learn more about Jamie, visit her website at www.jamieaswenson.com
In this latest episode of The Porchlight Podcast, Writing Barn Founder, Bethany Hegedus, speaks with author, long-time friend, and Austin's own SCBWI Regional Advisor, Samantha M. Clark. Listen as they discuss the release of Samantha's debut novel, The Boy, The Boat, and The Beast (Simon & Schuster 2018).
This inspiring episode touches on craft, creation, and the long, sometimes arduous road your book must take on its way to publication. But as Sam points out in this episode, the only thing we can control is the creation itself, all we can control is finding the heart of the story, making sure it beats with intention and power. If we do this, then we have done enough.
Samantha M. Clark loves stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances because if four ordinary brothers and sisters can find a magical world at the back of a wardrobe, why can’t she? Until she finds her own real-life Narnia, she writes about other ordinary children and teens who’ve stumbled into a wardrobe of their own. She grew up in different countries around the world and now lives with her husband and two funny dogs in Austin, Texas. Samantha is the regional advisor for the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and she explores wardrobes every chance she gets. Visit her online at SamanthaMClark.com.
In this newest episode of The Porchlight, Writing Barn Founder talks with poet and novelist Carrie Fountain about her debut novel I'm Not Missing (Flatiron Books 2018).
I'm Not Missing, is a coming of age novel set in Las Cruces, New Mexico and follows the life of the protagonist, Miranda, as she navigates her senior year and the sudden disappearance of her best friend.
In this episode Bethany and Carrie discuss the writer life, transitioning from poetry to Young Adult Fiction and the power and honor behind being a woman writing for younger women. Carrie and Bethany reminisce on the books that changed them as young readers, from Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes, to Tolstoy's War and Peace.
Enjoy our latest episode of The Porchlight, and don't forget to pick up your own copy of I'm Not Missing by Carrie Fountain, on shelves now!
Dianne White is the award-winning author of Blue on Blue (S&S/Beach Lane Books), illustrated by Caldecott medalist, Beth Krommes. She holds an elementary bilingual teaching credential and a master’s degree in Language and Literacy. In 2007, she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
After 25 years teaching students of all ages, Dianne now writes full-time from her home in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. Two new picture books are forthcoming in 2018 – Goodbye Brings Hello, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and Who Eats Orange?, illustrated by Robin Page (S&S/Beach Lane Books). Visit Dianne online at diannewrites.com.
In this episode, Bethany talks to picture book author Lisl Detlefsen.
Lisl is the author of TIME FOR CRANBERRIES and IF YOU HAD A JET PACK as well as the forthcoming 3, 2, 1 JUMP!, a humorous book about swimming lessons. Lisl lives on a family-owned cranberry marsh near Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, with her husband and two sons.
She grew up with a mother who was a librarian and created a customized class in children’s literature for Lisl to study while she was majoring in art in college. During their conversation, Lisl and Bethany discuss being both picture book writers and novelists. They also talk about how craft study is a lifelong pursuit and that living a creative life is a choice people must make every day. They hash over the feeling of imposter syndrome and how it often sticks with writers, published or not. You can find Lisl online at https://www.lislhdbooks.com.
This summer, Lisl will also be teaching Perfecting the Picture Book I online at The Writing Barn for six weeks beginning June 11th. Go to http://www.thewritingbarn.com for more information and to register.
This episode features Linda Williams Jackson, the debut author of Midnight Without a Moon and its recently released sequel, A Sky Full of Stars. Our Porchlight conversation with Linda explores her writing journey to share the story of the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was killed, allegedly for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Linda talks about how changing the opening line of her query letter took her from a string of rejections to multiple offers from agents and editors. Linda and Bethany also have an honest and powerful conversation about the current state of race relations in America.
This episode features founder of 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, Julie Hedlund. Julie is an award-winning children's book author and a regular speaker at SCBWI and other industry events. Her latest book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN (Little Bahalia Publishing, 2014) has been hailed as belonging on the shelf "between Guess How Much I Love You and Goodnight Moon." Her book A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS (Little Bahalia, 2013) was also published as an interactive storybook app and received the 2014 Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Digital Gold Award. When she is not acting like a monkey while spending time with her two children, Julie is busy writing more books and visiting with the kids who read them at schools, bookstores and libraries.
We discuss the ins and outs of 12 x 12, which is now going on it's 7th year. Julie originally wanted members to, "Get those ideas down on paper so you have something to work with," but over the years, 12 x 12, "Grew into more than a challenge. It became a community and now a family." We even hear a bit of Julie's personal journey. Did Julie choose the literary life? Or did it choose her?
In this Writing Barn Words and Wine event, Program Manager Claire Campbell talks with author Cory Putman Oakes about her latest book, Witchtown (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books For Young Readers) takes place in the wake of the Second Inquisition, in which modern day witches live in witch-only communities called Havens. Cory discusses her process of research for the book including watching Bewitched, studying herbs, and Wiccan theology.
Kirkus Reviews said, “This uncomplicated, romantic story will charm reluctant readers who want a little magic.” and Booklist said, “This genre-blender - think Ocean’s 11 meets Charmed – is an enjoyable coming-of-age tale sure to be a hit with readers who like their romance or mystery with a hint of the paranormal.”
Disclaimer: This episode contains some distracting paper shuffling. Nothing too jarring. We wouldn't be serious writers without some paper shuffling every once in a while anyway. Thanks!
Sheryl Scarborough, author of debut novel To Catch A Killer and forthcoming sequel To Right a Wrong (February 2018) by Tor Teen. Sheryl is award-winning writer for children’s television and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, lives in Washington state, and has always had an obsession with forensics.
In this Porchlight conversation Bethany and Sheryl talk about looking at the “why” of their writing and how that adds depth to the work. They discuss how the writer might not immediately see their personal connection to their story, but they can find power in connecting the emotionality between themselves and the work itself. Sheryl talks about the differences between writing for television and writing books and how the three act structure is paramount. She explains how “structure creates your pace” and how “the genre chooses the writer”. She shares the support in her writing community and what can be learned from reviews.
Thank you for listening. Please share your comments and thoughts on the podcast with us. Rate us on iTunes, Google Play or Sticher—share the Porchlight with others. And remember to retreat, create and celebrate.
(book covers & author photos) – all available on Sheryl’s website: www.sherylscarborough.com