Wow, a fresh new year, and the first blog post in 6 months! I didn’t think it would be so challenging to keep with blog updates once a month, but just looking at the date for my last post, I seriously underestimated my time. Not to say that I haven’t been creative, it’s just more of a commitment to actually sit down and write about what has happened when it’s already happened. For now, I’ll start off my once a month blog writing anew for 2019 (just barely squeezing it into January!) with a look back at 2018 and the amazing journey with a little bat.
2018 was the year for Wake Up, Little Bat! and stepping up my writing game.
Working on the illustrations for Wake Up, Little Bat! Felt like running a marathon, requiring lots of time, patience and perseverance. I would know, I ran the L.A. Marathon in 2015, crossed it off my bucket list, and can proudly say I’ve run one, and now I’m done. :) But unlike the grueling the marathon I finished, my writing journey is just beginning.
My debut picture book released on October 1st, just in time for the Halloween season, and we threw the most exciting and most fun release party at the Griffith Park Merry-go-Round that I could’ve ever imagined. It really was a magical night, with an amazing turn-out of friends, family, kiddos to sing songs with, and of course, introduce Little Bat to, all set in front of the twinkly lights and jolly music of the merry-go-round. I was so lucky to have the help of my husband, close friends and family to add the special touches, chock full of Halloween candy in a customized Little Bat bag, delicious alfajores (those delightful shortbread and dulce de leche sandwich cookies so many of you raved out), and hot chocolate. Thank you so much to all of you who came out to celebrate this memorable occasion with me - big thanks go out to Julio Gosdinski (the generous owner of the merry-go-round, my neighbor and close friend) and Brienne Moore (my lovely and musically talented bestie) for adding their special touches to Wake Up, Little Bat’s exciting debut
I was also fortunate enough to share more of Little Bat with young readers, visiting local pre-schools and even participating in a Skype interview with my cousin’s class all the way in North Carolina! It was such a treat to introduce Little Bat and Squirrel to the excited kids (and also an unexpected surprise to see my huge face on such a big screen).
I have to say, after all the hard work and late hours illustrating Little Bat, receiving texts and photos of kids with my book, and hearing how much they love Wake Up, Little Bat has been my absolute favorite! It still blows my mind to hear how many times parents have read my book to their little ones, and how much kids enjoy the story, time and time again. And it was an extra special treat to see my book made it all the way to the Seattle Public Library shelf for new books! (Thanks for the photo, Josie!)
Little Bat’s journey is only just beginning! I’ve got lots of exciting things in store for this new year, and I can’t wait to share them with all of you very soon!
Thank you all for your continued support of my writing and Wake Up, Little Bat! I would’ve never imagined a very persistent little bat who couldn’t stay awake at night would lead me on this incredible experience of creativity. I look forward to seeing where things are headed for 2019!
Hello 2018! Where have you gone already? I told myself 2018 would be full of writing, and it’s already March and this is my first post of the year. (There has actually been lots of writing going on over here, just not much anyone else has seen but me. This post was originally dated February 9, yiikes! Time flies in the blink of an eye.)
Tara Lazar’s Storystorm! 30 days of an incredible almost literal storm of idea inspiration and writing techniques to jumpstart my writing creativity. 30 days in a row of writing! Sarah 2017 would’ve never thought I could manage writing every single day, but that’s what I did every day in January. And while most of those 30 ideas are total garbage, a handful of them are in the works for picture book manuscripts this year. Yeah!!
12 x 12 Challenge! January meant the 12 x 12 challenge registration opened, a kidlit community I waited almost all of 2017 to join, since I found out about it when registration had already closed. This is a challenge of writing 12 manuscripts in 12 months! What?! How would that be possible?! Sarah 2017 spent all of last year writing and re-writing “Wake Up, Little Bat!”, then barely managed to squeeze out a couple of half-finished stories the rest of the year. The motivation was there, but where would I find the time? Answer: there is always a way to make time for your passions, especially with this the community of supportive kidlit writers. I even found a critique group of author/illustrators to bounce my stories and drawings off of- score!
I got back on track with Little Bat! The truth is, it’s been one heck of a challenge! I knew I wanted 2018 to be my year for stepping up my writing game, but life happens and things never go as planned. Things like a husband breaking his leg smack in the middle of the holiday season. Then a double whammy of me getting so sick, not once but TWICE, while picking up the slack of daily life x 2 while the husband was on the mend. Whew! Once I recovered, and the husband was able to walk without crutches and drive on his own, it was time to really buckle down and get serious about Little Bat. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far, but by the end of March, Little Bat full color illustrations will be FINISHED, and I will be the happiest girl on the block. Happy dance on hold until the end of this month.
L.A. Writer’s Day and filling my creative cup! This was my second time attending the local conference at the Skirball Center, and my first time pitching to an agent. The talks were inspiring, and speaking to other children’s books writers was so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed Fiona Kenshole's keynote talk and breakout sessions, (especially with her British accent) and Bethany Barton's sense of humor and tips on social media for authors and illustrators The best part about this day was connecting with other incredibly supportive local writers. I now officially have an in-person writing group that meets at one of my favorite neighborhood cafes. When we put ourselves out there and align ourselves with what we feel we're meant to be doing, really great things happen. And I am so grateful.
The beginning of 2018 really threw me for a loop and feeling a little out of whack is a bit of an understatement. The anxiety really built up when I felt the productivity time going down the drain. But I realized there were other pockets of time I could also take advantage of while I wasn’t at home on nurse duty. Lunches on my office work days were split into mini-writing sessions. And I traded late night TV time into illustration hour, even if it was less than an hour after a long work day. When you really don’t have any spare time, even half an hour moves you forward.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned through all of this, is to be kinder to myself. I will always have some looming deadline or a pile of dishes in the sink, or an idea I’ve been dying to turn into a story, but no time to get to. And that’s ok. I can’t do it all, and I don’t want to drive myself crazy trying to.
Listening to podcasts have also kept me sane during this time. Not only creative motivational ones, but stories I can escape with also. Here are a few that get me through my long drives to work and moments when my creative cup is sitting a little low:
Don’t Keep Your Day Job with Cathy Heller (my creative savior and inspiration pitcher filling my creative cup every single week, including the inspirational quotes on my IG sketches. Check out the episode from February 5- How Everything is Possible with Shelli Varela. You will burst from inspiration and all the feels.)
Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert (Elizabeth Gilbert has written several acclaimed books including Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic. I love listening to her podcast while I color Little Bat. Listening to her reach out to artists in need of getting over their creative hump, and helping them with her talks with other equally inspiration artists and speakers really keeps the creative energy flowing.)
This American Life (slices of life ranging from intriguing, emotional, controversial and just plain entertaining)
Radiolab (It's been a while since I've listened to this, but there's always something interesting and fun to learn about the world around us with every episode.)
My Favorite Murder (This was my guilty pleasure for a hot minute, until there were later nights alone with Peanut before the hubs got home for work. That and this girl’s most active imagination make for the worse combo, but maybe good writing material for a kidnapping or murder mystery? I’d rather not find out)
Do you have a favorite inspirational podcasts to keep the motivation high? Or an entertaining one to pass the time on your long commutes? Share them here!
Next up on the blog, my favorite motivations audiobooks for April. Or, more realistically, I’ll be back in June for a super fun re-cap blog post from my vacation to Japan in April. Let’s not forget, March is the home stretch for Little Bat!
Leanna Lin's Wonderland is a super fun gift shop in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles. The owner, Leanna Lin, always has the cutest merchandise on display, and she's a big supporter of local artists. I was lucky enough to contribute a couple of small drawings and some buttons for an art fundraiser to support the North Central Animal Shelter in Los Angeles. Both of my pieces sold, and all the proceeds went to support our local, furry friends.
Your Fix: Artist Showcase, Long Beach, CA
Sept. 30, 2010
Here you'll find...
a little about me, thoughts on my writing journey, hopefully a spark of inspiration. Enjoy!