my writing life
I write nonfiction books for kids. I also co-wrote one--Diet for a Changing Climate: Food for Thought--with my writing partner Sue Heavenrich. And sometimes I write fiction, like Hey, Hey, Hay! (A Tale of Bales and the Machines that Make Them), my rhyming picture book about a family making hay.
I have also written articles about science, nature, technology, and history for some excellent children’s magazines. I’ve also published stories, essays, poetry, games and activities. You can see a list and read some of my work here.
I work best when I have more than one project going at once. Typically, I’m working on an article, poems, and several books. My pile of manuscripts includes rhyming picture books, true stories, and longer nonfiction and historical fiction.
I contribute to a blog about writing, too. Check out my posts on GROG, the group blog for children’s writers.
Writing is a solitary task, and that’s not a problem for me–I love the peace and quiet of being alone to think and create. But I do have to leave my desk sometimes. I get writing ideas and inspiration from going on walks, visiting the school or the library.
Research is important, too. Whenever I can, I visit the places I'm writing about and talk with people who know about the subject.
I also get together with other writers and other readers. I’m in two writing groups. One gathers in person every month at a coffee shop. The other works online. In both groups, we read each others’ works-in-progress, and offer one another constructive advice and criticism.
Finally, in order to write, you have to read, read, read! I'm in a wonderful reading group too. At our monthly meetings, we eat delicious food and talk about a book we all read that month. We've gotten to know one another really well over many years of talking about books. One great thing about book group is that other members choose books for us to read that I might not have read on my own. I'm often pleasantly surprised at how much I love a book that someone else picked.