Over on Verla Kay's Children's Writers and Illustrators Chat Board (affectionately known as the "Blue Boards"), a writer calling herself Tamilyn just posted this bit of advice, and I thought it both smart and useful:

"If I'm not writing, but only wishing I could write, then I am a Moper. I have too much pride to be a Moper, so I remind myself that writing takes work and that I'm not afraid of work. Then I work."

Which, in the face of the self-doubt and discouragement that afflict all authors from time to time -- whether at the start of a new manuscript when the page is an alarming blank, or in the middle of it when all the shine has worn off and the faults of the first draft seem to far outweigh its merits -- is a very good thing to remember.

The only thing I might add to that thought is that researching, making notes, outlining, and other not-actually-writing-the-narrative parts that are necessary to the creative process do not count as Moping. They can count as Moping if you are doing them endlessly and unnecessarily to avoid the Scary Writing Part, which is a trap I have fallen into on occasion in the past and may yet fall into again; but otherwise, they too count as Work, because the story will be better for them.

So I have done Work today, and that is good. *nods emphatically*

***

Also, I am reading a big fat biography of Nikola Tesla and I love his little crackpot soul SO MUCH. I'm also discovering that the Sanctuary version of Nikola, personality and attitude-wise at least, is really not so different from the historical one as I'd supposed -- and I'm only three chapters in.
Last weekend I attended the SCBWI Canada East conference, a one-day event featuring agent Stephen Barbara of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and authors Alma Fullerton and Jo Ellen Bogart. Unfortunately my pen died early in the afternoon, so Jo Ellen's talk has been lost to posterity. But I took detailed notes in the morning sessions, and got the speakers' permission to post them.

Stephen was up first, so here's a recap in my own words of what he had to say:

What to do BEFORE you look for an agent )

Four Habits of Highly Successful Writers )

In Part Two, which I hope to post soon, Stephen discusses what a good agent can do for an author. Part Three will cover the Q&A session that followed his talk.

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