Spring & Writing: What’s Growing with You?

Yes, Spring is here. I know, it was official a few weeks ago, and some of you are still dealing with cold rain and snow, but the green things are trying. And out here, they’re growing and blooming.

My son’s spring break was this last week, and we took off for a couple of days of camping here and hiking here and here. It was perfect. Well, maybe not absolutely perfect for my son, who doesn’t really fitto sleep on the floor of the Vanagon anymore, but he didn’t complain, and we didn’t step on his head getting in and out, so, really, it all worked fine.

Tomorrow, school starts up again, and we head into the end of April. I hadn’t realized how much I needed a break of pretty much nothingness. Even with the sore muscles, I’m feeling seriously rested and refreshed. And ready to look at Spring with welcome. Ready to face my writing projects and say, “Bring it on!”

What will I be doing, with the sunshine bouncing off the greenery into my office window?

  • Revisions on The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide. I’ll be getting feedback from my Writer’s Digest editor and digging back into the book. After this weekend, I feel ready.
  • Getting ready to write the first draft of my historical YA (feeble “working” title: Caro’s Story). Several writing friends are sort of getting to that place where we need to write, and we’re talking about pulling out all the stops in June and blasting through our first drafts. On one of our hikes this week, my husband and son helped me brainstorm some story problemsΒ (hey, you NEED something to talk about when you’re trying to climb 3,000 feet in 3 miles!), and, boy, their help was HUGE! I had several recordings on my cellphone with ideas about the ending AND the middle. So I’ll be more than ready to go in June. (I know, that’s officially summer, but prep will happen in May!).
  • Going back to the picture book I started this month. I did some basic plotting of the beginning and end, and wrote a few hundred words of early ideas. Next step: figure out some problems my heroes can face across the middle.
  • Start getting organized for my RESEARCH TRIP to Chicago this summer. My YA is set there in 1913. My sister lives a couple of hours south, and the plan is to take a couple of days in Chicago to hit museums, visit neighborhoods, talk to historians. We think we’re even going to go by the apartment where our grandmother lived as a little girl. I am so excited about this–it’s going to be better than the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland. And, you know, that’s the best.

It’s been a tough, long winter. Not for us, thank goodness, but for so many people all across the country, and the world. I want to face this Spring with optimism. I want to stay open to whatever new things may come along.

What about you? What projects–writing or otherwise–are you gearing up for this Spring? What’s calling to you?


  1. beth says:

    Oh, so cool! I want to go on a research trip. As my current work is a sci-fi, that might be a tiny bit pricy, though….


    • beckylevine says:

      Oh, just talk to Sir Richard Branson! I’m sure he’d like to take a writer up next time. πŸ™‚


  2. Shawna says:

    Hi Becky!

    In May, I will finish the last edit of The Devil You Know so by June I can shop it around.

    I’ll hear from the e-publisher regarding my short sometime in May so I hope *cross your fingers* to be doing edits on that.

    I’m going to polish another short (under 5000 words) and restructure a novella also geared toward the E-pub market. (but that might be June but summer doesn’t start until the 21st ) This will also keep me busy enough I may not check my email every hour just in case an agent has responded.

    Not on the writing front:
    I am going to paint my den (it’s currently flat paint in a blinding white, which if you have kids….)and clean out my garage before it gets too hot to do so. Boy do those sound like resolutions. : )

    I’m so excited for your trip to Chicago. That’s the kind of thing that will make your story come to life. Take a notebook with you wherever you go!

    Also, 3000 feet in three miles, I’m not sure I’d be able to speak let alone brain-storm. ; )


    • beckylevine says:

      You are going to be BUSY! And happy. πŸ™‚

      Okay, I admit, the way up, I was just talking out the problems. The ideas didn’t start flowing till we headed back down!


  3. Beth Terrell says:

    Whew! You sound like a busy woman.

    I’m getting ready to re-release the first book in my Jared McKean (hard-boiled) detective series with a new small publisher, editing the second book in the series, and writing the third. I’m also playing with the first of a new cozy series.

    Also…paying the day job its due.


    • beckylevine says:

      Well, I said those projects are “growing!” πŸ™‚

      You’re not being much of a sloth yourself. The mysteries sound wonderful.


  4. P. J. Hoover says:

    I’m gearing up to a new project, though I’m not starting writing until post-Disney (later May).
    So great you got good brainstorming done while hiking! It sounds beautiful just reading this!


    • beckylevine says:

      Pre-Disney would be bad. Too many distractions!

      Thanks, PJ–the hike was great, the ideas were the best! πŸ™‚


  5. Nathalie says:

    Thank you for the insight, Becky. Your blog is inspirational. Hope everything goes well in Chicago. πŸ™‚


  6. free2cr8 says:

    Hi Becky,

    This spring, I’m looking forward to taking a writing class (or two), finish the first draft of my novel, find a writer’s group to join in NYC, continue pitching magazine ideas, and remain optimistic about my writing ventures.

    Happy spring from a rainy NYC!


  7. Becky, your trip sounds like the perfect brainstorming session! I am continuing to labor away on The Fictional Writer, my romantic comedy novel. The book also deals with some deeper issues, like our adult relationships with parents. The more I write, the more screwed up my heroine gets! Now I have to dig her back out. πŸ™‚

    I write about the book (rather irregularly, but I’m working at it) in my blog–www.llewellynbook.blogspot.com


  8. Andra M. says:

    That’s quite a to-do list! It sounds like a lot of fun, though.

    Here the snow finally melted, the robins invaded, and the geese are flying north. I love spring. The trees and grass aren’t quite ready to green up yet, but there are signs.

    As for me, I’m reading Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel. After that I will go through his workbook. Next I will tackle my WIP and whip it into shape.

    Thank you for suggesting his books!


    • beckylevine says:

      Oh, I want to hear what you think of the workbook & if it helps you. πŸ™‚ Seems like a great spring project to me.


  9. Becky–great project, congrats, and I can relate as I have an on-going book about growing up in Chgo–my fun project.
    Currently speaking to groups re life transitions. (see website)
    First book, a humorous memoir, was MY big change,this one = stories about other people’s transitions–big changes wrapped around small happenings.
    Good luck, Evie


    • beckylevine says:

      Thanks, Evie! Where in Chicago did you grow up?

      Your books sounds great. Thanks for stopping by to comment. πŸ™‚


  10. Barrie Summy says:

    Just checked out your book on amazon. How awesome is that!!!?


  11. Rosina Lippi says:

    I really miss my original critique group, but I’ve never had any luck getting a new one going. Your book sounds like something really useful.


    • beckylevine says:

      Rosina, what happened with your original group? It’s tough to find a good one, but worth the hunt, I think. Maybe one critique partner at a time?

      Thanks for stopping by.


  12. Rosina Lippi says:

    We moved across the country. This was like, ten years ago. I’ve tried here multiple times. I think in part it doesn’t work because people find it intimidating that I’ve got stuff published. I never, ever play off that, but it’s still there.

    I have beta readers (via email) who are very helpful, but that’s not nearly the same thing.


    • beckylevine says:

      I think you’re probably right–that can be intimidating for people. It’s a shame. Don’t give up, though! πŸ™‚


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