Meet Author Shirley Shibley!
I wanted to write from the first time I could make words with my pencil. I still remember the first story I wrote. I put writing on the back burner while I raised my family, but when the kids were all in upper grades in school I started dabbling a little with words again. I hadn't the faintest idea what I was doing, I just wrote. Over the years I began to study hard at crafting the writing, though I didn't make any sales until I was an empty nester, and then just a dribbling at a time. It wasn't until I attended writer's conferences and joined a critique group that I began to see myself as a writer. I received the encouragement I needed along with tips for success. I still receive many more rejections than acceptances, but I feel my writing has matured and all the discarded and rejected things gave me great experience.
Featured Article: "Holiday" in Focus on the Family's Clubhouse magazine
Q: Describe part of the research process it took to write this article.
A: When I received the go-ahead from Clubhouse to write an article on Old Testament holidays I had everything to learn. Some holidays I was familiar with, but discovered many more. I found the required ones in the Bible, explained more thoroughly in Bible dictionaries, and also found a magazine article in an adult publication. Clubhouse suggested a rewrite with a different format and I complied. Again they decided on a different format and I did another rewrite. Eventually they accepted the article, out now in the December, '07 issue.
Q: What inspires you most as a writer?
A: Every time one of my critique group's members gets an acceptance I am inspired to continue to work hard and harder at my own writing. I'm always so happy for them, as I know they are for me when I have success.
Q: What were some of the greatest benefits to you as a writer when you took a recent Alaskan writer's cruise?
A: My Alaskan conference cruise was a tremendous milestone in my writing (dare I say it?) career. For a whole week I traveled with a group of men and women who love the writing, editing and publishing life. Some were just beginners, and I hope I was able to encourage them to keep at it. Others were "wannabees" but perhaps some or even just one learned about dedication at the craft. The novelist who spoke had us laughing at the writing life and ourselves, while giving us tips and pointers that were invaluable. Both the nonfiction article editor and book editor invited me to send proposals to their companies. Excellent free handouts were given and writing books were available to purchase, and my only regret was lack of space for carrying home more on the plane.
Q: Share one tip you would like to give someone who is just starting out as a writer for children.
A: I would like to tell all new writers to study, study, study your craft. Read, read, read books of the age you like to write for. Then, write, write, write. Don't give up. Rejection slips are part of the game. I have enough to wallpaper my whole study with!