Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Check out my gigs on fiverr

I've been blogging over at my new blog, https://carriemonroewrites.wordpress.com but I wanted to post an update here as well.

I am offering copywriting, beta reading, proofreading, and editing services on fiver.

Please head over and check out my gigs.






I am an aspiring children's book writer, editor, proofreader, and copywriter. I love helping people make their writing the best that it can be. I enjoy writing web copy and emails to promote your business. Contact me for writing, editing, or proofreading services.



While I'm just getting started on fiver I find I enjoy doing writing projects, proofreading, and editing gigs on the site.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Moving to a new blog

So I've been a little quiet over here but part of that is because after all this time I've decided to start a new blog. I am currently blogging here http://carriemonroewrites.wordpress.com I would love it you would check it out.

So, why am I moving to a new blog? Well, for one thing I wanted something that would be associated with my name. I mean don't get me wrong this site is great and I am not completely ready to cut ties with my blog here because it represents a lot of work over the years. 

The name for this blog was inspired by my college roommate's sister who has always called me Kiwi Niiks. The name kinda stuck and Will and Mary's family calls me Kiwi to this day. But let's face it, when I started this blog ten years ago I wasn't thinking agents and editors being able to find me when I queried them. 

But it is time for change. I blogged about the online copywriting course I took. I wanted a site that I could use to promote copywriting services and I just didn't think that my Kiwi's Life blog was the platform from which to do that.

The copywriting course got me thinking about how I could put my writing skills to use which led to Julie Hedlund's How to Make Money as a Writer e-course. The advice on Julie's site led me to finally make the decision to start a new site.

I am not sure my plans for this blog. There is so much here that I may continue to leave it up or I may eventually migrate everything to my wordpress blog. 

I hope you will come and check out my new site and follow me there.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Reluctant Reader

Spending time with my younger stepsister this summer was the first time that I'd really spent any time with a kid who "hates reading".

I don't know if that is just a thing she says because she thinks it's cool but since I was raised going to libraries and bookstores the idea that someone could "hate reading" is beyond me.

As a reader and a writer of MG and YA having this 13 year old stepsister who isn't a reader is eyeopening. 

Even my father, who has a totally different brain than me (math and science vs. art and literature) and would likely have been diagnosed with ADD if he'd been born later, likes reading. My dad reads all the nonfiction books, obsessively, about whatever subject he is into at the time. 

Even though my dad isn't as able to form connections with fictional characters the way I am and I don't read books about rocket surgery, herbology, and Texas Hold Em the way he does I was still able to benefit from his reading habits. My dad's idea of spending quality time together is going to a bookstore where he can look at rocket surgery books while I get lost in the fiction section. Then he sits in one of those comfy chairs in the middle of the Barnes and Noble reading the books he's probably going to buy. Eventually I find him, holding a stack of books I want to buy, and since he is Dad he adds my stack of books to his.

Even though my dad isn't a fiction person he's raised readers, lovers of words and books. But my 13 year old stepsister, dad's stepdaughter is different. She doesn't like reading. 

I always send her books I think she will like, books I've liked, books with a lot of buzz around them. If the book has been made into a movie she won't read it because why would she go to that amount of work when there is a movie she can watch? 

This weekend she discovered The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han and at least for a week we will share a common love of reading, a love of books. She can't to read the next book. I am so excited that she found a book she likes and hopeful that she continues to discover that she likes to read.

Do you have experience with a reluctant reader? Was there a book that turned them into a reader?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Copywriting Class review

I recently began exploring ways to earn some part of my living from writing. Of course there is the obvious, write books and sell books. But that road takes time. Meanwhile having a second job to cover the times when my full time job is light means less time for writing.

Last year I had less work from my full time job than I've had in previous years and during one of the times when my stage was dark I spent 6 weeks working a day job. The pay was much less than what I make at my full time job and an hour commute each way left me feeling drained at the end of the day. It was really heartbreaking for me because I felt like I had failed at my dream of becoming a writer. But it also made me start asking myself how I could use writing to support myself.

A brainstorming session with my writing partner gave me several avenues to explore, including copywriting and copyediting.

After exploring several options I finally decided on a Writer's Digest class called Breaking into Copywriting. This class was a four week class that promised an introduction to copywriting. The goal of the four week class was to create a spec ad that we could use to start a portfolio.

This class did not disappoint. I love taking online classes because I love the freedom of being able to do the course work anywhere. This class was $200, which was less than other copywriting classes from sites like MediaBistro. The fact that I've already had some good experiences with Writer's Digest in the past, hello Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market guide, made them the right choice.

I am still in the beginning stages of building a portfolio of this type of writing. I just reached out to my second client this week and have a follow-up meeting with my first client next week. I am hopeful that this could be the part time gig or side gig that would allow me to have more time to write and be less concerned about ups and downs and uncertainty in my current career.

Like all online classes I believe that this class is largely what each individual brings to it. The class consisted of readings and homework. There was also an online discussion forum. The instructor was wonderful at providing feedback for the homework, encouraging discussion topics, and answering questions. I think if you do the readings, do the homework, and participate in the forums you will get all you can get out of the class. 

I left the class with a spec ad and a desire to explore more in this field. I actually managed to line up my first client when my friends heard I was taking the class. While July has been extremely busy and not left much time to reach out to other potential clients I have reached out to my second client and am really excited to see how it goes. The fact that I have two jobs means that I am taking things slow for now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Time with kids

I write for kids despite not having any children of my own. 

I sometimes wonder if this puts me at a disadvantage. While I may have more time to write than I would have if I was a parent, I am not spending time with a kid 24/7. So all those story ideas and insight into a child's mind a view of things that parents see in their own kids I don't really get the opportunity to see.

I do teach swimming lessons, babysit for friends, and cherish any time I spend with my niece, nephew, or any other child in life. 

So when my dad called and asked if my 12 year old stepsister could come and visit for a week this summer I said yes.

Our week was full of fun things including a day at the Mall of America, seeing a play at the Guthrie Theater, a trip to the zoo, daily visits to Mercado Central for tacos, tamales, and dulces- all things my stepsister misses from her life in Mexico, and a day at Valleyfair.

The zoo was such a great experience because she has only been to one other zoo, three years ago when she was 9 she went to the San Diego zoo.  Seeing her excitement over seeing these animals in the zoo, taking videos, and instagramming every animal was a lot of fun.

I thought that having a fame obsessed 12 year old staying with me for a week would be wonderful for my MG project in which one of the characters hopes to go viral. Although my step sister knows she wants to be famous she would not divulge her reasons to me. But observing how she gets energy and feeds on the approval of social media as she goes about her activities was interesting to see.

The week had our ups and downs as I think she was homesick, missing her friends, and involved in some Facebook drama which led me to try to limit the time she spent online.

I realize that when people see me with my stepsister they probably make assumptions about us and our relationship to each other.  I am, after all, the age of a parent in relation to her. I'm sure people have lots of questions about our family but I just try to go through the day confidently and being a good sister to her. 

If I thought she'd be interested in reading something I've written I was wrong. She is obsessed with horror. Scary movies, scary stories, and has no time for anything outside of this genre. "I wish you wrote scary stories so I could read them," she told me.

If my 12 year old sister was quiet and reserved, trying to hide any evidence that she was having a good time by quickly hiding any smile and complaining. My seven year old niece who came to visit the opposite week was the opposite. Seeing these complex emotions will definitely give me some perspective as I work on my MG novel. 

My niece loves her aunt Carrie and seeing her pure joy as she experienced The Little Mermaid at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, dinosaurs at the Science Museum, and animals at the Minnesota Zoo was amazing. She charmed every person she met on the bus and train as we travelled around the city.

My niece is so honest with her emotions. She was so excited about some jellyfish that swam near us during The Little Mermaid that she spilled her diet coke on me while waving her arms around in excitement. 

Seeing her fall in love with a spider at the Big Bugs exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo has sparked the seed to this month's 12x12 picture book manuscript. 
I head back to work today feeling blessed and lucky to have the chance to spend time with such wonderful kids.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Exploring Other Forms of Writing

I love taking writing classes. 

Over the years I've taken numerous classes in writing for children. The most recent class I took was an online class and even though I missed the face to face interaction and some of the real life connections that have come out of my previous classes taking an online class opened me up to the possibility of taking more classes while not being limited by location and time.

I love how the simple act of taking a class can make me think about writing in a new way.

Over the years I've taken many classes in writing for children and they have all been great. In addition I've taken other classes- Writing the Personal Essay and now Copywriting 101.

I've been doing some research and have been exploring the field of copywriting.  It's exciting to learn about an area of writing that I haven't given much thought to. 

It's also fun to think about the possibility of writing and maybe getting paid for my ability to string words together in a coherent fashion while I'm writing and submitting kid lit stuff.

Last year some financial issues meant I had to work during a 6 week layoff from my main job. While I'm lucky to have built the connections where I was able to have work during that time it was really difficult to leave my writing for all that time. After factoring in commute time, long days, and hypothyroid I had very little energy to write at the end of the day. I felt like I was abandoning my characters, my stories, and my dreams. I felt like I failed and that I let myself down.

I really hope that I don't have to do that or make that kind of choice again and I'm hoping that eventually copywriting could provide me with some work so I wouldn't have to make that choice again.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

How to Make a Marshmallow Peep video

If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that spring is my favorite time of year because it involves making things out of marshmallow Peeps. 

Maybe it all started back in 2006 when my coworker and I hot glued Peeps to one of the wardrobe stations at work. 

It took me a while before I found someone who loved hot gluing Peeps as much as I did but when Sara and I worked on MacPeep I knew I'd found a friend for life.

Peeps love the Guthrie Theater
The following year hot glued and giggled side by side as we each worked on our own separate projects. I created Princess Peep of the Milky Way to celebrate my love of the Minnesota State Fair and Sara created Repeep Harlequin! said the Tick Tock Man inspired by a Harlan Ellison story. Seriously this is one of my favorite dioramas ever because it is awesome.

In 2012 I was on my own again because my partner in Peep crime had moved to the Sunshine State but that didn't stop me from creating an amazing Zombie Peep Crawl diorama.

Photo by Amy Wurdock
This year I decided to try my hand at something different with my beloved Peeps. Video. See the Pioneer Press also has a video contest. 

It's not like video is a new thing but in my current WIP one of my characters has a youtube channel so I've been trying to learn more about that. In addition I hear more and more about book trailers and writers using video to market their books. So this year's video is inspired by Veronica Mars. 

Veronica Peep, she's a marshmallow

camera, taser, locker

Logan Peepcholls

Peeps investigations

I used the voice talents of one of my coworkers and the photoshop talents of Jenn James to create the opening credits of the film in Peeps. 

What is your favorite thing to do with Peeps? Peep s'mores, Peeps brûlée? stale Peeps? Fresh Peeps? Hot gluing Peeps to cardboard?