Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, May 22, 2016

God's Birds: How a wounded bird inspired a story for children

Several years ago, when I lived in the California desert, I happened to look out my window one day and noticed a bird on the ground of my shared backyard. (I lived in a duplex at the time.) I love birds and I enjoy watching birds, but I noticed something was a little “off” with this one. It seemed to act like something was wrong.

At this time, my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, lived with me, and I told him about the bird. He went outside to examine it. I noticed how the bird didn’t try to avoid him or fly away as he approached. He was able to gently pick up the bird and examine it more closely. After his examination of the bird was finished, he looked to where I stood at the window and signed to me that it looked like the bird had a broken wing. He placed the bird back down on the ground and I went outside to put a large flat bowl of water out for the bird. We both went inside and I watched the bird drink the water. Then the bird was able to fly away.

Later that day, I was struck with a story idea. That story idea became a story I wrote for children called God’s Birds. I wrote this story so long ago, but it is now finally released as a self-published book for children. I really believe the incident with the injured bird inspired that story. The story is quite different from my own “bird incident” but that’s pretty much how story ideas work. They’re usually not exactly the same as the real-life events that inspire them, but they are born because of those events.

Here is the blurb for God’s Birds:

Simon is a little boy who finds a starving bird in the park. He shares his food with the bird and later notices the bird closely keeping an eye on him every day. What Simon doesn’t know is that the bird had been with him all his life, watching over him wherever he went. Simon eventually learns that this is one of God's very special birds.

I want to thank my daughter, Jennifer Wilson, for illustrating this book. I am so happy we can work together as a team to create these books. This is why I continue to self-publish children's books, because she is able to illustrate them and I am grateful she can be a part of them in that way. You’ll see more of her work in my next children’s book, due out in July.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

The week and the weekend

Today being Friday the 13th, I wasn’t surprised when a couple of bad things happened this morning. Then again, I usually have bad luck, so it’s just another day for me, right? Well, actually, something DID go right this morning, which I was pleasantly surprised about.

For all of this week, I have been submitting short stories. Just sending out a short story for every day. When I started doing this on Monday, I didn’t realize how much trouble it would be to find the right short story markets to submit to. I had short story guidelines databases and a ton of submission guidelines for short stories all bookmarked on the computer. But sometimes I’d come across things in the guidelines that I didn’t see before that would cancel out that story’s submission. Things like “no YA” or “no romance subplot.” Or, my stories were either too short or too long and I couldn’t get them to meet at least the minimum or maximum word count. I knew what stories I wanted to submit but those plans changed when certain items in the submission guidelines popped out very clearly.

So I was pleased to find just the right market to submit today’s short story to. Even better: My short story met the word count limit. I found this market quickly and easily after filtering my search through DarkMarkets.com and it was nice that I didn’t have so much cutting or adding to do to my story. (The other day, the operation I did on one short story took me practically all day! I did get that story sent off, though.) I had already edited this story and got it ready to submit, so there was no extra time I had to invest in it. It was ready to go and I was glad to see that, just like that, I found somewhere to send it. Nice!

But the bigger victory today was that I had managed to do what I set out to do this week. I submitted a short story for every day of this week! Yay!

Wait! This WEEK? It’s only Friday.

Yeah, I thought that, too, when I was thinking of announcing through social media that I managed to do this kinda thing.

The week has 7 days, right? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Seven days. One week.

Maybe by normal conventions, a week has 7 days. For me, however, a week has 5 days. There is the week and there is the weekend.

I have this division in place for a reason. From Monday through Friday, I’m on a strict schedule. I spend the time that my children are in school to get work done. Yes, the “week” means “work.” I’m at the desk, typing and submitting and querying away. I’m working on the books and writing short stories and writing other things to send out. (I’m also blogging, if I have the time!) I’m doing research, taking notes, studying markets and analyzing ideas for other things to write. I am also querying markets and applying for jobs.

And, yes, I pop in at sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, when I have time. (But this week, I’ve been so busy, I’ve hardly done much on Pinterest!) I think it’s important to still network and communicate with people, so I try to make time for that daily.

During the weekend, however, there’s no schedule. There’s no work to do (though I squeeze in time to write, if I can!). Weekends are my free days. They are the days when whatever happens. There’s no plan to follow or quota to reach. They’re my easy days.

So when I say “week,” I mean Monday through Friday. The weekend is Saturday and Sunday.

Now that we’ve got THAT business sorted out…

I submitted a short story for every day of this week! Yay!

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