Hello everyone,Today I present to you a special guest. Kim Piddington was high bidder on the Plum Creek Literacy Festival chance to be featured on my blog. Way to go, Kim, and thanks again for supporting the festival.
I had no way of knowing until the auction was over that Kim is a teacher and teaches here in Springfield. Not only that, she is a writer with a good story to tell. So it’s easy and a lot of fun to feature Kim today. I know that you will agree that she is a special treat.
Hi Kim, and welcome to my blog. When did you know that you wanted to become a writer?
I wrote my first novel, a Nancy Drew knockoff, in fourth grade.
How did you prepare to become a writer?
I majored in English at California Lutheran University. I became aware of the National Writing Project while getting my teaching credential at UC Irvine, and after completing a six week summer institute, I made remaining in a writing group a priority. Getting feedback and encouragement is such a crucial part of the writing process! Eventually, I built up enough confidence to begin submitting poetry to contests I found in Poet’s Market.
After moving to Missouri, I joined two large local writers groups, The Springfield Writer’s Guild and the Ozarks Writers League. This gave me an opportunity to pitch to agents, learn marketing strategies, and network with well established authors. A friend recommended a writing contest and conference in Colorado, which required submitting only the first forty pages of a manuscript. A colleague and I committed to submitting in November, and then to finishing our manuscripts before the conference in April.
I’m still trying to follow the advice that I gleaned at that conference! In addition, I subscribe to Writer’s Digest, attend local writing workshops, and get as many people as possible to critique my work.
How do you find time to write?
It is difficult! Like every teacher, I spend a lot of time planning engaging lessons and dragging home papers to grade. Add in family, a menagerie of pets, six acres of gardening, and outside commitments like LAD and OWP, and it can be easy to sidestep writing time!
However, like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets. I find if I write consistently every evening, it doesn’t take long to get productive and begin churning out pages. Slack off for a few days or a week (gasp!) and it’s like going back to the gym after taking the holidays off, painful!
Tell us about your new novel.
Momma Don’t Own a Machine Gun? I’m so excited about this novel! Traveling to places like Rockaway Beach, St. Louis, and Hot Springs to complete the research was a blast! I had the opportunity to share chapters with students in Springfield, Hollister and Lake Forest, California as the manuscript progressed. Then, it won first place in the 2010 Pike’s Peak Fiction Writing Contest, children’s category.
The VIP judge from Scholastic asked for the manuscript, and is currently considering it. To see a blurb about the book, read reviews from people who have read it, or sign up to receive an announcement on the release date go to www.kimpiddington.com
What advice to you have for aspiring writers?
Find a writing group that you feel comfortable with and meet regularly! It’s like having a gym buddy; they’ll push you to work through the tough spots. Read and study the genre you are interested in writing. Attend as many conferences and workshops as you can afford, (either in person or online!) take notes, and follow the expert’s advice.
And there you have it. Kim, you already think and speak like a seasoned pro and I wish you all the best with this novel and the others that will follow. Thank you again for being my featured guest today. It has been my pleasure.
For readers who wish to leave comments for Kim, please use the boxes below.