WMBTSD Giveaway Day Seven: September 7, 2007

Today is a lucky number–seven! So it seems only natural to offer two terrific books, one on children’s writing and the other on e-parenting! Two great topics, how am I ever going to decide which to ask about in today’s question?

You Can Write Children’s BooksToday’s books are: You Can Write Children’s Books by Tracey E. Dils (Writer’s Digest Books 1998) and E-Parenting, Keeping Up with Your Tech-Savvy Kids by Sharon Cindrich (Random House 2007).

About You Can Write Children’s Books by Tracey E. Dils, one Amazon.com reviewer says:

I have read about 50 different books on writing, and I’d put this one in the top 3. Tracey Dills REALLY knows what she is talking about, and I would really like to thank her for writing this book.

Another says:

This is an excellent book for beginners. It gives an accurate overview of the process of writing children books. The language is very conversational and not too academic which makes it easier to grasp her concepts. In the appendix she list some great resources that would be benefical to any writer–whether beginner or pro.

Obviously, this book isn’t going to be able to provide the contemporary angle on children’s writing, but it continues to sell well even years after publication because of the excellent fundamentals it provides.

E-Parenting, Keeping Up with your Tech-Savvy Kids by Sharon CindrichHowever, E-Parenting, Keeping Up with Your Tech-Savvy Kids by Sharon Miller Cindrich is extremely contemporary and helpful in our technological times. What mom doesn’t sometimes fret over her child’s relationship to technology?

Sharon Miller Cindrich is not afraid to grab technology by the horns and she encourages today’s parents to do the same rather than cowering in the background worrying about what it will do to your kids. Sharon is a proactive parent when it comes to technology and she inspires readers to get in the game (even when it’s a video game) and navigate the technology jungle alongside their kids.

And crazily enough, she makes it all sound fun. 🙂

Readers value Sharon’s sense of humor, warmth and courage. And if you are facing technology overload–and who isn’t???–you’ll be happy to have an informed encouraging voice to guide you.

Here’s a little bit about Sharon Miller Cindrich:

Sharon Miller Cindrich is a freelance writer whose work has been published nationally in magazines and newspapers around the country including The Chicago Tribune, Parents Magazine, and The Writer. She is a Contributing Editor at FamilyFun Magazine and writes a bimonthly humor column for West Suburban Living Magazine in the Chicago Suburbs. She is a regular contributor to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lifestyle section and Metroparent Magazine. Read more about Sharon at http://www.pluggedinparent.com/.

I have to make today’s question easy because Julianne is on my case!

In 50-300 words, please describe how you feel about technology as it relates to your writing career. Do you love it or hate it or something in-between and are your feelings shared by your children or not? Feel free to add how you feel about their relationship to technology, if you like.

Okay, Julianne? Maybe just respond like one of the Disney characters if that’s easier. 😉

I’ll ask about children’s writing on a different book. No worries.

If you are new to the giveaway, please visit “Station Identification.”


29 Responses to “WMBTSD Giveaway Day Seven: September 7, 2007”

  1. 1 robin September 7, 2007 at 4:04 am

    Technology~ I love it! If it weren’t for digital cameras, the internet, email, and voicemail, I would not have been able to freelance for newspapers while having 4 kids at home.
    When things are loud in the house, phone messages can be saved and calls returned later. Even better is email. I primarily use that as my contact information and have even done email interviews.

  2. 2 Shawn September 7, 2007 at 4:32 am

    My nieces and nephews, first and second graders, are addicted to all things technology and media. I am against that kind of obsession. At that age, they should be more creative, at least in the traditional sense.

    I live on the computer, when not mothering, and have learned about Tech stuff since becoming a blogger. I enjoy learning new things, but I do not live for them. I do not feel I need much to be a writer, but certainly some things are becoming necessary.

    My girls will be raised with minimal media and tech until they need to know it. They will be taught the essentials, but at the right time. I have a long time for that, I hope.

    I guess, I think technology is a necessary evil.

  3. 3 Andrea McMann September 7, 2007 at 5:07 am

    I’m not super tech-savvy, butI love my computer. For some reason, I write better when I can actually type. I use a pen and paper when I need to jot down some ideas in a hurry, but I much prefer to sit at the computer and just type away. It seems more organized, and I’m more able to organize my thoughts that way.

    My son just turned five, and he somehow suckered his parents into buying him a Gameboy Advanced. 🙂 I’ve been struggling with him lately because he’s suddenly become so obsessed with video games. I swear, if I let him, he would play his Gameboy every second of the day! I do think it’s good for his hand-eye coordination, and it’s helping him to distinguish between left and right, but I have to watch him like a hawk. He’s always trying to sneak off into another room and get a Gameboy fix!

  4. 4 Meryl K. Evans September 7, 2007 at 5:34 am

    Technology made it possible for me to become a freelance writer. Writing often involves connecting with others and making phone calls is very slow and tedious for me because I’m profoundly deaf. It’s only frustrating when my best friends and people like them don’t use e-mail or communications-based technology much as it’s a struggle to stay in touch with them. Technology also helped me find my husband of over 18 years.

    My kids accept technology as a tool in their lives. My daughter uses IM and texting all the time. My sons love to play games and do activities on the computer.

    And I have a Daisy Duck Halloween costume! So picture all of this in Donald’s accent. 🙂

  5. 5 Tricia Grissom September 7, 2007 at 5:39 am

    Technology is indispensable to my writing. I only send out equeries, I keep track of my manuscript submissions online, I compose in a novel writing program, and I blog about writing. Basically I’m a little fembot.

    I am an introvert. I’d rather have my eyeballs deep-fried than talk on the phone or network at a writing conference. Communicating through technology has made me much bolder and more confident than I’d be if I was live with an editor.

    It also allows me to hook up with writers all over the country and get great advice. Seriously, I’m gushing here, but I don’t know how I’d be a writer without it these days.


  6. 6 Lea September 7, 2007 at 7:55 am

    How could I live without “Nora Notebook?” Yes, I love my laptop so much I have named her, and my husband has caught me whispering sweet nothings while I caress her silver body.

    My children are sometimes jealous of the time I dedicate to their youngest “sibling,” mainly because they want their chance to play with Nora as well. They give her their undivided attention during the time they play games on their favorite websites, which I think is better for them than TV.

    I can tote her to the coffee shop, and she especially likes the quietness of the libraries I frequent. Never again will I go back to the days of trying to decipher my scribbles on stacks of yellow tablets!

  7. 7 A-M September 7, 2007 at 8:16 am

    I am not a writer. I do follow the Writer Mama blog regularly as Christina is a childhood friend and continues to be inspirational. I don’t belive I have ever commented on her blog?! Well, today is the day…the giveaway caught my attention. I have a few ideas for a children’s book based largely on the travel I did earlier in life. It seems everyone wants to write a children’s book these days, but even if mine goes no farther than my own kids and grandkids (someday) I would be happy. I think the technology is a pro to writing because I haven’t done anything yet and am starting to contemplate writing because of the advances in technology. As for my kids, they embrace it fully the little they are exposed to at this point…we have a largely low tech household with an almost 30 year old TV that remains mostly turned off and a 20 plus stereo system, although we are on the verge of making the jump to ipod, etc. I don’t want to forbid the computer games, game boys etc. so that my kids become obsessed with this unknown world so I think the E-Parenting book would be essential in helping my husband and I navigate this emerging area for us with our children.

  8. 8 Mary Jo C. September 7, 2007 at 9:12 am

    I have a love-hate relationship with all things techy! I love to keep submissions organized in a spreadsheet, instant responses with emails, research topics and background info via the Internet and finding new writer websites and blogs! In Word, spell check is a Godsend, so is word count and cut and paste! Remember the cumbersome word processors with the little “white out” strips?! Ugh! Voice mail and caller ID are great helpers during children meltdowns (or mommy meltdowns!)

    However, I find I get trapped in the information superhighway. It is overwhelming the amount of info out there and I use this to fuel my already bad habit of procrastination. Maybe I need to schedule on-line time, as I do for my boys (ages 8 and 3). Computer and video game time for the boys can be a blessing when I need to get some work done, but a nightmare when I have to clean up everything they downloaded! And my printer? Let’s just say I’d like to take it out back and beat it with a bat! Anyone see Office Space??

    Count: 181

  9. 9 Patti September 7, 2007 at 9:36 am

    It took me a long time to learn to write on the computer. My writing was such a physical process, I wrote by hand, just letting the words flow, then I’d read and re-read and actually cut up the paragraphs and sentences and rearrange them on the floor. Somehow the words on the computer screen looked already finished, it was hard to edit, but I eventually got used to the system. I still take notes by hand, though.

    The technology of the computer has allowed me to work from home, and be a halfway decent single mom, and I’m very grateful for that.

    My older son was very easily addicted to computer/video games – my younger son is not. I think it’s a brain thing.

  10. 10 edna September 7, 2007 at 10:17 am

    As a writer and illustrator, I’m happy that I live during the digital information era which enables me to connect with art and book buyers, consumers, research material and more from my own little corner of the world. Sometimes I experience information overload but I have a fairly good handle on how to deal with it now. I’m learning all the time. I think of emails, message boards, etc. simply as tools that can be dealt with effectively with focus and discipline.

    Since I use a Mac as a graphic artist and illustrator, I naturally use it for writing. I’m not prone to half the hassles as PC users. And no, I am not a Mac snob, but I just know that my hubby and kids (who all use and own PC’s) are always facing security, systems and bug issues where I haven’t (knock on wood ;)). That’s not to say that I let my guard down. On the contrary, I have an extra hard drive for backing up; I use a firewall; and I perform routine hard drive optimization and maintenance on my Mac CPU.

    Technology is definitely a boon to writers and artists and I’m grateful for it. I just don’t need to be at the forefront of it all the time. For example, I won’t even consider getting an i-phone until all the bug and billing issues are worked out. Perhaps by the third generation i-phone, it’s something I’ll find useful for business and personal life. I’m not in a great hurry.

  11. 11 Paula Jolin September 7, 2007 at 11:25 am

    For me, technology is both brilliant and terrible. Brilliant because it allows me to research many things quickly and easily, keeps me abreast of current trends, helps me to find books (to read) I might never have heard of otherwise, allows me to stay in touch easily with my agent and editor, and send and receive comments quickly. No bulky manuscripts sent through the mail!

    There’s no denying, however, that the internet presents a huge danger in my life – it can easily swallow up large chunks of time without me even noticing! My solution (well, my new solution, this is a battle I’ve been fighting for years) is to take my laptop off line, and keep in downstairs, where my 2-year-old daughter, obsessed with magic markers, has her desk. She paints beautiful pictures and I write! Neither one of us goes on line till our work is done.

  12. 12 Lisa B September 7, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Hey. My name is Lisa. I am a computer addict. I’ve been accused of having an affair with my laptop similar to Lea above 🙂 My daughter has been using a computer since she was 6 months old — playing a Sesame Street game. I am just beginning to write, but I am finding I can get largely distracted if I’m writing on my computer. I would rather read everyone’s blogs, websites, and emails than to write something original. The best way I’ve written has been to (gasp) write with pen and paper, then sit down at my computer later to type it in. When I type what I’ve written, it’s also a good editing exercise 🙂

    I seriously don’t know where I’ve been, but I’m adding your feed to my reader 😉 Yet another blog to read instead of writing! Wuhoo!

  13. 13 Richelle September 7, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks to technology, I can work at home, from my couch, in my jammies, and no one is the wiser. Thanks to technology, I can go out for coffee and a muffin and still keep up with clients. I appreciate what my laptop and remote desktop have given me in the way of freedom and independence.

    Sure, it can be misused, and I suppose there are lots of things to hate about our modern, plugged-in life. When I start feeling that way, I just take my laptop outside! (OK, kidding — I turn it off.)

    As for my kids, the oldest is nearly five, and she has shown virtually no interest in the computer. She’ll have plenty of time to learn — and I’m sure by the time she’s 10, she’ll be teaching me new tricks.

  14. 14 movingmama September 7, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Love, love, love technology. I would be the world’s laziest writer if I had to actually *gasp* write with a pen. My hand cramps up just at the thought of writing more than a list of to do’s. And, blogging, don’t even get me started. It’s a wonderful way to connect to other writers.

    I can retrieve facts from behind my computer instead of trudging down to the library to look stuff up (impossible with 2 children tagging along!). The Internet has opened up so much for those of us who are tied to home during nap time. I wish I had more money to spend on updating my “stuff”, but what I have will do for now 🙂

  15. 15 Julianne September 7, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    The pressure is on.

    Technology is a powerful ally in my pursuit of payment for words. It is also one of my most formidable enemies. Both my laptop and my desktop emit some type of pheromone that draws me to the screen every time I pass by (the desktop is in the kitchen so this happens often).

    I can never just open up a document and start typing. First, I check my email accounts and respond immediately to all correspondence. Then, I check my blog stats. At least once a day I check myspace and I like to visit my favorite blogs as well (Writer Mama is one of them, of course). It’s a time consuming process and I don’t always have the time. Time management is my number one struggle in all of my roles in life: writer, mother, wife, daughter, friend. I never have enough time and I rarely use it efficiently.

    Despite the massive time suckage that technology regularly imposes on my life, I am very grateful for it. It has made getting my writing career off of the ground a fairly simple process and has introduced me to a wealth of writing resources that I would otherwise not have access to. Plus, the other day I had some lyrics running through my head and I could not, for the life of me, remember what the song was. I googled five words and, voila!, mystery solved. God bless the internet.

  16. 16 Julie September 7, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I’m a big fan of techonology. HUGE. I live on the computer. When mine died this summer, I nearly did as well. I rely on the internet for work, communication, knowledge, research… you name it. Lets just say that I ordered an irobot Roomba because my time spent researching vacuums on the net took up all my vacuumming time.

    However, when it comes to writing, I’m still an old-fashioned writer. Gimmee hand cramps over dry eyes any day. I express myself better with pages flying all through the room. (note to self: remember to turn off the Roomba when writing!)

    Of course, that means twice the time to actually complete a piece… I have yet to find a publishing house that accepts a hand-written, crossed out, whited out (do they even sell that stuff any more?) manuscript!

  17. 17 Kristina September 7, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    I’m not a technophobe, but I do try to weigh whether or not a particular technology is actually helping/saving time. I often find the opposite is what’s really happening, so I keep things pretty simple. I use a desktop computer, a color printer (for personal use, which often includes graphics), a laser printer (for manuscripts…the print is cleaner and its operation is cheaper), a scanner, and a digital camera. Anything else just gets in my way.

    My husband thinks I need all the latest greatest gadgets, but I stand my ground! No more! (Unless someone can *really* prove it’s necessary.)

    And my young daughter thinks I should throw it *all* out and give her all my attention 🙂

  18. 18 Tammy E September 7, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    I write better and faster on the computer. My handwriting is horrible, and I’m a lefty – bad combo. With the computer, I never have a smear of black ink on my pinky and the writing bump on my middle finger has all but disappeared. So, I can thank the computer for more presentable hands at the very least.

    I love being able to write and share my writing online – getting instant critiques; taking online classes, learning about new writers, markets, blogs and having the ability to type as fast as my brain will think. The danger is in getting hung up on editing as you go – that is still a problem for me.

    As for kids and technology – I have started letting my six year old use the computer once in a while. I’m lucky though – he loves to create his own stuff, scenarios, projects/art, dances, etc…, so he only gets to do maybe one or two PBSkids games or Bella Sara thingy a week, and about one video or a couple of PBS cartoons a week. It helps that there are usually other kids here for after school care, so there are kids to play and create with. I’m not completely against computer games, but I don’t like seeing kids who are ‘addicted’ to them. I don’t buy the hand/eye coordination argument – there are other ways to develop that besides computers.

    We won’t purchase a hand-held game for him, and we don’t have a DVD player for the car – we do car spotting games, books on tape or just the old fashioned game of “ARE WE THERE YET????????” “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooo and stop asking!” I mean, why would I want to deprive my child of those kinds of good family memories?

  19. 19 LauraE September 7, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    Technology allows me to have it all. Without technology I wouldn’t have the career and lifestyle I desire. Technology takes me more places personally and professionally and gives me more freedom in my personal life allowing me to work and be at home with my kids–for me the best of both worlds. Never missed that corner office.

    As a writer, technology helps me submit articles in a more affordable way and gets my stories to editors faster than ever while fostering the editing process. Technology has enabled me to take classes, participate in crit groups, and keep up with colleagues who live all over the world.

    But there is a cost. As a multimedia designer working at a major newspaper, I’ve seen the downside, or should I say downsizing. Amazing journalists are losing their jobs because the newspaper industry is having trouble keeping up. We are trying to compete in a world where everyone is a journalist/videographer. It’s an exciting volatile time and will continue to be a wild ride for some time to come.

    My E-parenting consisted of having one computer right off the kitchen. The kids never had a computer in their room until their senior year in high school. I do have to say that my challenge with my 17 yr. old was that she never…and I mean, never unplugged. Even her cell stayed on all night for those 2AM crises calls from friends. It got so bad as punishment last Spring I instituted a “check-in” policy. She had to leave her cell/laptop with me every night and pick it up at the breakfast table the next morning. Best idea I ever had. She finally got the sleep she needed and I didn’t have to worry about any clandestine meetings/drama.

  20. 20 Jenna Bayley-Burke September 7, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    I don’t know how writers edited before computers. Writing, sure, I can see it…but revisions? The thought of it makes my fingers hurt.

    I love technology in all the forms I can easily understand. I choose to ignore the rest. I always get the basic computer/camera/phone…too many options clutter my mind.

    My kids are small, so don’t understand a world without it – like when the power goes out, I think it is time to play cards by candle light. They panic about all the things that won’t work. Made me want to pull the plug on the house for a few days…we went camping instead.

  21. 21 Deirdre Mundy September 7, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Technology allows me to write. Basically, I have to get all my writing and editing done during Caillou and Sesame Street.

    And since my almost-four-year-old loves the computer (Pbskids.org and webkinz) I have a great punishment for when she doesn’t behave during the day— which keeps her well-behaved and me sane enough to write. (I don’t know how Moms don’t allow TV and internet do it… I need quiet time, and technology is the only way to get it!)

    I, of course, depend on the computer for researching submission policies, typing, and getting critiqued.

    Though I think the most important aspect of technology in my life is the physical location of the computer– It used to be in a corner of the bedroom, and I never got anything done. We moved it to the center of the house, and now the kids will let me type because I’m available to them!

  22. 22 Peggy September 7, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    In my day job I am a computer software engineer, so I am relatively computer savy. I say relatively because my kids, having grouwn up with computers, have a whole other outlook on the stuff. Yeah, I know the guts of the software, but they know all about myspace, facebook, emoticons, and the like.

    The biggest influence my knowledge of technology has on my writing is that I’m *really paranoid* about backups — so much so that I keep master copies of my work online (in google documents at the moment).

    One of my sons works for IBM — he’s the one who was putting a LAN in our house as a teenager — and he has an ease with the hardware that I will never achieve.

    I don’t use a lot of fancy software in my writing life — just MS word. I keep track of my submissions in a file (it’s also in google documents). I write first drafts on paper lots of times. I don’t own a laptop, though it is on my list of things to buy when I get the money.

  23. 23 Heather Haapoja September 7, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Computer classes were just beginning when I was in high school, and owning a PC was rare. When computers did burst onto the market, we were raising young children and had no money for such luxuries. Besides, computers were going to be the death of books forever, and we certainly didn’t want or need one in our home. This techno-denial went on for several years.

    Then one day my husband’s boss upgraded his PC, and gave us his hand-me-down. All that “end of civilization as we know it” stuff went out the window and I eagerly discovered all the cool things this new gadget could do. My favorite programs were Word and Solitaire. Then we got internet access.

    The internet opened up the world of publishing to me. I had been writing for years, but didn’t have a clue how to submit my work for publication. On a whim one day, I searched “children’s book publishing,” and the rest, as they say, is history. Today the internet is definitely my friend (not to mention all the real friends I’ve made because of it). Though I’d never claim to be a true “geek,” I’m quite proficient when it comes to internet research. I find article ideas, interview subjects, submission guidelines and tons of topical information online. And the great thing is, if you need to learn something techie, those answers are all out there, too. You just have to know how to find them.

    My kids are much more tech-savvy than I when it comes to DVD players, iPods, cell phones, answering machines, etc., but the computer is my domain (not that I don’t need their advice now and again). And if you want to set up a MySpace page, they’re the pros to turn to.

  24. 24 Melissa September 7, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    I love technology– blogging makes the world go ’round, doesn’t it? No? Oh well. I enjoy it anyway. And internet research is a busy mom’s best friend.

    My kids are still too small to have much of an opinion on technology. The oldest is 7, and she gets to type or explore the occasional parent-approved educational website, but that’s about it. The younger ones don’t get any screen time at all.

  25. 25 Shonna September 7, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    I am so happy about the internet. I think it’s the greatest thing. I had an idea for a novel about 10 years ago and had trouble with the research so I just filed it. A few months ago I started poking around and sure enough, within the last two years, the exact info that I had been trying to find has been posted along with photos from a museum exhibit. Wahoo!

    The other thing I like about the internet is the ability for any writer anywhere to market her books. This month-long giveaway is an example of online marketing. What a fun way to draw readers to your site.

  26. 26 Jennifer Applin September 7, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    I really do love the internet and my computer. It keeps me connected in many ways. But honestly I think about all of the things I could be doing instead of sitting at my desk. I think technology is good, but we have to keep analyzing it’s purpose and not get carried away. If it’s helping, great, if it’s taking over, not-so-great!

    My kids are a little young yet, but my oldest (age 6) is starting to ask for time at the computer. Then we recently purchased an iPod and the 6 and 4-year-old LOVE it and are asking for their own (uhhh, NOT gonna happen!).

  27. 27 Laura September 7, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Technology to me is a very useful tool, and has enhanced my writing career. I have always felt the burn to write, but found myself hindered by the slowness of handwriting. With the advent of the word processor, my thoughts are only constrained by the speed of my typing. However, I have also written in notebooks, and even on legal pads, when I had the need to write, but no computer around.

    I really appreciate the ability to submit articles to publishers online. It is so simpler, and so satifying to hit “send”, and know your article is on its way.

    What I appreciate the most about technology is that I am finally starting to find others like me, women who want to write. It is so encouranging to find other writers, and hopefully, some friends. No one around me writes. As a single mother, who works full time, I don’t have the energy or resources to try to find a writer’s group…but online, I am starting to meet others. Not being alone in this passion means so much to me.

  28. 28 Karen September 7, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    I couln’t do what I do without technology. It allows me to work from home, research from home, procrastinate at home–you get the idea. I live in a very–let me emphasize very rural area. It just wouldn’t be possible to embark on a writing career and live where I live without technology. My kids are just getting old enough to become fascinated by all of the grown-up toys around the house, and I love it. I love that they can grow up with it as part of their lives instead of having no choice but to learn it, or be left behind.

    Thanks for the writer unboxed tip!

  29. 29 Mary Jo September 7, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    I love words. I love to read. I love to write. And I love the Internet–there are sooooo many words to read. Unfortunately, when I’m reading, I’m not writing (or doing lots of other things, like washing dishes, cleaning the toilet–you get the picture…). I find myself reading writer’s magazine websites, and authors’ blogs, and other people’s blogs, and news articles, and a million interesting topics out there in “Googleland” –not to mention the emails in my own inbox from a multitude of family and friends!

    Technology has put a whole world of words at my fingertips, from the local paper to the Library of Congress. My challenge is to know when to stop reading other people’s words, and get back to writing my own. It’s hard enough to find the time to put my thoughts on paper, while running a household and homeschooling my children and helping my husband with his various businesses. Now I have an “Internet Beast” to wrestle with every day, which is trying to steal even the little writing time I do have…

    What’s a “writing mama” to do??? The answer lies in that dreaded four-letter word: DIET! = Delay Internet Enjoyment Today!—and just go write!!!

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