This was previously published on my blog at www.afterdivorce.net. It's an important message to share!
For those of us unfortunate enough to have gone through a divorce, we know it is a tumultuous time in everyone’s life. For you, your ex, both of your extended families, and mostly your children. In fact, you may find yourself thinking and doing things that are out of character of your true self. If you talk to anyone who has gone through it, it is astounding how you will always hear “I don’t know who this person is anymore.” Sadly, they are right! Divorce is life altering and the person you once thought had your back, is the same person wanting to stab you in the back, at least in court.
It’s a fact that people going through divorce are usually more emotionally off keel (temporarily) due to the stress they are under. Because of this they don’t always make rational decisions. However, when children are involved it is imperative to keep as much normalcy as possible for their sake and their long-term stability.
Below is a partial list I found online in an article from Lois Misiewicz (2011). This isn’t her complete list, I made quite a few additions and deletions. Keep in mind, these are not always easy to follow, but in the end taking the high road, even when you know your former spouse isn’t, will send clear signals to your children that they can trust and rely on you. Some of these may sound simple, but again, nothing is simple when it comes to divorce.
4. Your children should not know the details of your divorce… regardless of
their age. They still have a right to love the other parent. Less is more here.
5. If you are in a new relationship don’t expect your children to fall head over
heels for that person just because you have. Keep your emotions at bay. In
fact it would be best for your children to only meet people you see a future
6. If you feel the need to talk trash about your spouse don’t do it when there is
even a remote possibility your children will hear you (another very hard thing
7. Don’t question the children regarding the activities of your (ex) spouse. You
are both done, so move on!
8. You can't change what has already ready happened so don’t continually
rehash the past. Try instead to learn from it for your future relationships.
9. Your children are not messengers. Aside from putting them right in the
middle, you are also relying upon the child to get the message to your spouse
correctly and in the manner you meant it. Do your own communication.
10. Don’t stop the children from seeing the other parent because he or she owes you money.
I know during the process I myself made a few blunders and did things I shouldn’t have. But as time wore on, I realized the only people I was hurting were those I loved the most: my children. If you try to adhere to this advice, you will find your behavior shifting toward rationality and maturity daily. Yes, it is easier said than done, but your child’s well-being is really on the line here, and in many respects, so is yours.
I would love to hear your stories or your comments.
As a writer, it’s important to study your craft. The best way to do that is to read. Read, read, and read some more. Before I started writing picture books, I must have read a few hundred. It’s important to see the structure, to get a feel for the word count, and to study how much the words say as opposed to the illustrations. Since as writers, we tend to overwrite, we can lower word count for picture books by allowing the illustrations to say what we cannot in the short text.
I have also been writing a young adult fiction book for a few months now. So naturally, I’ve been reading quite a bit of this genre. I have found that publishers are allowing writers to really push boundaries on sexuality, gender identification, diversity, and so much more. It’s such an exciting time to be a writer. Plus, it does seem that editors and agents are more accessible thanks to Twitter and other social media platforms.
As exciting as it is, it also seems harder than ever to break through. Of course, self-publishing is an option. One that I have already accomplished for my non-fiction book on divorce for my readers of my website www.afterdivorce.net. I didn’t attempt the traditional publishing route, since my purpose was to finish as soon as possible to have something to offer my readers on my website. However, more and more writers are taking the self-publishing route since the traditional route takes such an agonizing long time, with many rejections dotted along the way. But being quite determined, I am persevering and not giving up. In fact, I see it happening in my not-so-distant future.
So, in my quest to read as much YA as possible, I have stumbled on some really good ones, to some not so good ones. Naturally, like anything, there are hits and misses, but some are just plain out there that I shake my head and wonder how did this get published? Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the norm.
The YA market welcomes innovators to forge new paths and once taboo subjects are welcome. A YA book I recently read THE LAST TO LET GO, by Amber Smith tackles family domestic abuse as well as a young girl discovering and embracing her identity. I thought it was extremely well-written and Smith showed how the abuse manifested in the main character and her siblings, instead of telling the reader abuse stories.
Also, when you read books about writing or go to writing conferences there seems to be an extensive amount of time spent on the many dos and don’ts to know. But just as there must be a framework of sorts to follow, it’s also good to know that it’s just that: an outline to follow that is not set in stone. For instance, I read that in YA there should be limited point of view, yet the book ONE OF US IS LYING, by Karen M. McManus has four main characters, each having their point of views. It was exciting to read, and the different characters kept the story moving at a great pace.
During this innovative time in writing, it’s also important to settle into a rhythm of sorts and find a critique group. During a conference I went to last year, one agent mentioned that she would never even consider taking on a client if he/she wasn’t in a critique group. At first I thought that was a bit harsh, but after being in one, I get it. I find I am held accountable to a higher standard with my writing to someone other than myself. I believe it has improved my writing and I am more prolific than ever before.
As writers we must study our craft by reading, writing and getting critiqued regularly. It’s the only way we learn and grow. It’s also important to keep up with publishing trends, and one helpful, informative way is through Publisher’s Weekly.
As always, keep up the good writing and reading. Wishing you many successfully writing blessings to come.
I write Picture Books, Chapter Books and YA.