Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Tales from the Trenches

on December 3, 2010

This month, I got to be one of the featured writers in the Seattle SCBWI Chinook “Tales from the Trenches” Column. Thanks to Elizabeth Mills for letting me reprint the interview here!

What was the best, most constructive rejection letter you received?

The best, most constructive rejection letter I received was from Kim Griswell at Highlights Magazine. After attending Chautauqua in 2007, I submitted an article to Highlights entitled, “Rachel: The Pike Place Market Pig.” I worked hard on the article and even included photos of Pigs on Parade.  When I got a rejection, I was disappointed. But, then I read what Kim wrote: “This one seems to lose its focus midway, going from the historical to the specific Pike Place Pig. Do try us again.” Best, Kim. I revised the article by tightening the focus and “Rachel: The Pike Place Market Pig” sold to Columbia Kids which was the perfect home!

Here it is:

http://columbia.washingtonhistory.org/kids/Fall2008/what-is-that.aspx

What do you do with your rejection letters?

I throw away most of my rejection letters….or delete them out of my e-mail! I do keep a data base which tracks my submissions, and before I toss the rejection, I will record what type of rejection letter I received. For example, form, personal note, try us again, etc. If I receive a personal note and am invited to submit work again, I will usually file the rejection letter with the article or short story.  And what about those acceptance letters and e-mails…I slip the acceptance letters into plastic sleeves and post them all over my office! Writing is hard work, and I like to be reminded of the times I’ve had success!

Did you take any classes during your career that particularly helped you with your work?

I think the most useful classes I took were the Residencies at Vermont College where I earned my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. During faculty lectures, I kept hearing about finding the right container for the story we needed to tell.  It finally began to dawn on me that I didn’t have to be only a young adult novelist. I could write stories and articles for kids which spanned all ages. The work I was doing at Vermont College taught me how to be able to craft a well-written story no matter what the container might be….and that was before e-books and e-readers!

Bio: Mindy Hardwick’s published articles and short stories have included: “Tales from the Lighthouse” a middle grade short story published with Columbia Kids, “I Believe” a tween audio story published with Sniplits, “Who Is Under the Bridge: The Fremont Troll” an article published with Columbia Kids, as well as numerous articles on the craft of writing published in Children’s Writer, The Writer Magazine, and Booklinks. Mindy is included on the Washington State Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster and facilitates a poetry workshop with the Tulalip Youth as a part of the New Directions Music and Arts Prevention Program. This winter, she will be working with youth at The Open Window School for Coffee House Poetry.

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2 responses to “Tales from the Trenches

  1. Kim Griswell says:

    Congratulations, Mindy! You not only found the perfect focus, you found the perfect focus for a specific publication! Now that’s the way to revise and sell! Congratulations on the article. I really enjoyed reading it in its published form!

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