Ten-Minute Blog Break - 17th January

Logo by Melany Pietersen

Nick Cross writes:
Welcome back to the Blog Break, which will be appearing fortnightly from now on. I have to admit to being a bit daunted by the task of writing this first instalment, because it feels like I'm starting again from scratch. So do excuse me if this week's salvo contains more links than you can get through in ten minutes!

The turn of the year is a great time for taking stock, and a number of our SCBWI-BI bloggers have taken advantage of that. After signing with an agent, Sheila Averbuch has had a year of intense writing and revision - she shares 10 things she learned about writing in 2016.

When we last had a baby in the house (thankfully many years ago), I didn't do much with my downtime except for collapsing on the sofa and occasionally dribbling. But illustrator Leila Nabih achieved so much in 2016, even with a baby in tow! Inspiring stuff.

Claire Watts is making me feel even more inadequate with her astonishing word count for 2016: 209,803 words! In her blog post, she talks about how she achieved that total, and reflects on the pros and cons of driving yourself to write a large amount every day.

If, like me, you feel your own achievements in 2016 didn't measure up to our previous 3 bloggers, take heart. Firstly, what you did was enough. Secondly, have a look at the drawing of The Reassuring Cat on Sam Zuppardi's blog. It always makes him feel better and hopefully it'll have the same effect on you.

I enjoyed reading about John Shelley's adventurous trip to Japan, which he's remembering 30 years on. John followed an intense (but somewhat inexplicable) yearning, flew halfway across the world and didn't leave for 21 years!

I now know what KM Lockwood's been up to while I was away - quietly building up a library of beautiful short fiction on her blog site. The latest instalment The Maiden of the Snows is as good a place as any to start - evocative, unfussy storytelling steeped in folklore.

There's a SCBWI two-for-one at Catherine Friess's Story Snug website, because she's interviewing our own Emma Perry who organises International Book Giving Day. Read the post to find out how Valentine's Day can become a book giving extravaganza!

A non-SCBWI blog post - actually series of blog posts - that caught my eye are the ones that Debi Gliori is writing to support the publication of her new picture book Night Shift, which deals with her experiences of depression. The whole set is worth reading, but if you only have a few minutes, Night Shift 2 is the one that left me speechless.

Finally, you've probably heard the sad news that author/illustrator Babette Cole died over the weekend. Sarah McIntyre has posted a lovely photographic tribute that shows both Babette's irrepressible personality, and the fact that she and Sarah were clearly separated at birth!


Nick Cross is Words & Pictures' Blog Network Editor. He is an Undiscovered Voices winner and 2015 honours recipient of the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for fiction.

Nick also blogs for Notes from the Slushpile.


  1. Glad to have you back, Nick - and much gratified by the mention.

  2. Thank you for including Story Snug's blogpost Nick. Emma and I very much appreciate people helping to share the word about International Book Giving Day :)

  3. Eight inspiring reads and a Reassuring Cat, thanks Nick.

  4. What a great collection of posts! And what a great comeback! Thanks, Nick!

  5. Welcome back. I've missed your blog break!


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