Posted by: nancyisanders | December 4, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event


Keeping a journal at a research-related or writing event can be so rewarding in so many countless ways.

For example, when I walked into the workshop on making a Jane-Austen era turban, there was a stack of postcards.

I took two.

TIP: If it’s available, always take two of colorful 1-page double-sided handouts so you can glue the front up AND the back up and have both there to see. (If only one is available, tape it into your journal after you get home, don’t glue it, so you can flip it over to see the back.)

I glued them immediately into my journal–the front as a reference for the style.

The back as a reference for the presenter’s contact information.

The benefit?

I eventually added a craft to my book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, on how to make regency era turban. I used notes from the workshop to create my own series of how-to-instructions, and when I hit a glitch, I used the contact info on the postcard to call the presenter and ask her for help.

And as you can see, I also took hand-drawn illustrations as notes, too.

I’m definitely not an artist, but I’ve learned not to be shy about sketching little sketches when it helps.

Here’s another double-sided flyer I took two of so I could glue both sides in my journal.


Posted by: nancyisanders | December 2, 2019

Cyber Monday Sale Serious Writer Academy

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Yes! Serious Writer Academy, where I am one of the instructors, is continuing on with the holiday fun and having a Cyber Monday Sale!

Classes will be 40% off if you use the code CYBERMONDAY19.

So far, I have one class with the academy, an in-depth 75 minute video class you can download and watch at your own convenience. Plus it has oodles of handouts that are printable worksheets to help make your writing a success.

DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS WITH TOP SECRET DETECTIVE FILES is the inside scoop on how I develop characters whether I’m writing a picture book or a chapter book for a best-selling series…whether I’m writing fiction OR nonfiction.

Today you can get my class (plus others!) at Serious Writer Academy at this great discount.


Posted by: nancyisanders | November 29, 2019

Black Friday Sale Serious Writer Academy!

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Yes! Serious Writer Academy, where I am one of the instructors, is joining in on the holiday fun and having a Black Friday Sale!

Classes will be 60% off if you use the code BLACKFRIDAY19.

So far, I have one class with the academy, an in-depth 75 minute video class you can download and watch at your own convenience. Plus it has oodles of handouts that are printable worksheets to help make your writing a success.

DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS WITH TOP SECRET DETECTIVE FILES is the inside scoop on how I develop characters whether I’m writing a picture book or a chapter book for a best-selling series…whether I’m writing fiction OR nonfiction.

Today you can get my class (plus others!) at Serious Writer Academy.


Posted by: nancyisanders | November 27, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event

When I showed up at the annual conference for the Jane Austen Society of North America, I arrived with 3 essential tools:

My 100-page wide-rule blank composition book
A bottle of Scotch quick-drying tacky glue (available in sewing or craft stores)
A small pair of scissors (make sure sharp objects are allowed at your event!)

Before the conference, I had already created my Table of Contents over 4 of the earliest pages so that it would be ready to fill in throughout my days at the event. I had also numbered the lower right hand corner of each page of the blank notebook.

Here is the overview of my completed Table of Contents. I filled it in as my days unfolded at the conference, basically in chronological order according to the classes, workshops, and talks I attended.





As you can see by my Table of Contents, I took notes at the various talks and presentations I attended.

The BIGGEST MOST HUGE perk of this was that I made sure to jot down some direct quotes the presenters said. As a result, I was able to add a very significant quote I heard at the conference into my manuscript I was writing for JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS. (And then I contacted the person for approval to quote him.)

The result? My children’s book has a very significant fact about Jane Austen’s family that most other biographies don’t include! And it’s a direct quote from Richard Knight, the great-great-great-grandson of Jane’s brother.

It’s golden treasures like these that are just some of the amazing reasons to keep a writer’s journal when you attend a research or writing-related event.


Posted by: nancyisanders | November 24, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event

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I love creating a journal when I attend a writing-related event. I think it’s one of my favorite types of journals to create!

So when I was researching my book JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, I immediately signed up to attend the huge AGM (Annual General Meeting) of the Jane Austen Society of North America when I discovered it was being held practically in my back yard!

Huntington Beach, California–just an hour away and one of my favorite places in the world!

What a whirlwind of fun that was! And I have all of it documented in my event journal.

I think one of my favorite reasons to create event journals is because you get so many handouts crafted on high quality paper that make lovely additions to the journal. These journals really turn into works of art.

The front cover of my journal is cut out from the beautiful handout I received when I walked into the conference and signed in at the registration table. I glued it on after the conference was over.

The back cover was an antique reproduction of a picture of a young country girl published in 1788–a contemporary piece of Jane’s, of course!

And in between the covers I glued in all sorts of goodies from bookmarks, to delightful flyers, to my name tag.

In an upcoming post, I’ll share in details about some of the treasures I collected to take this research journal over the top.


Posted by: nancyisanders | October 24, 2019

Author Interview: Jean Matthew Hall

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Featured Book
God’s Blessings of Fall
by Jean Matthew Hall
Illustrated by Olya Badulina
Little Lamb Books, 2019

The whoosh of the wind, the crunch of the leaves, squirrels skittering about, the aroma of freshly baked pie: these are God’s blessings of fall!

Children will love getting up close to the sights, sounds, and smells of fall. See an owl swoop to her nest in the hollow tree. Watch a mouse roll an apple all the way home. A spider weaves a web, while bear prepares for a long winter’s nap.

With lyricism and whimsy, debut author Jean Matthew Hall celebrates the beauty of this magnificent season and the One who created it all.


Meet Author Jean Matthew Hall

Be sure to follow Jean at:
Website/Blog: Jean Matthew Hall
Facebook: Jean Matthew Hall Author
Twitter: @Jean_Hall
Pinterest: JeanMatthew_Hall

Jean Matthew Hall has spent most of her life singing songs, reading books, playing games, cutting, coloring and gluing with children of all ages. And, she loves it! Creating encouraging board books and picture books is her idea of fun, but her favorite times are spent with her eight grandchildren.

Jean’s picture book God’s Blessings of Fall debuted in September 2019. It is the first in her Bountiful Blessings series about the four seasons.

JOIN US as we celebrate Jean’s new book as part of her official BOOK BLOG TOUR!

Q: Can you share with us about the journey this book has taken so far?

A: Early on I submitted God’s Blessings of Fall to a few publishers, but the story was nowhere near ready. I submitted too soon—a mistake most new writers make. I eventually filed it away and left it for about five years. When I pulled it out again, I had grown a lot in my skills as a writer, I had several critique partners, and I could look at it with clear eyes.

A couple of years later I acquired an agent. He liked the story, sent it to three (I think) houses, and sold it to Little Lamb Books in 2016. She loved it but wanted the next three book manuscripts—right then!

I set aside a week to work on them, emailed my most trusted critique partners and got busy. The Spring, Summer and Winter manuscripts were kind of rough, but they were acceptable to editor Rachel Pellegrino.

Tweaks and changes later we have the finished book. It was great (and difficult) that we edited all four manuscripts at the same time. That way they all have the same tone and voice. I’m proud of how they have turned out.

And I love the way God’s Blessings of Fall shines. Thank you, Jesus, this part of the journey is completed. Now on to marketing.

Q: What are some of your favorite things?

A: Herbal tea over coffee

Color are red and blues

I watch very little TV

I’m not into POP culture

Foods – chocolate, NY style cheesecake, beef stew, fruit

Books – probably whatever I’m currently reading.

Genre – picture books of all types and historical fiction for us older


My car – LOVE my KIA Soul

Music – classic hymns, soft, easy contemporary Christian

Q: Describe your writing process.

A: I need quiet and solitude to write. I always write at my desk in my bedroom.

I pray (sometimes for weeks) before I get an idea. Then I type it out quickly and think on it for days usually. I keep popping in to tweak little things.

Next come my critique groups. They are inciteful and help me reign in my dreams of grandeur. Then I dummy and re-write and re-write and dummy and tweak.

I usually feel when I’ve made a manuscript the best I can at that time. Then I’ll work on the proposal. Don’t you just love proposals?

All the while I’m praying for God to put this manuscript where He can use it for His glory and other people’s good.

Q: What word of advice would you like to share with aspiring writers?

A: Don’t be in a hurry. There is no such thing in the publishing business. Everything takes months and years to happen. Everything.

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 7, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event


During the 2 1/2 year journey it took me to research and write my newest book, Jane Austen for Kids, I kept different types of handwritten writer’s journals. In the photo above you can see most of them.

I created one journal as an overview of my project.

I filled up two journals with my research notes.

I made an event journal for an important event I attended.

I kept a travel journal, a daily diary of a research trip I took.

I also filled up 2 entire journals of scenes I wrote to include in my nonfiction book. I wrote the first draft of each scene by hand in these notebooks before typing it into the computer and polishing it to perfection.

Next up on my blog, I’m going to share with you how I created an event journal to document an important event I attended to help me with my research (as well as networking with fellow Janeites for future marketing connections).

Stay tuned for fun!

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 3, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Additional Pages


Part of the fun of creating homemade writer’s journals for my research as I wrote JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS was to add additional pages into my notebooks.





Some pages I Xeroxed from books and taped across the top to flip up as I referred to the information.





Some pages I Xeroxed and glued right onto my pages of my writer’s journal.



Some pages I taped together along the left and taped them into my writer’s journal to open and read like a mini-book.



And some pages were things I had handwritten without my journal. (I might have been away from home when I suddenly got an idea or a concept such as this concept I had for the timeline I wanted to include in my book.) I just grabbed any piece of paper I could find, jotted down my idea, and when I got back home I glued this into my research notebook.

This also works well if you’re writing chronological notes and you want to plug an event in between two pages you’ve already filled in your journal. Just cut full pages to size and tape them in between the two pages they fit in, taping as close to the spine as possible. Number them 16b or 22b and make a note of this in your table of contents.


Posted by: nancyisanders | September 30, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research and Tracking Notes


If you’ve been following along with my posts, you know that I opted to keep handwritten research notes in homemade journals during my two-and-a-half-year journey to write my newest book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS.

One of the challenges in keeping a handwritten journal is tracking the research notes. And as one of my online writing friends, Annette, posted in a recent comment, she asked, “When you are taking notes from various sources, how do you keep track chronologically?”

There are a couple of ways I track my research, whether it’s chronological or topical.


One way I track my research is to be very careful in my table of contents. If you zoom in closely to the photo right above, on page 25 I added a note to (See also p. 66). This was because I ran out of room in this part of my journal, so I added another page later on to include more information on that topic.

Some research entries I had to continue in a separate research journal because this one filled up. Again, in my table of contents I made a note.

Alternately, I would make a note on the page when I turned to it in my journal. I would write: For more info on this topic, go to Journal #3, page 44 etc.

I also like to create and use outlines as I research a manuscript I’m writing. Since I was writing a birth to death plot for Jane Austen in my book, my outline was in chronological order.

I didn’t create an outline in my writer’s journals. My outline stayed on my computer so I could quickly and easily type in new details where they needed to go. I would print this out occasionally as I was working, to refer to it while I was reading my research books in a comfy chair.

So when I’m using multiple sources, such as I did when I wrote Jane Austen for Kids, here’s my general method for keeping track of chronological events.

I frequently read one chapter or section in my research book. Such as the chapter on Jane’s birth. I took notes in my journal and then picked up another research book and read the section about her birth, adding more notes or backing up notes I already write with the page number of that research book, too.

For example, I created a page in my writer’s journal for:

Jane is born.

On that page in my writer’s journal, I wrote down all the facts from that research book regarding Jane’s birth. My entry reads:

Jane is Born
Born December 16, 1775 MEM1, CH249, CW68, GT6, BCA21,
Born at Steventon Rectory CW68, GT6
Details of birth EJ9, DLFR27
Father baptized her the next day GT6, IC2, HW23
Mrs. Austen write to her relatives a letter to quote AL571

As you can see by my entries, I include with each note I write the secret code I assign to each different research book, along with the page number where that fact was found. I usually like to back up each fact/note with at least 2 sources and hopefully at least 3.

As you can see by the last entry I included, I only have one research source for that. It’s because that particular research book is a primary source (and it’s in the public domain), so I only have to have one source listed for a primary source that is in the public domain.

Do you have any more questions about this process I use? Let me know before I move on to more info about keeping a writer’s journal!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 27, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Code


In the photo above of my research journal for Jane Austen for Kids, you can see some of my favorite research books, along with the secret code I created for each one.


In this photo above, you can see the notes I took about Jane’s character. Since my entire book would be about her life, I decided to just do a section here on her CHARACTER, her personality, and her faith.

Typically, what I did, was I sat down in a comfy chair. I held my research journal in my lap. I held my research book in my hands (some books were on my iPad Kindle).

As I read my research book, I’d just down a note.

For example, I discovered Jane had a “keen sense of humour.” So I wrote that down. Next to it, I also wrote down the secret code for the research book I was reading: MEM.

And next to that I wrote down the page number of that book: 88

As you can see, my entry looked like this:

MEM88 keen sense of humour

I didn’t have to write down the entire title of the book…the code keeps my notetaking much simpler and quicker.

And if I find more than one source that says the same thing, I can easily add that code and page number to back it up. I hardly need any extra space.

I can’t tell you how much using this method of research makes my life as a nonfiction writer so much easier in so many countless ways! I hope you try it and find it helpful too!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 24, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Code

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Okay, I’m going to share a strategy that I use that changed my life as a nonfiction writer. If you use it, I hope it will change your life too!

I create a secret code for nearly every research book I use.

See that stack of research books I used during my 2-year journey to write Jane Austen for Kids?

I created a secret code for most of them!

Here’s how I did it:

First I gathered totebags of research books from a local university about Jane Austen.

I sat down over several sessions and typed up a bibliography of all those books. (I always like to do this very first thing during the writing journey so all those titles are handy to grab when adding footnotes on my manuscript or adding research notes in my journal)

Then I gave them each a code.

For library books I borrowed, I write this code on a sticky note and stick it inside the front cover.

For research books I bought (which I did for my favorite ones I liked from the library) I just write this secret code inside the front cover.

I type this code on my bibliography. (I make sure to delete the code when I copy and paste bibliography entries into my actual end-of-the-book bibliography.)


But as you can see here in my notebook, after my table of contents, I write my FAVORITE research books here in my writer’s journal, along with their secret codes.

I also included some of my favorite INTERNET resources with their secret code on this page, too

I also glued a sturdy piece of paper up at the top right so I could flip back here often.

What do I do with these secret codes you may ask?

I’ll tell you in my next post!!!!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 19, 2019

Talk Like a Pirate Day

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Ahoy there, Mateys! Today be the official “Talk Like a Pirate Day”!

And what better way to entertain yer scalawag crew than to read them these rollicking fun poems based on familiar tunes and nursery rhymes. A Pirate’s Mother Goose is a must-have fer every young pirate!

For free printables, coloring pages, and pirate crafts to celebrate this international holiday, be ye certain to check out my book’s website, A Pirate’s Mother Goose.

And for all ye teachers and homeschooling families who want an entire unit of piratey fun, visit my store at Teacher’s Pay Teachers to get YO HO HO! A PIRATE UNIT WITH LOTS OF FUN.

Avast me hearties, yo ho!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 17, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Notebook TOC


As I explained in an earlier post about creating writer’s journals, one of the first things I do is make a 4-page TOC or Table of Contents. I’m posting images of all 4 pages so you can zoom up close to see (if you want to know something I don’t really mention here in these posts).

First it’s just blank numbers from 1-75 or 90 or so (depending on how many blank pages I leave in the front).

Then I go ahead and number all the pages in my blank notebook in the bottom right corners.

As you can see by this first page in my TOC, I’m pretty much following the chronology of Jane’s life.

First I created page 3 about Jane herself.
Then page 4 was about her father.
Page 5 was her mother’s background.
Page 6 was about her mother.
Page 7 was her parent’s wedding, etc.
Page 8 was about when her parents moved to the home she was born in.

Then on Page 9, I took a side trail and created a page about George III and the Prince Regent because they were the rulers when Jane was born/growing up.


On the second page of my TOC I just simply continued to add research notes in a chronological order of Jane’s life, adding pages of research notes about the times she lived in such as the politics and fashions and recipes of the day.

Page 39 was about her last days of writing.
Page 40 was research notes on her death and what happened after she died.


My third page of TOC included notes on various biographies about Jane.

Then I included sections to add research notes about what was happening all over the world during her day. She lived during an amazing time!

I continued these types of notes onto the last page of my TOC.


Once again, I just want to emphasize that this was all a work-in-progress. I didn’t add entries to the TOC until after I created a page for those notes inside my journal. Then I’d come back here to the TOC and mark where that page was.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 13, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Notebook

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One of the first things I do with all my writer’s journals is start decorating the cover. I love wide-rule composition notebooks right now for my journals, and I got these for a dollar each at Walmart. I covered the front and back with scrapbooking paper and Scotch Quick-Drying Tacky Glue. (It dries in less than a minute so I use it for creating my journals.)

Then I typed a title and taped it on the spine. This notebook is called: JANE AUSTEN RESEARCH NOTES #1. It was for my book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS.

As you can see, I also taped a sample of a cover design for how I envisioned my book. It’s working title was JANE AUSTEN AND HER CRADLE OF GENIUS. It would be the 200th Anniversary Edition since her death. I designed this “fake” cover on Inkscape, the free graphics/drawing program I like to use.

I’m telling this to you for a couple of reasons. Reason #1 is to show you that it’s important to take time to have fun. I didn’t design this cover right away. In fact I probably didn’t design it until I was about 6 months into the project. It’s just that one day, I wanted to have fun and create a cover to hang in my office and tape on my notebooks and even glue inside. So I took some time away from my writing and designed the cover. I encourage you to take the time to have fun with your writing project, too!

The second reason I’m telling you this is because these writing journals are a very fluid work-in-progress over the entire journey of writing my book. I had already decorated my notebook’s cover, but later after I designed the cover, I added it to my notebook.

I’m constantly adding things to my notebooks all the time. It keeps me inspired, among other things.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 11, 2019

Writer’s Journal: RESEARCH!


As you may remember from earlier posts I made about the writing journals I kept during the 2 year journey I took to write my newest book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, I decided to keep handwritten journals because of a couple of reasons.

One reason was that Jane, herself, didn’t have access to a computer as she wrote and I wanted to immerse myself in her world. Another reason was for health. I knew I’d be spending hours staring at the computer and typing away each day, so I wanted to take a break from eyestrain, wrist strain, and back strain in as many ways as possible. A third reason was that I’ve fallen in love with writer’s journals in this stage of my career.

Above is a picture of my RESEARCH journal. I took it with me camping at the beach this last weekend because Jane loved to escape to the beach instead of spend hot days in Bath. It’s been so hot in southern CA this past week, that the beach just seemed to be the right place to go. So I took along my journal of my research notes to get some photos to share with you.

Yes, that’s right. I challenged myself to keep my research in a handwritten journal.

Imagine! Two years of research notes by hand…I was so worried I would lose notes or get mixed up or some other disaster!

But I’m here to tell you now that didn’t happen! Instead, I now have a wonderful memento of the journey I took to discover “all things Jane” along with the same handy notes I would have if I’d just done everything on the computer. Ready to find out how this was done, so you can do it too? In upcoming posts, I’m hoping to share with you all about the process I took to create a journal of research notes…because it worked!


Posted by: nancyisanders | July 30, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Fun Stuff

I thought you might want to see some of the fun pages and fun stuff I put in my journal. These images are all from pages in my first journal I’ve kept when I wrote Jane Austen for Kids.


I like to glue tickets from key events I attend related to my research. This was a play of Pride and Prejudice acted at a local college…and it was EXCELLENT!


Sometimes I photocopy stuff and staple together and make little books and glue in my journal or tuck it into a paper pocket I glue in my journal.


This was a list of hard-to-find images I wanted to find…all in one place! So I just photocopied the list and put it in my writer’s journal to help me track my progress.


I love to glue in theme-related photos from calendars and cards that I find. Jane loved flowers and gardening, so when I started planning a trip to visit her very own garden in England, I glued in this pretty happy flower as a tab (so I could flip here easily) to decorate this page.


Sometimes I like to create a working cover of my book, just to help me focus and keep the inspiration flowing. As you can see here, I glued this working cover and working title in the back of my journal to flip to often when I needed to regroup and get re-energized to keep on writing!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 26, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Topics Included


In the center of the photo is my first writer’s journal I kept while working on Jane Austen for Kids.

As I work on my writer’s journal, the topics I include in each journal vary with each different project. I thought I’d share a little bit about the topics I included in this particular writer’s journal, because it includes the same I generally put into most of my book project journals.

I often include a timeline and leave several blank pages for this to fill in. This is a timeline of the progress I’m making on my book. Such as when I got the idea. When I submitted it to my critique group. When I finished my first draft. When I submitted it to the publisher. When the publisher accepted it. Etc. It’s just kind of fun to go back and look at the time it took to go through various stages. Plus, it gives me great content to share on my website or when teaching a video class or when speaking at a conference or retreat.

(Or first line and last line) or start and finish. I like to bring my ending round to my beginning, so sometimes I include a page in my journal to keep track of ideas for how I will do this.

I jot down ideas I’m thinking about including in a proposal if I’m writing a proposal to either pitch the idea and land the contract or pitch the finished book.

Lots of brainstorming goes into a working title for a project, and this is the section I jot down some of my favorites.

When I pitch an idea to a publisher to land a contract to write a book (Like I did for this one) or if I am submitting a finished manuscript to a publisher, I usually include a market analysis. This is a comparison to several competing titles to show the editors how my book fits in. This is where I jot down notes.

Usually when I travel to do research or take photographs for my book, I create a brand new writer’s journal just for that trip. But sometimes I keep general ideas for planning the trip in my main journal. Like in here.

While I’m writing a book manuscript, I’m always thinking about what I can put on a website to help market it after it’s published. Many of my books have their own website, too. This is the place I jot down ideas of content I want to add when I come across it so that after the book is published, I’ll be sure to check back here to see if I added in everything I wanted to.

Some of my books have teacher’s guides. I write some and for some the publisher has them written. Here is where I keep a list of potential ideas. Right now I’m still working on the teacher’s guide for Jane Austen, using ideas from this journal.

This is where I keep my master list of big and little tasks I want to remember to complete as I’m working on the project. It keeps these all in one handy place, which is essential for really big projects like this one.

While I’m working on a manuscript, I’ll often get ideas to help market the book after it’s publisher. I keep these listed in here.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 22, 2019

Writer’s Journal Table of Contents


When I add my Table of Contents to my writer’s journal, I like to write it on the right-hand side of each spread. That’s because in many of my journals I like to add information on the left side that I want to keep up front and center in my mind.

The Table of Contents covers 4 pages in the 100-page wide-ruled composition books I like to use.

On the first page of my TABLE OF CONTENTS, I like to include a piece of scrap from my scrapbooking paper or sturdy cardstock. (See it in the top right corner of the photo?) That’s cause I flip constantly back to this page as I’m filling in and I like to get right to it.

After the Table of Contents, on the following pages I start numbering my pages in the lower right corner of each page. I usually do this over 4 or 5 sittings as I’m waiting for my e-mails to load or sitting in the car waiting in the drive-through of Carl’s Jr. for my Beyond Meat burger. (Yummy, but kind of pricey!) Once the page numbering is done, however, it’s done, so I like to get it done right away when I prepare my journal.

In photos below, I’m including several pages of my Table of Contents from this journal just so you can zoom in and see what topics I covered in this journal. This was my first journal that I started, so as it took shape it gradually became my “BIG PICTURE” notebook. Meaning I didn’t take detailed research notes in it or write any first drafts of pages in it. Some of my writer’s journals I include all these things in just one journal, especially if the project I’m working on is a stand-alone picture book.

But in this one, I wrote down more general notes such as title ideas, market analysis (for preparing my proposal) and favorite quotes of Jane’s I wanted to collect.




Posted by: nancyisanders | July 18, 2019

In Honor of Jane Austen July 18, 2019


Today, to honor Jane Austen on the 202nd anniversary of her death, you can discover more about the story behind the story behind my book JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS.

Stop by the blog of amazing nonfiction author, Peggy Thomas to read an interview she posted about my book. Be sure to post a comment and say hi!

CLICK HERE to visit Peggy’s blog, Anatomy of Nonfiction.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 18, 2019

Writer’s Journal: The Format

Jane Austen for Kids official cover

Before I start writing in any of these handmade writer’s journal that I was creating after I landed the contract to write JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, there is a little bit of prep I do. For starters, as I’ve learned from my earliest journal adventures, a Table of Contents is ESSENTIAL, and this requires me to number all the pages of my blank notebook.

Without a Table of Contents and without numbering all the pages, you’ll be lost rowing up a creek without a paddle. But with a Table of Contents and corresponding page numbers, any research note you need to find is always handy at your fingertips, even 2 years later when an editor e-mails to ask a research question that one of your readers contacted them with.

You might not be a crafty person and that’s okay. You may not want to decorate your writer’s journal with scrapbooking supplies or brochures/tickets from events and historic sites you attended during the writing process.

That’s okay. The key is to make your journal fit YOU.

I’m just sharing what works for me and hopefully you’ll figure out some great ideas to personalize your own journals.


I like to open my journal and get inspired. So I always leave 1-4 blank pages in the beginning of my journal before I start the Table of Contents. My favorite source of inspiration is quoting Scripture. In the photo above and below you can see some of the Scriptures I found during the writing process, or thoughts I had along my writing journey.


I also leave room for a title page before I start my Table of Contents (with more inspirational quotes!). As you can see in the photo above the title that is written in this notebook (which is the very first notebook I started working on) is the actual title of my book.

That means I didn’t write it in here until after about 2 years of working on this project. In other notebooks, I might write the working title but in this one I waited until the publisher picked the actual title. And that also goes along with these inspirational quotes and illustrations I decorate these with. I don’t add these in until the mood strikes me somewhere along my journey. This entire journal is a work-in-progress.

But first, I just leave 1-4 blank pages before I start my Table of Contents.


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