Winners' Circle: Roberta Baxter
February 26, 2021
Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL and IFW Contest winners. Today we're celebrating winner Roberta Baxter! Her article "Math Science Art = Fractals" came in Third Place in our Nonfiction STEAM Article Contest.
What contest was your winning entry submitted to?
How many writing contests have you entered?
Please give the title of your entry and a short summary of the article.
"Math Science Art = Fractals" describes fractals, patterns that repeat into small segments. Fractals are seen in trees, blood vessels, rivers, broccoli. They are an important part of many art forms. A person can draw some cool fractals.
What inspired your winning entry?
When I read about the STEAM contest, I knew it was one I had to enter. I have a science background and I've been writing about scientific topics for students for many years. I was intrigued by the challenge of writing about a combination of the divisions found in STEAM, but I was having trouble coming up with a topic. When I asked my husband for ideas, he said fractals and I grabbed that idea and wrote it. It was a lot of fun.
How has entering this contest helped your writing?
It has reminded me that in spite of the slowdown of writing assignments over the past year, I can still write about topics I enjoy. I hope that 2021 will be a better writing year for all of us.
How did the critique in the Winners' Workshop help you?
It really helped to hear the comments and especially the critique of Paula Morrow. I've known her name in children's literature for a long time and admire the magazine work she has done. The critique showed me areas that really worked, like the beginning, and areas that need to be better.
Are you a full-time writer? If not, what is your "day job"?
I have two home businesses: writing, mostly for children, and knitting Christmas stockings. Over the past year, there has been a lot more knitting than writing. Article assignments and a book series were suspended because of no sales coming from the school and library market. But I think that is starting to improve. YAY! I have written my self-published project, "The Mystery of the Stolen Locomotive" so it is out.
How long have you been writing?
about 15 years, off and on.
What will you do with your piece now that it's been recognized?
I will look for a magazine where it would fit and submit it.
Any fun plans for the prize money?
Books, of course!
What do you do when you're feeling discouraged or blocked? Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I've learned not to stress over the beginning of a piece, whether article or book. I usually have a loose structure worked out. I just dive in where I already have words in my head and go from there. Then I go back and write the beginning.
If you could go to the yard sale of any character in the history of children's literature, whose would you go to, and what would you buy?
I love to read mysteries and historical fiction. I think it would be great to go to Jo March's yard sale and buy her journal or one of her scripts.
Anything else you'd like to say about your experience with ICL?
I probably wouldn't have tried to publish anything without the ICL course. It was a great start for me, even though there were years when I wrote almost nothing. The course was especially great for teaching me to market my writing.