Listen. Think. Speak. Write.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas ... Eve

I've always preferred Christmas Eve to the actual day.  One of the best things about holidays is the whole notion of "tradition" something I adore. Growing up, we spent Christmas Eve with my mom's side of the family: Grandma Pauline, Aunt Jeannie, and Uncle Butch. We ate overcooked ham, so dry you needed a steak knife to saw through it and opened loads of presents bought with money saved all year in the Christmas savings club at the bank.  Of course, back then, I never appreciated the value. I just loved the presents … and the people, two of whom are no longer with us.

That tradition is long gone, but we've forged new ones. Candelight service at church, going out to dinner at the Olive Garden, and driving around to look at Christmas lights.   As it always was, the day is about family, perhaps even more so than Christmas day, which dawns with chaos.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Believing is Seeing

Yesterday, Grace stood next to me in the kitchen.  Every few seconds she laughed inexplicably. I raised my eyebrow at her.  She laughed again. As I stirred her Ramen, the nervous laughter disappeared.

"Mom, is Santa real?"

Quick.  Hit the stop button. Rewind.  Anything that would take me away from that moment. I was not ready.  Everything in her face told me that every possible cute answer I might give was going to fail.  Still, I threw a Hail Mary.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ideas can be overwhelming.

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and I haven't participated in Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Group in a while, so I decided it was time.

The biggest fear for so many authors is writer's block.  What do you do when you're stuck?  For me, another problem hits me hardest.  What to do when you have too many ideas and not enough time to develop them?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Writing Conference Debriefing

A couple of weeks ago, I attended my second writing conference, and I promised I would process that experience here.  I'm going to walk through some lessons I've learned and offer advice based on my very limited experience.

Conferences have cultures.
It probably shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that writing conferences could have such different feels to them, but it did.  It probably stood out because both conferences were SCBWI regional events and within the same general geographic region.  The first conference I attended a year ago was a full weekend event, including two nights, which afforded a significant amount of time for socializing.  I interacted with agents and editors in that informal environment, and I even made friends in the process.  However, I might argue that the sessions were also looser as a result, with less emphasis on the information and more on the networking.  The second conference was very much the opposite. The schedule was packed. If I hadn't been meeting up with a friend from the previous conference, I don't know that I would have talked with anyone there.  However, the sessions were stronger, and I felt like I learned more throughout the one day than I had in the entire weekend the year before.