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1. it’s about to get real real

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

My little lemon-scented moist towelettes, you know how I like to keep Frog on a Dime upbeat and encouraging.

Well, this post is intended to be encouraging, but y’all best buckle up because it’s about to get real real. We’re going to talk about depression and suicide.

Yes, seriously.

Hey, hey, hey now. Come back.

Please?

This isn’t fun for me either, but it matters because you matter.

(Full transparency: I wrestled with this blog topic for weeks and the more I resisted, the more it insisted.)

So, here we go.

Creative folks in general are known for being angsty. And if we’re pursuing publication, we also ride that Acceptance/Rejection Emo-coaster. But that doesn’t mean all writers or artists are truly depressed. Feeling sad or discouraged periodically only means you’re human. It’s not fun for sure, but it’s not a clinical condition. All the same, many even high functioning, creative people struggle with depression.

True things:

  • Depression is a thief and a liar.
  • Depression thwarts your creativity, pollutes your work and evaporates your energy. It’s not an asset. It’s not your muse.
  • Depression is treatable.
    • If the first treatment you try doesn’t help, seek other options. I mean, if your first “romantic” experience wasn’t mind-blowing or your first taste of Chicago style pizza didn’t blow your socks off,  would you swear off sex or deep dish for the rest of your life? Well, okay then.
    • Depression will limit your ability to recognize choices. You always have choices for making things better–with one exception. (Please see the next bullet point.)
    • Suicide is NEVER an option. Just take it off the table. Do not devote a second to deliberating the topic. There are many choices open to you–some better than others–but you must consider suicide as permanently an out of stock item. Period.
  • You are not your depression. Let me explain it this way: a friend of mine who wore glasses all of her life finally switched to contacts. But then, she felt self-conscious about it. She’d worn glasses for so long, she’d come to think of her glasses as a part of her anatomy, and to have those “removed,” meant she was being fake. What? Uh. Think hard now. Have you ever seen a just-born baby wearing spectacles? That’s silly, you say. Of course not. So, my friend’s glassesless face wasn’t fake–it was her real face. AND you without the weight of depression is the real you. Getting help isn’t cheating, it’s simply a way to get real.

Help is all around you. For starters, consider talking to your primary doctor. She already knows you and could refer you to a counselor in your area. Or talk to a close friend or family member. Open up to your spiritual leader. If this sounds too difficult right now, check out these resources:

If you’ve read this far (and thank you for that) and you’re thinking, I understand this is an important topic, but I’m not dealing with depression: first, be grateful, and two, be aware, you may have depressed people in your life and not recognize it, especially if their symptoms are well-managed and they are high functioning. So, it’s important for all of us to be sensitive about the comments we make. It’s easy to unwittingly harm someone who’s already hurting. We can, instead, be an advocate, a shoulder and a safe place.

Phew. We did it–we had “The Talk.” Thank you for letting me share this with you. I think we deserve a cookie. (And next time, let’s talk about how to incorporate more rainbows and kittens into next novel, okay?)

I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and don’t want anyone else to feel like that. ~ Robin Williams

it’s about to get real real


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2. On Writing in the New Year

one way

This quote isn’t necessarily about the writing life, but it certainly could be. One of the biggest writing lessons I learned last year had to do with mistakes — not avoiding them but working through them. My experience echoes Neil Gaiman’s advice:

I hope that in this year to come you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

Here’s similar advice from Seth Godin.

Don’t be afraid of mistakes. They lead you one step closer to finding the best way.

The post On Writing in the New Year appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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3. Links to Help You Write Smart and Not Scared

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Here are a few posts that tie in perfectly with the writing theme I adopted last year. Let’s keep approaching our work in an intentional, life-giving way — even if it feels counter-productive.

To this my doctor responded, “So basically you use sugar and caffeine to whip yourself into a manic frenzy in order to write a book?” After I nodded grimly at her assessment, she went on, “Well, we either need to figure out how to completely overhaul your writing process or you need to find a new career, because being an author is literally killing you.”

My doctor’s pronouncement was both devastating and a big “duh” moment for me. Rather than give up the career I love, I decided to dedicate myself to creating healthier (and happier) writing habits.
— Beating Deadlines with Healthy Writing Habits by Bree Despain :: Publishing Crawl

If you’re a somewhat neurotic and anxiety prone writer like myself, you probably have a voice inside your head that likes to tell you that you’re not good enough, or your writing isn’t good enough, or that everything you put on a page is crap and you’re never going make your deadline on time (or finish this book, or sell this book, etc.). For me, this voice goes into hyperdrive when I’m on deadline. I start questioning all of my plot choices and second-guessing every word I type. It can be crippling if I don’t either turn it off or change the words that it’s telling me.
Beating Deadlines with Healthy Writing Habits Part 2: Write Happy by Bree Despain :: Fiction University

I now approach writing focused on what could be instead of what I think it should be. Instead of expecting results NOW, I accept that writing is a long journey, where going slow is the norm.
Author Overwhelm: Five Ways You Can Stay Away from Despair :: Children’s Writer’s Guild

But I am learning more and more, especially over the past year, that being nonproductive is actually essential to mindful, intentional living. In fact, being nonproductive is one of the most productive things we can ever do—even if the behavior wars against every inclination in our body.
— The Productivity of Being Non-Productive :: Becoming Minimalist

 

The post Links to Help You Write Smart and Not Scared appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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4. tips for giving a stellar interview

Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

Because I enjoy eating and living indoors, I have a day job.

I’m in the marketing and communications departments of a regional health system. Part of my job involves media relations. Most weeks, that means interacting with reporters from local television, radio and print media. Recently, we had calls from reporters Cosmo and the Huffington Post, but that was a weird week!

What does all this have to do with you, my little parfait? Well, because I arrange interviews, I also help to prepare the interviewees, many of whom are new to the experience and naturally nervous. Since there may be interviews in your future, I thought why not share these tips with you?

TV interview

  • Practice with a friend. Video your interview. Look for what you’re doing
    Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

    Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

    well and do more of that!

  • Look at the interviewer, not the camera.
  • Bring a copy of your book with you. Don’t assume the interviewer will have one.
  • Don’t wear checks or stripes.
  • See tips for radio interviews.

Radio interview

  • Smile as you speak.
  • Be sure you know how long the interview will be, so you can pace yourself.
  • Ask if you can send questions ahead of time. The interviewer may really appreciate it, and you’ll know what to anticipate and how to prepare.
  • If you can’t send questions ahead, it’s absolutely okay to ask the interviewer the direction of the interview (is it more about your book, about you, about your writing journey, about advice, about your favorite panini–you just never know).
  • Prepare yourself a cheat sheet with answers to anticipated questions, but DO NOT write out every word. Make it more a “grocery list” of prompts. If you create a word for word script, you’ll be too tempted to just read it and you’ll come off sounding stiff even when we all know you are super cool.
  • Have a cup of water handy. (A bottle takes too much time to open.)
  • Thank the interviewer.

Phone interview

  • Use a landline, if available, so you don’t have to worry about your call being dropped mid conversation.
  • Try to be relaxed and conversational. Listeners will respond to your personality, not your perfect diction.
  • See tips for a radio interview.

For any type of interview

It’s easy to get flustered. Make yourself a cheat sheet with basic information so if your mind goes blank, all you have to do is read–

  • The title(s) of your book(s)
  • Web site name and address
  • How readers can can contact you
  • Where your books are available
  • Details about the event or signing you’re promoting (date, time, place, etc.)

And finally . . . 

It’s not uncommon for an interviewer to wrap up an interview with a question like, “Is there anything else you’d like to say?”

Think about using this as an opportunity to promote someone else’s book. David Sedaris does this every time he goes on tour for his own newest book. Isn’t that a beautiful, generous gesture? It’s a delightful chance to pay it forward for an author or illustrator who has been especially supportive of you.

Now, if you have an agent, publicist or your publisher’s marketing team advising you, please listen to them and learn. Use my suggestions when/if they seem useful to you. Most of all, no matter how an interview turns out, remember you, my little blueberry scone, are still one of the coolest, most talented people on ten toes.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


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5. Writing Smart and Not Scared: More Words from Isabel Allende

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After I heard Isabel Allende talk at the KiMo Theater, Valerie Geary emailed me her favorite Allende quote about the writing life: “Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.”

I find it interesting that Allende has only recently learned to “go easily with confidence” when it comes to her writing. “If I sit long enough, it will happen,” she says. She’s twenty-one novels in, but only recently has she realized she has a skill. Now she knows “If given enough time, I can write almost anything.”

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Knowing even Isabel Allende lives with the discomfort of creativity gives me courage to keep pressing forward with my own work. Fear can come along for the ride, but must stay in the back seat.

It can’t drive. It’s not allowed to paralyze.

The post Writing Smart and Not Scared: More Words from Isabel Allende appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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6. a may wish in december

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Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Before we flop face first into holiday festivities, I want to share a wee present with you, my little wassail bowls. It’s a simple gift of words, wishes really, of all I hope for you this season and the new year through.

A May Wish in December

May your inner child remain your cherished friend.

May you pounce on opportunities before analysis paralyzes you.

May you run out of excuses by January 2.

May your friends’ success refine you into a world class cheerleader.

May you believe praise as easily as you do criticism.

May be you be dauntless, deliberate–and delightful.

May your  eyes rest on your own paper, rather than peeking at others.

May you be unapologetic in your nonsense, whimsy and quirkitude.

May you be deaf to your inner critic, but alert to wise counsel.

May grace be your brand.

May fear be an energizer, not an extinguisher.

May you crave authenticity more than notoriety.

May you knock your own sweet socks off.

If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender com sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
Come in!
Come in! ~ Shel Silverstein


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7. To Beginners and Ever-New Beginnings

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There is something beautiful and clarifying and terrifying all at once in being at the beginning… To be a beginner is to be full of hope-filled humility, to be overflowing with eager expectation that is simultaneously held in check by the obvious gap between your aspirations and current abilities. To be a beginner is to be pregnant with dreams but nascent with skill, and then to set about the work of cultivating the life of both.
— Michael Yankoski, The Sacred Year

The post To Beginners and Ever-New Beginnings appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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8. A Knot in Time: When Life Isn't Going the Way You Expected

by Sally Matheny

When Life Isn't Going the Way You Expected
Are you discouraged because you thought things would be different by now? While many people reflect on their accomplishments of the past year, we also may focus on our unmet goals. How do we avoid disheartenment when life events didn’t go the way we expected?

Perhaps we thought we’d be farther along in our work. Or we wonder why we can’t go back to the way things used to be. We expected barriers in relationships lowered, and our incomes increased. Our physical health, emotional condition, or social status are not anywhere near the levels of what we had hoped. Like the 1970’s singers in the cornfield on The Hee Haw Show we sing, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me…oh!”

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9. #IWSG - Wow it's the January 2016 installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group


Kicking off and getting back into the groove of blogging is the monthly post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group - #IWSG.

A great big round of applause for our co-hosts....


L.G. Keltner
Denise Covey
Sheri Larsen
J.Q. Rose
Chemist Ken
Michelle Wallace

and don't forget to visit the #IWSG participants through their links at....



and be sure to check out the announcement of the anthology winners!


What better way to celebrate #IWSG then with a word of encouragement...

A simple act of giving a few words of encouragement go a long way. When you share your positive words of someone's accomplishments or struggles, watch them stand a wee bit taller when you offer your encouragement. 

Something as simple as saying...


"good job" 

"I'm here for you" 

"I like how you are developing this scene, may I offer a suggestion" 

will often change a person's self-doubt to a positive. Try it, today and everyday and brighten someone's day!

Thanks for visiting and commenting. You have certainly brightened my day! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters ~ December 2015 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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10. Overwhelmed with Gratitude

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I’m not sure thank you adequately expresses my appreciation for those of you who read here, but those are the only words I have. I hope you sense the weightiness and heart behind them:

Many thanks to those of you who read this post and wrote Amazon reviews for May B., Blue Birds, and Over in the Wetlands. It took time and reflection as well as true interest and love on your part, and I am so grateful.

Thank you for the bolstering words many of you left (including the lovely gift from my neighbor pictured above) when I let you know I needed some encouragement to finish my first-round edits. I’ve returned to your comments many times these past weeks. They kept me working to the very end.

When I started blogging six years ago this month, I had no sense of the rich and enduring connections I’d make as a result. For those of you who have been here from the beginning or have joined in sometime afterward,

thank you,

thank you,

thank you.

The post Overwhelmed with Gratitude appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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11. Returning to Creative Spaces

ATT_1443112080100_20150917_140042

For three years now I’ve had the privilege of returning to an old adobe house in Corrales for a writing retreat. The home is lovely and spacious with creaking wooden floors in some rooms and uneven brick in others and the gorgeous curving lines adobe lends to everything. It’s so very New Mexican, just being there inspires me.

There’s something grounding about going back to the same creative space year after year. This chaise is where I finished first-round edits on Blue Birds two years ago. It’s the same spot where this year I put in a twenty-five hour mad dash to the end of a new set of first-round edits, punctuated with breaks for meals and sleeping, a bit of conversation and this movie.

monday deadline

I was able to immerse myself in my work in a way that doesn’t happen often at home, surrounded by like-minded women who understand the joy, the discomfort, and the privilege of the writing life. And once, after our time together had passed, I was able to enter the real world again refreshed and with a renewed sense of why what I do matters and the purpose behind it all.

I hope you, too, find spaces that speak beauty and inspiration into your own creative endeavors.

 

The post Returning to Creative Spaces appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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12. Three Quotes to Keep You Writing When You Feel You Don’t Know How

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Two weeks ago at my writing retreat when I was nearing the end of my manuscript and wasn’t sure how it would all come together, my friend Uma Krishnaswami shared these quotes with me. They are paraphrases in the spirit of the original, things she reminds herself of in the uncertainty of the work. They’ve encouraged me, and I hope they’ll do the same for you.

20150715_151546

Whatever moves you, write that story.
— Norma Fox Mazer

Write the book you don’t know how to write.
— M. T. Anderson

Trust that you will become the writer that the next revision needs you to be.
— Sharon Darrow

I’m beginning to understand that I’ll find my best writing only when I’m courageous enough to move toward the impossible and unknowable.

The post Three Quotes to Keep You Writing When You Feel You Don’t Know How appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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13. Two Articles to Sustain Your Writing Life

corrales totem

For years I’ve been linking to posts I hope encourage and inspire you. But I came across two posts in one week that zinged me like nothing else. They were everything I needed to hear at this phase of my writing life. I hope they are also an encouragement to you.

The Deepest Gift :: Marion Dane Bauer

Early in my career I came to understand something important: the number of books published, the number of awards garnered matters very little. What matters is the day-by-day process of sitting down to write, of honing my skill, of mining my truth.

Dear Polly, Should I Just Give Up on My Writing? :: NYMag.com (a heads up: this post contains “language”)

And when your hungry ego grabs the wheel and drives you off a cliff, forgive yourself. But then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and repeat these words: I AM AN OLD NOBODY AND I LOVE WHAT I DO.

 

 

The post Two Articles to Sustain Your Writing Life appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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14. writers can learn a lot from a dummy

Collage by Vicky Lorencen

Collage by Vicky Lorencen

Back in the late 1900s, there was a clever public service announcement encouraging seatbelt use. It featured crash test dummies and the tagline “You can learn a lot from a dummy.”

Fast forward to, well, right this very minute. When I hear the word dummy, I think of a mini mock-up of a picture book, not a badass mannequin.

Some of my friends write picture books exclusively. (If you must know, I admire/loathe them all. Blast their bundles of talent! Promise not to repeat that, okay?) While, I, on the other cramped hand, write picture books illusively. Meaning, I get a won’t-go-away idea. I do my best to puzzle the idea into a manuscript and then tinker with it until it begs for mercy. Then rinse and repeat. It is never easy or pretty. But, Seuss help me,  it brings me a perverse, inexplicable delight when I finally pin that butterfly of an idea to the board. Making a dummy helps me get to that point.

Whether you and picture books are going steady or you only hang out when the mood strikes,  dummy-making may be wise for you too.

Smart dummy pointers . . .

  • Do not waste a nanosecond worrying about your inability to draw. Dummies are designed to be tools, not  objets d’art.
  • Illustrators need a dummy. Writers need a dummy. All God’s children need a dummy (more or less).
  • If your picture book word count needs a serious count down, making a dummy can really help. You can easily see which words are keepers and which are just leftovers. Aim for 500 or less–a whole heap less.
  • Dummies will also tell you if your cute or clever idea is robust and active enough to sustain a 32-page page-turner.
  • For a tip-top primer on how to make a dummy, visit this blog post from picture book author extraordinaire Tara Lazar.
  • At a recent SCBWI event, I picked up this cool trick from masterful picture book author Kelly DiPucchio. Once Kelly has a decent draft, she prints it and cuts out each line, then uses an existing 32-page picture book (any one will do) to check her pacing. She paperclips or lightly tapes her lines into the book to see how well her story fits the format. If not, she can tailor and tighten or expand.

You simply must be convinced of a dummy’s brilliance by now.

And so, my little cummerbund of cuteness, my bon vivant of brilliance, do you dare devise a dummy? Indeed, I hope you do.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. ~ Steve Jobs


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15. The Best Gift My Husband Ever Received for Pastor Appreciation Month (and a Giveaway for Your Pastor!)

by Sally Matheny

Best Gifts for Pastor Appreciation Month
My husband answered the call to pastor his first church in 2004. Eleven years later, we’re still serving the Lord alongside the same sweet family of believers. Nestled in the foothills of North Carolina, you’ll find our little church bursting at the seams with some of the most compassionate and generous people.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Perhaps some of you are contemplating ways to bless your minister. Be sure to post a comment at the end to enter the drawing for a gift card for your pastor. And just in case you don't win, I’ll share some suggestions including the absolute, best gift my husband ever received for Pastor Appreciation Month.
Read more »

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16. So Wow. The Simple Show Podcast

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I’ve been a fan of Tsh Oxenreider since 2009 (which is pretty much forever on the Internet). Back then, I was just about ready to jump into this thing called blogging, but I wasn’t sure how to begin. My dear friend Jamie Martin sent me a “how to” link that led me to Tsh’s blog, The Art of Simple. I’ve been faithfully reading ever since.

About four years ago, Tsh started a podcast called The Simple Show, which has kept me company through numerous runs and cleaning days and afternoons walking the dog. And perhaps last summer, as I listened while taking the dog on one more lap around the block, I cooked up some things I’d say to Tsh if I were ever on her show. Which was utterly ridiculous. Tsh and I had interacted some in her blog’s comment section and a few times on Twitter, but that was pretty much it.

So imagine my surprise when September brought an email with a podcast request. “No worries,” Tsh said, “if you’re not interested.”

I was most definitely very over-the-top interested. I hope you’ll listen in!

The post So Wow. The Simple Show Podcast appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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17. The Then and The Now: Reflections Over Chicago

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Monday night I sat on a plane, alone with my thoughts, as Chicago ran beneath me. Here I was flying across the country to speak about one of my books.

Me.

The gal full of yearning who seventeen years before had started a novel on a summer afternoon, who had no idea it would take twelve years and hundreds of rejections and ten manuscripts to finally break in, the gal who, if she knew, wouldn’t have had the courage to keep trying.

What would my twenty-four year-old self think of this moment?

This certainly wasn’t my first school visit or the only one that’s required a plane, but somehow that didn’t matter. From the quiet of my window seat, the sheer distance of my journey felt overwhelmingly grand.

A memory from L.M. Montgomery‘s journals came to me. In 1927, after publishing over a hundred short stories and thirteen novels, she received a letter from Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, who thanked her for “the pleasure her books had given [him].” And Maud responded in a way that makes me tear up every time I read it:

I took the letter with me to Lover’s Lane and read it — read it not to myself but to the little girl who walked here years ago and dreamed — and wrote her dreams into books that have pleased a statesmen of the Empire. And the little girl was pleased.

Flying over Chicago on Monday night, I held a silent celebration with my former self. And that young woman who dreamed so many years ago was pleased.

The post The Then and The Now: Reflections Over Chicago appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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18. This Day: Wisdom from Simply Tuesday

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“…part of living well in ordinary time is letting this day be good. Letting this day be a gift. Letting this day be filled with plenty. And if it all goes wrong and my work turns to dust? This is my kind reminder that outcomes are beyond the scope of my job description.”

The post This Day: Wisdom from Simply Tuesday appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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19. #IWSG - Insecure Writer's Support Group Post -


Another month has flown by and it's time for the writer's in the Insecure Writer's Support Group to post about our insecurities.

In the words of our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh...

When posting for IWSG day, remember to stay on topic – either post about your insecurities, struggles, or challenges or post something of encouragement for other writers. Most important – be sure to visit other IWSG members! This day is about coming together for support and encouragement.

We are still trying to get the IWSG site listed as one of Writers’ Digest’s Top 100 Best Websites for Writers! Please email them at writersdigest@fwmedia.com, subject line 101 Websites, and suggest the IWSG http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Don’t forget we have a Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

The co-hosts for November are:


We need co-hosts for December 2 and January 6! If you can co-host, please let me know.

Please visit fellow #IWSG members today!


Thanks and let’s rock it on November 4!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Today, I'd like to chat offering words of encouragement. I know I have allowed myself one too many times to second guess my path of writing when I don't get a good old, "way to go!" from someone that is riding the roller coaster ride of writing and publishing. 

A simple act of giving a few words of encouragement go a long way. When you share your positive words of someone's accomplishments or struggles, watch them stand a wee bit taller when you offer your encouragement. 

Something as simple as saying...



"good job" 

"I'm here for you" 

"I like how you are developing this scene, may I offer a suggestion" 

will often change a person's self-doubt to a positive. Try it, today and everyday and brighten someone's day!


Thanks for visiting and commenting. You have certainly brightened my day! 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters ~ December 2015 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Pre-Order Today

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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20. wisdom from whitney of reality TV

Photo and window box by Vicky Lorencen

Photo and window box by Vicky Lorencen

It’s okay. You can admit it. Reality TV is a guilty pleasure for a lot of people, and by people, I mean me, of course. But duh, it’s definitely not a go-to for deep insight. Well, not typically.

This week I caught “My Big Fat Fabulous Life.” Starring Whitney, a young, sassy, dance-loving woman, the show focuses on her challenges and triumphs while living with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which has caused Whitney to gain a dramatic amount of weight.

In this episode, after Whitney performed at the National Museum of Dance, she addressed the audience and said, Don’t wait until you have the confidence to do something that scares you. It’s doing the scary thing that gives you confidence. Maybe that seems simplistic or obvious to you, my Pumpkin Praline Muffin, but it’s borderline brilliant as far as I’m concerned. And sure, while Whitney applied her wisdom to dance, but it doesn’t take much of a leap (or grand jete’) to see how it could work for writers.

I’ve long ascribed to the adage “attitude follows action.” But I’m going to adopt a new one a la Whitney–“confidence follows action.”

And now, for the confession portion of this post –writing picture books scares me. They seem so simple. And maybe they are for you. But me? Hardly! So then, my muse (Edna) keeps dealing me these story ideas she knows I can’t resist. (That chick does not know the meaning of mercy.) Well, I’ve got news for Edna. I’m going to channel my inner Whitney and write my way to confidence. So there!

Ready to make a deposit in your confidence bank? Take action this week. G’head and do what makes your right eye twitch and your palms go clammy. You’re going to be amazing, my Butter Pat! I’m confident of it.

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it. ~ J.M. Barrie

 


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21. The Adversity of Creation

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Rejection educates. Failure teaches. Both hurt. Only distraction comforts. And of these, only distraction can lead to destruction. Rejection and failure can nourish us, but wasted time is a tiny death. What determines whether we will succeed as creators is not how intelligent we are, how talented we are, or how hard we work, but how we respond to the adversity of creation.

How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery

The post The Adversity of Creation appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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22. Two Words You Don't Want to Hear & One Book You Really Should Read: Interview with Author, Venita McCart

"It's Cancer"
“It’s Cancer”—Finding Help and Hope on the Road to Recovery was recently released by Straight Street Books. There’s a great need for this book because statistics state one out of every two men, and one out of every three women, will hear those two words no one wants to hear. "It's cancer."
While statistics sound cold and clinical, this book is not. Rather it is full of hope, encouragement, and helpful guidance.
I am delighted to have the author and cancer survivor, Venita McCart, as a guest on my blog this week. Venita and I became friends a few years ago and I’ve eagerly waited for her to write this book. Not only does it offer help for those diagnosed with cancer, but it is enlightening and beneficial for the rest of us to read.
In “It’s Cancer”—, Venita shares her own experiences as well as those of others. The back copy reads, “Come alongside patient survivors as they successfully overcome the obstacles of weighing treatment advice, managing caregivers, establishing attainable goals, realigning expectations, and embracing a new normal during and after cancer. Grapple with the tough questions about suffering, death, and heaven. Learn the value of being your own advocate, accepting setbacks, choosing gratitude, and developing a closer relationship with God.
As the founder of Faith Force Cancer Support Ministry in Illinois, Venita continues to validate the realities of cancer while offering strategies for finding inner joy and peace. I’m delighted to have her share with us today.


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23. Step by Step, Word by Word

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Twenty-three years ago this summer I backpacked down the Grand Canyon’s Kaibab Trail with seven kids from my youth group and came up Bright Angel a week later. Each day we packed our gear at three in the morning so we could begin our hike before the heat kicked in full blast. By the last morning of the trip, I was utterly spent. The steep climb out of the canyon left me feeling like maybe I wouldn’t make it. Maybe I’d be stuck on that trail forever.

I stopped moving about a half mile from the canyon’s rim, unsure how to muster up the strength to keep going. It didn’t matter I could see the end. Getting there felt near impossible.

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That’s when I experienced a simple act of kindness that has lived with me ever since. My youth sponsor, Jim, told me I wouldn’t finish alone. We’d make it to the top together, one hundred steps at a time. Step by step we counted, resting after every set. While before the half mile had felt unsurmountable, broken down in tiny bits with someone else to walk beside me, it was doable. It was accomplishment and gratitude and so much celebration.

As I near the end of a complete manuscript overhaul in the midst of first-round edits (the second time I’ve re-written this book, by the way), I’ve thought a lot about that moment. I’m a few weeks out from my deadline, and honestly, I’m not sure of the words needed to make it to the end. Right now my focus must be each tiny writing moment, where the story moves forward, step by step.

Friends, I need an extra dose of courage and a second wind, if you have any to offer. Things will be quiet around here until I’ve turned my work in.

 

 

The post Step by Step, Word by Word appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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24. mindfulness and the writer’s mind

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

You’ve heard of mindfulness, yes? Okay, so maybe you’ve “heard” of it, but your understanding is a tad fuzzy. If I give you a link to a delightful introduction via the lovely Anderson Cooper, can I trust you to come back to Frog on a Dime to read the rest of this post? Oh, you know I can never deny you anything. Okay, my little gum drop, have a look.

You’re back! [Trying not to look surprised] So, this mindfulness-ness thing, now you know it’s really about being aware, about being present–about being. Am I a pro at that? Oh, you little snickerdoodle. You do know how to make me chuckle. All I know is practicing mindfulness is a good, life-enhancing thing that I believe can and will enhance my writing (and yes, yours, too).

I came up with a squatty list of ways mindfulness may do you (and me) good as a writer:

  • Mindfulness improves your ability to focus. Instead of being a mind-wandering writer, you can be present for the project at hand (literally on the keyboard).
  • Mindfulness makes you aware of life’s simplest moments–waking, showering, eating, walking, breathing. Relishing and being present in even the mundanity (sure, that’s a word) of every day enriches the way you are able to translate simple, sensual experiences into words for your readers.
  • Mindfulness may unplug writer’s block – when you’re blocked, it makes you stressed and being stressed keeps you blocked. Mindfulness helps to calm and center you so the ideas can flow. Because who among us wants to be wordstipated?

No doubt, this is not an exhaustive list. Let me hear your ideas. I am aware. I am present. I am ready to listen. I am headed to the kitchen . . . (see, I need more practice).

Want to know more about the benefits of mindfulness? Here’s some fine information from the good folks at Harvard Medical School. Enjoy.

I am a human being, not a human doing. ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer


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25. 48 of the most important hours in a writer’s life

Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

There are a plethora of important days in a writer’s life. (Pardon my use of plethora, but it’s such a keen word.) But, in my book, there are 48 hours that stand out from the rest. They are far from the most fun, but a lot hinges on how we choose to handle them.

Day 1 – The First 24 Hours at Ground Zero

You receive a rejection letter or slam into a serious setback. I know there are some who say it’s best to roll with it. Rejection is knit into a writer’s life and there’s no point becoming unraveled by it. I commend you for your ability to be cavalier, but I can’t manage it myself. The times I’ve tried only came back to chomp me. Stuffing the sadness caused tears to erupt at the oh-so-wrong times, so I’m better off taking 24 hours to wallow and be a wreck.

I say, allow yourself to free-fall into the velvet bean bag chair of despair. Lie on your back and let the tears collect in your ears until it sounds like the ocean. Ask a musical friend to set that sadistic, frozen-hearted rejection letter to music–in a minor key. Eat your weight in whatever sweet or salty concoction delights you. Imagine the source of your angst tethered to a termite colony wearing only plywood underpants. Get those toes curled deep in the Quicksand of Certaindoom. Hand your friends and family this form too:

I AM AN AUTHOR. I AM IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION.

My name is: _________________________________________________________
(I suggest using your real name here, not your pen name. Make it easy on the first responder.)

Emergency contact: __________________________________________________ Genre type: (PB, MG, YA)
(e.g., Agent; Nearest Living Author Friend; Ben and/or Jerry)

While you are waiting for the Emergency Contact to arrive, follow these five simple steps:

Step 1 Check to make sure I’m breathing.
This step is especially if you found me face down in the area rug. Wave a Lindt truffle next to my nose to revive me.

Step 2 Do NOT apply logic.
Even small doses of logic have been known to be toxic at this point.

For example, these seemingly sensible words will NOT help:
“You’ve only tried two editors, right? You can try more.”
“Maybe it’s not you. Maybe the editor was just having an off day.” Liar.
“There’s always next year.”
“It’s not the end of the world.” Yes. Yes, it is the end of the world. The sun will not come up
tomorrow, no matter what that Annie girl says.

Step 3 Do NOT offer compliments, such as, “Well, I really liked your story.”
I don’t care. Your opinion doesn’t count right now. It will tomorrow (provided there is a tomorrow), but not now.

Step 4 If I look like I’m trying to put on a brave front, induce tears.
Force me to re-read the rejection letter out loud in front of a mirror so I can see how pitiful I look. Offer generous amounts of Kleenex.

Step 5 Apply ice cream to the site of the babbling in liberal doses.

To the rejected writer: Be sure to write your kind first responder a thank you note. That is, when you feel like writing again.

Day 2 – The Next 24 Hours at Resurrection Central

Today is the day you get on with it. Attitude follows action, so act like you’re bouncing back and you may actually believe it. (Besides, if you spent the first 24 hours wisely, you won’t want to curl back into the fetal position.) You’re now ready to stretch and stand up straight. Breathe. Wash your tear-streaked, Hershey’s Kiss encrusted mug. Pull on a fresh pair of big girl panties. Put on real I-can-be-seen-in-public clothes. Open your laptop. Pop open a file filled with half-finished projects. See what’s going on in there. It’s likely there’s something you like. Maybe even love. Type. Type again. Type some more. You see there, my little Puffalump? You’re going to be okay. I will too.

If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces. ~ Shane Koyczan


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