Thursday, January 31, 2019

Harnessing Big Magic

I am a writer. 

I never thought I would ever want to quit writing because writing is part of me. 

But last year I hit an all time low in my writing life and I seriously considered giving up. 

I've always written for myself and because I love it but I also believe in sharing my writing with others. I'll never forget the first agent rejection I received. I celebrated that first rejection because it meant I was taking a risk and sending my writing out. 

So many people have told me how hard the road to publication is. To expect rejections. To develop a thick skin. And as much as I know rejection is part of being a writer who wants to be traditionally published, rejection still hurts. 

My writer heart has been through a lot since last July and I really did consider giving up. After all, I submit myself to all the rejection...but it's only because I write for myself and I love to write and I believe in sharing my writing. 

I wondered if it was time to give up. And then I remembered that when it gets hard, it doesn't mean it's time to give up. It's time to find the strength to keep going. 

For me, this year is about writing. Writing truly for myself. Writing purely for the love of it. Writing to celebrate myself as a writer. Writing as a way to let myself shine. 

That's where Big Magic comes in. I first read Big Magic 2016, close to when it first came out. My friend Marcie recommended I read it again. She's great at listening to my writing ups and downs and I'm glad I'm great at listening to her advice. 

Rereading Big Magic was exactly what my writer heart needed.


The first time I read Big Magic I was a little skeptical. This time, I totally got it. Creativity is not something you are good at. Creativity is something you welcome into your life and nourish. I have to be open to creativity, to invite it in, and to celebrate it like it's the life of the party. 

Sometimes things like fraudulent agents or countless rejects get in the way of recognizing, loving, and celebrating the gift that writing is. I chose this writing life but it also chose me. And as long as I've got a fridge full of food and drinks and the music is pumping, the party will go on. 

Wherever you are in your creative life, I definitely recommend Big Magic. And then I recommend rereading it after a year or two. Part as a reminder and part as an experiment to see how your perspective on the big magic of creativity changes over time. If you've read Big Magic, I'd love to hear your thoughts!




Monday, January 28, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/28/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
I finished reading The Wrong Way To Save Your Life and know I'll be going back to it. I seriously loved Megan Stielstra's writing. I also finished listening to Big Magic. And I started reading The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu and listening to Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan in Spanish.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'll be finishing The Lost Girl this week because I'm part of the blog tour. I already love Anne's voice in this book...it sounds like she's sitting next to me and telling me the story and I love that! It'll be fun to celebrate as part of the blog tour. 


This Week's Posts:

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Monday, January 21, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/21/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
We're still reading Capture the Flag and I'm still reading The Wrong Way to Save Your Life and still loving it. I've also been listening to Big Magic. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I have a long drive back to Chicago today so I'm anticipating I'll finish Big Magic and then I think I might listen to Will Grayson, Will Grayson on audio in Spanish. I bought it on Audible a while ago but still haven't listened to it. I've made it far enough that I imagine I'll finish up The Wrong Way to Save Your Life this week and then I'll start The Lost Girl. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Monday, January 14, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/14/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I've been reading Capture the Flag to the kids and listening to Big Magic. I read it the first time and now I have the audiobook. I also printed one of my novels and have been reading through and making notes. I'm almost halfway through. 

Last Weeks' Posts:
Click on the image to read my post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
We'll be reading more of Capture the Flag and I'll be listening to Big Magic. I'm also going to start The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu. I also would like to get back to The Wrong Way to Save Your Life (which I am still so inspired by, it hurts.)

This Week's Posts:
Check back during the week to read my posts.

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Sunday, January 13, 2019

2018, meet 2019


In my bullet journal, there's an empty checkbox that keeps glaring at me. 

So I'm finally writing my goodbye, 2018 blog post. We're only halfway into January but no big deal!

I hit the ground running in 2019 with my focus zoned in on my first Story Exploratory workshop that I led yesterday. It was fantastic!!!! And it was the best way to start 2019 and to bid 2018 a big, fat, see ya later. 

My one little word for 2018 was love and I found that I needed a whole lot of love last year, especially after my agent was accused of fraud and disappeared from the face of the Earth, which included the publishing world and me. There were ups and downs and maybe some years feel more like ups and others like downs. Despite going through a lot of emotions, I made it. I'm still standing. I'm here and ready for 2019. 
 My one little word for 2019 is:
The biggest gift 2018 gave me was to learn to truly love myself. Life is funny. Just when I think I know myself, I learn so much more. Who knows what 2019 will bring but I'm determined to let my energy and zest for life shine. 

And that's exactly what I did yesterday at my ¿QuiĆ©n Soy Yo? workshop. Nine lovely people came to learn with me. We explored identity, talked about descriptive writing, and connected as a community. I shared my love of writing and they shared themselves with me. Believe it or not, taking a step like this felt monumental. It was scary and I was anxious but I trusted in everything I learned from the last year and from all my years and I poured all the love into this amazing group of writers. I did it. 
And look at their smiling faces! We had a blast. I'll be sharing more about what they had to say and how friends reading this can join online if you can't make it to an in person workshop but what I truly want to say right now is thank you. Thank you to this fantastic group who came out to kick off 2019 with me. I felt the love but I also felt their brilliance and I'm so grateful. 

I can't wait to see how bright 2019 is going to shine!





Monday, January 7, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/07/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
I spent the last week cherishing a beautiful book. It's called The Wrong Way to Save Your Life by Megan Stielstra and it's a collection of essays. Essays are my new favorite writing. I think about my blog posts and the stories I have to share and I wonder if I'm meant to write essays. It's part allure of a new kind of writing and part that I absolutely adore her writing and wish I could write something as moving. Suffice it to say, I love it. 

Last Weeks' Posts:
Click on the image to read my post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm about halfway through The Wrong Way to Save Your Life so I'm going to keep reading and soaking it up. I spotted Capture the Flag the other day in a stack of books and I actually think it would make a perfect bedtime read for both of my kids so we're going to start that tomorrow when we get back into our routine. We go back to school tomorrow. I'm excited to see what the rest of this school year brings. One thing I do know it will bring is lots and lots of writing. This is my year to renew my National Board certification and I have only just barely started working on everything I have to write up...so that's being added to all my other regularly schedule writing. Love it!

This Week's Posts:
Check back during the week to read my posts.

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and check out other blogs to see what they're reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers,
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you.
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Growing Your Writing Life


It's 2019 and I haven't shared my 2018 reflection post yet or my hooray for 2019 post yet BUT I have a few people to celebrate and celebrate them I will!

As 2018 was wrapping up, I noticed blog post after blog post from Ruth Ayres. I love Ruth and her words and the energy she shares so I was excited to read her posts. I started with I Like Writing + I'm Not a Fraud where she dusted off her blog and reflected on the writing she did in 2018. She writes, "In the year where I’ve claimed moxie as an intentional approach to life, I am glad to find evidence that the writer in me survived." She doesn't just survive, she lives through her writing and whether she realizes it or not, she's an inspiration because of it. 

Ruth spent the end of the year blogging everyday and I snuggled up in her words. She writes about the reality of life and it reminds me how being vulnerable and sharing stories can change the world. I know this because when I read her words, my heart feels tangible. Like I could carefully take it out of my chest and put it up on a shelf to admire...except I can't, it's inside me and so I get to carry all the love in my heart around with me everyday and all day and isn't that absolutely amazing?

If you aren't familiar with Ruth's blog, I hope you go check it out. If you are familiar with Ruth's blog, I hope you go visit and enjoy her words again. 

As someone who has been writing and blogging for a long time, Ruth is an example of someone who shows us what it's like to grow a writing life even after the shiny, newness of being a writer goes away. But I have two friends who bravely shared their new blogs on Facebook at the start of this new year that I'd like to recognize as well. These are people who are so boldly stepping into growing their writing life and I'm so thrilled that they have. .

I met Gregory Taylor at NCTE in Las Vegas in 2012 and loved his energy right away. I took a screenshot of a photo with him from my NCTE 2012 recap post so the image is super grainy but you can tell we're having fun!
We got to hang out again at NCTE in 2017 in St. Louis when I met a ton of his colleagues at the Nerdy gathering. He is a joy to be around and I love hearing about all the he does for the students he serves as a librarian. Well, now he has a new blog: QUILTBAG Books and I'm so excited to share it.  
I know he's going to bring the awesome to his blog and share ideas we'll learn from him. He has one post up so far and it's a must read.

And finally, I'd love to share a new blog from a former coworker of mine, Stephanie LeMaire. To be honest, I don't know Stephanie super well and we didn't work together long but we're friends on Facebook and when she shared her blog and her heartfelt reason for starting a blog, of course I clicked over to check it out. Her blog is Healthy Body, Mind and Heart. So far she has shared about her reality and how she's been managing her mental health. We need stories like this because, like Ruth reminds me, seeing how others navigate their reality gives us strength. 

Have you started a new blog? I don't mean to leave anyone out, these are the bloggers who have stood out in my Facebook feed but if you've started something new, returned to something you love, or are still plugging along, please let me know so I can celebrate you as well. 

Happy new year, friends! Thanks for sharing this writing life with me!


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/16/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!   It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme ho...