Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Season

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!

Monday, December 19, 2016

On . . . Bob Ross?

Last week my daughter and I sat down with two white canvases, three tubes of paint (Titanium White, Mars Black, and Prussian Blue) and Bob Ross queued up on Netflix.

The goal?

To paint a simple winter scene--a pond, some mountains looming in the distance, some trees and snow and "happy clouds."

Should be simple, right? The episode was only 25 minutes long. We're both fairly creative, artistic people. We could handle Bob.

About three hours later, we'd banned the word "happy" from our vocabularies. There were no happy trees or mountains or clouds, and Bob was public enemy number one.

Bob made the creative process look effortless: beautiful shading and blending.... The dude just couldn't make a mistake. My daughter swore he was using magic brushes.

That's the way I feel reading my favorite authors, sometimes--closing their books lamenting the fact that I will never be able to write a scene or develop a character or craft a sentence as beautifully as they do.

What I forget about is all the man hours and feedback it took for them to become that amazing.

What my daughter and I forgot was that Bob Ross had been painting for years. I mean, there's a reason he landed his own show.

Put into perspective, our end results--a first attempt--were pretty damn okay, even if my daughter said "screw the pond" and painted a blanket of snow over it and I eventually went abstract. 

At the end of the day we had something to show for our effort, and we picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. We were willing to step out of our comfort zones (and straight into Bob's), tried something new and difficult, and learned some things that will make the process easier next time. 

And that's really all we can hope for, isn't it? 

Be Brilliant! :)


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Meaning

"It did not really matter what we expected from life, 
but rather what life expected from us." 

~Viktor Frankl~

If you know anything about Frankl, you know he's a Holocaust survivor. In his book, Man's Search for Meaning, he discusses life inside concentration camps and how sometimes surviving came down to the "will to meaning." 

Nietzsche and I don't agree on everything, but I like the idea that: 

"He who has a why can endure any how." 

Frankl learned this inside those camp walls. So did thousands of others.

The odds aren't stacked quite so against us today. 

I know I've spoken of this on the blog before, but one of the best ways to find meaning in life (to find our "why" or "will to meaning") is to use our creative gifts and talents in service to others. 

Every so often it would do us good to step back and ask:

What have I accomplished in life so far? 

What do I have left to accomplish? 

This is the gap that needs closing: 

who we are today vs. who we have the potential to become.

What is life expecting from us, and what will it take from us to make it happen?

Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

On "The Silence"

I'm *so* sorry for the radio silence, you guys! 

It's honestly been a crazy few months (see previous post).

In addition to moving from country house to city apartment, we had a lovely jack@ss living above that required an additional move (to another building, higher floor, which turned out to be very cool, actually), and getting settled again.

(not my city, but a beautiful metaphor)

There was also the teaching and the family unit and the day to day juggling of life of which I'm certain you're familiar.

Then there was this election nonsense, and, to be honest, on some days it felt good not logging on to the computer and checking FB/Twitter.

I was also editing a project, so even though I wasn't posting, I was hard at work. :D

But I did want to check back in and let you know I'm still alive and kickin'.

Hopefully I've reached a place in this project where I can start posting more consistently. 

*fingers crossed*


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

On Moving

My family and I just relocated (about an hour and a half from our former digs). We went from house to apartment, from country to city, so it's been an adventure for sure.

I'm still working on getting unpacked and settled, so not much writing is going on.

I'm definitely practicing my minimalist/essentialist beliefs right now, since we lost over half of our space, but we're already appreciating some of the things our new location has to offer.

So . . . I hope you'll forgive the sparse updates as I slowly work my way back to "normal" (whatever that is). ;)  

a bientot!


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Keeping Stories Close

Years ago, a friend of mine wanted to write a book. She was inspired, and she thought about this story all the time. She had dreams about it, and the idea came up in conversation with her again and again. She told me all about the setting and the characters and what would happen. . . .

But there was some kind of disconnect.

Because in telling me all about her story (for months and months), she told the story. I'm not sure she ever wrote a word of it onto paper, even though it consumed her at this particular time in her life.


The story inside my friend just wanted out. It didn't care how it got out, or in what form. In this case, it was told through conversation. The excitement never carried over onto paper, because part of the thrill is in the first telling.

I feel like she wasted that first telling--that thrill--on me

This is why I think keeping our stories close to us, at least in the beginning, is crucial. I believe in accountability and brainstorming with others, but I find that the more I talk about what I'm working on, the less magic it seems to have.

The takeaway: Pour your energy into getting the words down. There will be plenty of opportunities to share them later. :D

(And always) Be Brilliant!


Friday, July 15, 2016

On Starting Now

You are the oldest today that you've ever been, and the youngest you will ever be again.

There is no "perfect" time or moment. (Parker and Jaden taught me that.) ;)

If you're not living your values or pursuing your dreams, are you even living? Really?

I'm a huge advocate of small first steps. Stop thinking about what could go wrong, and start thinking about what could go right. 

Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

On Mistakes

(This year, for the most part, my blog posts have been advice/motivation-related. I write them because I need to hear them. If they help someone else, that's just a bonus.) :D    


Your past mistakes have nothing to do with your future. Mistakes are part of the growth process. Don't fixate on failures or the things you got "wrong." Look to them as learning experiences. 

Invest your energy in the now and know that the misstep you took yesterday doesn't have to hold you back today.

Be Brilliant!


Friday, July 8, 2016

On Failure

I love this idea from Brene Brown (which Liz Gilbert echoes) about trying and failing creatively. 

The old adage is:

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

The question that should be asked is:

What's worth doing, even if you fail?

"The only unique contribution we will make 
in this world will be born of creativity."

~Brene Brown~

Be Brilliant!


Friday, July 1, 2016

Editing Strategies

I've discussed editing strategies on the blog before, but I'm about to move into the editing stage of my current WIP, and, since my "process" is still largely the same now as it was back then, I thought these tips/tricks were worth repeating:

1. Read through the entire manuscript (ms) once, searching for plot or character inconsistencies.

If you can read through your entire ms in one sitting, you're more likely to find those holes or irregularities in your writing. 

2. Go line by line, sentence by sentence, making sure each one is phrased the best way possible.

When I do this, I bounce around the ms. (It helps me focus on that particular sentence.) I just use the highlight tool to keep track of the places that I've covered.

3. Read your work backwards (start with the last sentence and work your way to the beginning).

This will help you find sentences that may run on, or comma splices (two independent clauses that are connected with a comma). This also forces you to slow down and read what's really on the screen as opposed to what your mind thinks you've written.

4. Read your ms out loud. 

This helps with voice issues; you can also determine if your dialogue sounds natural. It's easier to focus on the pacing and flow when you read your own work aloud.

5. Use the MS Word "Find" feature to check for inconsistencies.*

I search for characters' names to verify spelling; I search for descriptions (blue eyes) to make sure the character descriptions are consistent; and I search for linking and "being" verbs, to see if any can be eliminated (among other things). 

6. Print your ms out. 

Proofread. Rinse. Repeat.

7. Have someone (or something) else reading the ms back to you.*

You don't know how many "a's," "the's," or "to's" I've missed in proofreading (even after several rounds), but caught when the computer didn't "read" what I thought was there back to me.

These are the highlights, but you can read the old post in its entirety here

Be Brilliant!


*Since the original post, I've started using Scrivener for my writing. This software includes search and find options, and will read selected text out loud. My love for Scrivener knows no bounds.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Five Things Roger Sterling Taught Us About Writing

I'm a huge fan of the show Mad Men, and was so sad when it ended last year. I loved the character development and dialogue, and one of my favorite characters in the show was Roger Sterling. He showed up more for "quips" than conversations, but he was one of the most quotable characters in the entire series.

 So, without further ado, here are five things Roger Sterling taught us about the writing life.

"Nobody knows what I'm doing. It's good for mystique." (S2, E5)

The takeaway: Yes, you want to be a writer. Own it. Tell the world. That doesn't mean you have to give away your secrets. You don't have to tell Aunt Ida every last detail about your work in progress. In fact, I wonder if we don't lose some of the magic of the story every time we give a little bit of it away. There will be a time to promote yourself and talk about your work; I'm just not sure if that time is in the middle of writing it. Keep your words close to you.

The exception: This doesn't apply to brainstorming with fellow writers or agents or editors (i.e. people who can legitimately help you).  

Otherwise, assure them you're working hard and let their minds fill in the blanks. Writing novels is rarely as exciting as outsiders think it is. 
"I'm going to count to three, and then I'm gonna start saying a lot of words you don't like, sweetheart." (S4, E7) 

The takeaway: Spew the crap. All of it. Get your story onto paper as fast as you can and don't look back. Count to three and let it all out. Write now; revise later. 

"What do you think Accounts does, besides limit your brilliance? (S3, E9)

The takeaway: You know that old saying about too many cooks in the kitchen? I think enlisting the help of friends, family members, writer's groups, editors, beta readers, etc. can be a good thing. With too many differing opinions, however, there are potential hazards. Feedback is great, but not at the expense of losing your story or voice. If you don't feel comfortable with a suggestion or see how it will make the story better, let it go. At the end of the day, it's your name on the cover. 

"My mother always said be careful what you wish for, because you'll get it, and then people get jealous and try to take it away from you." (S4, E6) 

The takeaway: If you're a writer, there's plenty drama going on in your head at any given time. Don't compound this by letting outside drama in, too. There are too many haters and not enough creators in the world. Stay away from the people who want to bring you down.

"Not to get too deep before the cocktail hour, but do I need to remind you of the finite nature of life?" (S2, E7)

You've got one life--one opportunity; don't squander it. If there's a book inside you, get it out. Don't look back five, ten, or fifteen years from now wishing you picked differently. Take the smallest, most manageable first step today. Your future self will thank you.

Be Brilliant!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Random Acts

A few nights ago we drove down to the river about thirty minutes away to walk the boardwalk, check out the wildlife, and watch the sunset. 

It was a warm summer evening made better by the little boy who thought enough to offer us two pieces of bread from his bag--one for each of my kids--so they could feed the turtles, too.

I thanked him several times, just so he would know how much this seemingly insignificant random act of kindness meant to us.

The world can be a beautiful place. :D

Be Brilliant....


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

To Be A Writer You Must. . . .

be observant   
be curious
make connections
challenge yourself 
take risks
work hard

What does being a "writer" look like to you and what small task can you accomplish today that puts you one step closer to achieving your dream?

Be Brilliant!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

FYI--Free ebook from Steven Pressfield

I don't usually blog on Wednesdays, but I just HAD to drop by to let you know that you can get the e-version of Steven Pressfield's new book at his website.

There's nothing to fill out or sign up for--just click and download.

Last summer I read his book The War of Art (I even blogged some of my favorite quotes). It was a fantastic read, and I think this one could be just as great.

I'm not sure how long it will be free, so head on over to Steven's website and snatch it up.

It's called: 

Nobody Wants to Read your Sh*t 
(Why that is and what you can do about it)

See? I love it already. :D

I hope you're having a fabulous week!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

air and light and time and space

"--you know, I've either had a family, a job, something
has always been in the
but now
I've sold my house, I've found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
for the first time in my life I'm going to have a place and
the time to
no baby, if you're going to create
you're going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you're going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you're on
you're going to create with part of your mind and your
body blown
you're going to create blind
you're going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquakes, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don't create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses

~Charles Bukowski~

Monday, June 6, 2016

Contest Winner

Thank you *so much* to everyone who helped make my birthday weekend special, and congrats to Ellie Sterling for winning my b-day prize pack on FB!

Time to get back to writing! :D


Friday, June 3, 2016

Birthday Weekend!

Hi Everyone!


So . . . it's my birthday weekend (yay!), and to celebrate I'm dropping the prices of Cross My Heart and Collateral Damage on Amazon from $3.97 to $.99 all day Saturday (6/4) and Sunday (6/5).

This is my gift to YOU!




True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice. . . .  

Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past—a reputation—and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. So there’s no reason why, when they're assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have anything in common, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn't be falling in love.  

As they bond over Edith Wharton’s tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the “bad boy” vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own “good girl” image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereotype.  

Still, Jaden can't shake the feeling that there's more to Parker than he's letting on. He's hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she's grown to love with the person he really is. Because it's possible that his life inside the classroom—everything Jaden knows—is one, massive lie.  

CROSS MY HEART, told from Jaden's point of view, is a 76k-word/300-page contemporary romance for young adults. Bonus features include the official playlist and an interview with the author.  

* In addition to spending more than 100 days on the Amazon Teen Top 100 Bestseller List in its first year of release, CROSS MY HEART was also a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best YA Fiction.


True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Parker pretending not to care. . . .  

Parker Whalen and Jaden McEntyre are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past—a reputation—and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. So there’s no reason why, when they're assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have anything in common, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn't be falling in love.  

What they have? It isn't real. Because the truth is, Parker Whalen is a liar. This has never mattered…until now. Because lying to someone you care about—someone who matters, someone who believes in you—that's when people get hurt. And Parker is about to hurt Jaden in the biggest way imaginable.

Friday, May 27, 2016

On Inspiration

The funny thing about inspiration, I'm noticing, is that the more I write, the more inspired I am.

I'm easing into summer break (time off from teaching/the day job), so naturally my afternoon writing sprints have picked up. I'm not writing late at night (when I'm exhausted) anymore, and I no longer have to wait for weekends to get any real work done.

I think I've written somewhere around 20k words these last three weeks, and even though I've outlined and I'm keeping notes, I'm also giving myself permission to deviate as inspiration hits.

And it does hit. Every day I sit down to write with the intention of getting at least 1000 new words on the page. And because I'm totally immersed in this story, it doesn't seem so hard to pick up where I left off.

So it does kind of prove that theory that's floating around: if you sit down and start writing, inspiration is more likely to strike.

(It beats the hell out of piddling around waiting for those "lightning" moments to happen, that's for sure.)

I'm not pretending these words are golden--it's a first draft, after all, and there's plenty of work left to be done. But I like the idea that if we show up and do the work, the magic will happen.

That is all.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Ray Bradbury on Critics

“Those who don't build must burn.”

-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


The takeaway?

You build things, or you tear them down.
You make things, or you don't.
The one will never understand the other.

If you get to choose: Build.
It's so much better than burning. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ray Bradbury on Creativity (Part 2)

“Stand at the top of a cliff and jump off and build your wings on the way down.”

-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

The takeaway?

Don't wait until you're "ready."
There is no "ready."
Take the risk.
Learn to let go.
Learn as you go.
Trust your instincts.
Amaze yourself.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Ray Bradbury on Creativity (Part 1)

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies. . . . Something your hand touched someway so your soul has somewhere to go when you die. . . . It doesn't matter what you do . . . so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away." 

–Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


The takeaway?

Make things.
Make things that make the world a better place. 
Leave something for us. 
Something that matters.
A place where we can find you long after you're gone.


Friday, April 29, 2016

It's Never Too Late

I've seen this floating around the internet lately, and thought it was worth sharing here.

It's NEVER too late. . . .

At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.
At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.
At age 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker.
At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.
Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.
Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.
Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.
Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42.
Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 46.
Morgan Freeman landed his first movie role at age 52.
Kathryn Bigelow only reached international success when she made The Hurt Locker at age 57.
Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.
Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.

Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune by the age of 21. Hell, it’s okay if you don’t even know what your dream is yet. Even if you’re flipping burgers, waiting tables or answering phones today, you never know where you’ll end up tomorrow.

Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.
Never tell yourself you missed your chance.
Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough. 

You can do it. Whatever it is. 


Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

We Are Cups

"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.
The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."

-Ray Bradbury

Friday, April 22, 2016

On Prince

Confession: I'm not really a Prince fan--I know and like some of his work, but he was a bit before my "time." 

Still, as the world laments his death, I'm reminded how important it is that we create.

That we make things--give them life--and send them out into the world.

Because those things--art and music and words--they CAN make a difference.

And maybe we will never reach Prince-level fame or attention, but if we've created one thing that makes someone think, or feel, or see the world differently, then we have succeeded. 

Be Brilliant.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Worth Watching

Books should be both mirrors AND windows.

Check out this Ted Talk from Grace Lin.

(She made my middle grades "best books" list last year. The kid and I loved Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Never Apologize

"You made it; you get to put it out there. Never apologize for it, never explain it away, never be ashamed of it. You did your best with what you knew, and you worked with what you had, in the time you were given. You were invited, and you showed up, and you simply cannot do more than that" (pgs 263-264).

Am reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On Writing Violently

This one is for Larissa, who is working very hard on her first novel:

"A good enough novel violently written now is better than a perfect novel meticulously written never" (pg 177).

Am reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


Write violently. 

You can clean up the mess later. Just get the words on paper--however horrible they might be. Don't re-think or second guess (there will be plenty of time for that later). 

Just get the story out.

The End.


Friday, March 25, 2016

What Have You Created?

"You do not need anybody's permission to live a creative life" (pg 86).


"We are all the chosen few. We are all makers by design" (pg 89).


"Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart" (pg 98).


"Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart" (pg 101).

Am reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


What have you created this week? :D


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Focus on You

Isn't this the truth? :D

One of my favorite things to tell my daughter (when she's caught up with the world and everyone in it): Focus on you.

Sometimes we need to tell the critics and the naysayers and the people who like to insert themselves and their opinions into our lives: Focus on you.

Don't worry about me. Worry about you.  

That is all.


Friday, March 18, 2016

A Gift

"In the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience" (pg 72).

Am reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


I learn something from every story I write--even if it doesn't see the light of day. I feel a sense of accomplishment with each new drawing, each new painting, whatever it is I'm bringing into existence. 

At the end of the day, I love knowing that I've brought a new image into the world, new words.

I'm learning that, when I go too long without bringing something into existence, I inch toward dark places. 

I seek out ways to be creative, just so I can find balance again.

Before all else, each creation is a gift to myself.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Slaves to Inspiration

"You can believe that you are neither a slave to inspiration nor its master, but something far more interesting--its partner--and that the two of you are working toward something intriguing and worthwhile" (pg 41).

Am reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


I love this idea: that inspiration wants to find us--that it wants to work with us, even when it's tough. I'm not in control of it, and it's not in control of me. 

We work together to make something that matters.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Strange Jewels

"The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels--that's creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place--that's what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of that hunt--that's what I call Big Magic" (pg 8).

Am reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What Matters Most

So. . . . Things have been a bit crazy, lately.

It sort of started mid-January, when my father-in-law had a massive heart attack, underwent life-saving surgery, and spent just over two weeks in the hospital.

Since my husband is an only child, his dad moved in with us to recover when he was finally released.

We moved our master bedroom upstairs to the bonus room and made our room his. My husband makes his dad's breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Makes sure he's taking his medication. Keeps him on his diet. Washes clothes. Washes extra dishes. (A LOT of extra dishes.) Grocery shops. Cleans wounds. Tests blood sugar levels. Works with nurses and doctors.

Every. Single. Day.

It's mind-boggling how, when something like this happens, life just shifts in an entirely new, unexpected direction.

Our routine was pretty chaotic on a good day.


Let's just say I don't really remember February. 

At. All.

I think I remember Valentine's Day. But I remember two days before even more. (Because that's the day my husband brought the flowers home for me--he doesn't really like being told what to do.) ;)

That's it, though. Otherwise it's been non-stop, from morning until night, trying to keep up with our regular lives and take care of an extra person until he's on his feet again.

It's been exhausting. Every day blurring into the next.

We're grateful he's okay. And he's recovering nicely.

This experience has taught me some valuable lessons, though.

See, my husband and his dad haven't always had that great of a relationship. This isn't really something that we expect to change (even after all of this, old habits die hard).

So what I learned in February (even if I can't remember much of it) is that family matters.

So does doing what's right, even when it's hard.

That is all.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016


"When you're afraid of someone's judgment, you can't connect with them. You're too preoccupied with the task of impressing them" (Palmer pg 103).

Am reading: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer


Enough said.


Friday, February 26, 2016

On Faking It

"In both the art and business worlds, the difference between the amateurs and the professionals is simple: The professionals know they're winging it. The amateurs pretend they're not" (Palmer pg 44).

Am reading: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer


I just posted this for my writing students. A few were concerned about their lack of legitimacy. I told them that the feeling never really goes away. (See Impostor Syndrome)

There's never a moment when you feel 100% ready to start submitting your work. You just have to risk the leap.

"Fake it 'til you make it," I told them.

That's what the rest of us are doing.

Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Hardest Battle

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

ee cummings

Friday, February 19, 2016

You're an Artist When. . . .

"You're an artist when you say you are. And you're a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected" (Palmer pg 43).

Am reading: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer


Has your art hit anyone in the feels today? ;)


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

On Asking

"Everybody struggles with asking. . . . It isn't so much the act of asking that paralyzes us--it's what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one. . . . American culture in particular has instilled in us the bizarre notion that to ask for help amounts to an admission of failure" (Palmer pg. 13).

Am reading: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer


I recently had to "ask." I needed some information for a story I couldn't get on my own. I LOATHE bothering people. I hate it. Truly.

But . . . I asked. I sent out five emails. 

Two responded.

Were happy to help.

I thanked them.


The three who ignored me?

Well, I didn't die of embarrassment. So I decided it is what it is. 

Point is, I stepped out . . . and I'm glad I did. :D

Be Brilliant!


Friday, February 12, 2016

Before We Go

I watched one of the most fantastic movies ever recently. Great characters, great cinematography, AMAZING writing.

Easily reaches my top ten. 


The ending isn't for everyone, but that's one of the things I liked most about it. 

It was honest.



And there is hope.

There's always hope.

The human experience in 




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

On Being an Impostor

I still suffer (very much) from Impostor Syndrome--the idea that I'm a fraud and that one day you will all figure out the truth and crucify me like I deserve.

The thing is, I've been working on projects outside of the name Katie Klein, mostly because I'm an "academic" (see those quotation marks? FRAUD. I don't feel like an academic. At all.) who needs annual publishing credits. 

Every year in my review: Publish! Publish! Publish!

It's been worse the last two and a half years (see: new baby/now toddler in the house).

I've had nothing new to add to my resume.


I'm surviving. So there's that.

But not quite what the department heads and deans are looking for.

When I hit a fiction writing lull this fall, I started writing poetry. (I think the last poem I wrote was as an undergrad.) I worked on a dozen pieces for a few weeks, did a lot of editing and revising and reading out loud, and then picked some journals to submit them to. Just to see.

I don't think rejection ever stops hurting, by the way. It stings. Hard.

It's in our nature to take it personally.

You don't love my work? 
(You don't love me?)

You don't want my work? 
(You don't want me?) 

My work isn't good enough?
(I'm not good enough?)

But sometimes even being accepted doesn't feel that great, because doubts are quick to follow.

You want to publish my poem? Why? The so and so literary journal literally JUST rejected this same piece last week. You didn't say you loved it, just that you were going to use it. Does that mean it's mediocre? You responded way too fast. You must be desperate for submissions.

My goal is to have five poems published this calendar year. As of this post, I have two forthcoming.

I thought that if I reached five, I might feel legitimate. A "sometimes-poet," maybe.

But I don't think so. 

I think I'll still feel like an impostor. 

A fluke.

I'll happily add the credits to my vita, but still feel too nervous to post links or share with friends and family.

A fraud.

It's hard, sharing your work with the world. Really, really hard.

And I'm learning it's difficult to celebrate a "win," even, because there's the voice in our heads that says we don't deserve this. We didn't earn it. It's not real.

Why is that? I wonder. And does it ever go away?