I wrote all the names on little slips of paper,
put them in a yellow plastic cereal bowl,
closed my eyes,
stirred them around with my finger
and pulled out...
Congratulations Danielle! You win a $10 Amazon gift card for leaving comments on the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge! Let me know offline how I can send it to you. =)
Thank you, everyone, for joining me in this challenge. It's been a good exercise for me. Oddly enough, possibly the most helpful part was writing the positive thought on my mirror and reading it every day. I hope to have news of exactly how this helped to share soon!
The past week I spent at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. I was in the Boot Camp class with Ann Dee Ellis, and it was appropriately named. I'm exhausted, stretched beyond my comfort zone, and happy to report that I learned more about writing in one week than I have in years of working on my own and in other conferences.
A few things I learned that apply to life, as well as writing:
Get a good support group. They can encourage you, point out you weaknesses, and make you laugh when you feel like crying. (Thank you, Boot Campers!)
You can't do everything. If you're trying to accomplish a huge goal, something else has gotta go. The incredible writer and self-proclaimed overachiever, Mette Ivie Harrison spoke about this. She started by telling us that she got her PhD in German Literature from Princeton at 24, competes in Ironman and other races and is nationally ranked for her times in these, and has 5 children who are involved in everything, all while writing and publishing numerous wonderful books. Yep. I wondered what I'd been doing all these years. Then she put up pictures of her house-- and it was a mess. Truly. She told us about the Hoover salesman who asked when the last time was she'd vacuumed her bedroom, and she realized she hadn't vacuumed it once in the 18 months she'd lived there. She accomplishes amazing things because she decides to let other things go.
If you keep doing the work, success is inevitable. A huge Thank You to Matthew Kirby for sharing the story of his journey to get where he is, and for pointing out that you can't work on something day-in and day-out without getting better. Like the ending to a good book, sometimes success is surprising, but if you do the work, it's also inevitable. =)
There is so much more I learned form the incredible people at WIFYR, but a lot of it involves sentence structure, dialogue pacing, and world building. (wink at Andrew) I won't bore the non-writers with the details.
I will say, anyone who is suffering under the misguided idea that writers don't know how to party should have seen our awesome parody of Stronger. Enough said.