Year: 2018

Let’s Talk About Imposter Syndrome

One of the hats I wear as virtual assistant in managing the forum for the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. There are over 1,000 members which makes it a job I definitely can’t do on my own. Lucky me, I have a team of “elves” to help guide our members. One of my elves contacted me unsure if we wanted to keep her on next year. She said all the other elves have more experience, have agents, and/or are published writers. She thought maybe we should find someone more seasoned and established in the picture book industry.

She said she felt like an imposter.

You know what I said to her?


Okay, no, I didn’t really say “pshaww” but now I kinda wish I did. This elf is one of the most responsive people on the forum. If she doesn’t know an answer to something, she seeks out people who do know the answer. She’s encouraging and thoughtful in her detailed responses. The very things she thought made her an imposter are the things are that make her a good elf.

Here’s the thing: You don’t have to be an expert or the most experienced person in the room to be helpful.

Seriously. You know what happened when my elf had to go and find someone to help her answer a question? She learned something. Now she’s able to take that knowledge and help the next person. Of course, I want her to be an elf for me next year. I know she’s knows more now than when she started and I know she’s willing to find answers she doesn’t know off the top of head. Employers kill for that kind of employee.

Here’s Secret #1: Not all of our elves are agented or published. Many of them are now, but when they started elfing for us (yes, it’s verb), most, if not all, of them were NOT agented or published. They had their own areas of expertise but mostly they had a willingness to help other writers make their way through the writing journey.

Here’s Secret #2: When I started with this group, I knew precious little about the picture book industry. I kept my comments strictly to membership questions and tech help. I directed craft and industry questions to people I knew who could answer them. I’m not a picture book writer, but working with this amazing group, watching these writers go through every stage of the writing rollercoaster, and paying attention to our monthly webinars has given me a breadth of knowledge I can share with others. There are still questions I direct to other people more knowledgeable people, but really I think it’s strength to say, “I don’t have the best answer, but let’s find someone who does.”

So, if you’re a feeling like a bit of an imposter, stop. JUST STOP.

Think of yourself as a student. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in. By definition, there can only be one “best” at it. So, if you’re not the best (and odds are you’re not), then accept you have more to learn (you do) and get on with it.

If you let Imposter Syndrome stop you, it may be stopping you from completing the thing you were put here on earth do.

Guess I Was Suppose to Hear This Today

So, in Sunday School we’re beginning to study Hebrews. This pleases me because Hebrews is probably my favorite book of the Bible. It’s full of uplifting and encouraging passages to inspire you, but also challenges you to be a better Christian even when you can’t (and probably won’t) see the fruits of your labor.

Hebrews was also the topic of the sermon in church today, so apparently God wanted to make sure I was paying attention to it. Here’s the verse from today’s sermon:

Hebrews 12:1-3

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

The verse came up today because it is the Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day and remember those who have passed on, specifically those passed away in the last year. During prayer people said the names of loved ones they lost this year. It’s beautiful and touching and heartbreaking all at the same time. These people are our “great cloud of witnesses.”

Now, once you start thinking about people who have passed this last year, you can’t really stop there. Pastor Scott talked about how we are the legacy of the people who showed us their faith and introduced Jesus to us. In turn, the people we share our witness with will be our legacy. So, I started thinking back to those who encouraged me and taught me that are no longer with us. Here are just a few:

Betty Vyse – Betty was the Sunday School Superintendent at our church when I was little. She was a force of nature! To my little eye, she ran Sunday School with so much organization and she was fun! I’m pretty sure it was her who taught me “The B-I-B-L-E” song and the little ditty I still sing when I’m trying to remember the books of the New Testament.

Ruth Rawdin – She was one of our upper elementary grade Sunday School teachers. You felt grown up when you got to her class. At that time, boys and girls had a separate classes and I loved being in that room full of girls. We also got a PIX comic/handout each week and I couldn’t wait to go home and read it.

Era Preston – Another force of nature! She loved God and was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. She was the epitome of a servant leader. She could preach a sermon and then serve 12 for dinner like it was nothing. She held our church together during some very rough times and she looked good doing it. She was one of the first women I heard address domestic abuse and say that no woman should be treated that way and that if you were in a relationship like that to get out.

Jan Holbrook – Jan was our 6th grade Sunday School teacher and the mother of one of my best friends growing up. (Hi Holly!) She would tackle subjects at our request. (Ever try teaching Revelation to sixth graders?) And, she always made me feel at home when I was with their family. A wonderful example of unconditional love.

This is very short list (and doesn’t even include my family) but these were some of the women who came to mind today as I was in prayer. I thank God for them (and all the ones not named) and know I wouldn’t be where I am today with their influence and their tireless efforts.

We’re told that we’re never alone—that Christ is with us always. Thinking about coupling that closeness with Christ and the great cloud of witnesses lifting me up and encouraging me brought me a real sense of comfort and peace today. I hope it brings you comfort and peace too.

Peace be with you!


GoodReads Choice Awards 2018

GoodReads Choice Awards 2018

Ooh! It’s that time again! Time to vote on your favorite books of the year:

Not only is it fun to vote, it’s great way to find some new books you didn’t even know were out there. I work with lots of children’s book authors, so I’m especially happy to see someone I know on the list this year!

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnultyCongrats, Stacy McAnulty! I know Stacy through 12 x 12 which is a challenge for picture book writers to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months, but clearly Stacy is also killing it as middle grade writer. I know how hard she works on her craft, so it’s wonderful to see that effort recognized and appreciated.

Looking at these lists reminds that I don’t have nearly enough time to read all the books I want to read.

Which books will you vote for?




BA Football Undefeated! District Champs!

BA Football Undefeated! District Champs!

Well, it was easy to find something to write about today. Last night my son’s football team has a record setting night!

First undefeated season in school history!

Highest scoring game in school history!

District champs!

It’s been fun to be a part of this season as a parent and seeing these players work hard and grow. It’s been a huge season of growth for Ethan as he’s learned a new position and figured out how to navigate high school football as a sophomore. It’s not easy being one of the young guys on a big team. There’s not a lot of recognition or playing time. But, I’m proud of E for sticking with it and working hard. I know he will see success in the years to come and it’s my hope that he can relish this victorious season.

On to the playoffs!



NaNoWriMo…Sort of

NaNoWriMo…Sort of

It’s the first of November. For writers around the world, it’s the beginning of a big month: National Novel Writing Month. These writers commit to writing 50,000 words in one month which is essentially the first draft of a novel. While I’m not yet convinced I have a novel brewing inside of me, I do know that I like to write. I also know that I have been sorely lacking in the creative department over the last several years.

So I’m going to write a blog post a day in November. Some will be longer than others. Some will be about things going on currently. Some will be about personal history. For years now, I’ve been wanting to use this little book, Instant Interviews by Melody Ross, to get some stories down. (I can’t even find the book in print anymore and the company who originally published it is out of business, so, yeah, I’ve been thinking about this for years.) Some posts may just be about being grateful since we have a whole month of gratefulness here in the U.S.

As a virtual assistant/project manager, I spend a lot of time writing for other people and in the “voice” of that particular organization. So it will be fun to a little more free and write maybe without so much pressure…maybe.

I just know I have some things/thoughts/theories to get out of me and I’m ready to begin.