Category: Inspiration

What are you going to do?

This week, I got back to yoga after a break for a medical leave. It feels good to get my body moving and stretching again. I am amazed at how sore I am after I felt like I had taken it “easy” on myself in class, but that’s okay. It’s proof of work and that I am indeed alive and moving!

I really enjoy yoga. I’ve taken a few classes before, but started attending in earnest this last May. While it’s not easy, I do feel like it’s a gentle way to get more fit, get the blood flowing, and calm my mind. I feel like my whole body has gotten a workout.

I like our class because it’s not about trying to be the best person who’s ever done yoga, it’s about doing what works best for your body. I have to say that really takes the pressure off. No pressure to be perfect. I like that, because I am far from perfect.

Also, there’s no slouching in class. There might be a pop quiz so you have to pay attention. 😉

Today, Brent asked us what we were going to do for ourselves between now and Christmas. After he established we couldn’t say “coming to yoga” (that was indeed my original answer!), I really had to think about it. Doing things for myself doesn’t really come into play during the holidays. So, it was nice be given permission to do a little something for myself over the next six weeks. I’m going to take more time to read. I’ve been reading more lately and it’s easy to forget how much I enjoy getting lost in a good book.

So, what are you going to to for yourself between now and Christmas?


So, yep, I missed a blogging day yesterday. And, you know what?

That’s okay.

I needed a down day. A day where I didn’t have to do anything. A day off as it were.

As much I enjoy writing and getting to write about whatever is on my mind, just turning on the computer feels like work since that’s where I do all of my work. So, even logging on for pleasure has an odd “work” feeling to it.

I’m learning that it’s important to take breaks when my mind and body tell me they need a break. It’s important to say no when I know it’s unhealthy to say yes. This is a hard lesson to learn because it means possibly disappointing other people or just experiencing that terrible fear of missing out.

That’s probably my biggest lesson this year: Learning to listen and act on what my body needs—food, rest, exercise, calm.


The Privilege of Working with Generous People

I am lucky in many, many ways. One of the ways is I get to work from home. Another way I am lucky is I get to work with 12 x 12.

The 12 x 12 Writing Challenge is a calendar year challenge for writers of picture books to write 12 drafts in 12 months. I’ve been working with Julie Hedlund, who founded the group since 2013. I’ve watched people who were just starting to pursue their writing dreams become published authors during that time. It’s amazing to see the hard work pay off. I’ve also seen the highs and lows. The publishing industry is not for the faint of heart.

Seeing real life books written by people in I know is awesome. Announcing new book deals is inspiring. Celebrating with writers landing a new agent is incredible. But the most amazing part?

The willingness to give back.

I’m not sure I’ve seen a group of people more willing to give back to people who are just starting down the road they are so far down. Several members who started with us with no agent and no book deals have multiple books on store shelves. They still come back year after year to help critique and help new members in the forum. One member runs a “Rejection Raffle” to reward people who are putting themselves out there, but haven’t had success…yet.

Today is no different. In 2014, we started the 12 x 12 Scholarship. We offer a financial need scholarship and a diversity scholarship. Yesterday, we sent a email to our members for donations to fund scholarships for 2019. Today, we met our first funding goal for FOUR SCHOLARSHIPS.

In just over 24 hours, our members have provided hope and inspiration. I am so privileged to work with and for such generous people.

We are well on our way to giving SIX scholarships this year to deserving writers, all thanks to our thoughtful members who are willing to help others find their way in the writing world.

This is the type of thing that gives me hope for the world around us. People can be good, decent, and kind.

Armistice 100/Veterans Day

One hundred years ago, the treaty to end The Great War was signed on a private train carriage in a remote area of France.

People really believed there was never be a war like that again. How could there be? It was so terrible with such a great cost to human life. Wouldn’t we all do what we could to prevent that from happening again? Thus the name “The Great War.”

It was such a hopeful thought.

Of course, we now know The Great War as World War I. In the last one hundred years, not only have we seen World War II, but also Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq. And, those are only the one involving the U.S. Unfortunately, there are people at this moment living in war zones.

Armistice Day is now known as Veterans Day to honor and celebrate those individuals who have served their country and put themselves in danger to ensure freedom for the rest of us.

Today, I honor my husband. He chose to serve not once, but twice and then reenlisted again after a year of active duty after 9/11. His sense of duty and desire to keep the bad guys away from our shores and to help others find freedom is inspiring. Thank you, Honey.

I am forever grateful God puts warriors on this earth to stand up for what is right.

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.