If It’s Wednesday, It Must Be Time To Post…

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The snake on my deck, which has NOTHING to do with this post. Except that on top of all this writing I had to do this week, I also had to take care of a snake on my deck.

I don’t have a regular day to post here at Cathy C. Hall. I just post when I’ve got something to say that may or may not be interesting. So I was kinda surprised when this day came along and I was just posting all over the place…

If you’re looking for how I can take one of my favorite sports and connect it to writing, then you’ll want to check out The Muffin and “If You Want To Succeed in Writing, You’ve Got To Play Ball!” I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed with my ability to take something that I have frittered away hours and hours upon and make something instructional out of it. Although, it wasn’t really me so much as the quote from…well, just give it a read and then you can let me know whether I struck out or hit a home run. (See what I did there? Lots more where that came from!)

And then writer and author Kathryn Schleich is celebrating National Volunteer Week and asked if she could use one of my Muffin posts on the subject and I was pleased to say yes! So if you want to see which post (hint: it’s about volunteering), head over here and take a look. And tour her site for some wonderful writing resources!

And speaking of volunteering, I manage the SCBWI Southern Breeze blog, sometimes writing posts and sometimes forcing asking very politely for volunteers to write up something. So if you’re in the Southern Breeze region (Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle), go see what’s happening in our region. We’d love for you to join us anywhere in SCBWI but if you’re around here, then we can be new BFs!

Whew! I think that’s enough posting for the day, don’t you?

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After the Conference: Mind=Blown

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Friend Tracey M. Cox fan-girling over LSP. 

So I’m back from my Southern Breeze SCBWI conference and yesterday, I realized I hadn’t written my blog post for WOW!Women-on-Writing that was scheduled for today, and I had this moment. I actually considered sending a quick note saying, “Get someone else to write something because my brain is fried and I can’t think of anything, much less make sense!”

I did not even skip out on my Muffin posts when Mister Man up and died on me so I took another moment to calm down. I had a cuppa. And then, quite sensibly, I thought, I wrote about the conference. You can read “Top Tips for Writer’s Conference Attendees” and let me know if I made sense.

To be honest, some conferences are better than others. And this one will land in the top of my “Best Of…” list:

Best of keynote speakers with Linda Sue Park. If you ever have a chance to hear her, please go. You will be inspired and energized. And if you haven’t read her Newbery-award-winning novel, The Single Shard, please read it. Yes, it’s middle grade but that’s beside the point. It will expand and enrich you, no matter how old you are.

Best of intensives with Scholastic editor, Matt Ringler, and a roundtable manuscript critique workshop. Not because he raved about my manuscript (he didn’t), but because when you hear an editor respond in five minutes or so to 4 pages of a manuscript, you get a ton of great information and insight into an editor’s thought processes. And not just for your own work but for all the manuscripts in the room. So if you ever have that opportunity at a conference, please be brave and sign up for it.

Of course, your brain will be fried and you won’t make much sense for a couple of days, but I think that’s a fair trade out.

Though in my case, it might not be that noticeable…

The Zen and Zany Roller Coaster

germany-duisburg-tiger-turtle-106155So it’s March already and that means I’m gearing up for my regional SCBWI conference next week (I mentioned it at The Muffin in “Scheduling Success”).

That also means I’m going back and forth and up and down between sheer panic and zen moments. Something like this:

Panicky Cathy: Oh my word, I can’t believe I signed up to read my manuscript OUT LOUD FOR FEEDBACK in an intensive! What was I thinking? HAVE I LOST MY MIND?

Calm Cathy: I am one with the writing universe. All shall be well. No one will be listening, anyway.

PC: Of course they’ll be listening. That’s what they’re there for! An editor will be listening! And what if he’s the SAME person who’s doing my manuscript critique? Did I put my real name on that manuscript? How long does it take to get a name change???

CC: I am one with the writing universe. All shall be well. This is my tribe, they love me. At least, they claim to love me…do they love me? I mean really love me? Or–

PC: THEY HATE ME! And they’re Southerners! Everyone knows Southerners are much too polite to admit they despise you. If I hear one “Bless your heart–”

CC: I am one…all shall be…okay, stick a fork in it, I’m done. Sooooo…I’m gonna need a pen and a good fake name. What do y’all think of Harper Lee?

 

But I Have A Good Excuse

bird-crow-black-animal-53187I’m just going to say it: the universe is trying to teach me a couple of lessons in humility. Because every time I write a Muffin post about a certain topic, I’m caught eating crow.

This time, the topic is “The Importance of Being Current,” which honestly, is VERY important. And yet, here I am, taking a look around in various digital spots, realizing that I have not, in fact, been so good at keeping things current.

Well, that’s okay, because that’s pretty much what I admitted to in the Muffin post. And I even tried to update my bio at SCBWI but because they’ve had a recent (and terrific!) update, I’m unable to change my photo and perhaps make other changes.

But here, at my website and blog, for cryin’ out loud, I thought I was pretty darn current! I said as much in my little blurb at the end of the post. I bragged about my currentness (and yes, that may not be a word but I’m in too much of a state to think of the right word. That’s how bad this situation is).

I HAVEN’T ADDED MY OWN BOOKS THAT CAME OUT LAST SUMMER.

Ahem.

pexels-photo-633432There were two books. And I’m going to jump on that ASAP. And add ’em to my SCBWI bio as soon as I can get into my SCBWI bio. (But if I’m being perfectly honest, ASAP may not be that soon. I’ve taken on a new position in Southern Breeze, my SCBWI region, as Co-Assistant Regional Advisor, and I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Hopefully, I’m making more sense than a chicken without its head, but I can’t make any promises. Still, I managed to circle back around to a bird, so there’s that.)

 

Those Passionate Self-Publishers

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Books in the wild!

I always have a great time at the writer workshops I co-sponsor. (Well, not me personally. The Southern Breeze region of SCBWI technically is the sponsor. I’m just the smiling face up there, introducing the talented writers and illustrators and agents who come to share their wisdom. The awesome Gwinnett Public Library System is the other generous sponsor.) But the last workshop was especially fun because it was on self-publishing, and writers who go that route are especially passionate.

They have to be, if they hope to find success along that road.

In traditional publishing, you have publicity people behind you, getting your books out there to the public. Some houses do a lot; others do considerably less. Still, they get your book off to the right start so it can land in bookstores and libraries.

But those who go the indie route must start at the beginning of publishing and work very hard to get a book…well, anywhere. So self-publisher types tend to be real go-getters, and I love their enthusiasm. Heck, before the workshop was over, I was seriously considering that route for one of my books that hasn’t been picked up by a traditional publisher yet.

Anyway, during the workshop, talk eventually came around to promotion and getting your book out there. Maybe that’s what inspired me for today’s post at the Muffin, Paying It Forward the Write Way.

I think it’s pretty good advice whether you’re self-published or traditionally published. What do you think? Maybe I’ll have another workshop on your suggestions. (Well, not me personally. Ugh. You know what I mean.)