Practicing Thinking

So it’s been a month of doing.

storystorm2020participantIt started with me doing Tara Lazar’s Storystorm, which basically led to me stockpiling bunches of ideas. But just so we’re clear, it wasn’t the reading of the blog posts every day, though they were swell and often prompted me. It was doing the thinking every day.

I mean, when was the last time that you just sat around, thinking? Not in the shower or soaking in the bath, though those are both Jim Dandy thinking spots. Except really, you’re doing something else while you’re thinking. I’m talking about just stopping for five or ten minutes to sit and think. To stare into space and let your mind wander as you think about…well, whatever you need to think about (besides me ending a sentence with a preposition). For me, it was story ideas.

You know what? It’s very hard to allow yourself time to think. But something interesting happened this year: In the beginning of the month, when I’d sit there, thinking, it would take a while for a thought to come to me. Yeah, yeah, I know, but seriously, 87 different things would pop into my mind. Mostly domestic-y things I needed to do. Or a Junior Hall Conundrum. Or how Libs the Tiny Terror could sleep upside down? So I had to practice just thinking. How crazy is that?

Anyway, now when I start my thinking, ideas explode in my mind! I’m not saying they’re good ideas or that anything will come from them or that they’re even more than a word or two. But really, that’s not the point. I’m just exercising my thinking skill. So if you want to jump start your thinking skill set, you can still go over to Tara’s Storystorm and read all the posts; you won’t be eligible to win any prizes but you’re still going to be a winner.

And what else this month? Because thinking was just the tip of the iceberg, as they say, and one thing led to another and another and…well, you can read for yourself in“It Started with a Link”over at the Muffin. (And then you can let me know what you think about the oh-so-subtle but new changes here at Cathy C. Hall.)

Hmmm…I guess that’s enough for now but honestly, y’all, I can’t wait to see what I do next.


There are a lot of things I don’t understand–quantum physics spring to mind–but in the top five, I’d have to include time. Or rather, how time speeds up the older we get.

What is up with that?

Anyway, in the interest of saving what apparently little time I’ll have in 2018, I’m cutting right to the chase: Storystorm.


Storystorm, a month-long brainstorming event, happens in a couple of different places. First, check out the inspiring daily posts over at Tara Lazar’s blog. Then in whatever place you brainstorm, think up your ideas and for heaven’s sake, write ’em down.

That’s it. Except to add that it’s an amazing tool. Last year, when writing didn’t come so easily to me, ideas would pop up, and so Storystorm was perfect. Later in the year, when that little nudge to write came along, I pulled out my idea sheet.

Yep, it was just one sheet. But from that sheet eventually came an entire middle grade manuscript and an outline for another middle grade. So that’s what I wanted to share with you, that it’s not just about picture book ideas (though most of the blog posts will feature PB authors). It’s a great tool for generating ideas for whatever you write.

And that’s it, y’all, ’cause time’s a-wasting and I’ve got work to do! (Unless you can answer that whole time question. In which case, I’ll take a minute or two to read it!)



January Wrap Up

file00025755561I don’t have a lot of accountability these days.

My original and hard-working critique group broke up, my second critique group didn’t work for my schedule, writer friends moved away…even Mister Man, who, if we’re being perfectly honest refused to read any of my writing but would listen to me talk about it as long as there was food involved, up and left me. And so it’s pretty much up to me, what (or if)  I write.

Then I thought about you, dear writer friends. You can be my accountability! And then you can say, “Oh, yes, Cathy, that sounds fabulous!” Or, “Really, Cathy, you can do lots better than that.” Maybe even, “Sounds good to me, pass the garlic rolls.”

And so here I go:

I finished 30 ideas with Storystorm! It’s a list of the good, the bad, and the ugly, but I did it.

I made a goal over at Goodreads to read 50 books this year, and for January, I read four books. (I didn’t make my reading goal last year but whee! It’s January and I’m on track. So far.)

I talked to my Lovely Agent about 2017 and the direction we could go. I have Stuff To Do; I haven’t quite started on that stuff yet.

I wrote up…let me count that again…yes, um…one, er, one story and sent it out into the world. It seemed like a big deal at the time, y’all.

I had an SCBWI writer’s workshop–awesome author Heather L. Montgomery presented–and it was well-attended and lots of fun! (P.S. She was here doing quite a few school visits and kids LOVE her, so if you want a science geek author for your school, contact Heather!) The first of the year is busy in my position at SCBWI; lots of organizing, lots of emails, lots of planning, but I got it all done. That’s probably why I didn’t get much writing done. Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.

Oh! I finally finished my latest Darakwon book! Whew! I had started it back in the spring, I think, so yeah, it was beginning to be like The Song That Never Ends.

You know, I wasn’t feeling very accomplished twenty minutes ago, but I feel a bit better, now that I see my January Wrap Up. All things considered, right?

So how about you? How’s your January started? Brag a little, whine a little, and pass the garlic rolls. You’re with friends here!