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!)



Grabbing Ideas in Storystorm!

storystorm_participantEvery day when I read my Storystorm post, I think, “Really, Cathy, you should let your readers know about this little gem!” Now here it is, rolling into the end of the month, and I’m just now mentioning it. Better late than never, huh?

Storystorm, over at Tara Lazar’s blog, is what used to be PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) which ran every November. It’s still packed with great advice about generating story ideas, and yes, much of that advice comes from picture book authors. But that doesn’t mean you have to come up with picture book ideas.

I’ve got a couple of Middle Grade book ideas, a chapter book or two, stories, nonfiction stories, and yes, a handful of picture book sparks. What better way to start the year than with these idea-inspiring posts, and the–at last count–25 ideas that I can pluck out of my notebook and work on throughout the year!

So it may be too late to sign up for all the great prizes. But really, there’s a prize in every post. All you have to do is read ’em!