Put It On Paper

I have been revising my Johnny B. Good, Johnny Be Rotten short story since 2012, because I am convinced it’s the one I’m meant to publish.

Today I decided to edit a printed version and see what it would do. AMAZING!

This might sound obvious and I’ve done this with other people’s work, but not my own. If you’re writing and not doing this, I highly recommend it. I felt as though I was reading it for the first time …

Put it on paper, my friends!

 

Lakefly Writer’s Conference

Measure Life in Bookmarks at the Lakefly Writer's Conference

Measure Life in Bookmarks attended the 2017 Lakefly Writer’s Conference in Oshkosh. I’m having a lot more fun than it looks.

Last weekend I attended the Lakefly Writer’s Conference in Oshkosh. It was exactly what I needed to recharge after a long, busy winter churning out copy for work without having time to sit back and reflect on the beauty of the process.

 

 

 

 

measure life in bookmarks at lakefly writer's conference

Photo courtesy of Lakefly Writer’s Conference.

It reminded me that every few months, creatives must put themselves in front of other like-minded artists to revive their inspiration. I was grateful to have attended all the presentations I could, conversate with other hardworking writers and touch all the published book displays.

 

 

 

Some of the more memorable moments at the conference included:

Lakefly Writer's Conference Kristin Adams

Photo of Kristin Adams. Courtesy of Lakefly Writer’s Conference.

Kristine D. Adams talked about her experiences in writing memoir and recommended techniques to tell your story. I spoke with her afterward, as writing memoir has always been an interest of mine, and we discussed capturing family history. One of my goals is to interview and record my grandmothers’ stories and turn them into biographies to remember where I’ve come from. But also to remind them how far they’ve com. Plus, it’s always a nice excuse to have coffee or tea with your grandma.

Lakefly Writer's Conference Jill Swenson

Photo of Jill Swenson. Courtesy of Lakefly Writer’s Conference.

Jill Swenson of Swenson Book Development presented a novel’s worth of information on how to know when you need to hire an agent, how to get one and what to do once you start working together. She shared her knowledge of the publishing industry while inspiring everyone in the room how simple it could be if you could just find your spirit agent. Someone who believes in your story as much as you. She taught me that a writer should never have to beg for an agent’s unconditional love. NOTED!

 

Orange Hat Publishing

Orange Hat Publishing staff at the Lakefly Writer’s Conference.

And, finally, Orange Hat Publishing. It is a small, indie publishing company in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Kristen Bratonja, editor and head of marketing at Orange Hat, presented on the evolving publishing world, including how to avoid scams, the rise in indie publishers, and the pros and cons of each type of book publishing.

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this great conference! Looking forward to next year.

You Don’t Own Me

At a time in our country when facts are alternative and grabbing women by the p***y without consent is acceptable, standing in line to meet Margaret Atwood has become important.

Margaret Atwood author

Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, signed my copy at UntitledTown Book and Author Festival in Green Bay.

I did just that on Sunday, April 30 at the UntitledTown Book and Author Festival in Green Bay.

Margaret Atwood author

Margaret Atwood signed my copy of The Handmaid’s Tale at UntitledTown.

In case you haven’t read the book or watched the new TV series on Hulu, I highly recommend both! Book first, though. Always.

Then this:

 

The Power of Creatives

Let’s just get it out there because we all know it’s true:

2016 sucked!

 

Too many people were taken too early from this earth, including one of my best friends growing up. I have not experienced grief like that before and realize it will always be there, even if the intensity changes over time. While the loss of someone important to you can send you to a dark place of questions unanswered and “what if’s,” it can also wake you from hibernation.

When a friend passes away in the prime of his or her life, it can open windows, clear fog, unlock doors, free fear and knock you into the next chapter. It can give you perspective: Life is short. Things that bothered you before, seem to take a backseat. Things you’ve been putting off for years suddenly seem important to tackle.

Intangible goals aside, I focused on writing and traveling endeavors. My first goal was to reconnect to creativity by meeting up with some of my former female educators who have inspired my writing over the years.

I also kept in mind all the strong, inspirational women that have influenced my perspective of the world.

Next it was time to let the world fall at my feet. My BFF and I found out our favorite podcast, Guys We Fucked (Sorry About Last Night) – The anti-slut shaming podcast with Krystyna Hutchinson & Corinne Fisher, were touring in Chicago before the holidays! So we spent a weekend with our feminine selves in the big city.

Guys We Fucked Live Podcast in Chicago

Kyla and I with Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher after the Guys We Fucked live podcast at the Amethyst Theatre in Chicago on Nov. 18, 2016.

Listen to Live in Chicago episode here.

 

This was the first trip I’d taken in far too long. And it certainly won’t be the last one.

Next up … Cancun in October for another incredible woman’s wedding! It will be my four college buddies (a bride and her three bridesmaids) at an all-inclusive resort — the Spring Break we never took! #CantWait

After that — who knows where I’ll end up. But I do know I’ll be going somewhere. What with this new luggage I got for Christmas and all …

Traveling writer

Seek out adventures and the stories will come.

The Wuthering Heights Edition

A few years ago, I began collecting editions of Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights. Some were gifts from family and friends and others seemed to find me on their own.

My co-worker Kayla brought me this special treat that she found at Barnes & Noble!

Ain’t she a beauty?

Wuthering Heights

 

Here are some of my other favorite editions:

Reading Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte

 

Wuthering Heights Editions

 

More Wuthering Heights Editions

 

What books do you collect?

 

 

 

Next Chapter

For the last year and a half, I’ve felt stuck on the same chapter in life. And then I realized it was my fault. Being alone used to terrify me, but I’ve grown to love it. Here’s how it happened:

Thanks to wise advice from a friend who asked a simple question:

“What are your tangible goals?”

 

Once I realized all my goals to this point have been things I couldn’t control, I started letting go of my guilt for activities like sleeping in, enjoying a drink, binge watching Netflix, not catching up on work at home, skipping the gym, not being married or having kids, etc.

This is my alone time.

I spent so much time being disappointed in myself for not doing all the things I thought I was supposed to accomplish before bed, the end of the week or the end of my 20s. The more I let go of these internalized, every day “failures,” the more I found myself creating a routine that actually made me happy. I started focusing on what I wanted to do without forcing the activities I felt obligated to do.

My alone time also allowed me to focus on new future goals — the tangible ones.

Drink tea every night

What tangible goals have you made for yourself in 2017?

 

Tangible goal technology break

Holiday Greetings From Your Chiropractor

I see my chiropractor for an adjustment every other month or so to keep my migraines at bay, and we spent the 15 minutes with the usual small talk. But he is one of the lucky ones with an excellent memory who remembers specific details from our last conversation.

“Didn’t you mention that you were writing a book? How is it coming along?”

“What’s the novel about?”

“What other stories do you write?”

Right before Christmas I finally checked my mailbox and found a holiday greetings card from his office, and you’ll never guess what it said:

Holiday greeting card from my chiropractor

At least I know I can count on my chiropractor to hold me accountable for writing my book!

Walking Art

I’ve always been a little jealous of artistic people whose aesthetics are as creative as their minds. You know the ones … edgy make up, multicolored hair, layered outfits that shouldn’t look as fabulous off the hanger as it does. I see them as walking advertisements for their creative brand.

My hair is my thing. It’s always been long, frizzy, curly and out of control. There have been so many times that I wanted to do something crazy like chop it off or bleach it blonde, but I never had the guts. Even going to a medium cut left me craving for my long hair again.

But this year sucked, you guys, so I decided I was done wishing and daydreaming. It was my turn to advertise the colorful, crazy ideas floating around in my head.

And so it began …

Blonde tips

First, I bleached my tips. Yes, I actually let bleach touch my hair for a solid 50 minutes.

Straightened colored hair

Then it was time to straighten and style.

Thank you to my friend who Photoshopped this creepy photo of me into Harley Quinn. Guess I know who I’ll be for Halloween next year!

Harley Quinn hair color

Yes, the style of color was inspired by Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn. I regret nothing.

 

Merry Christmas hair

It was a very merry Christmas and happy New Year, indeed!

 

The end!

 

Don't show it to me. I have no time for recreational reading until June."
- Rory Gilmore