Tag Archives: conferences

“Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone.”


~Thomas Carlyle 1795-1881, Philosopher and Author

I’ve said this before, I’m a planner, organizer, prioritizer, and efficiency queen.

Except when I’m asked if I can do something, then I reply with an eager “Sure!” which is later followed by an afterthought of rambling, panicked questions “Um, what did you need me to do again?” “By when?” “Who will I be working with?” “Will I be paid?”


Case in point: the key note speech I gave last Saturday morning to a group 130 girls, aged 10-13ish, for the HGNA.org. I was approached in the fall after hosting a party for my young writers who successfully completed their first novel during NaNoWriMo.

A student’s mom asked if I’d be interested in teaching a class for the girls group she leads. “Sure!!” I replied.

Soon after, another mom of another student asked if I’d give the key note speech on journal writing for that very group. “Sure!!” I replied.

A month out to plan, I wasn’t even sweating. Yet.

“So, Kristen,” I asked the tall brunette with busy eyes and hands one Saturday during our FRoG sessions, “will this be a casual, ‘sittin’ in a circle-type’ of group I’ll be speaking to?”

“Oh, no, you’ll be on a stage with a mic,” she responded, eyes darting to her clipboard, the clock and the growing line of parents collecting their kids from Saturday morning workshops.

“Wow, a stage. And a mic. Huh.  So, about how many girls are you expecting?” I asked weakly.

“Oh, we have 120 registered but can get upwards of 150 by the date of the Chick Chat event.” And off she went to deliver a blender to the culinary class.

Oh. My. God.

Journaling, journaling, what do I know about journaling? I write in one. I have some juicy entries from high school. No, not appropriate, Mar. I had a purple hardcover journal with stickers from grade school- that would rock if I could read something to these girls that I wrote at their age.

Digging in attics, storage spaces, basements and under beds, the planning went off with many-a-hitch. My grade school journal is MIA. So, some perv out there is reading how I swooned over the blonde-haired, blue eyed athletes of our small school, Matthew and Kenny. Huh, I married the tall, dark , handsome type, instead.

So, I had my little note cards, a rough outline and a sample of essay writing prompts on the ready. Kristen introduced me to the lively crowd of girls, all sitting at rounds of 7, decorating their new journals and buzzing with excitement about the day of events and entertainment ahead.

A small round of applause and the mic was thrust at my chest. “Good morning, ladies,” I belted out much too loudly. “I’m not used to talking on a microphone, so this is a bit weird for me.” Some snickers. “Well, I’m here to share a little story with you about this fight I had with my mom.” *pause* “But, I know you girls never fight with your moms, right?” Laughter!

I got through the 30 minute speech, as if in an out-of-body experience (heart pounding, lightheadedness, my feet now hovering above the floorboards) when a line of girls formed at the center front stage. They had their journals opened and were holding out multi-colored gel pens. What, the pens are leaking? I thought.

No, they wanted my autograph! I smiled and took each pen, scribbling things like “Be true to yourself” and “Keep writing” as if I did this everyday.

Everyday. Maybe someday. But without action, I wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Don’t doubt yourself. Or if you tend to, just plunge headfirst – ask questions later. Then the doubt can’t sabotage your goals.


Filed under Advice, Believe, emotion, Perseverance

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation…”

“…you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”

Rabbi Harold Kushner,  Author of When Bad Things Happen To Good People


Does your soul need nourishing?  Try this: write down 10 things you are grateful for, right now.  Reach deep, tap into that raw emotion that when brought to the surface makes your aura glow! It could be simple things, that go unnoticed if you don’t validate them. Then, of course, because we are writers, jot a few words next to each on how you can spin it into a story, article or essay!

I’m grateful for:

  1. Sammy’s sweet smile and attachment to me (mother-son relationships)
  2. David playing guitar on Rockband and struggling to complete the song “Battery” by Metallica – on Medium setting. (building confidence in middle schoolers)
  3. Silly inside jokes between my husband and me (marrying your BFF)
  4. Strong support group of writing friends (finding courage thru community)
  5. I have so many wishes and things to aspire to (goals/visualization)
  6. The sun is shining! (sunshine and the effects on my mood)
  7. My sister works at a bookstore! (bargain buddies)
  8. I have a day job. (make the most of 9-5)
  9. I’m attending a 2-day writer’s conference – AWP (benefits of writing conferences)
  10. My cuddly cockatiel, Comet (benefits of pets)


Now, what are you grateful for? And, more importantly, how can you validate your feelings  by writing about it?

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Creative Essays, emotion, goals, Inspiration, Perseverance, Rest, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts

FREE Workshop by bestselling author Brooke Noel!

changeyour-life Did I say this was going to be the Year of Zen, or what?!  Facebook has its advantages and one was being invited to join a week long free workshop offered by Brooke Noel, author. But you can go to her site to sign up for free!

“Join bestselling author Brook Noel for a free week-long interactive workshop to help you manage time, hone in on your goals, live by your priorities, reclaim energy, and create contentment.

rook Noel shares how simple change can be with six proven and practical strategies to help women manage time effectively, get organized, decrease stress, live by their priorities, and get 2009 off to a balanced and exciting start.” (Courtesy of maketodaymatter.net)

Interested?  Go here! to sign up.

Want to hear more from Brooke Noel?  She’s appearing on Chicago Morning News tomorrow, Sunday Jan 4 at 10am CDT on CBS, Channel 2

Here’s to success, health and happiness in 2009!

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Filed under Education, Give Aways, goals, Inspiration, Organization, Writing Space


I don’t know about you, but nothing sets a fire under my butt like a looming deadline.  I may be a masochist, but lately I’ve been committing to check-ins or contests or classes with only a week if not days to submit my work. I just work better under pressure and that squelches any procrastination.

So, here are a couple contests/calls for submissions (with a very tight deadline.)  

The Muse On-Line Conference, FREE!, deadline to register: Sept 1

That First Line Writing Contest, deadline: Sept 1

Unpublished Novel Competition, deadline Oct 10

Ready, Set, Write!!

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Filed under Deadlines