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Brighton Walsh

Brighton’s Favorite Bad Girl Post: Every Step is Worth Celebrating

I went diving in the archives to find my favorite post, and I’ll admit I had a few in the running. But in the end I chose this one. Why? Because it is still very much applicable. And because, quite frankly, needed to read it again. A lot has happened in the 3+ years since I first wrote this—lots of amazing things I haven’t always celebrated because I was too busy looking at the future instead of the now, even some of those things being items on my someday list. So this is my reminder to stop doing that already! Enjoy every awesome step on this amazing journey.

Every Step is Worth Celebrating

When I first started on this weird writing journey three years ago, all I wanted was to be published. It was my end goal. The one thing where I thought, if I can just get my first publishing contract, I’ll have made it.

Well, six months after I started on this journey, I received The Call, got that publishing contract, and was ecstatic.

But…

I still felt like there was more to it. Like there was something missing. I still felt like I hadn’t quite made it, even though I was getting paid to write and my book was available for the world to read.

So I set a new goal. A new, “I’ll make it once I ________” goal. That time, it was “I’ll make it once I get an agent.”

So I wrote a(nother) book. I queried. And then I got an agent. And while I was, once again, ecstatic, it still didn’t really feel like I’d made it.

Huh. Weird.

 

Maybe I’d feel like that when I got a print publishing contract with one of the Big Five? Maybe that was what I needed to really feel accomplished.

You know what happened next, right? Yep, I got a contract with Penguin, and shortly after another contract for another series with Macmillan. That’s two different contracts with two different publishers within the elusive Big Five.

And yet…

Yep, you guessed it.

Now I’m on the, “I’ll make it once I see my book in a bookstore,” goal.

And you know what? That’s bullshit.

Because even though I still have lots of “I’ll make it once I ______” goals (like getting picked up by Target, making it to the NYT or USAToday bestseller lists, making enough money so my husband can quit his job…), they’re not the end-all, be-all. They’re just pit stops on the journey. Awesome pit stops I’d love to get to, but if I don’t, you know what? That doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that I haven’t made it yet.

It took me three years—three years filled with lots of great accomplishments—and a blog post written to my pre-published self before I came to the realization that publishing is not a destination in which you have to tick off a set of goals before you ever truly make it. It’s a journey, and if you’re so focused on the next goal all the time, the next destination, you miss every beautiful landmark along the way.

I wish I could go back now and truly celebrate all those amazing steps I’ve taken. The day(s) I got The Call(s), every release day, when I held my book for the first time… Because every single step is an accomplishment in this ball-busting business. And every single one deserves to be celebrated.

I’m thinking about getting a tattoo that I’ll add to with each new book I have published. I know…that might be a huge ass tattoo by the time it’s all said and done, but whatever. What do you do or will you do to celebrate each milestone?

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Welcome to Temperance Falls

Seven months ago, half-tipsy and amped up on chocolate, I was having dinner with local friend and fellow writer Ellis Leigh. Our conversation wound all over the place, as per usual, from husbands to kids to trips to business to writing to recent books we’d read and loved. During that conversation, we realized we both had deep love for quick, fun, and filthy books—nothing too heavy, nothing too dramatic, but deliciously dirty all the same. Off-handedly, I suggested we should write books like those together for the hell of it. Instead of laughing it off like I thought she would, Ellis’s eyes got bright and she responded with, “We should.”

When we both realized we were totally serious, we got down to business. We planned (because that’s what we do). We discussed boring things like LLCs and business accounts and budgets. We fretted over a pen name (and, of course, did a throw back to our fanfic roots with it—London Hale). And once those pesky details were out of the way, we got to the fun stuff. Like sex positions and pet names and varying forbidden romance tropes (our text messages are a thing of beauty, truly).

We’ve worked hard these past seven months, writing a total of six books and creating a pen name from scratch. Today we celebrate the release of our first book in the Temperance Falls series, DADDY’S BEST FRIEND, the first of three books that are part of the Experience Counts: May-December Romance trilogy! The remaining books in this trilogy will be released in May.

Normally this is where I’d put an excerpt, but, well, I’m not sure I could find more than a single sentence that’d be appropriate. *devilish grin*

Amazon US: londonhale.com/dbf-azus
Amazon UK: londonhale.com/dbf-azuk
Amazon AU: londonhale.com/dbf-azau
Amazon CA: londonhale.com/dbf-azca

 

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Getting It Done

For as many writers as there are, there are equally as many processes. This is why it always grates on my nerves when people tell you there is only one way to write. Spoiler: there’s not. You can write in a beautiful journal while floating on a boat in the middle of a lake; you can write on a cocktail napkin while in a karaoke bar; you can scribble on the back of a receipt while in the pick up line at school; you can write on a typewriter, an iPad, your phone, a laptop, an ancient desktop, Post-It notes, a spiral notebook from the Dollar Spot, a waterproof pad in the shower, your hand if you’re really desperate…

I think you get my point.

We each have a way that works best for us, usually something we’ve figured out through some sort of trial and error. I’m going to tell you what works for me. If you’re able to pick up a single tip and add it to your toolbox, great! If not, that’s cool too. You do you, boo.

First things first: Pinterest

Before I do anything at all, I go trolling on Pinterest. I need to have a visual representation of my characters before I can delve into anything else. I like to add their pictures (several, if I’m honest…some casual, some laughing, some serious, and of course bare chest pics of the hero) to Scrivener so I can see them as I move on to my next steps.

Speaking of…next up: Character Questionnaires

I’m not going to go into great detail about these, because I’ve done so lots of times before, but I would be lost without my questionnaires. They allow me to get to the nitty gritty of my characters and see what makes them tick.

Once I know that? Let’s plot.

Uh-oh. The dreaded P word. Yep, I’m a plotter. I’ve tried probably a dozen different approaches when it comes to plotting, because I’m always looking for a more efficient way to do things. As such, I’ve developed a process that works pretty well for me, which is a combination of several different techniques, including the Snowflake Method, Tentpole Method, Beat Sheets, and old school outlining.

Now that all that’s out of the way, it’s time to for music!

I switch between Pandora and Spotify, depending on if I have specific songs I want or rather just a certain feel of the music. I like to switch things up with each manuscript, but I have a hard time picking out songs for my characters specifically. Music is more about an overall feeling to me than something easily pinpointed, so I just roll with it.

Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Writing.

Once I’ve got all those things in order and am ready to dive into my new project, I do so by participating in Pomodoros (pomos for short). They are short bursts of work followed by small breaks. I prefer 25 min work/5 min break, then a longer 30 minute break once I reach 6 sessions. After testing my productivity, I found this allows me to get nearly double the words in an hour as I would if I wrote straight for that hour. It doesn’t matter the time of day or where I am (though strategically adjusting any mess in my house so it’s out of eyesight is imperative to me). I’m one of the lucky people who can write at home, at a coffee house, at a park, outside, inside, wherever. Just so long as I’ve got my earbuds, I’m good to go.

See anything you do, too? Anything I should think about adding to my routine?

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Find Your Focus

Perhaps you’ve seen the concept of a Word of the Year around the interwebs. The idea is to pick one word that resonates with you, something you want to really strive toward for the year.

The last couple months I’ve struggled to find my focus. I’ve fallen behind on multiple projects, hadn’t read a book in two months, and felt checked out from life, to be honest. It was like I was in a complete brain fog all the time. So it should really come as no surprise that for my word of the year, I chose FOCUS.

I picked this for so many reasons, but one of the key things for me was that it fit into all the different parts of my life. In my professional life, the word will serve to ground me and remind me of the goals I’m striving toward. I need to buckle down and focus if I expect to get anything done, because, uh, it’s just me. If I don’t do the work, mama don’t get paid.

In my personal life, the word will serve as a reminder to be present. So often my kids will tell me a story, and I find myself zoning out, thinking about the bathroom that needs to be cleaned/the groceries that need to be picked up/that appointment that needs to be made, and I totally miss what they’re saying. That kills me. Because before long, my twelve-year-old is going to be a fifteen-year-old who doesn’t want to talk to his mom.

FOCUS, as a WOTY, has proven to be incredibly inclusive of all aspects of my life. And while I haven’t been 100% successful with it thus far, I will say that having the word has helped me, well, focus.

Some key steps I’ve done to help implement my word:

  1. Limiting social media and/or phone time. I’m allowed 30 minutes a day of Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. And let me tell you, those thirty minutes fly by. Some exceptions are made if I’m learning something on SM. For instance, if one of my FB groups is having a discussion on productivity hacks, I take the time and read the responses. But if it’s just me screwing around and liking posts, that’s got a time limit. Likewise, if I’m having a conversation with a human being, the phone is down and I turn my attention to the person speaking so I’m completely present.
  1. Meditating. Of course I’ve known about meditating for a long time. True story, when I was in seventh grade, it was the “cool” thing to do, so I did it one night. And by did it, I mean I fell asleep while pretending to meditate. As an adult, I meditated for the first time several months ago, thanks to the suggestion of Marie Forleo. It didn’t stick with me then, but I picked it back up in November, and it’s been a saving grace ever since. I like the Stop, Breathe & Think app (it’s free!) because it’s easy to use, has customized-to-your-mood meditation, and offers both guided (with non-annoying voices!) and free-form where you can set a timer and background noise and go to town. I like to do this before I settle in to write for the day, as it helps clear all the other stuff I seem to have floating around in my head lately.
  1. Planning. True, this might not work for everyone. In fact, if you are normally a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person, having a plan—or even having to do a plan—might make you lose focus. For me, it’s the opposite. I like having that task list that I can easily reference to see what needs to be done next or what I can do when I find myself with some free time. That’s helped me work toward my goals—especially business—more than anything.

We’re only a month into the year, but I’ve found these three things have really helped me stick to my word of the year and be more present in my daily life, whether that be personal or professional.

Did you do a word of the year? If so, what did you choose?

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Let Books Be Our Happy Place

I’m usually much more eloquent than I’m going to be in this post, but the truth is, I don’t have much to say—not much that’s appropriate for a group blog, anyway. Instead, I’m just going to leave you with an assortment of diverse reads and hope if you’re one of the millions feeling hopeless, lost, devastated, angry, fearful, or distraught after the events of the past week, you’ll practice a bit of self care. Pick a book at random and get lost in another world for a while.

          

        

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Sticky Cashew Chicken

About three years ago, I made a switch that would change my life. I did my first Whole 30 and figured out some things about myself. Firstly, the stomach problems I’d had all my life and had been to see numerous doctors about? Yeah. Turns out I’m lactose intolerant. And those daily headaches and weekly migraines I suffered from for years? Yeah. Turns out my body hates sugar.

It’s been a bumpy three years, and while I haven’t always stuck with it as well as I should (and I’ve paid the price), we’ve made big strides to changing our lifestyle. Especially in January when, after watching the documentary Fed Up as a family, we went paleo. Yes, I detoxed my kids from sugar. No, I’m not crazy (most days). For the past ten months, we’ve been following what I call the 90/10 paleo life where we do paleo 90% of the time and cut ourselves some slack the other 10%.

While I could go on and on about how amazing the effects of eating this way are, that’s not what this post is about. This is about quick meals for writers. But. Well. It’s incredibly difficult to find fast meals that are paleo friendly and that aren’t eggs (again).

Enter my favorite meal, ever. It is AHMAYZING. It’s so amazing, I have to make a triple batch every time I make it because that’s how much every single person in my family loves it. And I promise you, even if you’re not paleo, you will gobble up every bite. This recipe is adapted from Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook (my favorite cookbook of all time) because I don’t like to cook with chicken wings and, well, because I had chicken breasts on hand the first time I made this and was too lazy to go to the store.

sticky-cashew-chickenSticky Cashew Chicken
2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2-3T arrowroot or tapioca starch
2T coconut oil (may also use olive oil or ghee)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1t fresh grated ginger
1/2c coconut aminos
3T honey
1T chili sauce
Splash of Worcestershire sauce (or fish sauce, if you have it)
2T olive oil (may also use coconut oil or ghee)
3/4c cashews
green onions as desired

  1. Get your sauce going by melting 2T coconut oil in a small saucepan. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add coconut aminos, honey, chili sauce, and Worcestershire; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Boil until it’s reduced a bit and has thickened.
  2. Meanwhiiiiiile, cut up your chicken, then throw the bits in a gallon ziplock baggie with the arrowroot/tapioca starch and salt/pepper to taste. Toss to coat. (use more starch if needed, but these should just have a dusting, not full coverage otherwise they’ll get gummy)
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Once ready, add your coated chicken. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT: Let the chicken sit, sizzling and popping, until the the chicken starts to turn just a bit white on top. Then flip and repeat! You should have a nice golden crust on all your bitesize pieces.
  4. Once chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened (it may still be a bit runny), add your crispy chicken to the sauce pan and divvy up. Try to remember other people may want some, too. I know it’s difficult.
  5. Serve over cauliflower rice (or regular rice, if you’re a rebel), and top with desired amount of cashews (lots) and green onions (a few).
  6. Stuff your face.

From start to finish, this recipe takes about 45 minutes and is worth every second spent in the kitchen. Yes, even while on deadline.

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It’s Book Rec Time!

It’s another do your own thing month here on Bad Girlz Write, and I don’t know if it’s because my brain is fried with my release of Our Love Unhinged three days ago or because I’m feeling uninspired (or perhaps both), but I sat down to write no less than five different topics and none of them wanted to come. (There’s a lesson in there for writers, but as I said, my brain is fried so we’re not going to look too closely at it.)

So what’s an author to do when she doesn’t know what to talk about? Well, she talks about books, obviously. Writers are a voracious bunch of readers, especially romance writers. And whether or not I have 652 books on my to-be read shelf, that doesn’t stop me from searching for recommendations from friends, peers, and authors whose books I love. So without further ado, I give you the recent books that’ve made me swoon:

Sustained by Emma Chase

I decided to give this baby a go, even after reading and not loving Tangled by this author. Well…I’m so glad I did. I absolutely loved this book and all the characters in it.

It’s told in first person, male POV, and I’ll be honest—a book has to really pull this off for me to be a fan. Well, this book pulled it off. I adored Jake and Chelsea and the gaggle of kids they were thrown together with.

You won’t be sorry if you check this one out.


 

Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

Sometime last year, I discovered Victoria Dahl and promptly devoured her backlist. Then I got distracted (as you do) and floated away. When someone on Twitter was talking about Cunnilingus Gabe, my ears perked the hell up and I snatched this baby up as quickly as my little fingers could on-click.

He’s a librarian. Who loves going down on the ladies.

I don’t think there’s anything else I need to say.


 

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

It’s probably no secret I don’t read a lot of YA. Turns out I like my books with a heavy dose of smut. But my BFF told me I had to read this late last year, and I’ll be honest—the start of a new year is the best time for me to venture into a new category.

So at the beginning of the year, I ventured. And I fell. Seriously. I fell so freakin’ hard for this book and these characters. I haven’t swooned this hard in a very, very long time. I promise you this is worth the price tag…or a trip to the library.


 

Chasing Crazy by Kelly Siskind

2014 was my first year participating as a mentor in Pitch Wars, and I was blown away by one manuscript in particular. I likened this to Anna and the French Kiss meets Ride with Me (both excellent books, btw). It had major swoons with (*fistpump*) sex, plus laughs. That is my trifecta, folks.

My mentee published her debut novel, Chasing Crazy, in January. It’s amazing. I promise you will laugh and swoon.


Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Tessa Bailey writes two of my favorite things: dirty talkers and swoony, overprotective alpha heroes. Her Broke and Beautiful series is one of my favorites from her.

This book features a rich, virgin heroine and a working class hero. For those like me who don’t like to read about virgin heroines, don’t let that scare you away! I really loved how it was handled in here—it felt realistic and didn’t affect the heat at all. And Russell. OH, RUSSELL.


 

Hopefully there are one (or three) book recs that sound good to you to add to your never-ending TBR pile. What about you? Any books you’ve read lately that you absolutely loved?

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The Fight to Stay Happy

This month on the blog, we’re tackling the issue of staying healthy while on this crazy writing train. Heather and Trish both talked about physical health and things they’re doing to stay active. And I was originally going to chat about that. How I made myself a treadmill desk (take that, guy at Lowe’s who asked if my husband would be able to figure it out), and how I’ve started taking my dog for a two-mile a day walk.

But then I decided I wanted to talk about the other side of things: our mental and emotional health.

Whether you suffer from a mental illness or not, there’s no avoiding the fact that this industry takes a toll on everyone. I’m not exactly a seasoned veteran, but after a few years in the business, I’ve taken some steps to help me stay focused and happy.

  1. Do not look at the reviews. Ever.

I learned this very early on in my career. And learned it totally by accident. I stumbled upon a review—a three star review, I believe—and I can’t even recall now what it said. All I remember is that one small sentence in there froze my writing mojo for weeks. Weeks. So, nope, I steer clear of Goodreads and Amazon. And while sometimes I get sad that this means I miss out on some lovely words from lovely reviewers, it’s what I have to do so I can continue producing words.

  1. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.

I’ll admit this is the one I struggle with the most. It’s a constant battle, and one I rarely (if ever) intend to engage in, yet it happens. I’ll be strolling along on Twitter, minding my business and being totally jolly, when suddenly a PM announcement for a fourteen book deal for nine figures gets posted and it’s from an author whose debut came out a year after mine*. And then suddenly I’m looking at my backlist and my advances and my upcoming deals and comparing them all to Ms. Nine Figures, and then I’m on a downward spiral ain’t nobody got time for.

On days like these (and there are many. Many, many, many.), I just repeat over and over again, “Their path is not my path.”

Sometimes it helps. Sometimes I need ice cream. Either way, it’s a great reminder that no two careers are alike.

*totally hypothetical situation, in case my hyperbole wasn’t clue enough

  1. Meditate

This is something I’ve just recently started trying after I saw Marie Forleo mention in one of her videos that she does it as a way to clear her mind and increase her productivity. I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure if it’s made a significant impact on me or not, but I enjoy doing it. I downloaded the free app Stop, Breathe & Think, and I really love having those five+ minutes just for me to do nothing but chill and clear my mind. One neat thing with the SB&T app is that you can select which kind of meditation to do based on your mood and how you’re feeling emotionally/mentally. So if you’re feeling anxious, it’ll suggest a specific meditation to help relieve that.

  1. Gather thy tribe

There is absolutely no freakin’ way I’d be able to survive without my tribe. I have several friends—most of whom are writers—who I use as sounding boards, venting partners, and shoulders to lean on. Whether it’s a plot point I’m stuck on, an ad I can’t figure our, or if I want to whine about Ms. Nine Figures, they’re there with their (how’s that for a grammar lesson?) pom-poms and words of encouragement when I need them. I would be so lost without that connection and support system.

What about you? What steps have you taken to keep yourself happy mentally and emotionally while writing?

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To Conference or Not To Conference…

Conference Badges Galore

Whoa, that’s a lot of badges you have there.

As we’re in the midst of conference season, I’ve been seeing a lot of opinions on the pros and cons of going to them. It seems people are as passionate about this as they are about either traditional or self-publishing. But here’s the thing—it doesn’t have to be all or nothing (with publishing or conferences!). Since I just came back from Spring Fling, a mid-size writing conference held in Chicago, I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks on how to decide if going to one is the best for you and your career, how to choose which one(s) to go to, and how to get the most out of them while you’re there.

Do I have to go to a conference to get ahead in this business?

I’d say that’s an unequivocal nope. Sometimes it helps, especially if you’re a fairly new writer who is interested in pitching an agent or editor. In person pitching, while terrifying and vomit inducing, is a great way to stand out in the slush pile. So, yes, it could help you get ahead, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

Is a conference the best use of my time?

So this seems to be the hot-button issue that I’m seeing discussed everywhere. Some people believe it’s never the best use of your time and you should instead be writing. I’m not one of those people. While, yes, writing the next book will always be the single most important step you can take for your career, going to conferences can give you a boost in many other ways. Liiiiiiike:

It connects you to people who are in the same boat as you. Sometimes these connections will lead to long-lasting friendships, CPs, betas, or bitch partners (every writer needs at least one). Cling to them, because you’ve found your tribe.

It also connects you to people who aren’t in the same boat as you, who are much smarter than you, and who know what the hell they’re doing in this business. Sometimes these connections will also lead to long-lasting friendships, or they might lead to a mentor, or a person with which to bounce ideas off. At the very least, it leads to a new Twitter or Facebook friend, and you’ve soaked up some real life knowledge you could never, ever find on the Internet.

You can also learn a shitton at conferences, if you go with that goal in mind. If you go in knowing you’re not going to get anything out of it, you’re probably not. And, depending on where you are in your career, that might be fine for you! If your goal is only to hang with your tribe, that’s a totally plausible use of a conference. I always go with the hope I will learn new things, but I’m also cool with walking away having only had casual conversations with fellow authors. Me now is very different than me circa 2013, when I attended my first conference and went to ALL THE THINGS! My goal at that conference was to learn every.single.thing I possibly could, and my body and mind felt it. Since then, I’ve learned to tailor my conference experience a bit.

Depending on the conference(s) you attend, it could also be when you meet your agent/editor/publicist for the first (or fifth) time. Getting that face-to-face time with any of those people, while unnecessary, is nice. If that’s the only reason you’re going, though, I’d maybe rethink.

Bad Girlz Laura, Elizabeth, Jeanette, and moi at RWA 2014.

Bad Girlz Laura, Elizabeth, Jeanette, and moi at RWA 2014.

And finally, for those rare few of you who are fellow extroverts, conferences are like brain, body, and soul fuel for this ENFJ. I get revitalized being around all those people. I get pumped up to work, to discuss, to plan with others. There is absolutely nothing else that I’ve found that gives me this sort of juice straight into my writer veins. And I need it. Just like the introverts who crave silence and solitude in order to function/work/live, I crave the energy that comes from a conference. Plus, yay for getting time with your tribe!

How do I get the most out of a conference?

This is a tricky question to answer, because it will vary for each writer at each stage of their career. Maybe your strength is character building and your weakness is plotting. Obviously going to a workshop on character building isn’t going to be the best use of your time. My advice? Take a gander at the listings of the workshops that are being offered. Have a tentative plan on which ones would benefit you most where you are right now. (<—— That’s important, folks. That workshop on military men might be great, but not if that military series plot bunny you have isn’t going to be in your writing queue for three years.) Then talk with your conference buddy. Probably, there will be at least one session where you’d like to attend two or more workshops. Split up, cover more ground, and share your notes (speaking of which, AJ, I need to get you some notes!). If, alternately, there are sessions when none of the workshops look good, use that time, too! Hang out in the lobby/main area of the conference venue. Find new people to talk to, or find friendly faces. Maybe there’s a plot point you’ve been stuck on, or a question you had about Facebook ads or a particular publicist. Use this “down time” too. Oftentimes, these down times are when I get the most out of a conference.

Should I give a workshop?

If you have a topic on which you’re qualified to speak, this is a great way to get a bit of your conference fees knocked off. It’s also a great way to spend the days leading up to it terrified you’re going to lose every meal you put in your mouth. No? Just me? Honestly, this is just as much of a personal choice as all the others. If you’re good with public speaking, put your thinking cap on and figure out what topics you could talk about. Or grab some friends and put together a workshop with multiple people. Best case scenario, people hear your workshop and get something out of it, and they buy your book(s). Worst case scenario, you got some fees knocked off and lost your lunch prior to the workshop. Kidding.

How do I know what conference is best for me?

Again, this depends on where you are in your career, where you live, and what your financial and family/life situation is like. Maybe you can’t take off a week to go to a conference, which means the big ones are probably a no-go for you. Maybe you hate flying, so traveling from Florida to Seattle for the Emerald City conference is going to be out. You just have to do a bit of research here. Talk to other writer friends, look at blog posts, take a peek at previous years’ schedules if they’re still listed, and see what would be a good fit for you, this year. It may change from year to year, and it probably will. In fact, I’ve not once gone to the same conferences every year since I started. Shake things up a bit and see what sticks. But also, don’t write a conference off after only going to it once. It might have been an off year—for you or for them.

Bottom line? Take a look at your circumstances, where you are in your career, and what you want to get out of it, then set forth and pick and choose the perfect conference(s) for you!

Are you a conference goer? Do you love/hate them? What do you get out of them the most? And what’s your favorite one to attend?

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Bedazzled Brighton

Ornament I made my agent with pages from her favorite book she's written!

Ornament for my agent made with pages from her favorite book she’s written!

This month here on Bad Girlz Write, we’re talking about things we enjoy doing outside of reading and writing. And, I’ll be honest, reading and writing take up a good 87% of my time, so finding the energy/mental space/desire to do anything but starfish is hard.

Except when it comes to crafting.

And, okay, I don’t actually use a Bedazzler as I eluded to in the title (though my husband and I joke we should get one just to screw with our kids), but I do own a lot of crafty thingamabobs. Part of the reason for that is I’d see something I’d want to buy and realize it’d cost the same or less for me to buy the tools to actually make it than to have someone else do it for me. (This is a sickness of mine. Don’t feel like you need to be caught in the trap, too. It’s exhausting always thinking, “Hey, I could totally do that.”)

The truest necklace you could ever wear.

The truest necklace you could ever wear.

If I’m honest, this dates back more than a decade (*grabs cane and hobbles to front porch while yelling, “Get off my lawn!”*) when I first bought Photoshop. Now, no, Photoshop isn’t crafty per se, but it does allowing you to get creative and make one of a kind digital items and/or photographs. So that’s where it all started. Then I hopped on the scrapbook bandwagon (that wedding scrapbook is still sitting, a quarter completed. Hubs and I have been married for 14 years.). Then it was homemade cards (which, thankfully, I was able to use a plethora of my already-aquired scrapbook supplies). After that I took a bit of a breather for a while.

But then came everyone’s worst nightmare/best dream: Pinterest.

Remember that covered cereal box mail holder? Ahem.

Remember that covered cereal box mail holder? Ahem.

My God, the first three months of using that, I made so much crap, I can’t even remember it all. Some sort of decorative item with mason jars? Yes. A mail sorter made out of a recovered cereal box? Check. A menu planning board, New Year’s Resolution jar, bucket list contraption, recipe card organizer—all over it.

Book wreath I made for my sister using pages from her favorite Harry Potter book. Isn't she the luckiest?!

Book wreath I made for my sister using pages from her favorite Harry Potter book. Isn’t she the luckiest?!

Since then, I’ve acquired a few more crafting items, like hand stamping tools to make jewelry (which I actually still do!), and a Silhouette machine to make my own planner stickers (and maybe open a shop with them, too, idk idk idk). I also started hand lettering (very basically), and the day I figured out how to make a pocket folder for my Traveler’s Notebook, I proceeded to make six. Besides the stuff I stumble upon or seek out specifically for myself, every year my family exchanges homemade gifts for Christmas, so I get to hone my skills even more and try out new things and techniques.

What I’m saying is I have a fever and the only prescription is more crafts. Or cowbell.

I totally made this (tutu).

I totally made this (tutu).

But, hey, it makes me happy. And while I definitely have more money wrapped up into “inventory” than I’d like to think about, I know it’s one thing I can do to escape the every day crazy. Plus, as an added bonus, when I’m wearing/holding/working with something that I’ve created and someone compliments it, I get to say, “Thanks! I totally made it.”

 

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