My little polka dot bumper shoots, it’s finally spring! There’s no better time of year to remind you of the payoff for your perseverance.
What a joy to see shy green leaves, long stemmed tulips and curlicued ferns burst into life like nature’s popcorn–seemingly overnight. But we know that fresh explosion is only possible after months of rest, coupled with preparation and determination. The same is true for you and me.
You may be reflecting on your progress (or lack thereof) as a creative person and feel frustrated or discouraged today. It’s possible you let yourself be victimized by the “Comparison Game” (again). Everyone else is so far ahead of me. (You know that’s a lie, right?) Phooey on those energy drainers. Don’t let those thoughts or feelings drag you down for too long. Keep working, experimenting, growing . . . all that behind the scenes struggle may be preparing you for an opportunity or a break through beyond your imaging. YOU will be spring!
Please know this is the voice of experience talking, not a hollow motivational speech. Your magnificent, obsessive perseverance will prove its worth. Watch for signs of green, my little peepers!
The trumpet of a prophesy! O Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
Let confetti fly! Pop those crackers! Pour that bubbly! Welcome 2022!
Oh, sure. It would be customary for me to make mushy wishes on your behalf, my little cinnamon scones. Instead, I intend to be more daring–times three!
I DAREYOU to finish the manuscript (or at least the chapter?) that left you quivering in a quandarous quagmire in 2021. (Preemo alliteration, eh?)
I DOUBLE FROG DAREYOU to return to the drawing, dummy or color palette that refused to please you in 2021. Let someone else take a look. Come at it in a fresh way. Be brave and start again, if need be. Bend it to your will!
And NOW, for the coup de grace!
I TRIPLE FROG DARE YOU to move that niggling idea (you know the one–because you can still hear its incessant yammering, can’t you) and nudge it from an annoyance to something tangible–some research, a sketch, a character interview, an outline, a synopsis, a diagram, a doodle, a crappy first draft–ANYTHING that moves it from a freeloading concept plopped on the couch of your cranium to a visible “thing” squinting and squirming in the light of day. Then, go ahead and amuse your muse!
(And in case you’re wondering: I am taking myself up on my own dare. Confession: I have a novel revision I’ve been “skillfully” avoiding for TWO years by working on other projects. I pacify myself by perpetuating the limp excuse that at least I’m productive. Sure. That’s true. But have I accomplished anything from my heart (the scary, vulnerable novel writing)? Have I faced my fear of the overwhelmingnessity of this particular revision? Noop. I know avoidance is futile. Creativity-leaching. And ultimately, well, dumb. I don’t want to be dumb. 2022 is my year to face the, uh, Frog!)
What say you, my little peppermint chocolate macrons? Will you join me?
Frog on a Dime looks forward to bringing you new guest interviews, inspiration and words of encouragement. Whatever this New Year brings, take heart. We will trudge and triumph through it together.
Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier. ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. ~ T.S. Eliot
We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
To taggle along with “What a Doodle Can Do for You,” I invite you to visit Frog on a Dime and enjoy taking a look around. Snoop all you like. (Yes, you can even look under the lily pads!) Read posts, check out the quote collection, the inspiration page for young writers and much more. It’s all yours to explore.
While you’re here, please leave a comment on whatever post speaks most to you.
Your comment is your ticket to entry into Frog on a Dime’s Annual (Virtual) Summer Open House giveaway!
You can win:
A swirly whirly one-of-a-kind doodle created with care by yours truly. If you choose, your doodle can be personalized with your initials or the initials of someone you love incorporated into the design.
To enter the 2021 Frog on a Dime Summer Open House Giveaway:
Simply leave a comment on any post–past or present, whatever suits your fancy!
Deadline to enter:
High Noon (EST) on Wednesday, August 11.
(And ahem, leave a comment on more than one post, and you’ll get an EXTRA chance to win!)
In spite of everything, I shall rise again; I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing. ~ Vincent Van Gogh
A strong visual imagination acts as a magnet to draw the visualised into reality. ~ Anupama Garg
And according to the article’s author Srini Pillay, MD, “Even American presidents have found themselves sketching away: 26 of 44 American Presidents doodled, from Theodore Roosevelt, who doodled animals and children, to Ronald Reagan, who doodled cowboys and football players, and John F. Kennedy, who doodled dominoes.”
A writer’s job doesn’t exactly involve executing laws, appointing federal officials or negotiating with Slovakia. So, why do I need to doodle? For me, doodling is a way to get out of my own way. If I’m writing and get stuck (more like, “when” I get stuck), I pause and pick up a pen. Mindlessly making swirls and random, unpredictable designs is a practice that calms me. It provides a chance to hush my harsh inner critic because doodling has no right or wrong. It just do.
Doodling can helps me puzzle out a plot predicament or conjure a more fitting name for a character I’ve become better acquainted with. It keeps the gnarly wheels in my noggin’ cranking, but in a more productive way versus self-sabotage.
Doodling can also be a delightful way to douse stress. Allowing yourself to get lost in an in-the-moment design can relieve tension by putting a distance between you and fret. Worries about your writing and whether you can move ahead are nudged to the margin while you push that pen. You can return to your project mentally replenished.
My Little Strawberry Rhubarb Tart, if you’ve never tried doodling as a companion to your creative process, I encourage you to give it a try. The only way you can go wrong is to think about what you are doodling whilst you do it. Pretend you’re giving the paper a side glance. It’s just there to catch the ink. And you don’t have to use fancy paper or snazzy pens. (If you take a look at the doodle below, you’ll notice I did it on nothing-fancy notebook paper.) You don’t have to worry about composition, what color to use or creating “art.” Just free your pen and the mental rest will follow.
She drew the things that stuck to her mind, the things that caught her attention and, specially, the things she wasn’t capable of understanding fully. But she hadn’t even realized it. Art had become her way of processing reality. ~ Zoe Haslie
Everybody has inner creativity that has been lost amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The small part of us that provides balance and calm, and releases our creative side, is smothered and in risk of dying completely. ~ Lana Karr
To say mathematics is not my thing is like saying cliff diving is not a giraffe’s thing.
And yet, I am compelled to confirm an important number, so I do the math.
2021 – 1963 = 58
Yep, there it is.
I’m turning 58 years old this year. Yeesh. I’ve never been so old.
And with every passing year, I feel the mounting pressure to be published. That pressure is entirely self-inflicted, along with the self-condemnation and self-doubt. I’m really quite self-sufficient that way.
Year marker 58 was anticipated to be much the same. And then, I heard a few simple words from a wise literary agent that hit a reset button I forgot I even had.
“Be gentle on yourself.”
It’s easy to be gentle on others, isn’t it. It’s no effort to remind them how genuinely talented they are, and easy to encourage them to look back at how far they’ve come.
Maybe I can give it a go with myself too. It will be a squabblesome, disorienting pursuit I’m certain. But being gentle on myself sure sounds like a welcome birthday gift.
Say, you’re having a birthday this year, aren’t you? Why not treat yourself to some gentleness too.
Be gentle on yourself. ~ Kirby Kim, literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit
Follow your compass, not your clock. ~ Alvina Ling, VP, Editor-in-Chief, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Learn to be kind to yourself. Let your mind free, close your eyes, breathe deeply and remain calm. Life is majestic and meaningful enough. ~ Shaa Zainol
Thank you times eight to everyone who joined in celebrating Frog on a Dime’s Octiversary! How encouraging to note your many accomplishments of the past year. And, given the tilt-a-whirl of 2020, every step forward–or even the ability to hold on–is all the more impressive! If you have not done so already, I hope you will make time to celebrate your progress, persistence and plucky pertinaciousness. (How’s that for alliteration? I’m exhausted. Where’s my cookie?)
And now, my little puff pastries, I am pleased to announce the winner of
Frog on a Dime’s Octiversary Giveaway.
Congratulations to Rebecca Van Slyke!
A box filled with not one, but eight prizes will be coming your way. You can expect to receive it in January to lighten mid-winter blues and start your new year with fresh resources for your 2021 creative pursuits.
Wishing you all a season of peaceful, mindful moments, and genuine joy in the year to come.
Celebrate when you’re half done, And the finish won’t be half as fun. ~ Lemony Snicket
Things have been on the quiet side this year here at Frog on a Dime, but we still have reasons to celebrate–including this little blog’s 8th anniversary (also known as an octiversary! (And yes, that’s a made up word.)) Can you believe it, my little ginger snaps?
In keeping with tradition (yes! something normal!), we will honor this special occasion with presents–for YOU. All you need to do is enter the 8th Octiversary Giveaway, and if your name is drawn, a box of delightful “stuff” will be headed your way postage haste! (Sorry. You are not allowed to know what the 8-part prize is ahead of time. An octopus? No! Too obvious. And too arm-y.)
The drawing deadline is Noon (EST) on Friday, December 18. (Of course, it’s a date with an 8!)
You can enter here in the reply section or on Facebook. (Limit one entry per person, but you can still comment on both.)
Your entry must include at least one writing-related accomplishment from 2020. Hold on! Read the examples! Examples of accomplishments include (but are not limited to) I signed with an agent, I submitted a manuscript to an agent or editor, I sold a manuscript, I finally got my writing files in order, I had a book come out, I joined a critique group, I did research in preparation for a non-fiction project, I took an online course related to writing, I started a new project, I revisited a WIP, I let someone read my work and give me feedback, I encouraged other writers, AND the BEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ALL–I did not give up!!
Disclaimer: To be eligible to participate in this contest, entrants must be residents in good standing in any Earth-related location. Entering the giveaway drawing may induce a sense of anticipation. Employees of Frog on a Dime, of which there are none, must keep their mitts off the prizes unless expressly asked to handle for the purpose of packing items for the winner. No purchase is necessary to enter, which is good since we’re not selling anything. On Friday, December 18, 2020, a winner will be selected at random from among valid entries. Frog on a Dime is not responsible for any liability arising directly, or even, sheesh, like remotely, from use of the prizes. Odds of winning are pretty darn good.
Many thanks to everyone who hopped in for Frog on a Dime’s 2020 Summer Open House. I hope you enjoyed the new features to make the site easier to navigate and search, my little raspberry lemonades. If you missed it, be sure to check out the NEW Rejection Recovery page. (Or at the very least, take comfort in knowing it’s there when/if you need it!)
And now . . . [cue drum roll, please]
I am pleased to announce the winner of this year’s
Summer Open House Giveaway!
Elizabeth, you will receive not one but TWO personally autographed copies of Rachel Anderson’s debut novel THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT–one for you to enjoy and one to share with a young reader you love. Your prize package will also include a journal for capturing ideas while you’re summer daydreaming AND a surprise! Congratulations! Thank you for entering.
Please be sure to read the giveaway disclaimer below (you know, for legal purposes and stuff).
Disclaimer(s):No purchase necessary (or even an option). Shipping & handling included. Safe when used as directed. Do not submerge. Batteries not included. Dryclean only. Frog on a Dime is furnishing this Prize Package “as is.” None of the authors, contributors, agents, editors, miscreants, vandals, ambidextrous nose miners, or anyone else connected with Frog on a Dime, in any way whatsoever, can be held responsible for your (mis)use of the contents of the Prize Package. Remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop. Do not refrigerate after opening. Contents may settle during shipment. Prize Package sold by weight, not by volume. Frog on a Dime does not provide any warranty of the item(s) whatsoever, whether expressed, implied, or statutory (whatever that is), including, but not limited to, any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or any warranty that the contents of the item will be error-free (because). Use at your own risk. Subject to approval. Driver does not carry cash. No substitutions. Do not fold, staple or mutilate. Some restrictions apply (but you can’t make me say what). Void where prohibited. Employees must wash hands. For off-road use only. All terms and conditions shall be rendered null and void on a whim. If state laws apply to you, some or all of the above disclaimers, exclusions, or limitations may not apply to you and you may have additional rights. (Go You!) I know you are but what am I. This tag may not be removed except by the consumer under penalty of law. (Ooo, scary!) See store for details.
Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
It’s time to celebrate the dog days of summer with a special guest—debut author Rachel Anderson, author of THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT.
Let’s hop right into a Summer Lightning Round of Q & A with Rachel . . .
What is your favorite day of the week–and yes, why?
Wow. I’d forgotten there are different days of the week. Being retired does that.
What is under your bed? (Remember, Frog on a Dime is a judgement-free zone.)
Two ear plugs the cat stole from my dresser (hubby snores sometimes).
If you were a cheese, what kind would you be?
Hmm. Interesting. Mozzarella because . . .
It’s versatile, yet predictable (I think).
Quick.What is your inner adult/inner child ratio?
I’d say 70/30 on most days, except when I’m writing for kids, then it’s 10/90. If I could get rid of that 10 percent adult, I’d be so much easier on myself when it comes to revisions.
If you hadn’t become a writer, what would you be?
I am a creative person, so that’s who I’d still be without writing. My muse would be different, though. And maybe that muse wouldn’t hide for days on end.
I feel melancholy descending. Let’s move on.
Your favorite punctuation mark is:
It makes a statement! Or an overstatement!!
Okay!!!! Thank you!
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final Summer Lightning Q & A, uh, Q. It’s a fill in the blank: my favorite food to eat while writing is_______________________.
I’d like to eat a bag of Cheetos, but the cheese messes up the keyboard.
I’ll send you a can of compressed air. You’ll be good to go.
Great job, Rachel. Now, it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Not to worry. I’ll be gentle.
You look pretty happy in your photo. What’s it like to have your dream finally delivered and decked out on your dining room table?
I’m absolutely delighted to be holding my middle grade historical fiction novel in my hands. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’ve worked hard on this novel for many years.
Your novel centers on a girl, Emily. How did you two get your start?
I don’t remember the year I began writing Emily’s story, but back then, it was just a simple story about a girl who wants a dog. I didn’t know anything about story structure, point of view or character development until I joined SCBWI and began attending conferences and workshops. After that, I had the tools to build my story into something special.
What kept you coming back to your manuscript?
There were times when I put the manuscript away for a month or more as I moved to other projects like picture books. But I was always drawn back to Emily’s story and her need to have a dog of her own. And I keep thinking about the reasons she couldn’t have one, and what her never-give-up attitude would drive her to do. The more time Emily and I spent together, the more I enjoyed reading her story over and over as I revised.
How did you prepare to write the historical backdrop of Emily’s story?
To do it justice, I had to do a lot of research into the 1960s. Once I dug into topics related to the war and wrote some scenes, I reached out to two Vietnam veterans for their perspectives. Those interviews made all the difference as I continued writing, getting critiques and gathering suggestions. Two years into the project, I found another veteran who not only reviewed everything the first two veterans gave me, he even helped me make some scenes stronger. At that point, my confidence with the historical aspect of the story grew and it was easier to finish the book.
It sounds like you really put your heart into this novel, Rachel. What do you hope your readers take away from THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT?
I’ve always felt deep down that Emily’s story had to be told. I’m so glad I was the one to tell it. I like to think young readers will be inspired by Emily’s determination and the way she’s able to think through problems to find solutions. By the time they reach the last page, I hope kids think of Emily as a new friend and feel a bit sad the story’s over.
That’s beautiful. So, Rachel, what’s next for you?
Best wishes to you!Thanks so much for making this year’s Summer Open House extra special.
Rachel Anderson grew up in Freeland, Michigan, a small farming community with lots of wide open spaces. As kids, Rachel and her sister took full advantage of that room to roam while riding their horses–sometimes bareback–mile after mile. Neighbors were friends, and most everyone, whether town folk or farm folk, knew one another. And of course, Rachel had a dog.
Today, Rachel still loves animals and her community. When she’s not writing, Rachel volunteers at her local pregnancy resource center and her church. Rachel is an active, long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and writes picture books, as well as novels for middle grade children and young adults.
Enter FROG ON A DIME’S SUMMER OPEN HOUSE GIVEAWAY!
The winner of the random drawing will receive:
TWO autographed copies of THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT—one for you to enjoy, and one to share with a child you love. Rachel will even include a personalized autograph message, if you wish!
Summer Journal for capturing those glimmering, elusive ideas like fireflies.
PLUS! A special surprise (and no, it’s not a puppy!)
To enter, simply leave a message in the comment section below.*
Enter by Noon (EDT) on Friday, July 10.
*Limit one entry per person. (GIANT EXCEPTION! If you invite a friend to follow Frog on a Dime (and they do), you can enter twice—and so can your friend!)