Category Archives: mixed bag

take the “am I ready for an agent?” quiz

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Maybe it’s time to take stock. Are you ready?

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

Photo by Vicky Lorencen Photo by Vicky Lorencen
You’ve seen those wedding dress shows, right? A bride-to-be goes on a chiffon frenzied quest for the perfect gown while a group of her BFFs sit semi-circled in the salon, waiting to boo-hoo or just boo over her selection. Once in a while, though, the hunter is simply a bride-wanna-be who is willing to throw gobs of moola at a dress, despite her groomlessness. To me, that seems sad, desperate, and at the very least, poorly timed.

When it comes to writers in search of an agent, sometimes it’s really not that different. There’s a time to focus solely on craft, to learning about the industry, reading and networking. But, if this has not yet resulted in a solid, polished product to sell, why would you spend time looking for an agent to represent you?

Let’s say, however, maybe you’re like me, and you’ve been polishing…

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where’s your permission slip?

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Permit granted . . .

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

(c) Vicky L. Lorencen (c) Vicky L. Lorencen (c) Vicky L. Lorencen (c) Vicky L. Lorencen

When I took my first watercolor class, I painted the usual subjects–you know, a bowl of fruit, a self-portrait, a landscape . . . but then, my teacher allowed me to do an independent study. That’s when I started painting bunnies. I learned a lot in the first class, but it wasn’t until I was cut loose and given permission to paint what I liked that the fun really started. Sure, not everyone likes to paint bunnies playing checkers, but I do! (Consider it my nod to dogs playing poker.)

Do you find it a challenge to give yourself permission to try something new or to take a risk?

Mind if I help you with that?

Complete the permission slip below.

It’s all set to go. All you need to do is fill in the blank.

* Grant yourself permission to submit…

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anne lamott had her nostrils removed?

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It pays to slow down and read carefully . . .

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

pinnochio frog pinnochio frog Has your muse gone to visit her mother in the Hamptons? Consider one of these fine reads to top off your inspiration tank. These are my five favorite go-to books . . .

Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Lifeby Anne Lamott
This book is a classic for a reason. It’s full of solid advise and insights, wrapped in Anne’s wry wit. But Bird by Bird earned a cozy place in my heart for two very personal reasons. While I read it–more like absorbed it–I saw myself in her pages. As I was nodding my head, I realized I related to Anne’s words and experiences because I really am a writer. Not a writer-wanna-be, but someone with the heart of a real writer. Mmm-mmm-mmm. That’s some good soul-sticking stuff right there.

While I’m at it, I may as well confess my silly association with this…

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choosing sides for volleyball and other curious forms of torture

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I pick you!

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

Photo by Vicky Lorencen Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Reason #10 I love going to writers’ conferences: never having to choose sides for volleyball (or softball or basketball . . . ). You see, I possess no eye/hand coordination. Zippo. My left hand is only there to make me look symmetrical. Strictly window dressing. It’s a wonder I can type. So, it’s a real load off not having to demonstrate my athletic ineptitude for the astonishment of my fellow writers. Oh, sure, authors can be strong athletes, but I’m confident a lot of us were picked last (or next to last on a good day) when choosing teams in gym class. We were out of our element and there was no competing with the real sports people.

Of course, that doesn’t mean authors don’t engage in our own kind of competition. I’m not talking about contests. It’s more about the weird competitive dynamic among writers…

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help you help me

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Let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting (and waiting and waiting . . . )

Welcome to Frog on a Dime

Photo by Vicky Lorencen Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Every writer I know is a “waiter.” We wait for our muses to return from Rome. We wait for feedback from critique partners. We wait for emails from editors and agents. We wait for books to launch and reviews to post. For those of us who are pre-published, we wait (and wait and wait) for our first big break into print. Given that waiting is a given no matter where we are in the waiting room, it’s wise to find ways to use the time, well, wisely. Otherwise we’re time-twiddlers in danger of becoming solitary sadsacks. And yeesh, don’t even get me started on those pricey catered pity parties. What’s that? How do I know about pity parties? Well, uh, [insert awkward silence so long you would take a nap in it here], let’s move on.

And so, my little twice baked potatoes, to help each other whilst…

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are you lucky?

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Welcome to Frog on a Dime

dreamy frog

Recently, on an ordinary Thursday afternoon, a perceptive friend said something that gave me pause. “You’re lucky to have a dream,” she said. Hmm. I’d never thought about that before, but she was absolutely right. “I am lucky,” I said to my friend. “Having a dream is a burden, but it’s a burden I’d miss if it went away.”

By now, you know my dream is to become a children’s author. I’m working the steps, logging some encouraging signs of progress, practicing my craft and doing my part to make that happen. Still, unlike failure, which is a snap, there are no guarantees of success. That’s not an easy reality to embrace, but the thought of living dreamless would be much more difficult. My dream gives me a nudge, a sense of purpose and a life infused with a sense of expectation. Why would I disconnect from that?

A zillion.5…

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12 Ways 2 B 5 Minutes Closer to Your Dream

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Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Do something every day to get you closer to your dream. That was one of the first and best pieces of advice I received when I was just packing my bags to begin my writing journey. (Thank you, Ann Purmell.)

Of course, “do something” leaves ample room for personalization. Assuming you agree with the concept, you’re probably wondering how you’d find time to do something every day.

Well, in 2015 I heard Newbery winner Kathi Appelt talk about a time in her life when she was frustrated over finding writing time. A friend challenged her to write every day. Kathi said she’d try for 30 minutes daily, but her friend protested. She wanted Kathi to aim for a mere five minutes a day. Kathi was confident she could commitment to that!

No surprise, Kathi oftentimes exceeds her five minute allotment, but regardless of the minutes, the important thing is, she is doing something every day–creating momentum, a worthy habit, a dream-supporting discipline.

Being the smart little snicker doodles you are, you knew I’d challenge you next, didn’t you. I want to give you a dozen options to spend five or ten minutes each day to bring your dreams closer to reality.

  1. Interview one character from your work in progress.
  2. Order a new book on writing technique – may I suggest Kendra Levin’s The Hero is You.
  3. Compile a list of names—first or last or both together–for future characters.
  4. Read a blog post by an editor or author you admire.
  5. Send someone you appreciate a quick thank you email. It could be a fellow writer, an editor or maybe a conference speaker who encouraged you.
  6. Write one scene.
  7. Register for a retreat or conference.
  8. Read two pages of your WIP out loud or ask someone to read them to you.
  9. Tidy your desk top (either your computer desk top or your actual desk).
  10. Research a publishing house for a future submission.
  11. Type out the text of one of your favorite picture books so you can study it.
  12. Do a Find/Replace in one chapter (or five pages) to weed out your “crutch words,” e.g. just, actually, started or to root out passive voice.

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly. ~ Langston Hughes