Tag Archives: encouragement

is your mail box lonely? let me help

Collage by Vicky Lorencen

Collage by Vicky Lorencen

Japanese author Haruki Murakami said, “How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”

When was the last time you received a letter–a real, old school, uplifting handwritten letter? Other than those long, yearend recaps that some folks send during the holidays, I’m guessing it’s been a mighty long time since a letter landed in your mail box. Same here.

Well, that’s about to change.

Frog on a Dime is all about encouraging writers, so I’d be delighted to pen you a pick-me-up during the month of May. Just leave me a message to say you’d like a letter of encouragement. How easy is that? No strings attached. Just a stamp.

Letter writing can be seen as a gift because someone has taken her time to write and think and express love. ~ Soraya Diase Coffelt

what? you have no “yes” file?


blue frog

Frog on a Dime is all about keeping writers encouraged. Let’s face it. We can be a melancholy bunch when left to our own devices. That’s why I believe it’s important to keep a “Yes!” file. A what now?

A “Yes!” file consists of tangible evidence to keep you creative, dreaming and hopeful when everything around you hollers, “Give up already!” By tangible evidence, I mean acceptance letters or even those “champagne” rejections that contain thoughtful comments from an editor. But that’s just for starters. You can fill your Yes! file with cards or notes you’ve received from your “cheerleaders,” teachers, friends or relatives, even hard copies of emails that have topped off your emotional tank. If most uplifting messages come to you by email, why then, open an electronic file and tuck them away there. The whole idea is to have a safe place to keep those words so that when you’re asking the question–Can I keep going? You’ll have a file full of praises shouting “Yes!” right at your fingertips.

Perhaps it’s a sign of my neediness, but today I discovered that I’ve been keeping two Yes! files–one in my home office and one at my day job. I had to clean out my top desk drawer at work because it was almost too stuffed to close and I couldn’t figure out why. The reason, I discovered, was that I had accumulated so many nice cards and notes–and I’d forgotten I’d jammed them in there! It was such a pleasure to re-read those messages from colleagues, many of whom I now call friends.

Maybe you’ve been keeping a file like mine too. Have you looked in it recently? Go find it. Re-read those words. Let the positive affirmations wash over you.

If you’ve never thought of creating a Yes! file for yourself, please start one today. Consider it a gift to yourself. Don’t think you don’t have anything to put in it yet? Why not print off a “Frog on a Dime” post that has encouraged you. I hope by now you know I believe in you!

And, if I may, I’d like to suggest one additional step–why not make it a point to send a fellow writer some enriching and empowering words for his or her Yes! file this week? Or send a thank you note to someone who may not be a writer, but has always been a believer in you and your talents. I still think handwritten notes are treasures, but if it comes down to sending a text or email versus not sending anything, by all means, do whatever works. It’s your words that matter. If anyone understands and the appreciates the power of words, it’s writers, right? Yes!

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.~e.e. cummings

behold! I bring you tidings of great joy




Upbeat. Healthy. Incredibly strong.
When was the last time you heard those words associated with children’s publishing?

Sure, you’re skeptical. But I heard those encouraging words with my own ears at the SCBWI national conference in New York just a few days ago. A panel of booksellers, including representatives from some wee little companies you “may” have heard of—Scholastic and Amazon—were asked to share their diagnosis of the current health and well-being of children’s publishing.

Jon Fine of Amazon described ours as a “time of great opportunity.” As books become more accessible through a variety of platforms, he thinks the market is “incredibly strong and getting stronger.”

Scholastic Book Fairs National Sales and Program Manager Bob Brown said he is “very upbeat about what’s happening with children’s publishing.”

Mary Brown, owner of Books, Bytes & Beyond, a children’s specialty bookstore located just outside New York City, described the school and library book markets as “very healthy.”

Lin Oliver, Executive Director of SCBWI, observed that we weren’t hearing comments like these five years ago. It seemed like we’d all turned into Chicken Littles clucking, “The sky is falling.” Or maybe we just got chicken.

But now it appears that the sky is clearing. So, what does this good news mean for you and me?

We need to be upbeat, healthy and incredibly strong ourselves. It means we need to be nimble, flexible and adaptable so that we are ready to take advantage of the new opportunities coming our way.

There’s hope on the horizon. Let’s celebrate by writing and reading and creating!

When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it. ― Boris Pasternak