Today is about the choices you make

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”~John C. Maxwell, American clergyman

It’s little things that change your day and alter your mood.

It was a crazy day at work in the morning. I mean, weird crazy busy. I was a bit cranky because of that and rescheduling doctor appointments and then having my “regular” table at Starbucks occupied.

I was settling into the less-than-perfect table when the guy next to me waves at me and points. He wears an orange knit cap and bright orange t-shirt, jamming to some music he was listening to. He pulled his headphones off to say that he liked my socks. “Those are cool socks,” he said, grinning and nodding his head in respect for someone who is funky enough to wear multi-colored plaid socks. At least that’s what I like to think. Day brightened!

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Goodbye January. Hello Month 2!

That’s a good thing because I am still torn from last night’s contest entries in the Specialty Craft Articles and Personal Blog categories. Dare I say, I write too well to choose just two entries each? That is a darn good problem to have.

I am a writer. I say that with no shame. Yes, I am a talented writer. Ditto, no shame. I embrace my creative work and know that even if I don’t place in the contest that I have still won.

How different my writing is today compared to a year ago. I didn’t realize the changes until I scrolled through every blog post of mine looking for something award-worthy. I promote my books less and my share my experiences more. I give advice, I discuss my struggles, I open up to my passions and I have fresh funness with everything. Part of that comes from refocusing my life and my blog accordingly. Not to get all transcendental on you, I realized that Zentangle was distracting me from writing. I needed to step back and focus on my forever passion: writing.

What do I like about my writing? My blog, I appreciate the variety of topics I choose, the events I participate in, the knowledge I share. Of my articles, I enjoy the tight writing I do, weaving creative words and phrases into the text as if they were always meant to be there. I’m fortunate to have a community of supportive blog readers–that’s you!–and a thoughtful, trusting editor.

Even here, now, it’s hard to still grasp how important these changes are for me. But last night, as I weaved through the blogposts and flipped through magazines, I was impressed with my work, more than I expected. I’m exploring these thoughts over the next couple of days, and I hope you will grasp some strength and perspective from me to apply to your own self.

Today, just compliment someone’s socks or shoes or purse or watch or coat or hairstyle. You have the power to make them smile.

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Coffee, cold and a contest

If we were having coffee….

I’m glad you stopped by, but I’m sorry I’m not all social today. I’ve been sick this week. My husband was out of town, so the couch became my best friend. I did nothing except for Starbucks tea trips.

It’s not worth focusing on this week’s ROW80 challenges. Really, going through them number by number every week is just darn depressing. I’m not making the progress I’d hoped for. This week, I can use my illness and a cheesy excuse, but still…. The best thing I can say is that I am breaking everything down into itsy-bitsy steps, no matter how embarrassingly simple they are. Anything to move forward with anything.

Besides, I have to compile my NFPW contest entries. I wish I could blame my sore throat on my procrastination, but I’ve had 31 days to get my words together and submit them. The deadline is February 1, but I don’t know if that means 11:59pm the day before the first or if I have until 11:59pm on February first to get everything complete. Best not to take the chance, so I have to get everything together tonight. I’m only entering in two categories this year–Specialty Craft Articles and Personal Blog–but I’m scrolling through all of my blogposts from 2015 to find ones contest-worthy. Surprisingly, I’m torn between 15 posts and three articles. I wrote some good stuff this year; at least I think so. I have to submit two each as the entry and I only have a couple hours to compile all that.

Shall we go out for another cup of tea? I’ll drive–I am feeling good enough to do that–and you can tell me all about your week.

New #ROW80 Round 4–time lost, time found?

“I think the thing to do is enjoy the ride while you’re on it.”~Johnny Depp, American actor

My ROW80-Round3 2015 was a bust.

I forgot about it. I lost my goals. I didn’t accomplish my goals in the timeframe I set. I failed one or two weeks in and no longer wanted to feel the fail, so I stopped. Now that posts for ROW80-Round4 2015 are now showing up in my blog feed reader, and I realize, what the *bleep* happened?

I write by hand, as you know from previous blog posts. My ROW80 goals were a to-do checklist on the computer, and that just did not work I guess.  I found my original post and noticed that: hey–I actually had accomplished a lot on that list

Big Goals:
Finish DadMemoir and get to editor
Crowdfund for Alaska DONE, but not successful
Pre-write Deadwood blogposts
Pre-write/catchup my blog posts
Finish posting AtoZ Challenge posts
Get email client service – do this in August. DONE, but need to setup
Update my website’s About Me
Update my website’s Writing
Update Amazon Author Pg.
Catchup email. DONE, kinda. It’s an ongoing challenge.
Social media DONE, kinda. I still ignore Facebook as much as I can.
WiiFit. DONE
Read/review books on goodreads and Amazon
Make time to journal. DONE
Glasses by Alaska. DONE–all 3 pairs, too!
Play games. DONE
Time with family. DONE, kinda.
Call relatives. DONE, a little bit.
Call friends
Scrapbook
Haircut and/or perm and/or coloring DONE.

That’s 10 out of 21. On third review, it’s not as much as I’d like, but 48% is okay. I know some of things in the list are currently in motion.

Now, however, my themes have changed as my outlook and approach to this blog is changing. I guess that’s part of the growth, but now it feels frustrating to restructure everything.

Maybe I need a smaller list, something more attainable. In Zentangle, we break the art down one line at a time, repeated over and over again. When that one tangle is complete, you start another one. As a CZT, I always teach the first tile with four tangles. If that’s all the time I have to teach, then my students leave with a little accomplishment that is really a big accomplishment.

Today, now, what is important for me to do? What’s most immediate? I guess the question is: what will move my writing forward?

Now that I’ve typed that last line in, those last two words comfort me and bring me some focus. *breathe*

ROUND 4: October 5 – December 24

I’m typing this list in a coffeeshop in Ann Arbor. I’ll revise it at home tonight when I can compare it to my recent to do list. It may change from this very moment, but here is my list, in no particular order:

[Now Complete as of This Posting, but Still No Particular Order]

1–EMAIL CLIENT:
Figure out how to use my MailChimp account. Do I need a new, different email address? Set up a button for email list on my blog. Explore if I can do this in the free version or if I need to get a paid site. If so, should I finally change to my “official” reserved site name? If so, can I direct all traffic to this blog site–I think there’s a way, but how complicated is it?

2–DAD’S MEMOIR:
Finish the long Scrivener tutorial. It’s very long–over one hour to carefully walk through the first section–and mentally exhausting, so I can only do this in chunks at the moment. Once I learn how to use it, enter my DadMemoir into it. Before doing that, remember to type in the current changes from Edit.7 document. Start fresh from that point.

3–CATCH UP OLD BLOG POSTS
Seriously, this is bad karma to have so much hanging over my head. It’s distracting and stressful, and it’s holding me back from moving forward. Get AtoZ Challenge blog posts done = that’s a first priority because it’s the evil dark cloud hanging over my head. (Note to self: re-think doing this again in the future) In addition, there are old Zentangle-Diva posts = what do I want to do with those? My old regular missed blog posts = I have no problem or guilt publishing them “late” because I want to keep my current schedule constant. I may revisit this when I see how many posts I have to do, but for now, I’m going with it. This will include posting things like ROW80 Roundups, Haiku Horizons and WeekendCoffeeShare moving forward, which gives me topics to write about.

4–SCHEDULE SOCIAL MEDIA TIME
In a time when other people are pulling away from the wasteland that is social media, I need to plan time and learn what works best for me. Instagram is easy, and I love that site. I normally post daily or twice a day, I like and comment on posts, but I need to determine a strategic plan for what I want to use this site for. That’s a low priority at the moment because I am using it and interacting now, but something I do want to think about. Facebook: ewwwwwwww…. I make no secret that I dislike the site and am there simply because everyone else is there. Plan what to post on my Facebook Author Page so it looks current and useful. Schedule time each day or two to catch up on all those notifications and messages and whatever else Facebook throws in my face. I don’t want them to pile up like they did last month; I think I had 89 notifications and 4 DMs. Okay–Facebook rant over, for now. Keeping current with Twitter–another format I love–and maybe that means replying to Tweets as they happen. That means keeping my smartphone at my side all day, but that may be what works best for me. If so, don’t look at those Tweets as a distraction, and accept that interrupting my flow to respond is okay to do.

5–NEW BLOGSITES AND FOLLOWERS AND WHATNOT
This has to be vague right now because I’ve met so many people through the #RQWN Twitterchat, from the NFPW conference, from Instagram and Twitter, and from wherever else. How do I organize all this? How do I show my friendliness to these folks? I have no idea, but something to think about.

6–UPDATE MY AUTHOR SITES
That means telling myself that playing with my blog site to make it current is not a frivolous waste of time. It’s fun, and it can be, and I can’t feel guilty about that. This includes the About Me, Zentangle, Writing sections. It’s all part of my writing strategy. I need to look professional, not sloppy. Update my Amazon Author Page.

7–WRITE BOOKS
I learned a lot from NFPW conference in Alaska from the presenters that a lot can be done in a short amount of time. While working on my memoir, I can write short stories like the ones I’ve already published. I need to, actually, so I have material to enter in writing contests next year. Maybe an anthology. Maybe a haiku chapbook.

8–SEEK OUT NEW IN-PRINT WRITING VENUES
With the closing of the magazine I write for, my columns poof away. When the magazine stops printing, I no longer have articles in print. I want to be published; I like seeing my name in print. I’m a good writer, some days a great writer. There are contacts from ago that I never followed up on. Find those names and business cards and emails and write back to them, again or for the first time.

9–PRINT OUT THIS LIST
‘Nuff said.

There are other things I feel pulling at me, like staying current with email, family, Goodreads and more, but my list above is already longer than I want. These other things may happen naturally as the ROW80 lists items become crossed off. Think: I’ll have time and flexibility to call family when I am not constantly thinking “I should be writing blog posts. Maybe you think it’s a twisted way to approach loved ones, but I can’t be a good friend or family member until I take care of myself. Will I regret any of those choices? No, I don’t believe in regret, but every failure brings a new focus.

I’m starting off with these 8 items–which still may be too ambitious–and see where this goes from here.

Do you think I can do it?

This #WeekendCoffeeShare is worth writing about

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”~Maya Angelou, American poet

If we were having coffee, I’d share a bunch of my writing news today.

I gave my first radio interview Wednesday. The Michigan Literary Network approached me to discuss my writing career on the air. Even with a brief review of potential questions…well, I described my initial thoughts a few days ago in this post. Listen to my interview here and tell me how it is; I’ve been too self-conscious to listen to it yet.

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July 2015: parties, awards, writing…and–of course–coffee

My DadMemoir is going slower than I hoped. However, I’ve scheduled actual writing time on my calendar to help me focus on that. My calendar now shows designated writing time, for whatever I choose at that moment. The memoir is still a struggle. Are you struggling with your work/draft-in-progress? Just when I think the memoir is in fine shape, I stumble on a chapter that needs rearranging much less revising.

I’m working to place a sample of my writing on my site. People say that’s a good idea, and I agree. That, however, takes some time to set up, possibly resigning my tabs and/or content first, so that’s something floating in the background as I focus on other writing projects.

Don’t ask me about my #ROW80 goals. Completing those is a pathetic mess, so let’s move on to something more positive.

I officially registered for NFPW Conference. You recall that I was blasted excited to receive a first-timer grant to pay for the conference fee. I’m going to Alaska! Still, additional expenses–airfare and hotel, for example–are daunting, which is why I started a crowdfunding campaign. Shameless self-promotion: please visit my GoFundMe site and help me defer costs as I go there to accept my two National awards.

You’ll see several photos on my daily calendar of my husband and his laptop. That’s time spent writing together, which is a relatively new super-cool development.

Looking at the summary from my Photo 365 app, you’ll see there’s Scrapbooking time with my Michigan Scrapbooked Magazine editor. Look at my Deadwood Writers’ Group, a fabulous critique group meeting every first and third Wednesdays. Our next meeting is this week, and I may submit a piece, but the queue is getting full. Flashback to The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers event, supporting a fellow writer and amazed by the overall experience. Think a combination mixing spoken word with a public reading. Leaves you breathless. Thanks to my Timehop app, there’s a sad Foursquare checkin: the defunct bookstore chain, Borders.

And selfies. So many selfies. What can I say? I’m just too darn stinking’ cute.

So tell me, what’s been going on in your life this week?

Advice on writing in this edition of #WeekendCoffeeShare

Food for the body is not enough; there must be food for the soul.~Dorothy Day, American activist

If we were having coffee, we would most certainly be indoors.

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Tuscan Café, downtown Northville

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The cruller is big as Finse. He and Snufflet could eat it themselves, but Guys share

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We’d be drinking coffee in this quiet café, the kind of place that is a blend of hipster hangout and breakfast-diner restaurant where older people meet and discuss the weather. It’s cold and rainy outside, a strange combo for Michigan in June, but I’d exclaim how happy I am that the coat I wore has gloves in the pockets!
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If we were having coffee, I would totally share my sourdough cruller with you, fresh from a local bakery. I love supporting local, and I know that you’d be tempted to take an apple fritter to go. I just did that, and there’s still two left.
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I’d also gush about my exciting writing news. Of the three entries I submitted to the NFPW Communications Contest, two of them placed nationally. I saw the email subject line and I couldn’t click “open” fast enough. My 10-hour fiction book Jimmy the Burglar won third place! Last year, the memoir about my Mom and our love of Star Trek also placed third. That is such a hoot! I wrote it one a whimsy, and was floored when it won first place at the state level. Only first place entries move on to Nationals. The fact that it actually placed tickles me. I’m sharing this with my Deadwood Writers Group on Wednesday, and they are going to be thrilled!

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My book won first place in Michigan and NFPW contests, then third place at National

I don’t know which stuns–and pleases–me more: that or Second Place awarded to me for my arts-n-crafts articles I wrote for Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine. Last year, my articles earned an Honorable Mention. This year…wowzer!

I’m intrigued to read the comments from the judges. I expect to receive similar criticisms for my book as I did last year. I wonder about my articles. I have ideas why they placed so high, but I won’t speculate here. My creative editor allows me to write whatever topics I want, but I can’t just write with abandon; I have an audience to write for, and that inherently has limitations. But I wrote well enough to place.

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My second place award winning articles: apps for scrapbooking and art journaling techniques

“How do you it?” you ask. I just do. Sounds like a cop-out, but I’m a good writer. I know that. I believe in me, and belief in you is how you do it. In fact, I’m a great writer, bold enough to know my skills yet humble enough to know that I can always be better. That’s why the critiques alone are worth the entry fees. You learn by doing, and an outsider’s eye is the best way for a fresh perspective.

My husband has left for a week-long business trip overseas this morning, so I’m glad for the company. I’m writing–catching up on old blog posts and planning future ones–but it’ll be quiet when I get home. That’s one of the reasons I’m about to get my second coffee refill: I’ll be alone at home. I’m planning to get snuggle on the couch with my new DVD, Mockingjay Part 1. Who knows what else the night will hold?

I’d end by saying, “Let’s hop on over to Part Time Monster’s blog to read what everyone else is sharing this weekend over coffee or tea.

Anniversary, Father’s Day and #WeekendCoffeeShare, oh my!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”~Helen Keller, American writer

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today is an exciting day. We’d settle down at the wooden dining table next to the living room–once I brushed aside space from the midst of my scrapbooking stuff. I just finished taking photos for my upcoming article in Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine, and I haven’t put everything away yet. I’m like that sometimes.

It’s Father’s Day in the U.S., so I’d share tales about my Dad, a man who died 10 years ago. So many things about him stand out, little things like no-salt potato chips, mailing birthday cards to my college roommate years after graduation, making friends with bank tellers and supermarket cashiers, and sharing his numerous health issues with anyone in earshot. You’d like him. Strange how “numbered” anniversaries stick in our minds making events extra-significant: 5-10-16-21-29-40-50-75. Actually, I didn’t realize it’s been 10 years until I thought about it on the day of his death back in January. It feels so common that he’s not around in my life anymore, and at the same time, his death feels like it was yesterday.

I wrote a book about him last year, a short story called Lessons from Dad: a Letter to You. It’s a prequel of sorts to the memoir I’m writing now. I published it just before Father’s Day, and the title refers to the daily letters he wrote me in college. Yes, daily! I’d tell you what his favorite topic to write abut was, what he said about the sports teams in my Pittsburgh hometown and what treats he frequently added inside the envelopes. I’d encourage you to read this award-winning book, second place in a national contest. The book is available on Amazon as an eBook for just 99-cents, I’d say with a wink.

I do have a father-in-law in my life, a man celebrating his 56th wedding anniversary today. I think he and my mother-in-law went out to dinner yesterday. He received a Father’s Day and anniversary card from his wife, while he only had to give an anniversary card. He told me today that he made out on the deal.

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Happy 13th engagement anniversary!

Maybe most important…well, one that couldn’t have happened without the first two events…is that my husband proposed to me on this date 13 years ago. Yes, he planned it to be on his parents’ anniversary date, which makes me melt in his sentimental nature. This morning, I wished him a Happy Anniversary while we were out at Starbucks drinking Reserve Clover coffee, and we reminisced every step along that way: how he chose the stone for my ring and planned the setting; how I thought–based on a conversation earlier in the day– that the box on the coffee table was from Costco, hence my confusion; when he knew I was The One; and how all my friends asked me about 6-months into our relationship, “When is he going to propose?” They knew that I knew he was My One. We were just waiting on him.

As I refilled your coffee cup, letting you choose the Keurig flavor, I’d ask you to tell me about your day. It’s all about sharing, my friend, and I can’t wait to hear what’s going on in your life.

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On Zentangle and (impatiently) waiting

“When a thing is done, it’s done. Don’t look back.”~George Marshall, American soldier

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

My NFPW 1st-place entries have moved onto Nationals. How did I do? I’m waiting to hear.

I’m fortunate to have a strong writing background, from the encouragement my high school English teacher gave me to the subjects I explored obtaining my English Minor degree in college to the sentence-by-sentence guidance my first newspaper editor gave me. That last one is the most valuable, and I’m still amazed that she took the time–made the time–to teach me how to write strong text. She saw something in me and believed in me. I always believed in myself, too; I just needed the opportunity to show my creativity. I got that, many times over.

I learned about NFPW when I moved to Delaware with my fiancé-now-husband. I was already an established “professional” writer, meaning I had bylines in print media, and that was enough for me to join NFPW and the local chapter that still bursts with amazing, strong writing and more. I entered contests. I won. I entered again and again. I won again and again. It was pretty cool.

Jump forward years and my move to Michigan. Writing opportunities were scarce, but I found a few outlets. I entered the NFPW contest as At-Large since there was no local chapter, and I won. However, I wasn’t just submitting column assignments. I was entering my personal writings: my books, this blog. Now I was being judged on my personal writing, and it’s hard not to take losses personally. Now I value these awards and recognitions on a much higher level.

Three out of this year’s four entries are being reviewed and critiqued by industry professionals as I type. The other day, I thought about that. When are the winners announced? Last year’s email came June 26. That’s two weeks, 11 long days from now if the calendar remains similar. This year I’m super-impatient.

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Di’s Diva #222: Color explosion

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Who doesn’t love a little bling?

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The Diva’s weekly Zentangle Challenge #222 is perfect for me this week: it’s all about color. Feel colorful, be color-full. I wanted my Zentangle to sparkle.

I didn’t have any black tiles on hand, so I pulled out my Gelly Roll Starburst Meteor pens. I haven’t used glitter in…well, far too long. This made me smile. Still feeling a smidge impatient, I used several of my go-to tangles to complete my Zentangle tile. I’m happy.

With nothing to do but wait for results, I can feel positive by focusing on other works in progress: my memoir, my Zentangle stories, the next installment of Jimmy the Burglar, my haiku chapbooks. Might as well have some productive thoughts while I wait.

Hands on writing and Zentangle

“My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive, and do so with some passion, compassion, humor and style.”~Maya Angelou, American poet

I got into an interesting discussion with someone on Instagram. We got talking about writing styles. She does all her drafts and revisions on the computer. When I write, my first draft is always done by hand. I print out a typed copy and then edit that by hand. I do this until my final-final edits.

She asked me how I could do that, because her hand hurts when she does that. Me, I need the control to brainstorm and cross out and move sections with my pen. She can’t do that, but is intrigued by other people’s ways of writing. It continues to be an interesting discussion between us, and it made me think about my writing process. Seeing the writing world through someone else’s pen/computer coulod be a learning experience for all of us. I will be doing a blog post series on that in the future. Right now, I’m chronicling my current work on a magazine article, and I’ll focus on my full-length memoir after that.

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Diana’s Diva #221: Beads of Courage

I’ve always been a pen-to-paper kinda gal. I guess that’s why Zentangle appeals to me and comes so naturally. Zentangle is done by hand, pen contacting paper, a physical act. There’s a human flow to that, an authenticity. An accountability. That’s part of the Zentangle charm… and challenge.

This week’s Diva Challenge was to complete a tile inspired by Beads of Courage. Once again, I found a half-started tile, this one part of a Zentangle mosaic set. The tangle there happened to mingle perfectly with this challenge, so I went with the flow. All the tangles reflect beads in some fashion, either by direct look or by the circular inference.

Can you tell where the original was and the new stuff was added on? That’s the beauty and style of handiwork.

4 reasons why entering writing contests is a good thing

“It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”~Elizabeth Kenny, Australian celebrity

Do you need outside validation to consider yourself a “real” writer?

I don’t. I know I am a good writer…but it sure feels good!

This year, I celebrate my 10th anniversary as a member of the National Federation of Press Women. I was introduced to NFPW when I moved to Delaware with my fiancé-now-husband. I was already a published writer, someone who had magazine and newspaper clips to fatten her portfolio, but I was seeking more opportunities. NFPW–which is not exclusively a women’s organization–offers its members the opportunity to enter the organization’s annual Communications Contest. The variety of categories is mind-blowing. The writing category includes news and specialty articles, headlines created, investigative reporting and editorials. There are divisions that focus on: photography; radio or television interviews; PR campaigns; speeches; educational advising; and books, blogs and screenplays.

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What a surprise–my nonfiction book won 2 first place awards–so far…

How cool is that list? If you communicate, you can enter this contest.

Not all contests are the same. Most contests charge a fee to enter, which is often a deterrent. Is that a gimmick to snag gullible writers? Are free contests a waste of time because there is no entrance fee? Contests may have certain requirements that your work does not meet, and that can be discouraging. Some contests offer a monetary award, some offer a blog badge and some offer absolutely nothing. Who judges these contests? Can anything be trusted?

An artist to me is any writer producer photographer or designer of something creative. As an artist, you need to value your work. A contest is an easy way to explore that for yourself.

I have entered the NFPW contest every year since I joined. Why not? The entry fee is minimal, and I’m curious about how my work compares to others. Artists in the area you submit in–writers, photographers, media professionals, authors–are the objective judges in each category, which validate the results.

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You’re reading an award-winning blog


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This year, I entered my Michigan Scrapbooker articles, two blog posts and my two books published in 2014. All but one entry has moved from the statewide At-Large level to the National contest. This blog you are reading, it is an award-winning blog, two years in a row.
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Electronic media has recently exploded in the contest, so if you “only” blog, you can enter. But why should you enter this or any contest?
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1–Experience and exposure

By entering a contest, you discover what opportunities exist out in The Real World. You see categories and opportunities available to you. That’s valuable on so many levels. Maybe through that, you explore a new medium. Maybe you challenge yourself to enter a piece of art you didn’t think was valuable to others in the world. The more you do enter contests, the more you explore outlets and possibilities. Research new areas for your work, medium for writing, new groups to join.

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State awards for my Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine articles

2–Critique and Feedback

In the NFPW contest, entries get short but critical feedback about what worked and what needs improvement. My hobby articles are cited as easy to read and informative, but could be longer. I can’t do much about that, as there is only so much space available in the magazine, but that encourages me to make my writing tighter. My books have been cited as being fun and creative but needing technical assistance with editing and/or formatting. Lessons learned.

I belong to a fabulous local writers group. These fellow writers, published and not, offer honest and brutal feedback. I love it! Seeing my work through objective eyes is the only way I can improve. If you don’t have such a group in your area, contest feedback is a useful tool in your creative art.

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Awards from my entries in the statewide contest sponsored by Michigan Press Women

3–Networking

When others are exposed to your work, opportunities for connections abound. Writing is generally a solitary activity, even if you write in libraries or coffee shops. Contest may offer the opportunity to meet other like-minded artists. NFPW has an annual member convention; entrant or not, you can attend.

What a great way to socialize, hand out business cards–you do have some, right?– and share stories over a drink in the lounge. Last year, I attended my first convention, and I reunited with some of my old Delaware members. It was also a reminder that I have access to a network of people to help me achieve my goals. Remember that “needs an editior” comment above…?

4–Bravery

Yep, bravery. You make a commitment to your work, trusting your art and setting it free. I’m a big believer in the empowerment of writing “The End” at the bottom of my document Sending it into a contest accomplishes that even if you don’t believe The End is the end. It is The End for now, and that’s strong. Don’t deny yourself any measure of success.

If you finish something once, what’s stopping you from creating and completing a second project, or a third or a fourth? Enter a contest and find out what that’s like.

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…And we move onto Nationals

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