Award for Rosa, Sola! Giving ourselves credit for creativity
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June 2017: In This Issue

  • Award for Rosa, Sola!
  • Book cover reveal giveaway results
  • Giving ourselves credit for creativity

Award for Rosa, Sola!

   In the middle of attending the American Library Association Conference in Chicago last weekend, I received some wonderful news, thanks to a congratulatory Tweet from a friend: the Catholic Press Association (CPA) has awarded the new edition of Rosa, Sola an Honorable Mention in the Children's Books Award Category.

   Just yesterday, I found out what the CPA wrote about the book:

"This extraordinary book contains some very sad elements
which might be too much for a young or 
unusually sensitive child.
A parent might want to read it before making the decision
to give it to even a 
teenager. But there is much in it
of love and family solidarity, as well as prayer and faith, and some 
proud Italian-American cultural references.
It's well worth a look."

I'm honored to have my book acknowledged in this way and in such great company. Three other books featured on our CatholicTeenBooks site received awards:  A.J. Cattapan's Seven Riddles to Nowhere also received Honorable Mention in the Children's Books category, and in the
Teen Books category, Battle For His Soul by Theresa Linden took
First Place and A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman received
Second Place. Congratulations to all!

     The complete list of CPA award winners is posted on their site. You can see other awards the books on the CatholicTeenBooks site have received on our new "Awards" page

     Thanks to the CPA award, there's been increased interest regarding my offer to Catholic school teachers to preview a free ebook copy of
Rosa, Sola for classroom use. The offer runs through the end of summer. If you know anyone who may be interested, details are available on my website.  

Book cover reveal giveaway results

     Thank you to all who participated in the cover reveal giveaway contest for Playing by Heart. Congratulations to winner Mary F of Orland Park! She was the first to send in the completed puzzle. I hope she's enjoying the prize package. 

     In case you haven't seen the cover yet, here it is: 

     I think it's gorgeous, but I'd love to know what you think. Would this cover entice you to read the book? You can let me know by responding to this email or visiting my Facebook page, where I posted the cover last Friday, June 23.

Giving ourselves credit for creativity

    In my May newsletter, I left you with the following "Action Item" for the month of June:

Action item

Keep a log of how much time you spend on creative projects/activities during June. If you're inspired to do so, post your progress on the 30 by 30 Challenge website


Did you keep a log? How were your results?

     Since late 2015, I've been using a free app called Toggl to track my time. It allows me to easily and quickly record how I spend my time, via either my phone or PC. Toggl also sends me weekly reports and allows me to generate special reports. Here's a portion of the report of how much time I spent on writing and revision tasks (my most creative tasks) in June: 

As you can see, I spent 11 hours and 50 minutes on writing/revision activities in June. Other parts of the report show how those activities were divided between three projects: a freelance writing assignment, blogging for TeachingAuthors, and making some notes for my new novel. Note: I chose not to include time spent creating this newsletter or the one I sent out on June 19, even though I consider newsletter writing to be creative work, too.

     I was actually surprised to learn that I'd spent almost 12 hours on writing tasks. Before generating the report, I'd felt as though I didn't do ANY writing this month. It's very helpful for me to see the actual data about my efforts. So often, I don't "give myself credit" for all the creative work I do. That's the point of this month's exercise: to recognize and acknowledge how much time we spend on our creativity.  

Giving ourselves credit can be a great tool for building up confidence in our creative talent and our ability to meet our creative goals. I first came across the idea of "giving yourself credit" in a diet book, of all places. 
The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person by Judith S. Beck is about much more than dieting. It's a great handbook on how to train yourself to accomplish life goals. Beck also has an inspiring blog where she posts "Daily Diet Solutions." Here's an example from the blog that I believe apply as much to creativity as to dieting:  

It’s important to both give yourself credit for the
good choices you make and not berate yourself when you
make a mistake. When you beat yourself up,
the only thing it does is demoralize you further
and make it harder to get back on track.
When you give yourself credit, it makes you feel great, 
helps raise your confidence, 
makes it easier to keep doing what you're doing,
and gives you motivation to stay on track.

--January 9, 2014

Looking at my Toggl report, I could have berated myself for doing only 12 hours of creative work. However, since that number was more than I expected, I ended up thinking, "good for me," instead. 

     I hope you logged your creative efforts for this month. But if you didn't, don't beat yourself up about it. If it sounds like something that might help you meet your goals, consider giving it a try next month. 

     Or if logging your time feels like too much work, you may want to try this simple exercise from Beck's blog instead:

 Make it a goal this week to, every night,
write down at least 5 things from that day
that you deserve credit for.
Doing so will help you realize that
you’re doing a lot of things right and
the more we see what we’re doing well, the better we feel.
The better we feel, the more motivated we are . . . .
This week, choose to put your focus on what you’re doing well.

--February 8, 2016

For more on the value and methodology of giving yourself credit, see this post by a "confidence coach."

     I'm not going to give you an "Action Item" for July. Instead, I encourage you to do something fun this coming month to fill your creative well--a topic I plan to talk about in my next newsletter (which won't be going out until August). I took some time for that myself recently by visiting the summer "bench" sculptures in downtown Naperville. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen this photo I shared of a bench honoring Shel Silverstein:  

     In July, I'll be teaching a week-long children's writing camp and giving two presentations at the Catholic Writer's Guild Live conference in Schaumburg, IL. I'm also hoping to spend some time revamping my website in preparation for the release of Playing by Heart. That's why my next newsletter won't be out until mid- to late-August. Until then . . .  

Happy creating!


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