Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Inspiring Blogger Award

YAY! I won an award! WOO HOO!

It's an award for blogging as you may have caught from the title above.

Side note: I love blogging. I started this blog a little more than four years ago because I'd gone to a writing conference and one of the sessions was about creating a brand for yourself and getting your name Out There and this all seemed like something I MUST DO AT ONCE. Very quickly into the process I realized that I didn't have a brand or want a brand and I didn't even know what the word brand meant exactly.

Also, it was going to be very very hard to get my name Out There when only like, four people were reading my blog, and those four people were my mother, my husband, and a couple of my friends.

Weirdly, I realized that I liked blogging despite the low readership. I'd been writing for a long time and I had this vision that the Me of 15 years before would appreciate the wisdom and experience and all around coolness of the present/future me.

I wanted to give back, I guess you could say. Help other struggling writers like that beginner me who were on the same often weary, mostly solitary journey to publication.

I thought I'd have a book deal in a few weeks and I was planning to gush about that on the blog. Instead, I ended up chronicling the next three years of NO book deals. Of rejections and angst and yearning and making peace and redoubling my efforts and failure and finally making peace again. And then I got the book deal.

Ha ha.

When I was teaching high school English and many days looking out a classroom of bored, sometimes overtly hostile students, I'd imagine that there was one kid who was listening and for that one kid, I threw my heart into the lesson.

That's sorta how I look at this blog. I've still got my four loyal readers (Thanks, MOM! Thanks hubby and friends) and a handful of others who've continued to read these posts, and I thank you all too. One of these lovely readers tagged me for this award.

Okay. It's not really an award. Maybe more of a Tag You're It chain-letter-y kind of thing. But you know what? I'll take it. Thanks Susan Brody over at The Art of Not Getting Published for tagging me and now I am going to pay it forward by:
1. displaying the award on my blog
2. linking back to the person who nominated me
3. stating 7 things about myself AND
4. nominating a few of MY favorite bloggers

Seven Things About Me:

1. I just got back from an awesome visit to St. Paul where I sat in on brilliant lectures and readings and discussions at Hamline University's MFA in Children's Literature program. I was there mostly to support my writing friend Donna who is a student in the program and was presenting her critical essay: "Psychic Distance in Non-Fiction Picture Books." (She did an awesome job.) 

2. While I was at Hamline, I met E. Lockhart, Anne Ursu, Jane Resh Thomas, and Laura Ruby! Later, I ate dinner with Carrie Mesrobian and Justina Ireland!  

3. I want to go back to school!! I forgot how much I love being a student, and this glimpse into the MFA program reminded me. I like taking notes and listening to writers speak about the writing process and the craft of writing. I like hanging around with people who like talking about books. 

4. I like listening to Carrie Mesrobian talk about sex and other stuff that was on her mind. For example: furniture. 

5. The only downside of the trip was I missed my dog. I missed my husband and daughter too, but they seemed totally fine--even a little giddy to be rid of me for a few days-- but my dog, my sweet Zooey--was the one I most worried about. 

Yeah. I can't believe I just shared that either. 

But look: 
(That's Zooey a few minutes after I came home. See how stunned and happy she is to see me? Please don't leave me again, Mom. Please please please is what she's saying there.)

I forgot what I was talking about. 

Oh yeah, number 6 about me. I wrote a book called Thin Space. But yadda yadda ya. 

I love that book, don't get me wrong, and I love that I wrote it and it was published and it's sitting on library shelves, but now I want to write another book and another book and another. 

7. I also have a cat.

(This is Zelda. She may have missed me too.
Or not.
It's hard to say)

And now here are a few of my favorite blogs:

*The Art of Not Getting Published. This blog is funny and smart and written by a writer who I am sure will one day be published and then she will have to change the name of her blog. Read it and you'll find a variety of good stuff about books and traveling and art and the law. (The writer is an attorney.) 

*Rachel Writes Things. I've been following this blog for a while. First, because I like the book reviews. Second, because many of the posts are about the writer's publishing journey. It's been very cool to watch her talk about the book she's been writing, and recently she's caught the eye of an agent. Next step, book deal. Crossing my fingers, Rachel...

*Mary Cronk Farrell's blog. I met Mary at a conference and then read her riveting book Pure Grit, the true story of American nurses who were taken prisoner during World War Two. Somewhere in there I signed up for Mary's newsletter, which links to her blog. Every few weeks I get an inspiring email that features the story of a historical or modern day hero.

*Stacked. This is THE blog you must follow if you love reading YA books. Two librarians, Kelly and Kimberly, write book reviews and analyze trends in book publishing and point out all kinds of cool--sometimes uncomfortable observations-- about teens and reading and life itself. 

And for a dash of fun, there's my new favorite,
*Carrie Mesrobian's Conversations with My Fake Boyfriend. If you're a writer and you're procrastinating, check out the conversations Carrie REALLY had with one of her fake boyfriends. Guaranteed to make you smile.

PS: Before you go about your day, I leave you with this lovely picture of ice circles drifting upon a Minnesota river:


  1. Congratulations on your award! It's almost as good as the Major Award from the movie A Christmas Story! Haha just teasing. I second the recommendation of Stacked, great blog. Love yours too!

    1. I love A Christmas Story! And you're right. This award is almost like that. Thanks for reading : )

  2. Count me in as one of your loyal blog readers! I love hearing about what you're up to and I'll definitely check out the blogs you mentioned. :)

    1. Thanks, Kristy. And we must chat about the Hamline MFA in Children's Lit. I think you'd love it.

  3. Um, you made my day. SERIOUSLY, JODY, thank you!!!! *hugs* Also, I love your blog. It's been fun to read posts about writing and the process and post-book deal and book tour! and just your life in general. I'm finding it harder to blog these days but glad someone reads what little I do. :-)

    1. Aw, thanks, Rachel. I love your blog. I subscribe by email and it's always a nice msg to see in my inbox.