Hello everyone! I'm thrilled to announce I'll be visiting the Bowling Green Barnes and Noble, located at 1680 Campbell Ln, Bowling Green, Ky 42104 on Saturday, July 8th from 1 PM- 4 PM, for an author book signing. If you live locally and would like to stop by, I'd love to connect with you! In addition to the book signing, I'll be bringing all sorts of fun giveaway prizes, freebies, and goody bags. Freebies: 💙 lollipops 💙 word searches/spot the difference worksheets 💙 lesson plans grades k-3rd 💙 family resource packets with websites, book recommendations, and tips for neurodiverse families. NO PURCHASES REQUIRED Goody Bundles: 💜 Semigloss laminated bookmark 💜 Free author autograph 💜 Special edition "believe in yourself" stickers 💜 Special release ADHD AND ME coloring book 💜 Packet of crayons FREE WITH THE PURCHASE OF BOOK ADHD AND ME, DAY OF SIGNING, AT BARNES AND NOBLE. SIMPLY BRING YOUR RECEIPT TO THE SIGNING TABLE TO CLAIM YOUR GOODY BUNDLE! Prize Drawing: Interested in winning prizes? Post a review of ADHD AND ME to Barnes & Noble website: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/adhd-and-me-chelsea-dicicco/1143058981?ean=9780997933413 (AND/OR post a picture of the book, ADHD AND ME to your Instagram, tagging @chelseasworldofbooks account), the day of the signing and claim your prize drawing slip from the signing table! The winner will be selected at random from the first 10 participants! Please note: if your Instagram account is set to private, tagging will not work, so make sure to leave a review of the book to claim your drawing slip for a chance to win the giveaway prize!
First off, I'd like to thank the fabulous hosts, fellow librarian and kidlit Author Ciara O'Neal and Literary Agent Kaitlyn Sanchez for yet another amazing Kidlit opportunity to not only showcase our work but to just have fun with our community! This has been such a terrific way to make friends, build relationships, and overall branch out with other writers. I speak for myself and my critique group partners when I say, we are all so grateful for events like these that help make this line of work even more enjoyable. For most of us, writing can be very solitary work so fun events like these really add a breath of fresh air and get our creative juices flowing. If you're not familiar with what the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest is, no worries! I'll be sure to include all the rules and details below. So, what IS Spring Fling Kidlit? Your challenge, should you accept it, is simple. Find a gif and write a spring-inspired story. That's it! Here are the official rules from Ciara's website: 1. Your story should be geared towards kids ages 12 or under. 2. Choose a gif to inspire your story. be sure to share where you found your wonderful gif. (The website or if you created it yourself!) 3. All gifs should be child appropriate and in no way be derogatory towards any faith, race, etc. 4. Now for the dreaded word count! You have 150 words. That’s it! No more but less is always welcome. (Your title is not included in the word count.) 5. No illustration notes pretty please. 6. Your gif should be the only visual with your story. 7. The Spring Fling contest officially begins on Saturday April 1st and closes April 3rd, post your gif and story on your blog. 8. On April 1st, we will post a google form on this blog. (You can use the quicklink above titled "official rules" to get to the blog post.) Fill out the form, paste your blog website and story, and you my friend, will be entered! 9. Deadline for posting your story or the link to your story is April 3rd at 11:59pm CST. 10. Only one entry per contestant is permitted. ****If you don't have a blog, no worries, you can put your whole story on the google form. The form will open on April 1st. If you want others to read it too, feel free to post your story in the comments with the link to your gif.*** And that's it! Now... the moment we've been waiting for; my entry for this year's 2023 Spring Kidlit Contest. This year I wanted to write a story that incorporated not only spring but sharing it with a beloved friend and who better to splash in puddles with than your dog?! So, without further ado, I give you my entry: WAKE UP, WORLD! IT'S SPRING! Title: Wake up, World! It's Spring! Written by: Chelsea DiCicco Word Count: 121 Dewdrops dance on dainty petals. Tweets and twitters fill the air. This can only mean one thing… “WAKE UP, WORLD! IT’S SPRING!” Padding paws and racing feet. Hurry, scurry; we can’t wait! Nature’s calling- here we come! “WAKE UP, WORLD! IT’S SPRING!” Butterflies outstretch their wings. Bees are buzzing off to work. Mower’s roar, and flowers bloom. "WAKE UP, WORLD! IT'S SPRING!" Showers sprinkle in the sun. Puddles are for everyone! Happy slappy splashy feet. "WAKE UP, WORLD! IT'S SPRING!" Wagging tails and cheerful eyes. Dirty paws and sun-kissed skin. Shaking, quaking, laughs and barks. "WAKE UP, WORLD! IT'S SPRING!" Hoots and chatters fill the night. Evening stars pierce the sky. Look! There goes a firefly. "Rest up, world. It's Spring." This GIF was created by Chelsea DiCicco (me) on Canva for the purpose of being used for my 2023 entry for the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest.
Going from this
I think there’s a lot that can be said for people who are on the picture book path and have been for a while. Navigating the picture book world is like travelling down a road of potholes, and signs pointing in every direction. There are a million different routes your can take. And it can be intimidating, overwhelming, scary, and tiring. Sometimes, it feels like we’re drowning in endless options and crippling self-doubt! Fortunately, we aren’t quitters!
How do I know this? Because the hurdles upon hurdles, the always-changing pace, the fickle as a pickle market, and the unpredictability of times haven’t deterred us from continuing down this road. Some say madness. I prefer passionate. And really, to be successful in the ways that count, you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. What do I mean by successful in ways that count? Well, that really depends on how you view success. What does success mean to you? Money? Power? Freedom? Recognition? Whatever it is, you must have passion to reach it. And I’m convinced there isn’t a single picture book writer out there, who has been at this for years, that doesn’t have that passion. And guess what. Good news! Passion is KEY!
But, passion with no outlets can be exhausting. So, I ask you, how do you write picture books and stay sane? I think it’s imperative that when doing something that you love, at your full 100%, you must also be able to balance that with time to unwind. Because going at 100% nonstop, can be draining. Eventually, you will overload. And when that time comes, you must be willing to walk away. Because, just like a car’s engine needs to be parked and rested, so does your engine. But, what if you refuse to stop? Well… you might just end up like this car. Overheated!
But hopefully you won’t let things get this far. So, how can you avoid the overheating point? Well, a few things I find that help are setting boundaries and knowing my personal limits. These are both CRUCIAL for maintaining sanity- and avoiding overheating! (Oh, and caffeine. Did I mention that already?) But, seriously. Boundaries and limits!
So, my writing boundaries. Firstly, I have a writing office. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you write in a basement, during free time at work, on lunch breaks. Maybe you write when your kids are asleep, when you’re husband is working, when your roommate is out of the house. Or maybe you write from a hammock. If you do, props to you; it sounds like you’re living your best life! Whatever the situation, having a space that is yours, and yours only, is a good boundary to have. If you don’t have a designated spot- find one. It could be a closet, outside under a tree, on a speedboat with Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron- it doesn’t matter- but find one.
Having a space to your own is not to say that you can’t write elsewhere. What it does, however, is give you a designated area to create. Which can be increasingly helpful to your sanity. And next, making sure that you know your limits.
What are your limits? What does that even mean? I’m not talking about speed limits. Although sometimes speed comes into play. But that’s a different topic. I’m talking about knowing yourself. If you’re pushing yourself to a point that you are no longer enjoying your work- that’s not working within your limits. Writing should never be a place of confined, mandatory restriction. It should be a happy place of creative freedom. If you are demanding too much out of yourself and pushing your limits to a point of frustration, not only are you going to be unhappy but guess what- your writing will suffer. Yeah. You heard me right. Your writing will suffer! There’s a scene in Toy Story 2 where Woody is getting fixed up by Geri, an antique cleaner. And if you haven’t already seen this and aren’t interested in watching the full movie, I highly recommend watching it HERE because it is just *chef’s kiss* GOLD.
Geri is taking his time, situating himself with his tools that he’s about to use to clean and fix Woody.
Al says to Geri, “So, uh, how long is this going take?”
And Geri says, with a wag of the finger, “You can’t rush art!”
There’s a lot of truth in this statement. When you push yourself to write in an unnatural or uncomfortable state, the work is never your best. So, remember to be kind to yourself. Give yourself the time and space you need to find your creative rhythm. And once your mojo kicks in, write, write, write!
But, what if you can’t write? You feel zero inspiration. You’re tired. You’re staring at the page, and nothing is coming to you. CHANGE THE SCENERY. Taking a walk, doing some light exercise, or getting lost in a favorite binge tv-show can help give your brain a break. Again- forcing yourself to be creative isn’t how it works. Creativity is a natural thing that comes at its own pace. But how can you encourage creativity?
Read, read, read. Reading stimulates our natural curiosity and encourages creative brain flow! Read books in your genre that are new in the market. Go to the library. Bring a notebook with you! Jot down ideas you like. Ask yourself, “Why do I like this? What about it stands out?” And brainstorm how you could implement things into your own writing. Ideas are contagious. When we let others in, it inspires our own.
So, what am I rambling about anyway? Well, this morning, I read a fellow writer’s new blog post and walked away saying, “Ah, that was encouraging.” And do you know what my next thought was? “I want to encourage someone!” IDEAS ARE CONTAGIOUS- INSPIRATION FOLLOWS. And that’s really what it’s all about.
Now, encouragement. Why do writer’s need encouragement? Well, everyone needs encouragement from time to time. It’s healthy and natural to both give and receive encouragement. But, why might a writer need encouragement more than some? Well, being in the writing business, unlike other jobs in an office where you’re surrounded by co-workers and smiling faces, for a writer, it can often be a solitary affair. So, encouragement comes in handy. Having your writing community in your corner, your supporters, your critique partners, your friends, your family, your “fans” can help you get by and make it to that next milestone.
Speaking of milestones, here we go.
What are your goals?
What milestones do you hope to achieve?
And have you been able to?
If so, congratulations! If not, don’t fret. Just continue down the road until you get there, and sooner or later, I have faith you will. I believe in you- you should too! And sometimes, it can be tough. The waiting. The pushing. The hope. The letdowns. When I find myself losing courage, I like to think of Jane Eyre.
“Renewing then my courage, and gathering my feeble remains of strength, I pushed on.” -Charlotte Bronte
“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.” – Albert Einstein
And another one of my favorites…
“You never fail until you stop trying.”
Cliché, perhaps. But that doesn’t make the statements any less true! There is, after all, a reason that clichés exist! So, this is my brief cheerleader speech for today. If you’re writing picture books, or NOT pictures books- it could be anything- DON’T GIVE UP!
So, in conclusion to my ramble, I just want to remind you that you are loved, and awesome, and incredible, and most likely a total 10, the whole shebang, the greatest thing since sliced bread, the apple of someone’s eye, all that and a bag of chips. Remember, to stay sane in the writing world, 1. Give yourself boundaries. And 2. Know your limits!
Love you all!