Mar 27 2018

You Need to Go to the Northern California Writers’ Retreat

You Need to Go to the Northern California Writers’ Retreat

If I’m going to leave my babies for five whole days, it had better be for an absolutely perfect reason.

…Okay, let’s get real: this mama hasn’t slept solo in years. When I discovered the Northern California Writers’ Retreat involved several consecutive evenings without diapers or nightmares or snoring, I thought, I do not even remember what that’s like and also SIGN ME UP IMMEDIATELY. My husband is always the one who gets to gallivant around the world for work, and I (desperately) wanted to know what a business trip felt like, too.

I first heard about the opportunity a couple years ago at the San Francisco Writers Conference, where I met Heather Lazare, one of the retreat’s co-founders — she’s an independent editor who’s worked at some baller places in New York, and I’ve been creepily stalking the submission guidelines ever since. The retreat is clearly gaining steam; there were more than five times the number of submissions this year than when it launched in 2016. Finally, once Baby B was weaned and fully into toddlerhood, I gave it a shot: twenty pages. Crossed fingers and toes. Continue reading

Jan 18 2018

Is There Room for Triviality in a World Like This?

Is There Room for Triviality in a World Like This?

I’ve battled an epic case of writer’s block these last several months. It’s not that I don’t have ideas — I do, dozens of them, phrases strung together into haphazard lists on my phone and in the notebooks littering my house. It’s that none of them seem important enough.

Facebook and Instagram and Twitter teem with unspeakable tragedies, news of unrest, and political platitudes. Where social media was once a scrolling stream of family photos and status updates, its purpose now has been emphatically redefined: effect changeIf you’re going to speak, write, wear, or think anything, you’d better be making a statement.

This is such a vital and honorable intention.

Obviously, the method itself has flaws. People — LOTS of them, people you personally know — freely admit to blocking and unfollowing friends who post articles that don’t align with their beliefs or perspectives that make them uncomfortable. This furthers the divide, of course, since now those people are surrounding themselves with carefully curated information that will only serve to bolster their own preexisting viewpoint. Continue reading

Dec 31 2017

The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2017 Edition

The Stuff You Actually Wanted to Know, 2017 Edition

It’s that time again: the post where I smuggle you behind the scenes of my blog so you can peek at the stuff other people are Googling.

I’m always fascinated by the search terms that bring traffic to this site, and they seem to get more interesting — and more extensive — every year. In 2017, almost every single one had to do with teaching, which sort of baffles me: I’ve only published two posts (maybe three, if you count this one) that are teaching-specific. But this post from last April continues to generate the most visits by far, with somewhere between 500 and 1000 unique views each week.

Usually I share the top 10 searches, but this year I’ll show you the ones I found most captivating. Continue reading

Sep 25 2017

How to (Accidentally) Trim the Fat from Your Facebook Business Page

How to (Accidentally) Trim the Fat from Your Facebook Business Page

FRIENDS. Let me tell you, having a Facebook “business page” is not for the faint of heart — but it’s teaching this Nervous Nelly a thing or two about building a backbone. If you’ve never had a business page and/or never plan to start one, this (unsolicited) advice post may not interest you whatsoever — but I encourage you to stick around for the giveaway at the end.

For those of you with a business page, here’s some free intel: if your goal is to keep every last follower no matter what, DO NOT CHANGE YOUR PAGE NAME.

But if you don’t mind trimming the fat, go right ahead.

For me, the most surprising thing about a business page is that you can see pretty much everything: how many people hide your posts, how many people choose to unfollow you (and when), how many people your post has “reached.” This is scary info for someone who initially meant for her blog to be anonymous. Continue reading

Jan 26 2017

A Magical Tale of a Photo Fail

A Magical Tale of a Photo Fail

A couple days ago I published a post called “The Space Between Baby and Boy” (which was semi-uncharacteristically sentimental, I know, but sometimes the sappy side of me crawls out from its miniature cave and doesn’t know what to do with itself).

The baby is growing up. It’s rocking my world a little bit.

So I poured it all out and then sat down to choose a featured image — you know, the picture that accompanies the post when someone shares it on social media. And I browsed for a minute, but then I thought, Meh, I’m getting sort of tired of using stock photos. Continue reading