Off Track

So much for New Year’s Resolutions! No sooner than I had announced my plan for the “HippoCamp 2015 Better Late Than Never Wrap-up,” I fell completely off track with my schedule. In the last few weeks, one semester ended, another began, Track & Field season officially kicked off, I met a guy and am now dating him, I traveled to Rochester, NY for a literary cocktail party, caught a cold and battled it, and began remodeling my bathroom at home. But I haven’t been writing—not even the blog. So, here we go again. Today I need to get back on track with my Writer Wednesday plans.  Part of that is clearing space in my life for it, which I am working on. Today I will also work toward making sure that my writing class runs in a few weeks by doing some necessary advertising.

Check back next week for the continuation of the “HippoCamp 2015 Better Late Than Never Wrap-up.”



Lauree Ostrofsky, Robin Flanigan & me at #RochesterLitParty2016

Lauree Ostrofsky, Robin Flanigan & me at #RochesterLitParty2016

Posted on February 5, 2016 .

HippoCamp 2015—the “Better Late Than Never” Wrap-up, part one:

I can hardly believe it was so long ago, and now it’s 2016 and I’m ready to go back! But I simply cannot go without posting (as I intended to LONG AGO) about the conference. My last post told the story of how I was sidetracked by coaching, and this one is about how I’m still bent on getting it done—better late than never. 

Here’s how it will work: I’ll post a “part” each Wednesday until I’m done writing on all of the (six) sessions that I had volunteered to blog about initially. Those posts will come on each of the next six Wednesdays, then I can move on knowing I finally completed my task. (Yes, it’s been bothering me A LOT!) I will also do a reflection on the conference as a whole before I really, actually, move on to other topics. Still savoring..

I’m going to cheat a little today and simply post my notes from the Author’s Panel on the first night, which I was not assigned to do, so these are just what I wrote down for myself. Given the fact that I’ve been to several writing conferences and I don’t write down things I’ve heard a lot of before, these notes are the “best of,” in my humble opinion. 

Author’s Panel

-Write the book you need to write, then write the book you can sell.

-Take as much time as you legally can (according to your contract dates)!

-You must spend as much time on the business of being a writer and promoting yourself as you do on perfecting your craft. All the talent in the world doesn’t mean anything if nobody can find you. 

-There are Universal Truths that connect us all; it is your job as a writer to find them in your story.

-In preparing for your book to come out, it’s good to publish small pieces in a variety of magazines, online, etc., hitting different audiences by coming at the topic through different lenses.

That's all I wrote, yet there is so much in in there, so much to work with, in every one of those points. And that's how HippoCamp's inaugural conference was--there was SO MUCH GOOD STUFF all the way through. More on that later though. This, like all writing, is a process.

Thanks for reading.



Posted on January 6, 2016 .


I returned home from my road trip to HippoCamp 2015 nine weeks ago yesterday, a day before the official beginning of Cross Country season, and twelve days before the first day of school. I remember sitting in the final keynote speech, a fantastic state-of-the publishing industry address by Jane Friedman, and thinking how lucky I was that I’d have time to fully process the whole HippoCamp experience. I would go home and write up blog articles on the sessions I attended, I’d follow up with all of the great people that I met, and I’d use all the great tools and prompts I’d picked up to produce some really stellar creative nonfiction. “Thank God I don’t have kids to distract me,” I thought.

JINX. (If you believe in such things…)

The first day of cross country practice, the head coach told me he’d be having back surgery 36 hours later. So it was up to me to take on the responsibility of coaching the team (with the help of a fantastic former runner/now assistant coach) until his return.

So when I thought it was lucky that I didn’t have kids and instead would have TIME, I didn’t know I’d end up with 43 teenage girls


this is the first thing I’ve written since…BUT--we are off to one helluva season!

Cross Country is one of the great joys of my life. Our competitive season is the shortest in HS Athletics, only 11 weeks. But it’s definitely at cross-purposes with writing. Though I’ve been striving for balance, this is one area I have not been successful with. 

And as much as I LOVE Cross Country, I can’t help but feel a HUGE sense of regret and lost opportunities…to strike while the iron was hot, as they say. I definitely want to keep up with all of the great people that I met and foster those relationships through social media and even personal emails. The biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to follow through on blogging for the magazine.  The sessions I attended were excellent, and the presenters deserve to have their sessions reviewed and written about, so I am bound to do it…


Next post will be a HippoCamp 2015 Wrap-up: Better Late Than Never!

Posted on October 14, 2015 .