Friday, July 12, 2019

Take Lessons to Heart, and Then DO IT!

My background for what I'm about to share: I've been a member of SCBWI since 2000, so says my homepage. I've read dozens of books and countless articles on the craft of writing, and written a few myself. I've attended dozens of writers conferences and been co-chair of five. I've gone to writing workshops, listened to podcasts and webinars and done on-line classes. I've been in several critique groups over the past twenty years (one of them weekly for the past fifteen years). I've critiqued stories and books which went on to be published and well-received. I've published thirteen books myself, both traditionally and self-pub, as well as many articles and short stories.

So here's the deal: Listen, read, watch videos and connect with fellow writers and artists. Take the teachings and speeches and lessons to heart. But most importantly, do it. Do what? you ask. Say, you take a workshop on revisions or plotting or character development, go home and focus on one of the teachings and practice doing it. It need not be perfect, you know. If you take a course on making a book trailer, don't just store it up for future, sometime-use on that stack of papers or files on your designated craft jump drive. Make a trailer! If you're not published, then make a trailer for a book you've loved forever, or better yet, make a trailer for a published author friend who will love you forever for your time and talents and insights. If you take a class on making a podcast, take good notes, then practice making one. You could even practice doing a *shaking in my boots* Facebook Live post. Or you could be interviewed on someone else's podcast.

Writers, artists, quit hiding. Quit waiting for that day when you are comfortable enough to try something new you learned in a book or at a conference. Listen, read, watch videos and connect with fellow writers and artists. Take the teachings and speeches and lessons to heart, then DO IT!

Sandy Carlson is a former teacher, now full-time writer, with her 13th book, Rescue, The War Unicorn Chronicles, Book 3, published this June. You may contact her via or at

Coming up on the Mitten Blog: 

A new Featured Illustrator, a Writer Spotlight, Book Birthdays, and some summer vacation time scattered in-between. We're saving our next Hugs and Hurrahs post for September, but you can email your good news to Patti Richards anytime.

Attention Illustrators!

Here's a webinar just for you. Wednesday July 17th @ 7pm ---- That's next week!

Learn a simpler alternative to Photoshop. Diversify your knowledge with Procreate as another tool. 

Your presenter, James Anderson, is creator of the webcomic, Ellie On Planet X, as well as an illustrator. He's been a working graphic designer for over thirty years. 

Procreate is a drawing/painting app for the IPad which is similar to Photoshop. The aim of Procreate is to recreate the natural feel of physical drawing, while utilizing the practical advantages of a digital platform. It offers over 130 realistic brushes, multiple layers, blend modes, masks, 4K resolution export of process videos, autosave, and many other classic and original digital art tools. Procreate is designed for multi-touch and the Apple Pencil. It also supports a number of third-party styluses, and import/export to Adobe Photoshop PSD format.

Jim will provide:
1. A "lay of the land" tour of the tools
2. More detailed pros/cons about Procreate
3. A small illustration and/or character demo 
4. Pros/cons of Affinity and Clip and comparisons to Procreate
5. Answers to your questions about Procreate and his webinar content

Want to draw along with Jim during the webinar? Find out more at Then download through the Apple Store. 

Register here:


  1. Could not agree with Sandy more on this! Successful creating is a practice-based art.

  2. Thanks for the advice Sandy. I'm going to pull out my last conference note and get busy!

  3. Excellent advice, Sandy! And awesome that you've published so many books.

  4. Simple and straight forward advice that we all need to hear! Thank you Sandy!