Learning Curves

Curves and I go way back. Hordes of twists and turns merge in my mind.  From those thrown while at bat, to the backroads, and to the more aggressive forms like extreme soul switchbacks   One time I couldn’t hang on during a fast curve to avoid another hit.  But most times I’ve learned to lean into them.  Yes, leaning into them seems to keep me more balanced.  

Did I tell you I’m writing a children’s book series?❤ I had time “in the hole” getting to know my team. Walked “on deck”, watched, and tried to learn.  I’m in the “batter’s box” now.

Sometimes my swing is way off.   So, I just step out of the box, take a deep breath, and practice a few. I’ve felt tempted to run back in the hole. Stay in the box, Karla.

I’m starting to grasp some groundbreakers, digest details, and clutch some confidence. 

Here’s what I’m leaning into right now:

  • Writing courses (since January)- offered by Write for Kids (I’ve taken several and LOVE them).  I proudly display the Children’s Book Insider banner as a member.  Currently my curves are self-publishing, marketing, and writing for magazines. 
  • One-on-one weekly ZOOM sessions with a literacy coach (thank you, Lisa).  It takes time to prepare and propel this learning.
  • Social Media-tricky and tight curve (almost nauseating😉, but necessary).  I’m not on Facebook.   My only platforms are Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.  It’s going to take courage for me to self-market. It’s my least favorite thing to do.  I’ve completed a course on self-marketing for non-marketers. It was excellent!
  • Writing, writing, editing, and editing-you wouldn’t imagine a 32-page children’s book would be that difficult.  My niche is creative non-fiction and I’m dreaming BIG.   As a self-editor I’m constantly reviewing, nit-picking, deleting, and adding.  There are so many angles to revise and review.   I’m hoping to meet local peer editing groups (anyone wish to join? 😉).
  • Time management-this is a big one!   Several writers I follow have offered schedules, tips, and advice. My best formula is: one day on marketing/classes, one day using those tips to reach out for sponsorship, create IG posts and stories (it’s very curvy to me-almost nauseating lol), one day for WordPress, one to write and publish, and the rest of my time taking care of all other needs and nature time!  I love my new work week.  But it’s difficult to stay on schedule when I’m tightening the belt on the curves.  But it’s well worth it! 
  • WRITE EVERY DAY!
  • Awesome announcement📣 I have an illustrator!  To say this has been a challenge is an understatement.  The illustrators have such a HUGE task of bringing the book to life.   Considering the time invested in creating Flannel with Faith, coupled with my amazing WP friends, I’m very leery of beginning a whole new author’s website.  Instead, I’ll create a new page on this site dedicated solely to Finley River Publishing and the series, “Faith and Finley—Finding the Nifty in our 50!” (Off the Grid Series).  Plus, you’ll get to meet my tremendous illustrator!

This journey of life is not always a straight road as we all know.  I’m not traveling in the fast lane either.  Although I love staying active, I’m staying on a steady course in my lane.   To avoid being added to any more injured lists, I’ll don a helmet and strengthen my grip. 

Friends, are you ready?  Keep your eyes on the ball at bat.  Lean into the curves as your travel.  Stay in your lane.  Life levels our playing field. I’m elated to be on your team.     

Afterword: I spent many days at a ballfield. That’s probably why I love dirt. Mom would watch with all the other wives. Us players’ kids formed family-like relationships. My Dad was the fastest man I’ve ever known. He could pull off a triple off with a left-handed bunt. Dad handled the curves. Mom has too.

“An outstanding leadoff hitter, Hale had great speed, a knack to get on base, and was a threat to steal a base at any time. He played first base and the outfield and his states include twenty state, twelve regional, and fifteen national championships. He also was selected to the US Sports Festival in 1979. He was a first team All-American in 1974 & 1975 and his teams won seven state and eight regional titles.”

(The Missouri A.S.A. Hall of Fame induction description, March 9th, 2002, Clarion Inn, Springfield, Missouri).

As a Mom I enjoyed EVERY trip to the fields of any kind to watch my own sons. Now, I walk dirt paths and enjoy the the scenery of nature’s curves. I’ll enjoy the future of watching my grandkids kick up some dirt whether on a field or when they’re outdoors. What a journey. 🤍

Have faith💚

Faithful Feedback

Right after high school I worked a couple of summers at the License Bureau (boy did I have to gain some thick skin). My supervisor, Libby Ward, was an exceptional leader. She told me I could continue a great career there. She wanted me to stay and work for her (although I did not like the experience of being lunged at after telling someone he was in the wrong line after he had waited so long–but that did prepare me for being a principal). It was good money for an 18-19 year old and it definitely helped my typing AND communication skills. My typing was fast I and knew shorthand too. It gave me a “leg up” according to my friend who helped me attain the position. On the side, I would clean a few motel rooms for my aunt and uncle who owned a family restaurant and tiny motel. Of course they always gave great feedback; especially when I needed to fold sheets. ;-).

It was 1991 and I was relieved to make it to my senior year of college. As a student aide for that winter semester I was preparing for student teaching for the final semester (the best job I was preparing for was motherhood; I was carrying my first born). At 4:30 a.m. I would rise and shine and drive 30 miles from my rural town to my preschool job in the “big city” by 6:00 a.m. For six hours I would read with, chase, giggle, play, and attempt to “herd” and teach 18 3-4 years old with Ms. Edna. I’d get off work at noon and have time to grab lunch on campus before my afternoon and evening classes began. Typically it would be 9:30 before I got home. Ms. Edna inspired me to keep on keeping on. Ms. Edna Stockstill was in her 60’s at the time. She grew up a farm girl and could run circles around me it seemed. I decided I’d be like Edna. She wore her faith on her sleeve and kids and parents adored her. She could be rough and gruff at times and then soothe them with supple soul words. She was authentic and always provided great feedback and wisdom. My supervisor at the child development center, Marthann Hoover, was such a quality leader too. She’d drop by the classrooms and give immediate feedback. I felt blessed. After three years together we all shared some sadness when I could no longer work there due to student teaching. I was always so nervous when the university supervisors would evaluate me during student teaching (I said “you’un’s” over 20 times in my first evaluation–I give all credit to my rural roots ;-)).

All of my jobs in my teens and through college (McDonalds, the license bureau, babysitting, cleaning, and teaching pre-school) set me up for a career with expectations. And at every experience feedback was given. I paid it forward by always trying to give feedback to staff. There’s a difference between needing a pat on the back and truly wanting to know if you’re making a difference and meeting marks of mastery. We all need encouragement though, even if a “needs to improve” is identified (and still with me, daily lol). Each year as a leader I would attend trainings to further my feedback familiarity.

I wanted to take a few to feed feedback to you. To my fellow writers: I love your creativity, authenticity, talents and gifts, humility, humor, truthfulness, effort, timing, interests, thought-provoking statements, commitment, courage, and approach. I appreciate how many of you keep me informed, raise awareness, and further my own success through your encouragement. Being a writer isn’t going to bring a million bucks (yeppers, I can name several it did); but this journey has been essential for my own health and healing. My goal isn’t to be famous. Being a do-er dreamer is in me still. A couple of weeks ago I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum with great friends. Soaking in the history, and of course goosebumps, while walking through she and Almanzo’s farm again reminded that no matter the age, there are dreams to be achieved if you can and so choose (Laura was 65 when she was published).

My time is more crunched lately with a myriad of goals I try to meet each week; and I like it. One day a week I have the privilege of being coached. We have developed such a partnership that our hour can turn into two. And once we depart one another, I’m jumping on my goals for the next week. Like most of you, I’m on my own as far as editing, marketing, and building my audience. I’m going to work on a page on the website solely for my publishing-an “author page” if you will. There will be a description of the children’s book series in which I’m writing. And I think I may have found an illustrator. That’s a wonderful story to share later. 🤍

Three months ago today I became a house dweller. The foundation is below me and I’m doing my best to build on it; and strengthen it (I was giggly over gravel on Monday). Many days, aside from house chores, I’m zeroing in on social media for short spurts (ugh, it’s HARD because I’m not a huge fan of it–but in this day and age, it’s a must to connect with others; and I’m finding such amazing artists). Other weekly activities include placing book in print house form, editing and re-editing over and over, and trying to READ. As a writer I need to be READING. Which leads me to my title Faithful Feedback. I’m averaging about 1,000 e-mails a week (how about you?) and I SEE YOU. Your names pop up in my inbox each day. And I smile. The names of your posts make my mornings. This family of friends and fellow writers has been my portion of professionalism to propel my projects (adequate alliteration?). It would be my wish to read each and every post daily. I’m amazed by the talent of this community. I’m in awe of your commitments. And I just marvel at the marvelous magic you make on your keyboards (from “punny” poems, quick quotes, to anecdotal adventures and achievements) Congratulations on making it this far in life and doing what you’re doing. I’m proud of you all. And it’s my pleasure for knowing you. Truly. Stay safe, healthy, and blessed. You are loved. Stay encouraged please.

Have faith 💚

Photo by Jeffrey D. Payne

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