The Seven Stages of Process: My Time at the 2018 Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Conference

The afternoon before the Kweli conference, anxiety bubbled within me like bad gas. By that night it was a furious boil complete with heartburn and sweating. Despite the many weeks I spent preparing the for event, the thought of sitting on one panel in the morning and moderating my first panel ever that afternoon was physically uncomfortable. I started listing appropriate last-minute excuses in my head:


-emergency root canal

-Acute, crippling, public-speaking induced motion sickness

The list went on…

In retrospect, freaking out about an event is actually part of my process. I recall experiencing similar levels of panic the night before giving my salutatorian address and before presenting my senior thesis. Just like stages of grief, there are stages to process:

Stage One: Shock. Someone thinks it’s a good idea for me to speak in public? Ha!

Stage Two: Denial. This must be a mistake…

Stage Three: Confusion. What does this mean?? What will this entail?? Why me?!

Stage Four: Acceptance. Fine, if I’m going to do this, I’d better do it right.

Stage Five: Bargaining. I’d give anything just to get through this event without embarrassing myself.

Stage Six: Panic. This was a bad idea! Everyone’s gonna know I’m a fraud!

Stage Seven: Nausea. I feel queasy enough to question all of my life choices, but not so much that I can bail out now. Let’s get this over with.

The actual event was a whirlwind! Between asking questions of people and artists I admire and answering questions from aspiring writers I barely had time to finish eating my sugar cookie. If you ask me, both the panel I sat on and the one I moderated went well.KWELI 2018_2

Ultimately, when asked to do something that’s just outside of my comfort zone, I relied on my strengths to get it done. I don’t consider myself a strong public speaker, but I am a strong organizer and I don’t mind sharing what I know about publishing with aspiring writers. I relied on these strengths and interests to provide the best information possible for conference attendees and showcase the panelists whose conversation I moderated. I can’t promise a perfect presentation, I can only promise that I’ll be professional, candid, and a little corny. That’s who I am, so that’s the best I can do.

Interested in learning more about the Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Conference? Visit the website here!

NaPiBoWriWee 2016 Day 1

It’s May, and that means it’s National Picture Book Writing Week (Napibowriwee)! Woot Woot!

Created by children’s book rock star Paula Yoo, Napibowriwee runs the first week of May, during which time participants aim to write seven picture books in seven days! I know it sounds like madness, and it is. But the goal is not to have seven polished and perfect stories by the end of the week; it’s to counter procrastination and get those pesky, diamond-in-the-rough ideas down on paper!

My goal for Napibowriwee is to develop five original picture book stories complete with named characters, a plot structure, and developed dialogue. I’ve got three ideas locked and loaded ready for my attention. Paula proposed the theme “music” for this year’s Napibowriwee, so I will use that for my fourth story. I’m leaving the fifth story idea up to the muses; giving myself some freedom to improv!

I’m using Day 1 as prep! I’ve got my first few story ideas sketched out, my notebook is ready to go, and a good night’s sleep is in the forecast. Like many other writers, I’m balancing a full-time job with my writing conquests so most of my Napibowriwee work will be executed on the commute to and from work. This leaves little time for blogging so please follow me on Twitter @whatsticks for updates on my Napibowriwee adventure!

Will you be participating in Napibowriwee? What writing goals do you have for this week!? Leave a comment!