Monday, August 29, 2016

The Big Thing by Phyllis Korkki & Baby Moo's Great Escape!

Hello, all! I am excited to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour for The Big Thing by Phyllis Korkki today, and also thrilled to share the cover for my children's book Baby Moo's Great Escape. Isn't Moo a cutie?

The book will be released on September 8 by Native Ink Press. Huge thanks to everyone who said yes to my request to give the book a shout-out any time in September. I will have the info to you shortly!!

Now on to The Big Thing!

I had to laugh a little bit when I was first asked if I would like to read The Big Thing and be a host on Ms. Korkki's tour. I thought, how did she know I'm a "lazy, self-doubting procrastinator?" I felt like it was some kind of sign that the chance to read this book basically fell into my lap.

And maybe it was, because I have been a lazy, self-doubting procrastinator for much of this year and reading this book did inspire me to knock it off and get back to my own "Big Thing," my next book. So I'm very glad I learned of the book and got the opportunity to read it.

Ms. Korkki works for the New York Times and has had a long and successful career in journalism. Yet, she has always wanted to write a book. That goal was the "big thing" that inspired her to write this book, and the book itself is the completion of her goal.

Korkki has an engaging writing style and as I read along I felt almost as if we were becoming friends. I could relate to a great deal of what she discusses in the book, and particularly appreciated her candor regarding her struggles with depression and anxiety and the impact those struggles have had on both her life and her book.

We meet Korkki at the beginning of her decision to start her big thing, and the book takes us through her journey in many inspiring ways. She discusses her work to become healthier in both mind and body, and shares interviews and anecdotes from others who have forged their own paths toward doing their best creative work.

What inspired me the most was Korkki's realization that she needed to make her big thing part of the structure of her life, and simply start writing it instead of thinking about it. She relays how she often said "the hardest part is to start" out loud to herself before she started to work. I've been fussing over my writing for so long now that I was almost to the point of feeling like I was afraid to try it again, so this was a great reminder to me.

As was the simple truth that "creativity for creativity's sake feels wonderful." We all know that is true, yet that's something else I had forgotten.

I'm really glad I got to read The Big Thing and highly recommend it to anyone who may need a creative boost.

About The Big Thing

• Hardcover: 256 pages • Publisher: Harper (August 9, 2016) A New York Times business journalist explains why it’s important for people to pursue big creative projects, and identifies both the obstacles and the productive habits that emerge on the path to completion—including her own experience writing this book. Whether it’s the Great American Novel or a groundbreaking new app, many people want to create a Big Thing, but finding the motivation to get started, let alone complete the work, can be daunting. In The Big Thing, New York Times business writer and editor Phyllis Korkki combines real-life stories, science, and insights from her own experience to illuminate the factors that drive people to complete big creative projects—and the obstacles that threaten to derail success. In the course of creating her own Big Thing—this book—Korkki explores the individual and collaborative projects of others: from memoirs, art installations, and musical works to theater productions, small businesses, and charities. She identifies the main aspects of a Big Thing, including meaningful goals, focus and effort, the difficulties posed by the demands of everyday life, and the high risk of failure and disappointment. Korkki also breaks down components of the creative process and the characteristics that define it, and offers her thoughts on avoiding procrastination, staying motivated, scheduling a routine, and overcoming self-doubt and the restrictions of a day job. Filled with inspiring stories, practical advice, and a refreshing dose of honesty, The Big Thing doesn’t minimize the negative side of such pursuits—including the fact that big projects are hard to complete and raise difficult questions about one’s self-worth. Inspiring, wise, humorous, and good-natured, The Big Thing is a meditation on the importance of self-expression and purpose

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Phyllis Korkki

Phyllis Korkki is an assignment editor and reporter for the New York Times Sunday Business section. Follow Phyllis on Twitter.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Celebrations & A Release Date for Baby Moo

Happy Friday, all! It's time once again to look back on the week and Celebrate the Small Things. The Celebrate hop is hosted by Lexa Cain and co-hosted by L.G Keltner at Writing Off the Edge and Tonja Drecker at Kidbits. Visit Lexa's blog here to find out how join in the hop yourself and to see the list of participants.

I didn't think I'd end up getting this post written as I have to admit that I haven't been in the mood for celebrating. My dog Clancy had to have surgery for the second time this summer - he tore the ACL in this right back leg in July and then tore the one in his left leg in August. He's been in lots of pain and it breaks my heart to see him having so much trouble. It's also been a serious drain on my bank account! Then to top it off I ended up sick this week and still don't really feel like doing much of anything but crashing on the couch.

But then I remembered that one of the great things about this hop is that it gives us the chance to think of the good things even when we're having trouble focusing on anything but the bad.

So this week I'm celebrating:

1. Clancy is recovering very well and we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. He is set to get his stitches out on Wednesday and I hope that will be the last time he and I see the vet for quite a while.

2. My co-workers very generously came up with a plan to cover for me so that I could relax and focus on getting better this afternoon and tomorrow instead of working as originally scheduled. This is a huge benefit because our university starts school on Monday and this will be a busy weekend there. I was so grateful that they made these arrangements without me even having to ask.

3. I have a release date for my children's book Baby Moo's Great Escape! The book is scheduled for release on September 8 and I can't believe how quickly that will actually be here. I'm not going to put together a full blog tour for this release but I would be so grateful to anyone who would be willing to just give the book a shout-out any time September 8 or later! If you are interested in doing that please just leave a comment and I will send you the info when I have it. Thanks!!

I am going to try to get caught up on my blog reading this weekend, I know I have fallen behind. Hope all is well in your worlds!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG & A Sneak Peek at Baby Moo's Great Escape

Happy IWSG day! I am one of the co-hosts for today (gulp!) so I am looking forward to hopping around and meeting new members of our group. The IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and meets on the first Wednesday of every month. To see a list of members, along with my fellow co-hosts for the month, visit here.

This month's IWSG question is "What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?"

This is a fun question to answer. My first piece of writing was a book called It's A Dog World After All that I wrote in the fifth grade. I actually wrote a post about this masterpiece a few years ago. Here are pics of the cover and the first page. 

I guess you could say it was published because it was made into a book for a grade-wide contest. I won second place and was thrilled to death. The book is now gathering dust in my closet, but it's kept safe in a cherished box of memories. 

I don't know why it took me more than thirty years before I tried to write another book, but I'm glad I finally got back on the writing horse. I couldn't help but smile that this first book was written about animals (big surprise to anyone who has followed this blog), and now I'm going to have my children's book about animals out in the world in just a few short months. It kind of feels like a full circle moment!

So to conclude this post, I just want to share a sneak peek of the illustrations for my children's book Baby Moo's Great Escape. This is a picture of the title character Baby Moo, along with his friends Missy the dog and Ruthie the cat. These animals all live at Sunrise Sanctuary in Marysville, Ohio. 

Aren't they cute? I'm so excited with the artwork! It's just perfect for the story.

And now I'm off to start my visiting so Captain Alex doesn't come after me! ;) I'm looking forward to checking in with everyone. Happy August!