Archives for July 2012

Since you heard from me last…


…I gave birth to a baby boy!! Our new little angel is just over a week old and he is divine. If you follow my blog, you know my doctor put me on bed rest to help prevent preterm labor. Well, after almost two months of minimal physical activity, I hit 37 weeks (considered term) and was actually taken off bed rest again. Yay! I didn’t dance down the street though…nine-month preggo balance + two months of physical inactivity = recipe for disaster. =)Just when I started fearing I would go past my due date (bigger baby, more pain, right!?), the little man decided to come. Very quickly. About four hours from the time I realized I was having real contractions and less than two hours after arriving at the hospital, the nurse placed his slippery little body on mine. Despite being born about a week and a half before his due date, he weighed in at a healthy 7lbs 7oz.

Though I am overjoyed with our new addition, life is…well, life. I can’t decide what has been most challenging these past several days: postpartum pains, sleep deprivation, or my husband’s severe ankle sprain (I had to force him into a wheelchair and push him into labor and delivery – his hobble was just too slow and my contractions were knocking me off my feet).

Anyway, here I am, writing despite being on “maternity leave.” For good or/and ill, the cogs in my brain labeled “writing” are pretty much always turning. I am, however, taking a longer break from more demanding projects – including querying agents about my Young Adult fantasy – to enjoy this new beginning.

That said, I have some fun writing-related news! I recently received my two writer’s copies of the September issue of SHINE brightly, a great magazine created for girls between the ages of nine and fourteen. My story, The Green-Eyed Monster, is about a set of twin girls at war with each other who – with the help of a wise parent –  learn more about the relationship between jealousy and loving one’s neighbor. Just like when they published my story Scarecrow, the editors at SHINE brightly did a fabulous job with editing and layout!

All right, my beautiful readers, time for me to go. My newborn needs some snuggles!

Talk to Me!

Old Letter

Recently, I emailed a friend I met in my teens. It had been a while (years!) since we communicated last, and I wanted to find out how she’s doing and let her know she’s still in my thoughts.

The first thing I normally do in the morning is grab my phone and check email, blogs, facebook, and twitter. Terrible habit, I know. One morning last week, however, I had not just gotten a bunch of impersonal emails from organizations that wanted me to buy something—I had received a reply from my friend!

And what a response: it put my original email to shame. In fact, it felt more like an old-fashioned letter than an email. Not only was the email long enough to actually sink into but after reading it I felt light: I think I actually sighed with contentment.

The thing is, my friend’s email wasn’t “sensational” in that it offered astounding content. It was, simply put, a personal update with thoughts and opinions strewn in. As I thought more about my friend’s letter and the way it made me feel, I realized several things I hope to apply in my personal communications and my writing in general. My friend’s email was:

-Conversation rather than chatter. When I read my friend’s email, I felt as if we were having an actual conversation. My friend asked and answered questions and shared her thoughts and feelings while I—in my mind—replied and commented. Social media is great, but much of the communication on facebook, twitter, etc, is nothing but noisy chatter. Even when we post on each others’ walls and like each others’ pictures, interaction is often brief, hurried, and of little consequence. My friend’s email reminds me to focus more on conversation than chatter.

-Personal in content and direction. Personal is powerful. My friend’s email was directed to and written with me in mind, but just knowing she actually dedicated a significant chunk of her day to me means a lot. Social media does a great job of bringing us all under one roof, but often we just shout out messages to anybody and everybody but to nobody in particular. Much of our communication, in other words, has become multidirectional instead of unidirectional: impersonal. My friend’s email reminds me that personal is powerful.

-Details rather than generalities. Lately, I’ve noticed I often communicate in very general statements. “I’m doing ok” is probably the most frequent general phrase I employ, but I use plenty of others almost as often! The thing about general statements: they are convenient, but don’t really communicate much. In her email, my friend went beyond generalities. She is a nurse, but rather than simply saying “work’s ok,” she explains she likes working with the patients but that regional government decisions (budget cuts, etc) sap much of the joy she once experienced at her job. The simple detail suddenly elevates her personal experience into social commentary! My friend’s email reminds me that details trump generalities.

Conversation, personal, details…Thank you, my dear friend, for reminding me of those great communication and writing principles! Now I just need to craft a worthy response to your email…


More communication tips, anyone?