The Perils of BIC or Butt In Chair
If you’ve been to a writing conference – ANY writing conference, you will have heard the sage wisdom that the first step of getting that novel plunked out on your keyboard is BIC – But In Chair. I would agree that is true, but it should come with a warning about “The Perilous Broadening of Butt In Chair.” Additional warnings ought to include, the “Hazards of Mindless Snacking While Plotting Scenes” or the “Crazy Calorie Consumption over Character Development.”
So my life is kind of like this:
And then this:
To reverse this process which has occurred over the course of writing and editing one teen novel and two middle-grade novels and navigating the publishing and promotion of the teen novel – my daughter has convinced me to run a 5k in June as part of Winona, Minnesota’s Steamboat Days. Just so you know what a monstrous task this is going to be, I will admit that on a good day I can only manage one mile without stopping to suck wind. HOWEVER, I feel really, really great after that mile is done . . .
This makes me think of the dynamic, funny Ann Garvin who recently spoke at the Writers’ Institute in Madison. Ann combines her knowledge as a professor of Health at UW-Whitewater with her success as a writer. She understand the perils of Butt In Chair that writers and truly all desk-bound workers face. I love her no-nonsense sassy advice. I think you will, too. Check out her website! This is how she introduces herself: “Ann Garvin is a small book girl trying to make it in a big book world, hoping you’ll get a coffee and stay awhile. Another place you can find Ann’s Health advice is at the Unreasonable Institute where she helps entrepreneurs stay healthy while they save the world.”
Speaking of the Writers’ Institute . . . Six years after attending my first conference in 2009, I was a finally member of the Success Panel at this year’s conference! Did I really start this journey to publication six years ago?? Wow! This was a wonderful opportunity for me to talk about my novel and really just give a big shout out to this conference and the UW-Madison Continuing Study’s instructors for guiding me on my way to publication. I remember sitting in the first session back in 2009 . . . I knew nothing about writing a novel or publishing a novel. NADA! I just knew I had this story (a lot of stories) stuck in my head that I wanted to get out. So I listened, I learned, I wrote, I edited, I was critiqued, I rewrote, I edited, I repeated the previous three steps about ten times, I pitched, I queried, I cried, I rewrote, I edited, I resolved to publish and eventually I did just that. Truthfully, there may have been a little more crying in there – but I just kept thinking of Tom Hanks shouting, “There’s no crying in publishing!”
I was able to reconnect with writing pals (Jess Witkins, Andrea Ross, Tina Schwartz, KJ Klemme), pitch my middle grade novels to two agents, and make some new friends. Oh, and I learned some stuff, too.
This conference has kicked off a flurry of other book promotion events:
This Saturday (April 11) I’m part of the Cedarburg Library’s Local Author Showcase 10 am – Noon. On April 19 I’m part of a seven-member Wisconsin author panel discussing "Why Young Adult Novels are for Everyone” at a Room of One’s Own Bookstore just off State Street in Madison. Then I’m pleased to be the inaugural author for the new Books & Beer Event at Hydro Street Brewing in Columbus on April 30 at 7 pm. Next on deck is the May 2 Spring Luncheon for the Wisconsin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. May 9th brings me to Oshkosh where I’ll again be part of an Authors’ Showcase at the Lakefly Writers Conference. (More info on these events is located under the events tab on my website.)
In the meantime, I will have my butt in and OUT OF the chair as I continue to write and train this poor author’s body for a 5k. Wish me luck!