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Day 26: 2012 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Anthology Day!

Today is anthology day! So I will introduce each writer by bio, then share each writer’s interview, describe the anthology, and then move right on to the next writer.

Comment for your chance to win one of three great anthologies. We’ll select three winners!

About Lela Davidson

Lela Davidson has built a writing career on everyday humor and candid observations. Lela is an award-winning author and essayist (Blacklisted from the PTA, 2011), a journalist (the TODAY Show Moms blog), and a columnist for Brooke Burke’s Modern Mom. She is an entertaining professional speaker, who charms audiences on topics ranging from marketing and social media to family life, marriage, and the challenges of being over-40 in a Botox world. Lela appears regularly on television and serves as Associate Editor of Peekaboo magazine. Her humorous, inspirational essays have appeared in family and parenting magazines throughout North America, as well as in Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms. Her book marketing advice has been featured in Writer’s Digest.

When did you know for sure that you were a writer and that writing would be a major energy focus in your life?

I started writing in 2003, and I started suddenly, filling spiral notebooks with eager responses to the teachings and prompts of Natalie Goldberg and Julie Cameron. That is when the writer part of me knew, but the rational me wasn’t sure until she got external validation. That really came in 2006 when I started getting my work out there and people told me they enjoyed it. That’s when I decided to figure out a way to “make a writing life.”

Who has always been behind your writing career and who helped pull you up the ladder of success?

My family is incredible supportive, especially considering they are the topic of much of my writing! I will always be grateful to a wonderful writer friend I knew at the time started writing. She made it okay to write. I still thought that for me, it was probably a silly waste of time that would amount to nothing, but her encouragement allowed me to try. The writers group I joined soon after I started writing was invaluable. There I learned many elements of craft and discipline. I’m a book learner, so I have a full home library of amazing instruction. Which brings me to Writer Mama. When I met Christina Katz at a conference I knew I wanted to learn more from her than what was on the pages in her books. I kick and scream through every class, but they have made all the difference in my success.

What is the most frequent comment you hear about your book (or books) from readers? Tell us a little story about the response to your work.

People respond to my writing because it’s what they’re thinking, only funnier. Whenever people talk to me or each other about the stories I tell, they inevitably start telling stories of their own. That’s all I ever wanted to do–sit around on my driveway drinking wine and laughing.

Lela will give away a copy of Women Writing on Family, Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing. This book provides guidance and insight for women who write about family. Award-winning women writers from all walks of life share their experiences in planning, composing, editing, publishing, teaching, and promoting work in a variety of writing genres. Readers will learn to tackle sensitive family issues and avoid pitfalls in memoir writing, poetry, fiction, and others. Filled with tips, exercises, and anecdotes, this anthology is appropriate for both well-seasoned writers and those just beginning.

About Lorraine Wilde

Lorraine Wilde is a freelance journalist, environmental scientist, and mother of twin eight-year old boys. She’s published over 50 articles in respected publications including Parents Magazine, Ithaca Child, Ohio Valley Parent, and Nashville Parent, and she blogs regularly at My Wilde World  (www.lorrainewilde.com) and easytolovebut.com.

When did you know for sure that you were a writer and that writing would be a major energy focus in your life?

I knew for sure that I was a writer in 1998 when I was working as a scientific consultant from my home office. I had less than a week to complete a solid 25,000 word report for the U.S. EPA based on others research and data and my boss had no time to help or edit. I worked in pajamas most days. When I sent it off on Friday afternoon, two hours before the deadline, I felt inspired and proud, without stress or exhaustion. In that moment I knew I could be a writer and actually enjoy the process.

Who has always been behind your writing career and who helped pull you up the ladder of success?

My husband Mike has always been supportive of my writing career, whether I’m earning money or not, jumping a hurdle, trying something new, or frustrated to death, he’s always there.

With the training and advice of Writer Mama, Get Known, and Christina’s WPSS class, I have been pulling myself up the success ladder. The support of Christina, the other writers from her classes, and fellow authors I’ve met at writers conferences have given me the tools and courage to make it happen.

What is the most frequent comment you hear about your book (or books) from readers? Tell us a little story about the response to your work.

The most frequent comment I hear about Easy to Love… is, “I was so comforted by the stories of what other parents had gone through with their child with ‘invisible’ special needs. What they experienced is exactly what I’m going through and knowing I’m not alone has lessened the panic and confusion. I am so thankful.”

If there’s anything the 32 parent-writers and 15 experts of Easy to Love but Hard to Raise want you to know, it’s this:

YOU ARE NOT ALONE We’ve been there. We’ve done that. We’ve navigated the system. Some of us succeeded. Some failed. We’ve been judged by friends, teachers, family, & strangers. We’ve gotten the phone calls & the looks. We’ve done things we never thought we’d do, good & bad. We’ve been up nights, cried in our pillows, and screamed in frustration. We’ve doubted ourselves, our children, & our partners. We’ve had to educate everyone, including our children’s doctors. We are parents of children with alphabet soup diagnoses, invisible special needs, behavioral problems.

Our children are easy to love, but oh, so hard to raise.

Easy to Love but Hard to Raise is an anthology of personal essays written by parents of children with ADD, ADHD, OCD, PDD, ASDs, SPD, PBD and/or other alphabet soup diagnoses that takes the already difficult job of parenting and adds to the challenge.

These essays focus on honest feelings, lessons learned, epiphanies, commonplace and extraordinary experiences. They are written by parents of toddlers, young children, teens, and adult children; those who are in the parenting trenches now, and those looking back on their parenting experiences. Topics include : how children came to be diagnosed, the experience of dealing with problem behaviors in various contexts and settings, experiences with/feelings about treatment (therapies, medications, alternative treatments), school (and other advocacy) experiences, children’s social interactions/friends, and the effect of parenting a difficult child on a parent’s emotional and physical health, marriage, and other relationships.

About Cara Holman

Cara Holman lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. Her personal essays have been featured in the Oregonian, Oregon Humanities, Literary Mama, The Fertile Source, and several anthology series including Chicken Soup for the Soul. She also writes poetry, which has appeared in a number of online and print journals. She blogs at Prose Posies.

When did you know for sure that you were a writer and that writing would be a major energy focus in your life?

Although I’ve been writing stories and poetry for as long as I can remember, I had never shared my work with anyone until I joined a writing group for women cancer survivors early in 2007. It wasn’t until after I published my first piece in an online journal, that I was finally able to call myself a writer. Before then, I simply thought of myself as someone who dabbles in writing. Getting that affirmation that someone besides me enjoyed my writing, and saw something of value in it, gave me the confidence to keep going.

Who has always been behind your writing career and who helped pull you up the ladder of success?

My mother gave me the initial boost I needed to continue on the writing path I had embarked on. My husband and three children give me space to write, even when they don’t always understand what this strange compulsion to write constantly is all about. And my online writer friends continue to support me with words of encouragement every step of the way. It may take a village to raise a child, but it is equally true that it takes a village to support a writer, particularly an emerging one!

What is the most frequent comment you hear about your book (or books) from readers? Tell us a little story about the response to your work.

Some tidbits of praise that I have taken very much to heart: “it is lovely to encounter your words at this unexpected moment”, “well done, and way fun!”, “thanks for sharing such a personal story”, “your piece is beautifully written”, “very powerful!”, “fitting and beautiful”, “your simple story is elegant”, “ahhh yes, this resonates”, “this made me smile”, “when I read your essay, I cried”. My goal is to make my readers laugh, cry, identify with the story, or show them a different way of looking at things. When I succeed, I feel completely rewarded.
Becoming a mom is the most amazing event. Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms will delight new and expectant moms with its heartwarming and humorous stories about raising babies and toddlers. This book is full of stories by other moms sharing the wonders of early motherhood, from waiting for the baby, to those early weeks and first few years, and everything in between!

And Now, Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. You remember how this works right?

I ask you a question. You answer in the comments for your chance to win a book each day.

Please just respond once, even if you make a typo. ;)

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! I hope to see you here every day this month. Bring your friends!

Easy to Love but Hard to Raise sounds like it could have been written about raising a writing career…do you ever feel this way? Is your writing career easy to love or hard to raise or both or neither? Does writing or not writing about your family make it more or less challenging?

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  • MLTCG May 25, 2012, 8:58 pm

    I love writing when I’m actually doing it, though I’m not as in love with editing. Writing about my family makes it more challenging in some ways and easier in others. This is subject matter I know well.  I feel caught at times between what will create a better book and what could hurt one of my family members if they rightly or mistakenly read themselves into a character. I try to be creative in these areas and still get the point across. I have to be cautious that I don’t let this bog me down.

  • Carol J. Alexander May 25, 2012, 10:17 pm

    I think what makes my writing career hard to raise is myself. Procrastination, fear, distraction, laziness, and more keep me from just getting down to business more than I care to admit. Trying to start a business is an eye-opener into one’s character. However, like raising children and other things in life, you reap what you sow. Also, if you don’t weed the garden, the weeds will take over and you will not harvest the tomatoes and cucumbers you so desire. So, I think I need to be vigilant in my weeding of distractions, and consistent with my sowing, and I will reap a harvest of words.

  • Sue May 25, 2012, 11:42 pm

    My writing is easy to love when I am doing it but hard to
    raise as I feel I am floundering at times like a new parent wishing for a
    manual. Writing about my family is healing and powerful but is also the
    challenging part: what to tell, how much and in some cases the fear of “going

  • Rhonda May 26, 2012, 12:12 am

    I do feel this way. It’s easy to love writing, but
    there are so many ideas that I can’t take the time to research, develop, and
    craft them into a piece. Plus, raising a writer career is just plain hard work!
    It’s pick and choose, write what I can, and realize that much of the writing
    life involves networking, marketing, and good correspondence with editors.
    Writing about family is the most fun to me – getting an initial draft written
    about a family experience is easy. The hard part comes during the revision
    stage—over and over again, and making my writing engaging, interesting, and fun
    for the reader.

  • Meryl K Evans May 26, 2012, 12:22 am

    I love my writing career because of the flexibility it gives me to make it easier to raise my family and be there for them. When I worked in the corporate world, it was hard to leave the office to pick up kids early for whatever reason. Writing about my family is easy — tying it to the point is hard.

  • Beth Fornauf May 26, 2012, 3:29 am

    I was just thinking about how much I love my career today, as I was driving. In typical holiday weekend fashion, I am overbooked. Commitments with family, sporting events and social functions are making this weekend feel less and less like a holiday and more like an exercise in exhaustion. As I was driving my daughter to a baseball game, all I could think was, “I wish I was in a quiet place, writing.” Then I laughed, realizing that I must have picked the right career if I see it as a respite from the demands of the everyday!

  • Heidi Smith Luedtke May 26, 2012, 4:00 am

    I’d say writing about my own family can sometimes make my writing career easy to love and hard to raise. It is definitely challenging to write about my own experiences without letting the work devolve into personal therapy. That’s not usually what people want to read when they read non-fiction (I don’t write many essays). That said, my own family life is a goldmine of ideas for articles and the current piece I am writing for Parents magazine was inspired by what’s happening with my now 5-year-old. When he’s hard to raise, mama starts writing. 😉

  • Heather L. Lee May 26, 2012, 4:30 am

    Oh, it is easy to love the writing, just as it is easy to love my children – but it is also easy to sink into slacker-mom-mode for both. I know what is best – but some days it is just easier to drift along and let things slide. Slowly though, I see that what had seemed easier only serves to create  more problems in the long-run. So, I pick myself up off the couch and supervise violin practice; I get out my pen and notebook or sit down to the computer and start whipping something into shape. And every day they change and surprises me, infuriate me and make me laugh. Kids and writing both.

  • Mar Junge May 26, 2012, 6:48 am

    My nonfiction writing career is very easy to love because I’m proud when I tell someone I’m a professional writer who gets paid to write for a living. Plus I love that I have opportunites to mentor young writers. It’s also gratifying when my peers, editors and clients tell me my content is creative.

    My fiction writing career, on the other hand, is like a teenager. It doesn’t listen because it has a mind of its own. It doesn’t play by the rules. It takes its own sweet time to do whatever it wants. And it may act confident on the outside, but inside it’s filled with insecurities and vulnerabilities because it doesn’t know exactly what it wants to be when it grows up.  

  • Dee May 26, 2012, 7:36 am

    My writing career is definitely hard to raise and frequently hard to love, too.  I love writing, I do.  But most of the writing I get to do is necessary writing as a communications director.  The writing I want to do seems to hide in corners and comes out only when the planets align!

    Interestingly, writing about my family has made it less challenging.  Since I started a blog, it makes me focus on at least some writing for myself, which is a good thing.  It’s also a form of therapy, as I’m sure all of the Easy to Love writers would attest!

  • Poppyherrin May 26, 2012, 7:52 am

    I love writing, but often
    neglect it, and I know I shouldn’t. 
    Writing about my family is easy, but sharing that writing is difficult
    because the truth can hurt.  For example,
    I could write pages upon pages about my divorce, but I’m not willing to share
    this just yet in order to protect my young daughter.  So, I write to my heart’s content, but keep
    the potentially harmful work to myself (for now anyway).

  • Lara Krupicka May 26, 2012, 9:57 am

    I’d say my writing career is easy to love and hard to raise – in a lot of the same ways as my “parenting career.” It seems in writing and parenting, as soon as you’ve got things figured out, the next phase starts. It’s that transition from doing what you’ve figured out how to do well (but no longer is working quite the same) to the new thing you have to do even though you’re not much good at it. I’d love to stay with what’s working well, but then my writing career won’t grow and mature. Writing about my family has made it less challenging for sure. I love looking at our life through the lens of an essayist.

  • Cara Holman May 26, 2012, 10:12 am

    The easiest (and most fun!) part of the writing life is the writing itself. Tracking submissions is surprisingly time consuming, and can get tedious at times. Trying to understand why one piece is accepted, and not another, can be frustrating. And finding the right balance between time spent writing and everything else can be a challenge. Yet still… the rewards far outnumber the inconveniences, and that’s why I keep writing, and keep submitting!

  • Lisa S. May 26, 2012, 12:06 pm

    Yes, I often feel like my writing career is just beginning to form and is in its infancy. It is really easy to love, everything about it is easy to love but raising it is difficult and will continue to be a challenge. But I’m up for the challenge because of the love. I haven’t really written about my family so it doesn’t really make it any more or less challenging. But maybe that’s why I haven’t written about my family yet, because I know it will be difficult and I’m not quite ready for that challenge just yet.

  • Meghan Finley May 26, 2012, 12:19 pm

    I love writing but don’t treat it as I should. If I considered it a second job, it would gain the attention it rightfully deserves. Right now it’s something that’s firmly on the back burner until there are more hours in the day. Or an awesome retirement plan

  • Christa Hines May 26, 2012, 1:24 pm

    It’s when I finally sit down to write, knowing that I have an allotted amount of time to just be in my quiet space without interruption that I find my writing groove and then it’s easy to love my writing career. With my kids running chaotically around me, it gets so much harder to concentrate. Even if they’re in another room playing, it’s tough to settle in without one ear to the ground aware that the next “crisis” is just around the corner. Raising my writing career alongside my kids is definitely a challenge. Despite the frustrations of trying to balance my family responsibilities while doggedly going after my writing ambitions, I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy. Plus, this family of mine gives me so many great ideas for articles! If only I had the time to research and write up all of those ideas into salable articles!

  • Lisa Hills May 26, 2012, 1:59 pm

    I haven’t considered writing as a career. But I have had many suggestions to doing that. I’ve had my child’s High School English teacher ask me to write a book on raising children. I’ve had my college English teacher ask me to write submissions to a Baby/Family/Parent Magazines and Family. (I have some pretty hilarious stories!!!)

    I love writing. But I don’t like deadlines.

    I enjoy writing about many subjects including my family. It isn’t a challenge. It’s fun. Of course if I feel like writing about them. But I like to write about all kinds of things.

  • Patricia A. Hawkenson May 27, 2012, 5:42 am

    It is easy to love writing when praise for your efforts
    gives you the momentum to write on.  The
    difficulty lies in hearing constructive criticism and then having to police yourself
    – to send yourself into the corner to think about what you did wrong, and the
    willingness to make changes to what feels like your very soul.  Everyone writes about their family, whether
    they will admit it or not.  They sneak into
    our words like a slippery nephew who slides his finger into the cake frosting
    when he thinks no one is looking.  Even
    if his mother wipes the frosting from his lips and attempts to smooth the
    frosting back into place, she can’t recreate the piped pattern, and his
    fingerprints have changed the overall effect. 
    So, dang it, Aunt Edie, stay out of my poem!