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Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

Lets-Panic.com → 

Wednesday
Mar132013

Building my tiny empire

How great are all of you, sharing in my Tic Tac box obsession? I knew I was surrounded by a community of fellow weirdos. I just didn't know how weird.

And now I know. Deeply, deeply weird. You are all invited into my blanket fort.

Secondly, I have a couple of business announcements. Behold!

The Practice of Writing is almost but not quite full, so I need to close registration in the next few days. If you want to sign up, now's your chance!

Also, I am officially hanging out my shingle as a writing coach. If you're serious about your writing and could use one-on-one help with your manuscript, stories, essays, poetry, or blog, here's more information.

(I'm really excited about this. I've been unofficially coaching a handful of students, and I love it more than I love Orange Tic Tacs.)

Other ideas I'm tossing around for the future: a mini-Practice of Writing course (maybe a week long?), as well as workshops for smaller groups. If you have any thoughts on what you'd like to see offered, what questions you need answered, what needs I can fulfill, speak up!

Tuesday
Mar122013

Or maybe I was just super weird

Reminder: registration for The Practice of Writing is still open!


On Sunday Henry had to join me for errands. Our expedition entailed walking a total of maybe ten blocks, round trip, but some of us do not wish to experience the out-of-doors on what is supposed to be a relaxing Sunday when one wishes only to simultaneously play Minecraft and listen to Minecraft songs. Some of us, however, don't feel like going out alone to buy someone else underwear and socks only to return home and find out that some of us purchased the terrible kind. So some of us HAD TO GO.

There was yelling. Then I said I'd buy him gum and possibly a pack of Magic Cards if he was particularly great (translated by Henry: definitely Magic Cards, multiple packs, get your pants on before she changes her mind).

Out we went, and after finding the acceptable varieties of both underwear and sock, Henry decided he wanted Tic Tacs. I never buy Tic Tacs, I don't think about them, but while he was mulling over the flavors at the checkout counter I was filled with nostalgia: not for the candy, but the packaging.


When I was little, I had a thing for empty Tic Tac boxes. My mom bought the spearmint flavor, which was too intense for my delicate girl-mouth, but whenever I found an empty box I snatched it. I'd take it up to my bathroom, where I would spend far too long than is healthy playing. With the Tic Tac box.

First I had to remove all the labels, because duh. And then scrub it until the glue came off. But carefully, because you didn't want to scratch the box. Without the labels, I found the entire thing to be perfect. It satisfied me in ways I can't explain. That hinge! Did I open and close it, then open and close it some more? Why, yes. Yes I did.

And what did I do my beloved Tic Tac box, after I regarded its perfection? Well! I filled it with either 1) water, 2) shampoo, 3) a sludgy mix of water and talcum powder, or 4) Jean Nate After-Bath Splash. And then I poured it out, and filled it up again. If I had glitter, you can be sure as hell the glitter got in there. On one particularly heady occasion, I nabbed some food coloring and filled a couple of tic-tac boxes with various shades of tinted water. They were too beautiful to be disturbed, so I hid them under the sink for a number of years. I took them out on special occasions and held them up to the light.

It's not like I didn't have an entire room filled with toys.  But they couldn't equal the perfection of the Tic Tac box. Which, if I'm going to be honest, I'm still itching to grab, although I don't know why. What would I do with it? I don't even own any Jean Nate!

I was going to tell Henry this story while we were walking home, but he already worries about me. And now I'm telling you. But you understand, right? Maybe you're a little concerned, but surely you had something similar? Come on, now.


Thursday
Mar072013

The Practice of Writing #3: Registration is now open! (Update: RE-opened)

UPDATE: I mistakenly set up the course registration to end...yesterday. Whoopsies. If you tried to register and it told you registration was over, you have my apologies. Try again--it will work now.

For THIS one, I've joined forces with Ruzuku, an online learning platform, to host the course (and, I hope, other kinds of courses, down the line). The great thing about Ruzuku is...well, there are all kinds of great things. Their support frees me of numerous technical headaches and allows me to focus on the lessons and my students (i.e. the only things that matter). Plus the course just looks better; it's better organized, thanks to their system, and there's a discussion forum for each lesson. And I can keep track of each students' progress. It's great.

I've updated the course information page, so check it out, if you're interested. If you click on the enrollment link it will bring you over to the Ruzuku registration page. Payment is still through PayPal. Please note that the course price is now $150. Unlike the previous iterations, registration is now limited. I've been getting huge groups, which is great, but I want to be able to give more personalized support, so I need to keep the size a bit more manageable. If you're interested, I recommend signing up as soon as you can!

Tuesday
Mar052013

Go ask me: how to overcome a creative block 

You know what's funny? I'll tell you what's funny. Oh ho, you are going to split your sides! Both of them! And then your guts will tumble out and you'll scream WHY ALICE WHY while you scoop them up with both hands.

As I was saying before I launched into that disgusting aside: here I was, whimpering about my lack of writing productivity, when I myself have doled out advice on this topic for years. Last week I reviewed the various emails I've written to readers who needed help. I discovered that I am extraordinarily wise. I applied my own advice, and promptly got tons of writing gone, made progress, and felt inordinately proud of myself. Not to mention my skin cleared up and my least-favorite ex-boyfriend instantaneously combusted.

Maybe you would find this helpful as well, I thought. You, my patient reader, who comes here expecting something beyond goats. So here's my advice, which I took, and now give to you:

Reduce your expectations. Then reward yourself.

Imagine that your psyche is a puppy. It's cute to think about, isn't it? Your mind's all floppy-eared and wet-nosed! Your mind just fell on its bottom!

(I had a point with this, and it was not to hop on over to Cute Overload. Resist. Come back here.)

You don't train a puppy by sitting it down and saying, "Look, here's how it's going to be. Your bathroom is the outdoors, and only the outdoors. You don't gnaw on people or furniture. You sit when I say, you stay when I tell you. Oh, and no humping my leg."  Puppies are idiots, and can't understand a word you're saying. Instead, you offer positive reinforcement (high-pitched cooing, pets, treats) for each small step that brings the puppy closer to your goal.

You can punish a dog when it's not doing your bidding, and you may get results, but you're also going to wind up with a sad puppy who's not so into you.

Negative reinforcement doesn't work, and yet we plow ahead like this time maybe it will. We heap on the self-criticism when we're not getting the job done. We compare ourselves to everyone else, we decide we're not good enough. We get nowhere, and then we heap on more criticism. It's like whipping a horse to run when its legs are broken. (I'm into animal metaphors today.)

Meanwhile, all our puppy-brains want and need is small goals, positive feedback, and treats.

What's your ultimate goal? Break it down into steps that seem laughably small. On my first day, I sat down with my novel for five minutes. I didn't have to write. I only had to read it over and think about it. Once I did that, I told myself, I could have some chocolate. (Only a little.) I ended up writing (!) and doing so for ten (!) minutes. And after I was done I got even MORE chocolate because I was such a good girl.


Change it up.

If you write only on your computer, try writing longhand in a notebook. (Or vice versa). If you write sitting down, stand up at a counter or tall table. If you write at home, get out--go to a coffee shop, the library, the park. Write in the morning instead of at night. If you normally write for two-hour stretches, carry a notebook with you and write one sentence every few hours. Experiment, and make the experiment the point, not the writing. What you're doing here is shifting your focus. By the time you determine, say, that the counter is not the best place for you to write, or you're much more efficient at night than in the morning, you'll have gotten stuff done. Block: fooled!


Do stuff.

Any action is better than inaction. Go for a walk, do some push-ups. Whatever you do, don't sit around and think. Psychically spinning your wheels is not going to get your anywhere. If you're not getting stuff done, get up and move.

And examine what else you're putting off. That crap gunks up the works. You can't think clearly when there are too many to-dos weighing on you. Set some non-creative small goals, reward yourself accordingly, and your burden will feel lighter.

Or maybe write a blog post that's mostly a video of yelling goats. Hell, that's something, and is therefore superior to nothing.

Bitch about it.

I'm weary of the whole power-of-positive-thinking, vision-boarding, manifesting-The-Secret message I seem to find everywhere I go.  I don't think it's wrong, but I do think many of us took it too far and are now convinced we must never feel bad. Because then we'll manifest more badness, because the universe hears us, or something. Stay positive! Manifest abundance! BATHE YOUR SOUL IN WHITE LIGHT!

It's more pressure, and pressure wears you out. Who can be creative when you're suppressing how you feel? Go ahead and bitch. There's energy in bitching. Experiment with dramatic wallowing, perhaps a little low-grade keening. Let it out.

You don't have to share it with the Internet, like I did.  Stab at your journal, draw horrible faces, call your best friend and enumerate all the ways the universe is conspiring against you. You might find yourself inexplicably cheerful afterward, and ready to get some work done.

 

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