Snippets of life right now

Is it gorgeous by you yet? This week spring hit our neighborhood in full force—every tree is full of tiny baby leaves and the wind smells fresh and sweet. I was finally able to open up our living room windows for the first time in months, and it completely transformed the room. Isn’t it funny how a little bit of fresh air can make a room feel totally different?

Since we’re all breathing fresh and deep this week, I thought it’d be fun to do something a little different and play a game of Currently. Have you ever played Currently? You just jot down whatever pops in your head at the prompts. It’s fun to capture what you’re up to even if you don’t share it with anyone—think of it as a time capsule for the start of this year’s spring.

So without further ado, let’s play!

LOVING: Gin Rummy. We’re on a card-playing kick lately, and for some reason there’s nothing more relaxing to me after a long day of work than playing a card game together on the couch. Maybe it just feels so analog and old-fashioned when the rest of life is so digital? I don’t know. But I think Jarrett and I are ready for our retirement home.

Speaking of gin, we’ve also been loving these Cucumber and Basil Gimlets that Jarrett made for us a few days ago!

cookbook recipe blog

READING: I’m finishing up Unshakeable by Tony Robbins—it’s definitely the book to get if you felt intimidated by all 688 pages of Money: Master the Game. They both cover the key things you should know about investing, but Money definitely gives you both depth and detail. Up next: I have An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler waiting for me on my nightstand. I’ve heard such great things about it, so I can’t wait to dig in. And, because I’m almost always working through a new cookbook or two, I’m also reading recipe by recipe through SkinnyTaste: Fast and Slow. It’s perfect for some light and fresh spring cooking!

cookbook recipe blog

SHOPPING FOR: I really want a fresh pair of white cotton sheets for the spring and summer. We finally tucked away our flannel sheets (we adore these from L.L. Bean), but we ended up hating the cotton sheets we got from our wedding registry last year. (Never again will I buy sheets online without feeling them first!) I want a set of soft, breathable, but not too expensive 100% cotton sheets, but I don’t really want to go to a store to stand around stroking different sheets like a nutcase. So I guess you could say this is what I’m currently not shopping for—ha!

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 12.18.53 PM

EXCITED ABOUT: Our honeymoon to Greece next month! We’re off for two whole weeks to Athens, Meteora, Santorini, and Ios. We’re doing AirBnB abroad for the first time, and we’re hoping it’s pretty seamless. We’ll be doing hotels in Athens and Meteora, but I’m so excited to have more space (and a kitchen) when we’re on the Greek islands. I get so tired of eating out meal-after-meal when we’re on vacation. I just start to feel overly stuffed and sluggish, and I hate missing out on visiting the outdoor markets and being able to actually cook with new ingredients. So I cannot wait to have that last week in Santorini and Ios to lounge on the beach and cook fresh fish and eat feta. Mostly eat feta.

TRYING TO: Keep building our family gallery wall. One of my ongoing projects this year has been to print and frame our wedding guestbook print and a few of our other wedding photos. We’re building out a big family photo wall in our bedroom, and now that we have a few wedding photos up, I want to keep layering in photos of both of our families. I’m planning to have dinner with my Yaya this week and look through old photos together, so slowly but surely, we’ll keep this project going!

cookbook recipe blog

WORKING ON: Proposals, books in production, books fresh out in the world, books, books, books! By the way, have you seen my Spring 2017 books? They’re full of so much goodness and happiness for your home, your kitchen, and your day-to-day peace of mind. You can get organized in a sane way with Organized Enough, cook up some fresher, easier Southern fare with Add a Pinch, then clean up that kitchen with Simply Clean. If that’s not a nice little sequence to kick-off your spring, then I don’t know what is!

ENJOYING: Midday walks with Pepper, aka Peppy. It’s such a great way to break up the workday when I’m working from home, and it forces me to step away from the screen and get outside to enjoy the open sky and warm weather. Isn’t it funny how hard it is to break away from the computer sometimes, but how very good it feels when we finally do? It’s my daily version of a deep breath. And it’s much easier to bring yourself to do it when you have this little face next to you pleading for walk-time.

cookbook recipe blog

USING: Lavender essential oil. I swear, I sleep better when I put a few drops on my pillowcase before bed. It’s magic.

WEARING: This new J.Crew tunic I bought a few weeks ago. Please don’t make me admit how many times I’m wearing it per week. It’s just so comfortable, and it feels like spring in fabric form to me. Maybe this just means I desperately need more spring-y crossover tops.

cookbook recipe blog

PLANNING: It’s on my to-do list to research and plan a trip at the end of the year for my 30th birthday. We both get the last two weeks of the year off, so I’m hoping we can spend 4-5 days around my birthday volunteering either abroad or in another part of the country, and then we’ll spend Christmastime at the farm in Michigan.

SINGING: I’m really into this song lately. Again, it just feels like spring to me! (Ignore the cheesy video!)

NEEDING: More time for yoga. I love my midday walks with Pepper, but it does leave me with less time to squeeze in a yoga class. Lately, I’m lucky if I get to yoga once a week. Can there be Doggy and Me classes somewhere, please?! Pepper is already pro level at Downward Dog.

LEARNING: How to relax. This is an ongoing thing for me, but I really love this little book for a quick dose of relaxing reading before bed. It’s great for tucking into a nightstand or purse, and it helps quiet down all the noisy thoughts that can keep us from focusing and staying in the moment.

LISTENING TO: I listened to this podcast of Linda Silverstein in conversation with Anne Lamott and Glennon Doyle Mellon last week and loved it to pieces. Is there a cooler lady alive than Anne Lamott? She’s another voice that helps me breathe deep when life gets crazy.

WISHING: We were in the mountains. I miss being surrounded by gorgeous green nature. Must mean it’s time to plan a camping trip!

cookbook recipe blog

DOING: Eating our way through the freezer. We got together with some friends this past weekend for a big freezer cooking day, and now our freezer is past capacity—as in, we have most of our food sitting in a friend’s deep chest freezer! Time to tighten (er, loosen) our belts and get to work.

DREAMING OF: Jarrett’s surprise birthday activities on Saturday. I have a whole day planned full of fun stuff for him, and I might be even more excited than he is!

So that’s what we’re up to! How about you?


What I’m Reading This Week:

This is a time of year that awakens our hibernating senses, so I thought it’d be fun to weave that springtime theme into the reads this week, too!

To Become a Better Cook, Sharpen Your Senses (Julia Moskin for The New York Times): “But recipes are inherently limited when it comes to sensory information. An instruction like ‘simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, until thickened’ can produce endlessly different results. The recipe doesn’t know what your stove considers ‘low’ heat. It doesn’t know what your pan is made of. It doesn’t know what ‘thickened’ looks like to you. That’s why the best cooks learn to work not just with their minds and their taste buds, but also with all their senses.” This is so true—there’s only so much we can convey in recipes. That’s why I love recipes that have a layer of touch or smell cues to them, both for the reading and eating pleasure they bring.

 10 Ways to Sharpen Your Kitchen Senses (Julia Moskin for The New York Times): And if you’re looking for some practical ways to bring the senses back to your cooking (and not just the sense of panic and rush!), here’s 10 experiments to try.

6 Mindfulness Practices for Busy Weeknight Cooking (The Kitchn): And since we’re on the theme, here’s a piece I wrote for The Kitchn on how to slow down and be more mindful and present when you’re cooking.

How to Produce an Emotional Response in Readers (Donald Maass on JaneFriedman.com): Just like with cooking, success in writing begins with being clued in to the senses and emotions. This matters just as much for nonfiction as it does for fiction. I always tell my authors that they have to make the reader feel something, no matter what they’re writing about, because that’s the only way on this earth to get people to care.


What We’re Eating This Week:

I’m off to NYC this week, so the pickin’s are slim. Here’s the real, unvarnished truth of what we’re eating for dinner:

Monday: Spaghetti with Bolognese we made during our freezer cooking day. I swear by this recipe.

Tuesday: Tortilla de patata and looking through old family photos at my grandma’s place.

Wednesday: Dinner out with my mom—sushi maybe?

Thursday: Soup from my favorite spot in the city. I can’t come to the NYC office without getting Kabilah’s split pea soup with fresh herbs! I need to hack this recipe.

Friday: White Chicken Taquitos from SkinnyTaste: Fast and Slow. And maybe definitely margs.

Cheers!

Subscribe to have publishing advice, platform-building tips, and free printables sent to your inbox!

10 book art prints to inspire you to read more

Jarrett and I watched The Little Prince last week, and I am smitten. Why had no one told me how cute this movie was when it first came out?!

I loved every bit of it: the gorgeous paper cut-out animation, the thoughtfully done adaptation and expansion of the storyline, the themes of finding adventure and wonder in books. The movie did a great job of keeping the ethereal and delicate tone of the book yet overlaying the struggles of modern life: how the cult of productivity and busyness has made for less spontaneous and unscheduled childhoods (and adulthoods!).

It made me feel like a little kid again–it’s that same happy, giddy feeling you get when you read a great book. So, in honor of The Little Prince, the start of spring, and the very cutest Google doodle (did you catch it on Monday?), I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite reading illustrations and art prints.

Reading and book art prints

I have a whole board of reading and book art prints on Pinterest, and sometimes I just open them up to smile and remember what it is that I love so much in books. (Follow me there, if you want more!)

10 Reading Art Prints to Remind You to Believe in Books

Reading and book art prints

(Source: Simini Blocker)

Reading and book art prints 7

(Source: Doodlemum)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: unknown)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: unknown)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: part of a WPA series)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: Monica Castanys)

   Reading and book art prints 5

(Source: Book/Shop)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: Book Geek Confessions)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: Sarah Wilkins)

Reading and book art prints

(Source: unknown)


What I’m Reading This Week

Stop Focusing on Follower Count: 5 Better Approaches for Improving Social Media Use (Andrea Dunlop on JaneFriedman.com): This is such great advice–I see follower count trip up so many authors, yet it just isn’t an accurate predictor of the success of your book. Instead, focus on these 5 goals to stay motivated as you grow your author platform.

Writing the review in advance (Seth Godin): “The last click someone clicks before they buy something isn’t the moment they made up their mind. … We lay clues. That’s what it takes to change the culture and to cause action. The thing we make matters (a lot). But the breadcrumbs leading up to that thing, the conversations we hear, the experiences that are shared, the shadow we cast–we start doing that days, months and years before.”

The business of posting recipes online (Dreena Burton of Plant-Powered Kitchen): There isn’t a blogger out there who hasn’t had to work through this same emotional mire of seeing their work copied without credit, so it’s great to see a blogger discuss this so openly and yet so positively.

5 Scientifically Verified Reasons You’ll Hate Yourself if You Stop Writing (Chad Allen): “So much of winning at the writing game can be summarized succinctly in the immemorial words of Dory in Finding Nemo: Just keep swimming.”

How I Won 12 Book Awards for My Memoir (Judith Newton on Dianne Jacob’s blog):  Memoir can be a tough category to break-out in, so start here if you’re looking for ways to build buzz for your work!

10 Empowering Writer’s Retreats for Women (Ellen Turner on The Write Life): Feeling a little blah or overwhelmed in your writing life? Sounds like you need a retreat!


What We’re Eating This Week

What’s for dinner? Why, I thought you’d never ask!

Monday: Grilled shrimp greek salads, because Monday.

Tuesday: Chicken fajitas, made with a recipe by my author Robyn of Add a Pinch (Have you preordered her gorgeous book yet? It’s a weeknight lifesaver!)

Wednesday: Spaghetti with salumi and endives, adapted from Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry. Lordy, I love that book.

Thursday: The notes in my phone say: “Asian slow-cooked beef and mushrooms with rice and broccoli and snow peas.” AKA throw everything in the fridge in a pot, cover in sauce, cook, and serve over rice. #fancy

Friday: Last weekend Jarrett and I went to this fabulous event at the Museum of American History about the women behind America’s first cookbooks, and they demoed chicken croquettes and tomato butter sauce from The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph. All I had to hear was “add a stick of butter to the tomato sauce” and, boom, it was added to the meal plan. I’m powerful like that. (But actually, please say a little prayer for me in executing these–I’m cooking them as a birthday dinner for my mother-in-law and want them not to be, as Mary Randolph would put it, intolerable.)

Cheers!

 

How to get a second book deal

Guys, my new coworker is a bad influence.

how to get a book deal

Look at how she shamelessly propped her little snout on my trackpad and pinned my hand down with her paw. Because my typing was getting in the way of petting. And because she hasn’t put it together yet that typing = work = money = more treats for her. Pretty shortsighted, if you ask me.

Speaking of shortsighted, I thought it would be fun to take the long view today and talk about second book deals. Since you all have been loving my post from a couple of weeks ago with case studies of debut book deals, I thought it’d be helpful to also talk about what comes next: the second book deal! A second book deal is the real holy grail in publishing. Yes, receiving a book deal at all is an enormous accomplishment, but it’s that second book deal that cements an author as an expert in his field.

A second book deal means an author has proven that she can sell books, and therefore, that she’s making an impact on the world with her work.

That right there is why I do what I do. And I know it’s also why authors do what they do.

So as exciting and motivating as it is to hear about top-line numbers like advances, it’s even more important to focus on back-end numbers: namely, copies sold. (To learn more about the pros and cons of 6-figure and 7-figure book advances, read this.)

Focusing on copies sold as your key metric is the best way to take the long-view of your own career, as that’s the number that ultimately determines whether you’ll be able to get a second book deal, and therefore, more opportunities for you and your business.

I thought it would be most helpful to illustrate the path between a first book deal and a second book deal by telling you about one of my lovely clients who successfully made that leap. And lucky us, Becky was generous enough to share a few tidbits about the differences between her two publishing experiences, as well as some great advice on how she made her business stand out in a crowded world.

Becky rapinchuk clean mama how to get a book deal

Becky Rapinchuk is the writer and creator behind Clean Mama, one of the most successful homekeeping blogs and brands online today. Becky and I first started working together when I was an editor working at a medium-sized nonfiction publisher, and I was lucky enough to acquire her first book, The Organically Clean Home. Becky was working a day job at the time but putting in long nights and weekends building her blog, which had just gotten started.

At the publisher, we were encouraged to brainstorm book ideas in-house and then scout bloggers or other experts to pair them with the project. I still remember when I first stumbled across Becky’s blog—it was so much more beautiful and professional-looking than everything else out there! It was also immediately obvious that Becky was so passionate about cleaning and committed to sharing that with readers. That’s what struck me most: Becky was that perfect mix of passionate and committed that I always look for in authors.

Back then, Becky’s readership was small but growing, and so she was the perfect fit for a concept-driven book like The Organically Clean Home. The book deal that resulted also meant that she was finally able to quit her day job and work on her business full-time, which helped solidify her as an expert in the cleaning space. Over the years, the book sold very well, largely driven by Becky’s marketing savvy and her commitment to making it a success.

As Becky’s brand continued to evolve and she began experimenting with selling other products to her audience (have you seen her adorable cleaning goods line?!), her traffic and social media numbers kept growing.

When she was at the point where she was one of the leading voices in her space, we started chatting again about what a second book could look like. I was a literary agent by then, so I knew Becky’s platform was strong enough that larger publishers would be interested in working with her.

We put together a proposal for the book Becky had always dreamed of writing: a comprehensive manual on her signature cleaning routine, which shows readers how to clean their homes in just 10 minutes a day. We took her proposal out wide to lifestyle editors, and within a few days, had received two fantastic pre-empts from Big Five publishers. Becky decided to work with the Touchstone imprint at Simon & Schuster, and now we’re just 2 short weeks from welcoming that dream book, Simply Clean, into the world!

To be clear: there wasn’t any secret shortcut to getting that level of excitement from major publishers. Editors loved the project because Becky had earned her place as a leader in her category, and we had done the research and brainstorming necessary to offer a unique concept in the marketplace. Becky had spent the years between her first book and her second book doing the hard work: writing blog posts, scheduling social media, guest posting, connecting with other bloggers in her space, promoting her first book so it had a strong sales track record, creating new products, and earning the trust and goodwill of her readers.

Now let’s hear from Becky herself about what it was like to write her second book, as well as what one thing most helped her build her business and platform (I hinted at it earlier!).

Becky Rapinchuk of Clean Mama on Writing a Second Book

How was the publishing experience for your first book different than for your second book?

There were a lot of differences but the biggest one was that I understood the process from the first book, making the second book easier from the beginning.  I was able to plan backwards because I understood the big picture and process.

I did not have an agent for my first book and I would never have thought that I needed one until I actually had one.  This was probably the biggest game-changer from the first book to the second.  Having an agent eliminates so much stress in the process – there’s no guesswork, the agent has your best interest in mind and knows the ins and outs of the entire process.  It was so much smoother of a process.

I had different publishers for each book and while there are a lot of similarities, the differences are also there too.  Make sure you are looking at all your options and if you have the opportunity to offer your book to multiple publishers, take it.  You’ll be working very closely with an editor and a large or small team of people for a while – make sure you work well together and that the editor is excited about your book too!

What was special to you about your first book?

It’s something that I never expected to do. My first book really launched my platform and authority in the online cleaning space.  I grab it all the time and mix up recipes from it – it’s a resource that I am so proud to have brought into the world.

What’s special to you about this new book?

 Simply Clean is the book I was searching for when I started on my own homekeeping journey in my early 20s. It’s different from any book out there – complete with challenges and how-tos with a dose of realism. I truly loved writing Simply Clean – it was so much fun to put my ideas to paper and think of the homes that would be a little cleaner too!

What one thing–if you had to pick just one!–do you think most helped you build your business and your author platform?

Branding – having a cohesive and recognizable brand sets you apart from everyone else, and it solidifies your voice in the noisy online world.

What advice would you give to other bloggers interested in writing a book?

Find your own voice and don’t just write a book because it seems like it’s the next logical step or because everyone else is writing a book.  It’s a long, difficult process – make sure you’re up for the challenge!

What’s the most important thing you want readers to take away from your book?

Cleaning doesn’t have to be complicated, and a clean, organized home in minutes a day is possible!

Simply Clean Becky Rapinchuk book cover

I love Becky’s book because (I know this is hard to believe), she actually makes cleaning cute and fun. Really. Her cleaning routine works no matter your work schedule or house size, and it takes all the stress out of thinking about when and how to clean. (Which is the part that always trips me up!) But I love that Becky takes you by the hand and shows you how to clean each part of your home in only 10 minutes a day, so that you can build habits that become automatic and effortless. And if there’s one thing I never want to stress about again, it’s cleaning. 🙂

Simply Clean is in stores on March 21st, but you can preorder it here! (And if you preorder, you’ll get great free gifts from Becky, like The 7-Day Simply Clean Kick-Start, a 1 month subscription to her Homekeeping Society, and over $30 worth of products from Grove Collaborative, including Mrs. Meyer’s soap, a cute kitchen towel, and beautiful walnut scrubbers. Just don’t forget to enter your receipt information here to receive the gifts!)

By the way, next week I’ll be sharing an in-depth post on how the publishing experience differs between small publishers and large publishers and what questions authors should ask when considering working with any publisher. If you don’t want to miss it, make sure to sign up to receive new articles below!

Subscribe to have publishing advice, platform-building tips, and free printables sent to your inbox!


What I’m Reading This Week

Add a Pinch cookbook on QVC (Robyn Stone on In The Kitchen with David): This was such a highlight of the week! My lovely author, Robyn Stone, had so much fun sharing some of the recipes from her cookbook with David Venable. If you need a giggle today (and who doesn’t?) watch as David near loses his mind over Robyn’s Sweet Cream Cheese Biscuits at the 5:15 mark!

You Don’t Have to Finish Every Story You Start (Jane Friedman): “How often do you abandon an early draft? I have abandoned far more drafts of personal essays and short stories than I’ve ever completed. In fact, the ratio is rather embarrassing—maybe twenty starts for every finish. … Writer David Ebenbach discusses the wisdom in abandoning a draft—in not seeing it as wasted time, but as an inevitable part of the creative process that produces great work.”

The Art of Storytelling As Explained by Pixar (Pixar Directors and Story Artists on Khan Academy): If you want a hands-on, free, and short course on how the masters at Pixar craft stories, then ta-da!

How the Internet Changed and How Our Lives Changed With It (Young House Love): It’s tempting when you’re building your platform to stay laser-focused on the immediate tasks ahead: building traffic, securing brand partnerships, writing posts, maybe getting a book deal. But once you’ve arrived–once you have that massively successful blog and that New York Times bestselling book–what does that look like? What’s on the other side of the mountain? Sherry and John Petersik have been answering this question, and this retrospective on their careers and the way the internet has changed is fascinating.

Deep in the Weeds of Publishing Economics (Mike Shatzkin): A great and wonky look at the economics of publishing P&Ls–worth a deep read if you like this sort of thing, too!

When Your Launch Fails–How to Avoid It and How to Recover (Kirsten Oliphant of CreateIf Writing): I love this post from Kirsten–it’s brave of her to share her failure so that others can learn from it. And all of this advice is spot-on! This article is a must-read for anyone planning, or even dreaming, about launching a product, whether it’s a book, a course, or anything else.


What We’re Eating This Week

Certain unnamed parties in my household have said I’ve gotten out of hand with slotting in too many new and multi-step recipes for us during the week, especially when we have volunteering shifts or Pepper’s training classes to run off to. While I can neither confirm nor deny the validity of this accusation, I have benevolently agreed to plan us a week of Just-the-Favorites. Nothing fancy here!

Monday: Burrito bowl salads and guacamole with chips

Tuesday: Lemon thyme roasted chicken with cruciferous crunch fritters and roasted cauliflower (Ha, ha, I snuck this one in, convinced that it would “be a snap!” to roast a chicken and two separate sides after a busy workday. Oy.)

Wednesday: Repentance: the sausage and kale penne recipe we’ve made a thousand times.

Thursday: Lemon chicken noodle soup, another recipe I’ve made a zillion times and which was originally inspired by this recipe.

Friday: Yaya’s Tortilla de Patata (read: fried potato frittata) and a simple green salad–very restrained for a Friday night, if I do say so myself!

Cheers!

Read More

6 mindfulness practices to relax into your work

It’s 77 degrees in Alexandria today. (What?!)

Spring is popping up in every corner, and Pepper has had more long walks this past week than she knows what to do with. She loves to chase squirrel trails (which I’m convinced she’s just pretending to pick up on so that she can go berserk), and she runs so fast that she practically drags my lazy butt down the running path.

mindfulness practices for writers

But it feels so good to finally be entering into spring—I love that feeling of both new energy and slow growth. It’s equal parts raring-to-go and stop-and-sniff-the-flowers (or be dragged away from the flowers by your embarrassingly athletic dog).

Isn’t that the same balance we strive to keep in our work? Excited and energetic, yet still calm, composed, and present. Which isn’t easy for writers—I think nearly every writer or blogger would own up to being neurotic or perfectionistic or overachievers or wound a little too tight in one way or another. (I think their agent might be guilty of this, too. Ahem.)

So today I’m sharing 6 mindfulness practices that can help bring a little more zen into your day-to-day work. I think we’re all guilty sometimes of being so results-oriented and efficiency-driven that we completely forget that we actually like doing this work that’s in front of us.

I know that happens to me all the time! Half the time that I’m editing proposals or answering emails my shoulders are so tense and my jaw so clenched that it feels like I’m shouldering through some sort of terrible trial. But in reality, I love editing proposals, and I love chatting on email with my authors. With just a few calming breaths and some of these mindfulness practices, I’m reminded that I love this work I do and that it’s okay to relax and enjoy it.

Maybe the same thing happens to you?

You sit down to write and find yourself so pressured by the ticking clock or the word count or your own expectations that your whole body tenses up?

Or maybe you find yourself knotted into a ball of stress as you’re drafting query letters, or writing social media posts, or responding to email?

If so, head on over and read this article on The Kitchn!

It’s framed around work in the kitchen, but these practices can just as easily be applied to showing up at your computer to write or facing a stack of pages to edit.

I hope it’s a little reminder in the middle of your week that, once we learn to relax into our tasks, anything can become the soothing and meaningful experience we search for in meditation and yoga. So for those of you who show up to a manuscript or a computer or a kitchen every day, remember to breathe, feeling deep gratitude for this moment, right here, right now, with this work.

Mindfulness Practices for writers


What I’m Reading This Week

Ready to Learn How to Write With Purpose? (Kristen Kieffer of Well-Storied): Since we’re chatting about being purposeful today, it was perfect timing that Kristen released this free 46-page workbook! Aren’t we all trying to bridge the gap between what our ideal workday looks like and our actual habits? If you’re nodding “yes” along with me, then this is a great resource to help you take a few more steps toward getting it right.

The Why of Urgent Vs. Important (Seth Godin): “The reason we go for urgent is that it makes us feel competent. We’re good at it. We didn’t used to be, but we are now. Important, on the other hand, is fraught with fear, with uncertainty and with the risk of failure. Now that you know why, you can dance with it.”

Remember Chutes and Ladders? Book Publishing is Just Like the Game (Emily Wenstrom on The Write Life): This is a great inside look at how to speed up (or slow down) your journey toward reaching your publishing goals. And yes! Be bold and chase down any leads, always staying professional along the way.

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds (Elizabeth Kolbert for The New Yorker): “People believe that they know way more than they actually do. What allows us to persist in this belief is other people. In the case of my toilet, someone else designed it so that I can operate it easily. This is something humans are very good at. We’ve been relying on one another’s expertise ever since we figured out how to hunt together, which was probably a key development in our evolutionary history. So well do we collaborate, Sloman and Fernbach argue, that we can hardly tell where our own understanding ends and others’ begins.”

12 Tips for Pitching Articles to Publications and Websites (Dianne Jacob): Essential tips for pitching to both online and print outlets! Make sure you scan through these before starting in on pitching a piece.


What We’re Eating This Week

Another week without traveling for work means lots of fun things to cook! And would you believe this: we ended up with the pickiest eater of a dog. I’m now the world’s most accomplished chopper-upper of hot dogs. There has to be a culinary award in this.

Monday: Ah, Monday. I always feel better about you if I have a salad on deck for dinner. Otto-inspired Italian chopped salad it is (with extra salami, of course).

Tuesday: Soboro beef with rice and broccoli, using this Bon Appétit recipe. Easy, yummy, and not a hot dog. Checks all the boxes!

Wednesday: Thai chicken and rice noodle soup, from my author Jenn of Once Upon a Chef. Because springtime means soup…? I don’t know, I just wanted soup. Welp.

Thursday: Arroz cubano, just like my Yaya makes! Start by packing some white rice into a cup, turn it over, and shake it out to form a little mountain. Then top with whatever kind of tomato sauce you like and a crispy-edged, olive-oil-fried egg. Kids love it; adults love it; dogs better not decide they love it.

Friday: ??? I have no idea. Can we have gin and tonics for dinner?

Cheers!