Ten Things I Learned from Planning a Literary Festival

I have some semi-big news to share! I alluded to this in my Rocky IV post and maybe one before. But I have been hard at work planning a literary festival. It is going to be in a small town in North Carolina but this was the litmus test for whether I would like to plan more events. I’m sharing the link to the site too just in case anyone is nearby or wants to share with others.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lit-hang-suite-2017-tickets-34553145388?aff=ehomecard

Lit Hang Suite media 912

  1. You can’t plan enough: I had a well-drawn out plan from the inception of the festival. A lot of those plans fell apart. Starting with the location and part of my author lineup.
  2. There will be setbacks: see above! I was scrambling over a month ahead of the event to find replacement authors, to change the location, and to build registration.
  3.  You will be surprised by who says yes: I was astounded by the authors who initially said yes as well as those who told me to let them know about my next event. Some of my favorite authors and some who I would have never thought to approach were willing to appear.
  4. It helps to have relationships with authors: I was amazed by the authors who agreed to participate and it helped me realize that I need to extend my circle and interact with more authors so that I can plan larger and better events.
  5. And other readers: As I was having my major freak out, I realized that I had never reached out to one of my Facebook friends who I’d had an immediate bond with upon speaking in the group of one of our favorite authors. As soon as I contacted her, she was ready to help however she could. And help she did! She suggested authors that I could contact who were reasonably close and she shared the information on her page which got it shared in other groups.
  6. Use local businesses: There are so many small businesses in my small town but one of them that I use frequently really paid off for me. They made my flyers and were willing to work with me in all of my craziness.
  7. Have a relationship with your library: I love my library so much and planning this event did not lessen that love. I was able to speak to the librarians about the event and to leave some smaller fliers for readers they thought would be interested.
  8. It costs money: I didn’t underestimate this but I was lucky enough to encounter a partner who was willing to share the costs for a donation to the local HBCU where I previously worked.
  9. Use volunteers: I was lucky enough to have former students who were willing to “work” the event for free admission and publicize it. I also corralled some of my friends who were willing to spread the word about it.
  10. It’s addictive: I’m already planning more events!

 

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Rocky IV as Inspiration 

On Tuesday night I was feeling real low. Like Sophia in the store when she saw Ms. Celie but then Rocky IV came on and all of a sudden, I felt like I could take over the world.  Which is always a side effect of watching Rocky IV (for me at least). The downside to that is that when I watch the movie I get really excited. That means that I have to at least see the part where Adriane goes to Russia and who can sleep after that? Not this girl! So I was up until 1:00 am being excited about Rocky’s win. 

After that, I was ready to tackle the challenges that loomed before me. Except, for taking the GRE! 

Here are my top four moments from the movie and why they make me so excited.

“You can’t win!”: When Adriane says this to Rocky on the heels of Apollo’s death it simply shatters Rocky so he goes out to drive off his hurt and anger. Which leads to…

The S0thpaw plate: Proud lefty over here! When this movie came out no one could convince me that I wouldn’t have a Jersey plate with the same thing as soon as I got a car. Never happened! 

Philly: I grew up Philly adjacent then wound up living in the city for a bit. It is still home to me, in a sense, so I love seeing it on the screen in any movie but this one always reminds me that I was once inspired to run up the steps of the museum. 

Living in America: James Brown performing this song! Classic! 

I Promise 

Today’s post is a bit different and although I have it categorized as a rant, it really isn’t one at all. Okay, so I am sure that you all have come across other bloggers and sites specifically ones that are geared towards writers. Well, I am a huge fan of those sites. Simply because I love to learn and I love seeing what else is out there in the world. 

For those reasons I am on the mailing lists of many, many,many “writing clubs.” It could also be because I am addicted to worksheets. I think it’s a product of growing up in a certain era. Pinterest allows you to find so many useful writing tools and I love to have copies on hand to use as I develop characters, plots, and scenes and that’s usually how I come across these resources. However, one negative of belonging to these “clubs” is that they often lead to the new thing which is writing courses. Some of which are very pricy. I completely get why these services are offered and I know that there are people who want/need/desire them.

Let me just say that I am not bashing them at all. I know that there is a need and everyone shouldn’t have to enroll in graduate school to learn the skills they want. So, it is great that these services and classes are out there. 

But…that is not what I’m about. At all! 

So today, I am making the solemn vow that I  promise to never offer or sell you writing courses. I know, I know “never say never” but this is a near certainty. 

Here’s why:

1.) I teach writing courses for a living at several colleges and universities. This little spot on the web is where I find my bliss. I am not trying to merge the two unless it becomes absolutely necessary. 

2.) If you ask me for tips, I’m more than happy to share any and everything that I’ve learned. 

3.) I have an MFA and a MA in Creative Writing and English respectively and I am still crafting my own lane for writing. I know many people with neither who are brilliant writers and are more qualified to offer such advice. 

4.) As I continue to build my brand, I know the direction that I want to head in. Since I’m committed to publishing I don’t want to teach courses outside of my day job and workshops. 

5.) See number one again 

When Your Goals Exceed Your Productivity. 


I set goals every year and work to cross them off my list. Sometimes I arbitrarily decide that they’re accomplished and sometimes they remain on the list year after year. As you can see from the above picture, this year I feel as if I accomplished nothing so these goals are rolling over to 2017. 

Although I have been working on these goals, especially in the beginning of the year, I  don’t feel as if I worked enough to mark anything off my lists. As you can see, they’re simple lists but I wasn’t able to mark anything off of them so this is how my 2017 lists will look too.

Have any of you turned your gaze to setting 2017 goals? What are you looking forward to most? Are any of your goals going with you to the new year? 

The Original Southpaw Scribe 

I apologize in advance for this rant but I really need to let it out. 

So…a few weeks ago I jokingly said that I was thinking about changing the name of the blog. Well, what I didn’t know at the time was that there is another blog, a fairly new one, with the same name as this one. Okay, essentially the same name. So I immediately began to think about changing the name again. How did I find out? I went looking for two old poetry posts because I was away from my laptop and external hard drive so I Googled the blog. But it didn’t come up. What did come up was this other blogger’s page.  

And just like that, I was instantly saddened. Like what the heck man? This kinda happened with my Instagram last year when another person asked me to change the name that I’ve had since 2011 or 2012. His user name was similar and apparently he had to use two underscores because of my name. I completely understood but ignored him because my Ig name is like my third choice. Southpaw Scribe wasn’t available when I started my account. 

So yesterday, I was searching my brain for another name because I was absolutely about to change the blog name. Seriously. But then I thought about it and decided that I’m keeping Southpaw Scribe. After all, this has been my blog’s name since 2010. It’s on my business cards,it’s linked in my email addresses, on my Instagram and Pinterest, and I’m really attached to it. 

Thank you for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow with some poetry. 

Books, Tea and Me

Earlier this week, I was seriously considering changing the name of the blog because I received a new tea shipment and a new book and all I wanted to do was drink tea and read. Unfortunately real life also known as grading and my own classwork interfered with that daydream.  

This week, the dream has been partially deferred since I haven’t been able to dive into my latest book purchases. I can’t wait to crack the spines of the two latest books on my TBR pile but I have been drinking tea every day. For me, there is so much happiness in a mug of tea!

Have a great weekend! And read something great for me. 

     

Impatiently Waiting

patience-is-a-virtue

 

In the words of the great philosopher Shawn Corey Carter, “I got no patience.” The above meme is a perfect depiction of me exhibiting patience. This is the absolute truth and I realize that it is quite possibly an incurable negative character trait. I am waiting for a final response for a workshop in January that I was super excited about applying to and possibly being accepted into. Anyway, the deadline was in June and I would have just written it off that I didn’t get accepted but they sent an email asking me to be patient.

This was my face when I read that:

veruca

In another life, I probably could have been Veruca. Well, the impatient bratty part of her personality. So here I am waiting for a follow up on a September 2nd email. As I write this post, it’s been nineteen days counting the weekends.I tapped my nails on my desk after writing those words because nineteen days is quite a bit of time to be patient.  Acceptance into this workshop would be such a blessing and I would be able to cross some things off of my literary travel list and consider it a belated birthday trip if necessary but the hard part is waiting. It would also allow me to focus more on some aspects of the story that was my thesis project. So I’m super excited about the possibility. Which means that I’ve found myself checking the website every day to see if any announcements have been made and I have forced myself to not continually look at my phone to see if an email has miraculously appeared.

I just really needed to vent because patience isn’t one of my virtues. So now I will go back to impatiently waiting for a final response.