The Virtual Career Author Summit 2020 Takeaways

Safe to say this year’s Summit was much different from last year’s, which was held in Chicago, in a space with a couple hundred other writers. Despite the new social distance requirements and the cancellation of all large gatherings, the organizers persevered and gave us a virtual experience to remember.

I didn’t take notes during all the sessions—some I just listened to and absorbed (and some I made dinner during…while on video…oops)—but here are my top takeaways from each of the sessions I did take notes on.

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#SaferatHome during COVID-19

While I’ve been working at home for a week now with varying degrees of family and friends around me at any given time, yesterday (3/25/2020) was officially Day 1 of the governor of Wisconsin’s order to stay at home, or #SaferatHome. Since being at home, we have gotten my husband’s best friend on a plane and back to his own family after they jointly celebrated their 40th birthdays. It was a much smaller celebration than originally intended, but they still got to do everything they had planned, on a smaller scale. I’m thankful for that.

This past week has brought some dark times for me, to the point of wondering if I’d be able to do this without an end in sight. The word “trapped” came to mind, and I felt resentful of the events that needed to be canceled and the friends and coworkers I wouldn’t be able to see. However, I’m not without perspective, and I realize how good I have it and how bad it could get. Knowing that still didn’t alleviate the emptiness and panic I was experiencing.

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EMMA. A Movie Review

After some confusion about when the movie’s wide release date actually was, I had the pleasure of finally catching Emma with one of my good friends from college. Conveniently, my friend also happens to be a fan of Jane Austen and my Austen-inspired books. Heart you, Jen!

I walked in expecting to love every moment of the movie. How could I not?

Let’s start with the good.

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A Trip Down Memory Lane

My parents are currently packing up their house in preparation of downsizing. Lucky for us, they’ll live an hour away again, so we’ll have more babysitting opportunities!

In that process, they offloaded a whole china set to us, which will be passed down to my youngest daughter in twenty years, and also asked us to go though the school stuff they kept for both my brother and me from kindergarten through high school. Keep or chuck?

My younger brother, not nostalgic in the least, gave the container one glance before he all but sentenced it to the dumpster. Meanwhile, I sifted through each piece, smirking nostalgically as I went.

I passed on almost all the report cards, awards, and art projects–even the ones my mom wanted to frame after finding them–but couldn’t resist keeping some of my earliest writings.

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My First Foray into Screenwriting: An Excerpt

If you’ve been following along with me for the last year, you’ll know how much of a struggle finishing my last novel was. With that in mind, I decided to give myself a bit of a break and try my hand at screenwriting. After purchasing a book on how to do it right and realizing with much relief that Scrivener, a program I already own, can handle the formatting for me, I dove in.

I’ve been wanting to write an Oregon Trail story since I was a kid, but I didn’t think I could pull off the history to a satisfying, realistic degree. Cut to a brainstorming sesh with a friend where we came up with a modern Oregon Trail concept based on the game with all the classic trials and tribulations along the way. Think new Jumanji meets Road Trip.

Here’s an excerpt from when the gang of four begin their journey together.

Content warning: Rated PG-13.

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