Karen Cushman and To-Do Tips

by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Published on: February 28, 2012
Comments: 3 Comments


I’ll start with the backstory: Once upon a time, the folks at Ooligan Press asked me for a list of potential reviewers for Blue Thread. Reaching for the stars, I included Karen Cushman. Much to my amazement, Karen gave Ooligan a blurb, such a great blurb, in fact, that it landed on the front cover of the book. Yes!

Karen Cushman

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I sent Karen an email about Blue Thread and thanked her again. In reply, she wrote, in part: “I wish you great success with the book and all the to-do that comes after.” All the to-do that comes after. Oh, Karen, you are so right!

There’s the celebratory kind of “to-do,” the recent launch of Blue Thread. Exciting and kinda scary. I’m not comfortable being in the spotlight.

Then there’s the so-much-to-do kind of “to-do,” which involves thoughtful, gracious, and time-consuming attention to spreading the word about the new book. Not so exciting. Not so scary. But, in fairness to Blue Thread, necessary and important.

Finally, there’s the big item that’s not on the Blue Thread “to-do” list, and that’s writing the next book.

I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks, since Blue Thread appeared on the scene. Here are my “to-do” tips for you:

  • Give yourself time, permission, and encouragement to enjoy your moment in the spotlight, even if it’s scary. Relax! No one’s going to remember if your hair wilted or there’s a quaver in your voice. They will remember your enthusiasm and your smile.
  • Eat well, exercise, rest.
  • Say “yes” to nearly everything, but remember that it’s OK to say “no,” too.
  • Commit to bringing spirit to your audience, whether there are two hundred people attending or two. Give them what in Hebrew is called ru-ach, a soulful, zesty, uplifting experience. Good for your audience; good for you.
  • Find your balance between doing right by the new book and “doing write” with the book-to-be. You might decide to stop working on your manuscript entirely for a few weeks, or you might decide to write 250 words on your manuscript every day. Your call.
  • Thank people. Thank your critique group, your editor, your publisher, your friends, your family, your audience, your muse.

So, with that it mind, I’ll end this post by saying, “Thank you!”



Post Revisions:

This post has not been revised since publication.

3 Comments - Leave a comment
  1. Teri Brown says:

    Ah, yes… the after to do list. Almost as scary as the before to do list.

  2. Indeed, Teri. You got that right!

  3. ScrivaAmber says:

    You were so fantastic last night at the Historical Society. I was moved by your words, your composure, and your devotion to the story. And I stayed up til midnight last night reading Blue Thread. I’ve read so many drafts that it was both oddly familiar and totally new to read it in book form. I kept having to stop and just look at the page for a while!

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