The Goodjelly Blog

On Shredding the Shoulding

Mar 01, 2021

By Christine Carron

When I turned forty, which was not long after I officially started my writerly journey, I decided it was time to do something with all the diaries and journals I kept since I was ten. There were boxes of them. Over the years, I dragged those boxes from city to city; I even paid for storage for them when I lived abroad. The upkeep of those journals and diaries kind of stressed me out, but I had this firm notion that one should keep such things. Do something with them. Especially, if one wanted to be a real writer.

With dogged enthusiasm and expecting to be inspired, I...

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On Taming the Wire

Feb 22, 2021

By Christine Carron

In 2010, I got to attend Tightrope! A three-day workshop led by Philippe Petit. Yes, the same Philippe Petit who walked between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974. There were five of us in the class. No hiding in the back. I was getting on the wire. Slightly problematic as I have a not insignificant fear of heights. I can’t even watch some of the scenes in The Walk. All my limbs go to jelly if I try. To this day, I don’t know what even possessed me to apply for the workshop in the first place. 

Yet, in affirmation for anyone called to...

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On Story Music, Voice, and Redefining Writing Well

Feb 15, 2021

By Christine Carron

When I started as a writer, I set two intentions:

  • Write well.
  • Write to delight.

It took a couple of years for me to realize that the way I was defining writing well was messing with my ability to write to delight.

Writing to delight was all about creating a rollicking good yarn; a story that moves readers; socks it to ‘em emotionally. Joy! Despair! Terror! Triumph! Delight! The full symphony of human experience was (and is) my goal. I wanted to make story music with words.

Did I know exactly how to do that when I started? No. But I had some inklings. As does any...

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On Critiques, Conveyance, and Crystal Balls

Feb 08, 2021

By Christine Carron

One of the best ways to move your writing forward is to get it critiqued. Yet receiving feedback is a tricky business. Studies have shown that our bodies respond to feedback, especially critical feedback, as a threat. That kicks off a range of internal reactions—think fight, flight, freeze modes—that can get in the way of us calmly taking in and assessing the offered feedback.

If that weren’t enough, we humans can make receiving feedback even trickier. How? By redirecting our attention away from the actual critique comments and fixating on...

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On Caterpillars, Butterflies, and Defending First Drafts

Feb 01, 2021

By Christine Carron

Imagine the following:

Situation #1
A new dad brings his baby to a dad’s group. When it’s his turn to speak, he turns his baby so everyone can see the child’s face and says, “Here's my sh*tty baby.”

Reaction of the other group members: Horrified.

Situation #2
A world champion agility dog trainer posts a photo of her new puppy with the caption, “Here's my sh*tty puppy.”

Reaction of her followers: Confusion and concern.

Situation #3
A writer brings her first draft to her writing group and says, “Here's my sh*tty first...
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On Summer Camp, Dance, and Resisting the Rocks

Jan 25, 2021

By Christine Carron

Two summers in college, I worked at a summer camp for girls in Grand Isle, Vermont. New campers arrived every two weeks. When they got down to the dance cabin, the campers were surprised that I expected them to dance. Evidently, the previous dance counselor let them pick up rocks along the beach during dance class. 

Which meant there I was, a college student with a vision that these girls would be putting on a recital in two weeks, each age group doing one dance number. And on the opposing side? The campers, ranging from age six to sixteen, who had the vision that...

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On Being a Sometimes Down But Never Out Unicorn

Jan 18, 2021

By Christine Carron

On the writing journey, one of two things is going to happen. 

Option #1: You’re going to be one of those magical unicorn writers who has an idea, gets the novel written and revised by the end of the following week, sends it to your dream agent the next day, gets signed by said agent the same day, and the following day there’s a bidding war with all the big publishing houses, which results in a multi-zillion dollar deal. 

Option #2: You’re going to be one of those magical unicorn writers who gets knocked down by tough twists and...

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On Quiltgate and Story Utility

Jan 11, 2021

 By Christine Carron

When I was seven’ish, my grandparents brought me to a bingo event crowded with mostly old people. Though, to a seven-year-old, anyone not easily identifiable as kid age is old. So who knows for sure? Luckily, historical accuracy on that particular point is not required for this post’s purpose.

The part that is important is that after hours of sitting at a long table putting the little plastic discs on B-12, G-59, I-19, etc. the magic happened. I won! I scrambled out of the chair, my little hand pressed over the discs and card, ran up to the Bingo...

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On Bulbing, Blooming, and Wacked Bulb-to-Bloom Ratios

Jan 04, 2021

By Christine Carron

Patience is the last of the five Goodjelly Moves, completing the circle of skills that help you ace the writing adventure. Here’s the tricky bit: You cannot do patient. You just are (or are not) patient. A truth that got me thinking about tulips.  

In November, my friend (and fellow writer) Sharon planted a hundred tulip bulbs. To bloom in all their glory, tulips require a months-long, cold dirt bath. As far as I know, Sharon has not installed under-earth cams to live feed the progress of the bulbs. She trusted that she did her part and is now letting...

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On Embracing Grace On Your Writing Adventure

Dec 28, 2020

By Christine Carron

Grace is the fourth of the five Goodjelly Moves. I love all the Moves, but I do have a special fondness for Grace. Mainly because when I was testing out the concept of The Moves with early readers, most of the comments I received were about Grace. They wanted Grace to be a “P” word, to follow the pattern. Clearly, I didn’t bend on Grace. Why?

Because Grace is a little different. Of all the Moves, Grace is the one that’s most reliant on allowing, on trusting, on accepting that everything on this writing adventure isn’t under our control. Many...

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