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(This is my newsletter that went out in August to subscribers. Get a free 7-day memoir challenge or audio story summary of my next book when you subscribe! Go to www.rachaelhanel.com to sign up.)

The end of August means…back to school! Whether you are going back to school, or know a kid going back to school, or simply see all the back-to-school sales at the stores, you have to admit, there’s some excitement in the air! Last week I returned to campus for the first time since March 2020, because I was on sabbatical during the last academic year. My heart is full after making connections all week with colleagues and students. To say that I’m excited is an understatement!

Here’s what you can expect in this month’s newsletter:

  1. A writing tip
  2. What I’m reading/listening to
  3. A recent blog post
  4. Book news
  5. Deep Valley Book Festival

A writing tip

I subscribe to Austin Kleon’s newsletter and enjoy reading it each Friday. Recently he mentioned The Art of Noticing. I can’t wait to get it. I try to make an effort to notice the little things around me each day, because you never know where writing inspiration will strike. I’ve been so busy lately so I admit I have really slacked off in this area. But I know I’m a better writer when I take the time to thoughtfully observe what’s around me. Writing inspiration is everywhere; we just have to look.

What I’m reading/listening to

I listened to a few great podcast series in the last month. As a Minnesotan who has been to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, I was captivated by No Place Like Home. A pair of the ruby slippers went missing from the museum in 2005, and this podcast digs into the mystery. I was blown away by the best guess they have as to who took them. If you are also from Minnesota, you’ll recognize the connection to a famous Minnesota. I also enjoyed What If? The Len Bias Story. I remember the huge story from 1986 of the death of Len Bias, a college basketball player who was expected to be the next Michael Jordan, or even better than Jordan. A sad look into a life cut short. And finally, as a university educator, my mouth often dropped open listening to the story of Liberty University on Gangster Capitalism. I can’t imagine being at a university helmed by such a corrupt leader—in this case, Jerry Falwell, Jr. 

A recent blog post

I have an embarrassing amount of unfinished essays. I’m always excited to get started but as soon as I get feedback from readers, I’m really, really slow to do another revision. Does that sound familiar? Any tips for me on how to dive back in and regain that excitement?

Book news

I did it! I sent my revised manuscript to my editor earlier this month! That last revision took me about six months. I can’t express how relieved I am to get it off my desk! I expect to meet with him later in September and then I will have more revisions to do!

Deep Valley Book Festival

If you find it easy enough to drive to Mankato, the 6th edition of the Deep Valley Book Festival will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, October 2. More than 50 authors and publishers will be on hand. It’s a great opportunity to find new books and talk to the authors themselves. Novelist and short story writer Will Weaver is the keynote speaker. His short story, “A Gravestone Made of Wheat,” was adapted into the critically acclaimed movie Sweetland. Visit www.deepvalleybookfestival.com for more information.