Brave as a Dancing Chicken

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Life | 61 comments

braver stronger smarter_opt


Sometimes I’m a chicken.

In college, I actually narrowed down my choice of majors to those that didn’t require public speaking 101.



quaker steak chicken mascot



That chicken with the big grin is my 14 year old nephew. In public, he’s mostly a quiet kid.

But it’s interesting what happens when you put a quiet kid in a chicken suit.



Braver than he thinks? Maybe.

I could’ve used a chicken suit a couple of weeks ago when I spoke on a panel about the creative life during an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) event.

At least just to start out. :)


 writer's panel SCBWI_opt

Because I was having an out of body experience nervous. I can’t really remember anything I said, but hey, I did it.

(I’m pretty sure I spoke from the heart , it was practically in my throat anyway).

I was also nervous about the authors fair and book signing. But that turned out to be fun.


meeting authors


I met national book award winner, Kathryn Erskine. She’s super sweet. She signed a book for me and then even came over to my table and bought one of my books!!


book  fair_opt (I just realized I picked a table next to the fire alarm. Panic much?)


The book fair wasn’t so scary. Writers (and readers) may be a quiet bunch, but everyone was friendly.


Sharon Rainey, Richard L. Towers, Nancy Hannan


I chatted with authors. I signed some books. I’m pretty sure I didn’t squawk or bawk once.

I’m braver than I thought.

Even without a chicken costume.


How are you feeling brave (or strong, or smart) this week? Would you have more courage dressed in a chicken suit? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!

Happy Monday!





  1. I’m sure I’d feel braver in a chicken suit. There’s that sense of anonymity, and that gives you leeway to do things you wouldn’t normally do.

    I’m so happy that you had a good time at the fest. It’s all about baby steps. Pretty soon, it’ll be old hat for you. :)

    • Thanks, Kate. I agree about the anonymity. I think I’d be dancing too. :)

  2. Good for you! I am hoping you really did enjoy it, and how sweet Kathryn Erskine sounds!

    • Yes, very sweet. A great model for writers supporting writers!

  3. My you are up early, but so am I! I almost beat the e-mail! I love the idea of a chicken suit!I was once very nervous in front of other people, but I’ve gotten over it. In ELA our theme has been ‘Masks’ and we’ve explored the idea of the mask we put up to keep things hidden from others – to remain private, to hide our fears and motives. We read a couple of Sherlock Holmes as wells as many other pieces of literature, poems, and articles to support the idea…. the students are finishing their writing piece this week – the theme is – is more beneficial or harmful to wear a mask? More on this later… have a great day!
    clay recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: ThresholdMy Profile

    • Yes, I was up early to make a trek to Williamsburg today. A long day! I hope you will blog about the mask question results. I’m very interested!!

  4. I’m very proud of you, Coleen.

  5. Congratulations on the book fair and book sales! I’ve been to one book fair and the writers and readers really are a quiet bunch. It’s cool the way you have displayed this post. I’m sure that, looking back, it was a lot of fun. And you didn’t need a chicken suit!

    • Thanks, Freeda. Quiet, yes, that’s been my experience for meetings and conferences! Have yet to see rowdy. Maybe one day! ;)

  6. LOVE your nephew, a very handsome chicken and I’m sure a very handsome young man as well

  7. Coleen we are so similar! You did so well. I’m starting to do public event stuff and it’s nerve-wracking. I might dare read in a cafe but I want to get a school visit and a library event first.

    • Isn’t it nerve-wracking?? But such a great feeling when you’re done. Your Youtube videos are fab, so I’m sure you’re going to rock your events!

  8. Congratulations!
    Next time will be much easier!
    I sent in a proposal to speak at a conference not realizing until the end of the document that it pays for the conference. I was at once mortified to send something so whipped together and for volunteering to speak.

    • I do the second guessing too. I would love to hear you speak, Susie. You’ve got such great energy with your blogging that I can only imagine a great presentation!

  9. That kid is going places… you already have. You don’t need a chicken suit. Remember one thing: People want to hear what you have to say, and will like you.

  10. Oh, I’d be much different hiding inside a chicken suit! But hey, as much as my heart is also in my throat when I speak publicly, I do get through it and I can breathe afterwards and nothing horribly bad actually happens. Kudos to you, and may there be many more conferences! Jen
    Jennifer Jensen (@jenjensen2) recently posted..There’s a Reason They Invented SpandexMy Profile

    • It’s true, usually we come away unscathed. Recently, a local celebrity puked on stage after a charity dance competition. Have to say that’s a worst case scenario! So yeah, I’m happy I got to take a deep breath and walk away smiling! Thanks, Jen!

  11. Way to go, Coleen! I definitely would prefer to speak in public with the armor of a chicken suit. BA-KAW!

    • Maybe there should be a writer’s chicken conference. Everyone shows up in chicken suits. I imagine it would be very lively. :)

  12. I already know you’re brave because you’ve put your writing out there for all the world to see. Loud and proud and good for you! :)

  13. I’d probably have more courage in a chicken suit, but I don’t need a lot of encouragement or enticement to make a fool out of myself. And what’s this nonsense about writers being a quiet bunch? According to who (whom?)? I must be the exception then because I love me some spotlight.

    I’m glad you were a speaker – it’s so good to get out there and let your voice be heard!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt
    Patricia recently posted..Girl Sports and Book GiveawaysMy Profile

    • I need to go to the events you’re going to, Patricia! I haven’t met the non quiet writers– yet. But now I know for sure they’re out there. ;)

      • I am writer – hear me roar. Or sing. Or dance. Or wear a chicken suit.


  14. So happy that you had such a great time at the SCBWI conference and book fair. I like Katheryn Erskine and am glad you had the opportunity to meet and chat with her. Good for you!

    • Thanks, Patricia! I’m really glad I got the opportunity. It’s true that interesting things follow when you come from a place of yes!

  15. Wow, Coleen, I’m so impressed! Good for you for overcoming those nerves!! So cool that Kathryn Erskine bought your book ;)
    Ruth Schiffmann recently posted..Awesomeness and the Revision ProcessMy Profile

    • Thanks, Ruth. It really was a nice experience!! Worth the nerve workout. ;)

  16. Coleen, you are certainly no chicken! I think you had it under control girl. You look great, by the way. And how fantastic is that to sign your name in your book? I saw them lining up. Wahoo!

    Me? Chicken? Oh yeah! I haven’t blogged in six months. This week, I’m back at it! Yep, I’m having a Re-Launch party. And I’ll need all the support that I can get. I’ve bitten off all my fingernails. lol! Hope to see you there.

    Thanks Coleen for sharing these special moments in your writing career in such a special way that only you could share them. Have a great week! :)
    Karen McFarland recently posted..Sing O Bla Di Bla Da!My Profile

    • I hope to be at your re-launch party, Karen! Yay!!! I know you’ve been working hard at it.

  17. Oddly enough, public speaking doesn’t bother me at all, provided I know my topic. But cocktail parties? ! That’s when I want a chicken suit! LOL!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..Four Things About My Writing, and ROW80 Round 2My Profile

    • I’m not so great at either, lol. It was a good thing the topic was MY experience with the creative life, otherwise I probably would’ve been more nervous. I think it would be WAY fun for someone to come into a cocktail party in a chicken suit. Beats having to figure out what to wear! Thank you, Jennette. :)

  18. Good for you! Each time will get easier. I’m the same way. Used to be a lot worse before my speech 101 class. Remember you are in great and understanding company. I’ve been advised to practice in front of a camera. Video tape yourself so that you may review how you look and practice until you’re comfortable with the way you look and sound. Of course, I’ve never done that, but there it is. You’re on the road to great things! Kudos, chickie! You’re fabulous and now you have one of the first amazing memories of many in your author career.

    P.S. Not the same comment as earlier, but it works! :)
    Debra Kristi recently posted..Time Starved Creativity CrunchMy Profile

    • Thanks, Debra. I think your practicing in front of camera idea is a good one. I think I will try that for the next time. I didn’t do a lot of prep because I thought it would make me more nervous. Turns out the questions I had prepared for went a litle more smoothly.:)

  19. It’s funny what we can do when we’re passionately invested (though, I don’t think the chicken suit would help me much)! Good on you, Coleen – just think, next time will be even easier :)

    • You’re right about being passionately invested. I don’t think I could’ve done it otherwise!! Thanks, Alarna. :)

  20. Just braving my To Do list… And, an idea that makes no sense to write, but I want to write it anyway. Congratulations on being on a panel and being there! I’m sure you did well!

    • Oh, an idea that makes no sense, but just has to be written? Sounds like a challenge! :) Hope you have fun with it. Thanks, Stacy!

  21. Public speaking 101 was my worst nightmare! You’re definitely brave for participating in a discussion panel, good for you!! Glad to hear it turned out to be a great experience =)

    • Thanks you, Amanda! It’s interesting to note that at the local community college, one can take public speaking online now! I believe you record your presentation, which seems a whole lot easier. :)

  22. How did I miss this on Monday? Great post, Coleen. Congrats on presenting and on your first book fair. I’m scheduled to go to one this fall. I hear they are great fun.

    And no, I don’t need a chicken suit to open my yap and make a fool of myself. I’m quite the extravert, but there are days I wish I wasn’t. If I were a bit more reserved, I might think longer before speaking and spend less time extracting my foot from my mouth! :D
    Kassandra Lamb recently posted..Letting Go (Part 2)My Profile

    • Thanks, Kassandra! And I need to be at the events you and Patricia are at. I’d love to be inspired by some extroverted writers in action. :)

  23. That’s so great that you had the courage to do that! I’d definitely need the chicken suit. Thanks for that idea! :) Once in high school, I somehow ended up in a play and had to act like Phyllis Diller. Even that disguise helped but I think a chicken suit would be even better.

    • I’ve always heard that a lot of actors are shy or extroverts. So I guess playing another person is like donning a chicken suit. But yeah, I’m with you, I prefer the chicken suit. :)

  24. Some days I’m brave, others a big fat chicken.. and lately, I’m mostly chicken about so many areas of my life. I think you’re right to just do it!

    • Maybe it’s a little like pulling the Band-aid off. Maybe. I like to be prepared, but sometimes too much thinking will have me running scared!

  25. Great post Coleen! But can we just say….we would’ve given anything to see you address the audience at the convention in that chicken suit!!! Imagine the faces of the attendee’s! lmao~ You did a beautiful job containing your nerves my dear cuz you look rather comfortable & within your element like an old pro!!! Great post sharing now!! BTW~ Please try the chicken suit next time & snap some pics for Inion & I ;)

    • Oh maybe someday! :) That would be funny. Thanks, ladies!!!!

  26. That’s great, Coleen, I’m really glad to hear you did that. I personally love public speaking and performing of all kinds, and get more anxious when I’m not the center of attention. Perhaps when I’m by myself I should try on a chicken suit (with sponsor decals).

    • Sponsor decals! See now that’s a great business mind thinking there. Thanks, Chris. :)

  27. Coleen, how awesome that you were on a panel at an SCBWI event! So glad you pulled it off without a chicken suit! I feel the same as you as far as speaking in public. When I do author visits at schools with my coauthor, I let her do most of the talking. Seems I get tongue tied, plus living with fatigue on pretty much a daily basis doesn’t make for the most entertaining speaker on the block!

    Your nephews got the moves, chicken suit or not. And you know how I love costumes, so I should invest in a chicken suit to wear at the next public appearance I take part in! Hahaha! Thanks for the great idea!

    • Hmm, my name didn’t show up! Ding-dong, I didn’t fill out the info. I thought it was already there!

      • I’m seeing a chicken suit and a video camera in your future, Lynn!!! :)

  28. I am feeling pretty brave as I get older, but I could use a chicken suit sometimes too! What a great analogy for courage! I loved reading your post. Glad I found you on VA bloggers.
    Susan Maccarelli recently posted..Craigslist Chuckles: Strange And Hilarious Listings (Lubbock, TX Edition)My Profile

  29. Public speaking is one of the top fears that people have. Good to see you got through it.

    I would have some fun wearing that chicken suit. I think we all would.
    Phil recently posted..Iron Chef reigns supreme in NYC – Morimoto!My Profile

    • Thanks, Phil. Next up, a blogger’s conference with all attendees in chicken suits!!

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