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. πŸ™‚


Β 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’mΒ pretty sure I spoke from the heart , itΒ 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.Β 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.

Β local-authors-fair_opt

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!



61 thoughts on “Brave as a Dancing Chicken

  1. 4amWriter

    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. πŸ™‚

  2. clay

    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!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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!!

  3. Freeda Baker Nichols

    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!

  4. Name

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

  5. Catherine

    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.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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!

  6. Susie Lindau

    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.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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!

  7. tedstrutz

    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.

  8. Jennifer Jensen (@jenjensen2)

    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

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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!

  9. Patricia

    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

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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. πŸ˜‰

  10. Patricia Tilton

    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!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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!

  11. Karen McFarland

    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! πŸ™‚

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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. πŸ™‚

  12. Debra Kristi

    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! πŸ™‚

    1. Coleen Patrick

      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.:)

  13. Alarna Rose Gray

    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 πŸ™‚

  14. Stacy S. Jensen

    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!

  15. BornBookish

    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 =)

    1. Coleen Patrick

      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. πŸ™‚

  16. Kassandra Lamb

    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! πŸ˜€

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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. πŸ™‚

  17. Sheila

    That’s so great that you had the courage to do that! I’d definitely need the chicken suit. Thanks for that idea! πŸ™‚ 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.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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. πŸ™‚

  18. Name

    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!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      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!

  19. Inion N. Mathair

    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 πŸ˜‰

  20. Chris Edgar

    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).

  21. Name

    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!

  22. Susan Maccarelli

    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.

  23. Phil

    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.

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