9.28.2011

I'M A BIG FAN OF THE WORD 'ETCETERA'

holy crap i've been a bad blogger.

these past couple of months have been wonderful and amazing, but i can honestly say, with zero hyperbole, that i have never been busier in my entire life. and i mean, really, it makes you wonder what the hell i've been doing for the past 23 years if i have nothing to compare this to. but there it is. embarrassing truth and all.

i remember back before i had a book deal i used to read posts from published authors about their hectic schedules and these crazy deadlines they were always attempting to meet and everyone always seemed to be so tired and brain-pooped. it was buckets of sweat and frenzied eyes and DEADLINES! I HATE YOU, DEADLINES! I HATE YOU! DIE, DEADLINES, DIE! and i remember thinking, well damn, what i wouldn't give to have a deadline. i'd exclamation-point the crap out of it.

so it's strange.

i love my deadlines. i want to dip them in my tea and wear them around my neck and tuck them into bed at night. i want to knit them little pajama sets and take them to disneyland. if i ever complain about having deadlines i hope someone punches me in the face. so this is not a post about deadlines. it's not a post about anything specific. it's just an explanation that you probably don't even need (because you are very wise, very kind, very forgiving readers) about where i've been.

so basically, about 8% of the time i'm working on book stuff, and 92% of the time i'm trying to find my pants.* because really, true story, the mailman is always ringing my doorbell and i'm always like SORRYSORRYONESECONDPLEASE and i'm hopping around on one socked foot while trying not to slip on hardwood floors and running around like WAIT, I SWEAR, I LEFT MY HOUSE LAST WEEK I COULD'VE SWORN I HAD PANTS ON THEN

and the mailman is always like, um, yeah, ma'am? i'm just going to leave this outside the door.

(my life is so glamorous, guys. you can't even handle it.)

so that is where i've been. book stuff, pants stuff. i've also spent an extraordinary amount of time just staring at the dishes in my sink, wondering how on earth they got there and why they refuse to wash themselves. also, lately i've been buying most of my socks just to avoid doing laundry. it's kind of sad. @tanagandhi is always trying to be a good friend and she makes valiant efforts to dissuade me from taking the lazy way out, but i have to admit, i'm tempted every single day to buy a 24-pack of those really ugly men's sport socks from Costco. i figure 24 pairs of socks means i can spend more time on tumblr and less time measuring laundry detergent into a cup.

though i should probably stop confessing these things to you.

i mean, you guys? i trust. but my mom reads this blog and whenever i talk about things like not doing my laundry, i always ALWAYS get a call from her like "THAT IS DISGUSTING I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU HAVEN'T DONE YOUR LAUNDRY I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU I'M COMING OVER RIGHT NOW AND YOU BETTER HAVE TEA"

ahem.

basically though, i'm going to be traveling pretty much all of October. i'm barely going to be at home at all next month, which means i have to solve my pants and laundry situation before i go. it also means that i will probably continue to be a terrible blogger. in fact, if i'm being honest, i'll have to admit i'm probably going to be a terrible blogger... for a while. ahhhh i am cringing so hard right now.

but! here is some good news. i might not be on the tinterwebs, but, maybe you can come see me in person! because if you're going to be at the New York Comic-Con the weekend of October 13th, I WILL BE THERE! and you can come find me and my pants on a panel on Friday morning (details here), and then i'm doing a signing (giving away ARCs) at the HarperCollins booth shortly after (12:30-1:30pm). (AND YOU SHOULD TOTALLY COME! IT'LL BE LIKE I HAVE FRIENDS!)

speaking of book stuff, there are so many exciting things coming up in October in preparation for the SHATTER ME launch, so if you're ever curious, Harper has set up an official FB fanpage that they update regularly with teasers, upcoming info, and Other Very Cool Things that will be happening very soon. so there is that, too.

bottom line: there is a lot of stuff. but i just wanted to say thanks for being so patient with me. thanks for being so amazing and so supportive and thanks for all the tweets, the emails, the tumblr and facebook messages. thanks to all of you who've contacted me to let me know you've pre-ordered the book or reviewed it or even just entered contests to win it. you guys make this journey so much more fun. every single day i'm so ridiculously happy that the internet brought us together.

one last thing? i hope you know i haven't forgotten about you on this blog; the truth is i'm just afraid of putting out mediocre content. i still tweet pretty much every day, though. that's mediocre content allllllll dayyyyyy longgggg.

hehe.

heart you guys so much.


*i had to use a calculator to figure that out.

9.14.2011

YOU ARE MY PEOPLE

so here's the thing - telling people you're a writer is, in a lot of ways, a really fascinating experience.

the reactions are mixed. there's a lot of Oooohhhh! Is it about Vampires? Sexy sexy vampires? and Oh, that's so interesting, do you have a book out yet? and Well what do you write? What's the story about?

(side note: if you ever hope to be able to answer those last two questions, you should start kissing the people who force you to write really amazing query letters. because a one-sentence pitch? a two-sentence summary? a 250-word synopsis? those suckers have made my life infinitely less-complicated.)

but of all the raised eyebrows and wide eyes and slow nods and furrowed brows, the most interesting reactions thus far (for me) have been from people who are inspired by my admission to tell me secrets of their own.

mmm hmmm.

i am always shocked by the number of people who tell me that they, too, are writing a book.

it's kind of the same, each time. after the usual "oh, you're writing a book, la dee da, so nice for you, sexy vampires sexy sexy hurr hurr i saw that movie with the stephen mayers and he he he" and the solemn author response of "well, yes, i saw that movie too, but not all books are about vampires and anyway, i'm going to just smile and pretend that you, fine sir, are the first person to ever make a funny about YA novels and vampires because i do not wish to insult your person," the conversation will somehow make a left turn into the life story of the Person You Are Speaking With.

and they will admit that they are writing a book.

at this point i usually find myself quite pleased and rather excited. i know all too well how difficult it is to make that kind of admission, and it's always nice to find a fellow writer in a body you least expect. almost all of my writer friends live exclusively in the internet (i hope you're not too cramped in there) and when i meet Our Kind outside of the worldwide webs, i tend to get a little OH MY GOD YOU'RE ONE OF US FLAILY HANDS hey why don't we sit and swap query horror stories over a hot cup of something caffeinated??

but the thing is, it never gets there.

because their very first question (after telling me that they've written a book/are writing a book/are thinking about writing a book/have always wanted to write a book) is always "So how do you get a book published?"

and that's when i take a deep breath and paste on a bracing smile and hand out links to Janet Reid and Nathan Bransford's blogs. they ask me if i "knew someone" or if "someone taught me the ropes" and i wish i had something really Cool and Exciting to say but i all i can do is shrug. shake my head. say "nope. i just googled the crap out of it."

and it got me thinking.
about you.
about all of you.

about how hard you work every single day to learn this industry. how you spend hours and hours away from your family, your responsibilities, your sweet, sweet bed, just to figure out how to do this right. you ask a million questions about first lines, first paragraphs, first pages. you wonder about Inciting Incidents and Character Arcs and the minute details of how to format your query letter. you send frantic emails to your crit partners and fill writer forums with questions like does the word count go at the beginning or at the end? do i tell them i'm querying multiple projects? does it have to be exactly one page? will i get auto-rejected for a typo if i SON OF A MOTHERLESS GOAT I SPELLED QUERY WRONG PLEASE GOD SOMEONE JUST SHOOT ME IN THE FACE

you are incredible.

you are so dedicated. and i'm reminded in every experience i have with writers outside of this community that you guys are so so so far ahead of the game. you are in the top percentile. you are in the very tiny minority of writers who are thisclose to achieving your dreams.

you're doing it right. you're doing everything right. and it might take some time, but you're going to get there. i know you will.

and i wanted to say thanks for always being there for me. i don't know where i'd be if it weren't for this community. not sure what wrong turn i would've made. but you guys are priceless. the blogs you maintain, the forums you frequent, the support you offer one another -- it's priceless.

i'm so grateful for all of you.
thank you.

<3

9.06.2011

DON'T BE AFRAID TO WRITE A BAD BOOK

Anonymous asked...
Whenever I sit down to write, I'm overwhelmed by the ideas in my head; I'm constantly distracted. I can't figure out which story to write, and I keep asking myself: What if I'm working on something that's going to go nowhere? What if I'm choosing the wrong idea? So I'd love to know: How do you know, when you sit down to write a book, that the concept you choose is going to pay off? How do you know it's going to be the right thing to focus on? I hope this question makes sense.

i really sympathize with this feeling. and i understand your need to get it right on the very first try -- i really, really do. but here's the problem: writing a novel is difficult enough without the added (stressful!) expectation of it needing to be The Next Big Thing. we can't manufacture that kind of success.

that's why you have to allow yourself the luxury of writing for the sake of writing -- writing because you love to do it, because you're having fun with your characters, because you lie awake at night thinking about what might happen to them while you're gone. because ultimately, published or unpublished, every single manuscript you write will be invaluable to your efforts. 

every single story you write will help you to hone your craft.

you can't be afraid of your own creative efforts. don't fear failure. don't be afraid of being the person who needed to write a ton of crappy manuscripts and had to burn through a few agents before landing a book deal. because i'm going to tell you a secret? regardless of how it might seem in and around the blogging world and twitterfeeds and facebook posts and the ever-lovely publishers marketplace, the majority of us (read: the vast, vast majority of us) did not sell the very first thing our eager fingers ever created. many of us had to write not 1, but 2, 3, 15 manuscripts before figuring out what worked. a debut novel just means it's the first novel an author has ever published -- not the first they've ever written.

and that's okay.
in fact, if you screw things up it just means you're perfectly normal. 

so take a risk. be open to writing a book that will undoubtedly embarrass you in a few years. go nuts with the adverbs and scatter plot holes everywhere and make your characters say things like i know we just met, but do you believe in destiny? and then he kissed my mouth and i breathed on his face and hugged him goodnight romantically. really. go ahead and fall in love with your hero for no reason except that he is the hero and, well, you made him, so there's obviously no need to flesh out his character. dispense with the motivations and the proper pacing and give your protag a crazy name and a plethora of ridiculous backstories. have every near-catastrophic event solved by coincidence and magical powers that show up only when it's most convenient, and then kill everyone off at the end because it's the only way you know how to finish the book. write the story that's really nothing more than a thinly-veiled effort at fictionalizing what otherwise would've been your autobiography. 

really.

but whatever you do, don't be afraid. never be afraid of writing the wrong thing. because in the end, all of it will help you learn. all of it will help you grow as a writer. so choose whichever story you want; choose all of them if you prefer. but don't ever sabotage yourself by getting stuck in analysis paralysis. don't freak yourself out. don't think you're the only one who's ever had this problem and don't feel like you'll never be able to move past it.

the words get easier the moment you stop fearing them.

we've all been there.
i know you'll get through it, too. 

<3



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