Monday, August 22, 2011


in case my lack of blogging hasn't been indication enough... i've been very distracted lately. i blogged about it a little bit over at White Blank Page too, but i'm gonna talk about it here some more. because i like talking about myself. public self-flagellation is so awesome.

lately, there have just been so many THINGS stealing my focus. some have been enormously good things, some have been not so great, and others have been just THING things of no consequence.

but the thing about these THINGS? is that i use them like excuses. i allow them to stand in the way of my goals because it's easier than finding a way around them. i tell myself it's okay if i don't write tonight because my day at work was stressful and i have a headache. but then i'll fiddle on the internets doing absolutely nothing productive for hours. sure, everyone needs a little time to zone out, but lately? there has been exactly zero zoning in.

i think part of the problem is that i love my idea too much. it's so perfectly formed in my head--all bright and shiny and happy and lovely. and i know that no matter how hard i work on it, it's never going to be as beautiful as it is in my head. it will be flawed, simply because it will be three dimensional. it will be real in a way that nothing that exists only in my head can be. and intellectually, i know that it real and flawed is so much more powerful and resonant than shiny perfection, but it's still a daunting thought. it still feels a little bit like hacking up a baby and turning it into frankenstein.

or, you know, something else less offensive.

i'm at a really great place with what i've written so far. i feel like i don't talk about the good things enough. i am writing. i am making progress. i'm not completely stalled out and spending all my time whining on the internets, i promise. i just need to be better about putting aside the distractions and making myself focus.

because at the end of the day? no one else cares if i finish this. friends may be supportive and encouraging, but their lives won't change if i don't finish. mine will. the weight of the could have beens will crush me if i continue to let the distractions mount and don't treat this with the respect it--and i--deserve.

i have talent. i have a voice. i have a story to tell.

i just need to give myself the room to tell it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tune Out Tuesdays

i can't write unless i'm listening to music. it has to be something i know very well, so i'm not tempted to actually listen to it; the music i write to is there more for the exercise of tuning it out than it is to create the right mood or atmosphere for my story.

but in the end, it usually correlates to whatever scene i'm writing anyway. a vicious cycle of 'art' imitating art?  who knows.

here's what i've been listening to this week:

bon iver's entire catalog is pretty much a given. for whatever reason their style really works for this particular project. but track three of their recent self titled release in particular gives me a hardcore case of the pitter pats. i swear holocene will change your life, and is one of the most beautiful songs i've ever heard. ever.

oh my god by cults. i love the lyrics. who doesn't feel exactly like this from time to time?

and finally for this week, shell games by bright eyes. i am so stoked i've finally listened to this album enough that it can be on my writing rotation.

what are you listening to lately?

Monday, August 8, 2011

I need an adult.

Here’s the thing about me. I’m pretty much incapable of creating structure for myself. If I don’t have things like work or boy spawns or delicious food-related events to ensure I get up at a reasonable hour, then by god I am going to sleep until my legs start to twitch because they haven’t moved in seventeen hours and are possibly starting to atrophy. Just because it’s my god given American right to do so. If I don’t take advantage of this delicious, blanket burrito shaped freedom, WHO WILL?

Also, eating. If there’s no one around to keep me on a regular eating schedule, I will most likely shove a handful of whatever carbohydrate is handy into my mouth and wash it down with some diet coke or maybe crystal light or possibly vodka if the timing is right. (I should note here that the timing is rarely right.)  

Basically? Without outside forces keeping me in line, I live my life like an eleven year old allowed to spend spring break home alone for the first time.

I think it’s that thing that grown ups call “a lack of discipline” but I’m not positive.
Expectations for my first boyspawn and social engagement free weekend of the year:
  2. Maybe some laundry if I have time?
  1. I read three books from start to finish
  2. I had a dance party in my underwear
  3. I wrote a blog post about why Ryan Gosling is a douchebag but I love him anyway and tied it into character development and puzzle pieces? I don’t know either, guys.
  4. I learned all the words to It’s the End of the World As We Know It because I thought it would be a good theme song, but it turns out it wasn’t.
  5. I cleaned my bathroom for maybe the first time all year? (This is a judgment free zone, guys.)
  6.  I did seven loads of laundry
  7. I wrote for a total of maybe 6 hours in a 48 hour time period
The thing about having unlimited time to write? Is that I tell myself I have unlimited time to write, so I can do all these other things I haven’t been doing because I’ve been squeezing writing into every free second I have. 

And while it was a refreshing weekend after a very busy couple of weeks, and before the incredibly insane few weeks that are coming, it wasn’t necessarily very productive. I did make some measurable headway, but not enough for an entire weekend alone.

So, who has two thumbs, a tendency to procrastinate and a need for structure if she is to be productive? THIS GIRL.

Life lessons, guys. Life lessons.

Friday, August 5, 2011

don't call it a come back

...but i came back.

not that i really left. i've still been working toward the same goal, but a myriad--a plethora, even--of things have kept me from blogging about it. i had some computer issues which was pretty much sucksauce. and then i had to travel for work for a bit. and then there was other stuff.

like Comic Con! which was so super fun. i met so many amazing people i'd only previously known through the internets--including some really inspiring authors like tahereh mafi, laini taylor, stephanie perkins, andrea cremer, kiersten white, nathan bransford, and amanda hocking. it was a code fangirl situation. they were all so gracious and sweet, and i'm still a little tingly at the notion that i got to have an actual conversation with the people who have been so inspirational over the past year or so.

i wish i'd gotten some pictures with them, but turns out all i got were me posing with a cheesetastic grin with random people in costumes. and legos.

can you see how terrified i am?

i may have had ulterior motives for this one...
welcome to the gun show.

so yeah. that happened.

also. remember that post where i talked about how ALLL BYYYY MYYYYYSEEEELLLLF i was feeling in my n00b status in the writerly world? well, i fixed that. i wrangled up some of the best women i know--some right where i am, some way ahead, some on the cusp of some REALLY EXCITING THINGS OMG--and we formed White Blank Page. (Ten points if you get the reference.)

i am so lucky to have these other five talented women in my corner. they are endlessly inspiring in their critiques, encouragement, commiseration and ass kicking. having accountability partners and a support system in this process has done wonders not only for my motivation, but my self-esteem. i know they won't let me fail, and more... i know that with them at my side, failure isn't possible.

and i won't even try to lie, seeing my name in the acknowledgments when they all become super famous NYT bestsellers won't hurt my feelings either.


as a little blogwarming gift, if you will, i am also holding a contest over at White Blank Page to win my signed ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. it is amaaaaazing. it's the kind of story--like the classic, epic fantasies before it--that is meant to be enjoyed by many, and for many years to come. and now, YOU can enjoy it more than a month before it hits bookshelves.

all you have to do is comment on this post here, telling me your all-time favorite book and why. and boom. entered. 

please do it. even though giving away my copy makes me a little sad (my friends live in there!) i am also so excited to have the opportunity to share Laini's words with someone else. it's a truly unique and absolutely breathtaking story. 

so, there's that.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

a setback. a breakthrough. or: why naps are necessary.

i don't usually outline. typically, i know the beginning and the end, and maybe some of the big events along the way. but all the little details in between that really make the story a story? yeah, i just let those happen naturally. the characters will tell me where to go. i find if i try to get all bossypants with them, they start giving me the silent treatment. there isn't much worse than that.

however, with my current project--what i've begun calling the Fancy and Whimsical Novel (or: FaWN, which is also fancy and whimsical. I'M SO META) in my head? the backstory is pretty involved, so i figured there was no way around it. i HAD to have some kind of outline in order to keep everything straight.

turns out that was probably not the best idea for me. i'm a little... obsessive, you might say? i get hung up on little details. a need to make everything symmetrical and even. to have all the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly. the outline became my everest. i was going to get it right if it was the last thing i did. i spent so much time on the damn thing, got so hung up on this one detail i didn't have completely defined in my head yet, that i STOPPED WRITING COMPLETELY.

i couldn't stop obsessing about THAT ONE THING. HOWWWWW was i going to make it work? maybe this way? no. this? uh uh. thisssssssssssssssssssssss? GODDAMNIT. NO.

so a few days ago i got so tired with the perpetual rending of my garments and gnashing of my teeth that i decided to take a break from it. give it a few days to percolate. i set my laptop (gently, lovingly) aside and curled up to sob nap.

and while i napped, not only did my brains unravel the complex mystery that was FaWN's backstory all by itself, but worked out the plot to the story i'd originally planned to write. so then i had not one BUT TWO characters knocking around in my head, each the antithesis of the other.

sophie's choice, yo.

i started thinking maybe it meant i lacked focus. that i wasn't cut out write either one of them. do real writers have these problems? did any of them sit there in front of their computers, struggling to decide what to write with what amounted to a girlie cage fight happening inside their head? (it's not as hot as it sounds, guys.)

probably not, i decided. with a long suffering sigh. i am le suck.

and then i told myself to shut, front door and just start writing. see what happened. and i wrote about five thousand words in four hours. i don't know if that's good, bad or just mediocre on the real author scale, but on mine? it's pretty effing amazing.

new plan. new energy. clear eyes, clear head.

and no outline.
never again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

talking to myself

i was reluctant to start this blog. almost as reluctant as i am to talk about the fact that i'm writing at all. nearly everyone i know is writing, has written or is thinking about writing a book. it's the trend du jour; some might think i'm just hopping on the bandwagon--maybe i am. i won't apologize for it; the fact that this bandwagon exists at all has been incredibly inspiring and motivating.

however, because there is such a widespread community in place for authors and writers alike, because there is so much information available... i can't help but always feel like i'm one step behind. as though this is a race and i am in last place. i know there are people like me out there who are just starting out, but though i am new to this online community, i don't know that i've ever read a blog detailing the early stages of the writing process. the conceptualizing, the brainstorming, the outlining, the 39057094760946 times you write the first chapter and realize that it's not where you want your story to begin. (just me? bueller?)

(i don't mean to say there aren't any, just that i haven't found one yet. link me, if you know of some? thankee.)

talking about it at this stage feels a little preemptive, as though i'm speaking out of turn or using words i don't fully understand. what if i fail? what if i decide in two months or two weeks or hell, two minutes from now that this is too hard and i'm just going to give up? for starters, it would be embarrassing--which i guess is part of the point in starting this blog: talking about it makes me accountable, if only to the anonymous ether of the internets.

do i really have anything to add to this conversation? probably not. my story is not unique--except to me. and though i'm not likely to forget the experience of writing this book if when i finish, i think a daily, tangible account of the journey is a story worth telling... even if the only one i'm telling it to is myself.