Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! Yesterday I was drinking an iced coffee and today it’s snowing, which I guess means it’s February in New England. Let’s all spend the rest of the winter indoors in blanket forts, okay? Until the blanket forts are complete, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing this week in fifteen words or fewer:

ReadingBone Gap by Laura Ruby
Beautiful writing, and another good recommendation for fans of Jessica Jones.

Writing: “…when I enter the building it smells the same—ice, sweat, and microwaved pizza.”
Oh first draft, it’s been a while.

Miles, Pages, and Imposter Syndrome: Owning What You Do

This year, I’m training for my first marathon. I’ve talked here about what running means to me, and what the marathon and the Boston Marathon in particular means to me, but running an actual marathon always felt more like a bucket list item than an actual achievable goal. But I figured that if I was ever going to do it, I needed to try sooner rather than later, so over the last several weeks, I’ve been fitting weekday runs into my schedule and adding long runs to my weekends.

IMG_9985The other day, a coworker asked about my weekend, and I mentioned going for a long run and my training. She said, “No way! I didn’t know you were a runner.”

“Eeehh…” I said, and mentioned that I was really slow and still training and made all kinds of excuses for why I wasn’t like a ‘real runner.’

This weekend, I hit my longest ever distance of over 14.5 miles. What distance will it take for me to call myself a runner?

I get the same way about writing. If someone asks what I do, a lot of times I mention my day job first. Most of the time I follow up with, “…and I write YA novels,” but not always. Inside, I make a lot of excuses for why I can’t tell people I’m a writer: I don’t support myself entirely from writing, I only have one book out so far, I don’t always write every day, I don’t have a magical unicorn who helps me through the revision process, etc. etc. etc.

It can be hard to claim your identity as a writer. It means that you’re dedicating your time and energy to something–something that might not pan out the way you hope it will. And unlike a lot of other careers, there’s no way to know when you’ve ‘made it’ as a writer. Writers don’t have a test to pass or a certification to get in order to be a writer–which is great, because it means that stories can come from anyone and anywhere, but it can also be hard, because how do you know when you’ve really made it? And what if someone catches you calling yourself a writer? What if they find out that you’re really just trying to hold it all together?

The thing is: there is no point at which you know for sure you’re a writer. So many of us feel imposter syndrome, like someone is going to ‘catch us’ calling ourselves artists and call us frauds instead. Hell, even Meryl Streep has said: “You think ‘why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?'” Meryl Streep, guys.

There’s no number of miles you can log, no amount of words you can write, that will tell you if you’re a runner or a writer. You’re a runner because you run and you’re a writer because you write.

You can spend your whole life making excuses for why you’re not a ‘real’ writer or runner or whatever you’re putting your time and energy into, but when it comes down to it, you’ve got to claim your identity for yourself. No one can tell you how many hours you have to put in or how many books you have to write or how many awards you have to win to really ‘make it’ as whatever it is you want to be.

So I’m going to put the time and effort in, as a writer and as a runner. And when people ask what I do, I’ll tell them.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! I’ve had a good dose of creative connectivity this week, and I’m looking forward to even more creative time with my lovely crit group members over the weekend. In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer:

ReadingBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Encouraging, open, and conversational book about living as an artist. Definitely what I needed.

Writing: “You can’t sleep through my cross-country playlist,” TJ said. “It’s rhythmically impossible.”
Hoping to finish up with this pass of revision over the weekend; psyched to dive into something new, but I’m going to miss these characters (for the time being, at least).

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! The east coast is getting some major snow this weekend (stay safe, Southern and Mid-Atlantic friends!), which means it’s a good time to stay inside and cozy up with a book. Here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing this week, in fifteen words or fewer:

Reading: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez
This book wrecked me in the best way possible. Devastating story, brilliant writing.

Writing: “And in the stage wings, I saw Colby Finch, smiling like he felt it, too.”
Revision rolls along!

Links Galore

A few of good links for today:

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! I tackled a lot of revision today and hoping to power through some more this weekend. So let’s kick things off with a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer.

ReadingConviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Powerful book about family, sports, abuse, religion, survival and more. So good.

Writing: “…if I can find a college that offers foot-mouth-contortion as a major, I’ll be set.”
As tough as revision can be sometimes, I’m glad to be back with these guys.

In Case Emma Watson’s Looking for Suggestions for Her Feminist Book Club

Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger, aka magical bookworm, is starting her own feminist book club. She’s starting off with Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road, but it got me thinking about what books I’d include in a feminist book club.

For powerful and thoughtful YA novels about girls and family and their place in the world:

  • Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
  • Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  • Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

For YA novels about girls fighting back in many different ways:

  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  • Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  • All the Rage by Courtney Summers
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

YA feminism isn’t limited to the real world:

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  • The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
  • Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
  • Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

And graphic novels are perfect for a feminist book club:

  • Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma, Robert Wilson
  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki
  • Lumberjanes #1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen

And some of your favorite elementary/middle school reads are perfect for feminist book club:

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

This is obviously not a complete list, because there are so many awesome books featuring compelling female characters and dealing with feminism and what it means to be a woman.

Did I leave out a favorite? Shout out in the comments.