Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been saving:

NaNoWriMo Highs and Lows

Last year I took part in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo and wrote 50,000 words of a new project. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work, and I’m so glad I joined the challenge.

The beginning of the month brings a lot of enthusiasm, but sometimes the expectations of NaNo don’t match up with the realities. But the tough days don’t have to get you down! Take a look at this video I made about the NaNo highs and lows:

If you’re tackling NaNo this year, don’t worry about the bad days. Keep going, take breaks as needed, don’t worry about editing and let your creativity fly. You got this!

Attention MA Authors: Marketing and Bookstores Talk at the Writers’ Loft!

Allison PH flyer finalThese days, most authors have to finagle a lot of their own promotion. And unless you have a background in marketing, it can be difficult to figure out what’s worthwhile and who you should connect with and how you should plan for events.

That’s when you bring in the experts. Wednesday, July 22 (tomorrow!) friend, writer, and former bookstore event maven, Allison Pottern Hoch, is giving a talk at the Writers’ Loft about book marketing and working with local independent bookstores.

I’m excited to hear Allison’s advice and figure out ways I can better market my work and connect with the wonderful people at our local bookstores. Come on out and take notes with me!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! Tonight, I’ll be at Porter Square Books with a bunch of awesome YA authors, so come say hi, get some books signed, and chat with us about all things writing/reading.

And even if you’re not in the general Boston area, we can get the weekend rolling with a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or under:

ReadingFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Brought back lots of good first year of college feelings. Also dig a fandom story.

Writing: “Fortunately, we’re accepting volunteers for the secret project.”
Hijinks in the WIP!

The Season of Giving

The other day I was talking to my mom about the YA/children’s book community, and I mentioned how pretty much everyone I’ve met–from fellow writers to librarians to editors to readers–is awesome. People don’t tend to be snobby or petty or dismissive. Instead, the large majority of people I’ve met are warm and friendly and inclusive and generous. Maybe that’s because we’re writing for an audience that’s often not taken seriously and our work requires a little more sensitivity. Maybe that’s because other people in the literary world are easy to dismiss our work so we have to band together even more. Maybe that’s because we’ve found that it’s better to be supportive of each other than to knock each other down.

It’s especially evident online, where people will retweet friends’ exciting news or take a picture of a friend’s book in a bookstore. We read each other’s work and recommend it to our reading community. We share ideas for marketing, let each other vent, and remind each other that we’re not alone on this wild writing journey. It’s overall a very giving community, and one I’m so glad to be a part of.

I love cheering for my fellow writers. From best-selling authors to debut writers to writers who are still drafting their first novel, I love sharing my enthusiasm for their work and encouraging them and sharing writerly experiences with them.

I am, however, way less giving toward myself. If a writer friend is going through a hard time, I’d be quick to tell them, “It’s okay, take care of yourself, you don’t have to do all the work right now, the story will wait for you.” When it comes to myself, I’m way more likely to say “Dude, why can’t you get it together and finish the damn draft already? And why isn’t it perfect, it has to be perfect!” If a friend has exciting news to share, I will tweet and blog and Facebook all about it. Sharing my own exciting news feels weird and awkward and conceited. I think my friends are so smart and talented, but if someone asks me about writing, I say “Oh, well, this is just what works for me, what do I know?”

Sometimes it’s easier to be generous for others than it is to be generous for yourself. This quote by Marcia Hutchinson is about body image, but I think it totally applies to how we treat ourselves in general:

“If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, you’d have no friends left at all.”

Writing and publishing are hard and stressful and it’s easy to put pressure on yourself, especially about things you can’t control. But at the end of the day, you can’t write your best book if you’re not taking care of yourself. You’re a priority, too.

In this season of giving, let’s commit to talking to ourselves more like we talk to our friends. To supporting ourselves and taking care of ourselves and reminding ourselves that challenges are a part of life. To being enthusiastic for ourselves and our work. To being just as giving and kind and generous to yourself as you are to those around you.

Quote of the Day

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”William Faulkner

A little inspiration for anyone writing today, especially those of you participating in NaNoWriMo. Forget what anyone else is doing or has done–focus on what you’re doing right now.

(Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection, reproduction number LOT 12735, no. 368.)

My Interview with the Fearless Fifteeners

Today I’m at the Fearless Fifteeners blog, talking with my wonderful agent-sister and 2015 debut author Anna-Marie McLemore about The Chance You Won’t Return, writing, romance, neurological differences, and what I’m not afraid of.

Anna-Marie asked some fantastic questions, and I’m excited to share the interview with you all. We actually had to cut some material because we talked too much. But here is a little of the extra Q&A:

I’ve heard you say that one of your favorite writing tips is not to develop writing rituals. How has this proven good advice for you?
I know I would use rituals as a crutch (“I only write at night!” “I need to have coffee while I write!”) so telling myself that rituals don’t get the work done means that I can potentially sneak in writing time anywhere/anytime. Not that I always do, but at least it’s one less excuse. ;)

Do you have any writing rituals that have crept in anyway? A favorite time of day to draft? A favorite drink or snack while revising?
As much as I love coffee and tea, my favorite writing beverage is lots and lots of water. Woohoo hydration! I also tend to like drafting at night, but that might be because I do the day job thing so most of my writing time is in the evening. My biggest ritual is probably having carefully crafted playlists for each project. I can write without them, but I love having a book soundtrack playing in the background for inspiration.

Make sure to check out the Fearless Fifteeners blog for the full interview, and get to know some awesome 2015 debut authors like Anna-Marie.