A Writer’s Thanksgiving

Since almost Thanksgiving, so it seems like a good time to reflect on what I’m thankful for in the writing/publishing/reading world. As difficult as writing can be, as frustrating and uncertain as the publishing path can be, there are a lot of things I’m so glad to have in my life as an author. And because it’s me, I need to include gifs to accurately illustrate my gratitude. So without further ado, here are some things I’ve grateful for this year:

Coffee: let’s be honest–nothing would happen without you.

My writing group: for giving me the feedback I need, for loving my WIPs, and for being the most supportive group ever.

Twitter: where I procrastinate and talk about feminism.

My fellow YA writers: because they write awesome stuff, and they’re my people.

Sweatpants: I am so glad the writing office dress code is casual.

My agent: for her enthusiasm about my projects and for always being in my corner.

Librarian friends: because I brag about you to my non-librarian friends.

Wine: for making retreats and conferences that much better, and for when it’s been a hard day.

My family: especially my parents, who show up to pretty much every reading/panel I do in the New England area, and my husband, with whom I’m so glad to share the writing life.

Corgis: you keep being you.

My readers and blog followers: without you guys, I’d be shouting into the void; thank you for your likes and comments, and for your general awesomeness.

What things are you thankful for in your writing life? Share your thoughts in the comments, and happy almost Thanksgiving!

Quote of the Day

Since we’re in Jewish Book Month, it feels right to share another great poem from The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 by Peter Cole (translator). This one is by Meshullam DePiera, who was writing in the thirteenth century.


I love the intensity here–it makes me feel both cautious and powerful. Words matter, people.

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!

Awards and Hoverboards: Expectations of Your Writing Future

It’s October 21, 2015. Welcome to the future, everyone!

Okay, so no hoverboards for the masses yet, and our 80s-inspired clothes look a little different. But today’s Back to the Future festivities did get me thinking about the future and expectations.

As writers, it’s easy to build up expectations and ideas of success. You put a lot of time and effort into a given project, and you hope that time and effort will be rewarded by a agent offering representation, or a book deal, or an award, or a movie, or a place at the top of the best-seller list. You set deadlines for yourself–finish a draft by X date, query by Y, get an agent by Z. Surely in twenty years, you’ll be at ALA, accepting your Printz award from atop your hoverboard, right?

At last year’s retreat in Tennessee, someone (I think it was Tessa Gratton) mentioned that “at some point, everything in publishing will happen to you.” From getting a book deal to getting a book pushed back to getting a book cancelled; from rejections to sales at auctions; from tons of marketing support and movie deals to seeing a book just like yours make a huge splash while yours falls flat–the good and the bad all happens at some point. No matter what you do or how hard you work, you can’t control the whole process.

So what does that mean for the future of your writing career? Don’t focus on the hoverboard. Forget the movie deals, the sales at auction, the awards ceremonies. Focus on the part you can control–writing the best work you can. Even if you can’t predict the future, you’ll know that you made the very best book you could.

As Doc Brown said: “Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.”

Quote of the Day

Sound wave
Art is not linear. Neither is the artist’s life, but we forget that. We try to “plan” our life and “plan” our career–as if we could…And yet experience teaches us that life, especially life in the arts, is as much about mystery as it is about mastery.”–Julia Cameron

Reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and really digging it. It feels like a book you could just pick up and flip through whenever you needed it.

(image: Sound wave by betmari)

Links Galore

Lots of good links to share: