Sometimes, when a day is really tough – or when the night before has been really tough – you just need a pick me up.
Am I right?!
Writers are notorious for their consumption of candy, chocolate, and coffee (I once heard a murmur rise like a tidal wave in a group of writers at a conference when word got out the conference organizers had forgotten to order coffee). Sour Patch Kids used to be my weapon of choice for motivating me to keep working, but I figured if I didn’t want to be diabetic by the time I was 45, I probably should just STOP.
Now I chew gum in all kinds of flavors to avoid candy. But I have to admit to an ever-present addiction to tea and coffee. I’d like to break it eventually, but right now, my days seem to be a cycle of sleeping when I’m tired and caffeinating to wake up again.
Probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s working for me right now.
How about you? What’s your pick me up of choice? Coffee? Tea? Sugar? Or maybe that good old fashioned pick me up — SLEEP? Or maybe… all of the above (because in this poll, you can choose as many answers as apply)!
I’ve come to the conclusion that being published has allowed me to see the best and worst in people. I’ve been the grateful subject of tremendous support, endless encouragement, and appreciation from all over the world. I’ve had the privilege of talking to, learning from, and befriending many talented people (published authors and otherwise) and have seen the writing community rally around people in need due to all kinds of circumstances.
On the other hand, I’ve seen reviewers be downright mean, witnessed high school-esque backstabbing, and rumor-mongering that would make a Mean Girl proud.
And then there are things I just don’t get. Like people who have NEVER liked an author’s work but keep reading and reviewing.
Now, OF COURSE these people have a right to read and review what they want. They can hate every one of an author’s books and keep reading and reviewing if they want.
I guess I just don’t get it. I’m SO BUSY. I’m lucky if I get to read all the books I’m DYING to read. So if I haven’t liked someone’s work in the past, especially if I’ve tried more than one of their books, I just don’t bother reading the others. Not because I think they’re terrible hacks, but because I acknowledge that not every writer is for every reader. Writers have certain styles and specific voices, and there’s just no way every one of us is going to connect with every one of you. Some people want heavy character development and don’t care much about a unique plot. Others want fast-paced action and don’t like characters who navel gaze. Some readers like tons of setting detail. Others find it boring and slow. I can go on Goodreads and look at the books I think are the most brilliant contributions to literature in the last 100 years and still find lots of people who rip on it without reservation.
So I tend to skip titles – even heavily hyped ones – by authors I just don’t connect with.
But that’s just me. And it got me thinking about books and authors and second chances. I can’t help wondering if I’m in the minority, if everyone else gives every author an endless number of chances to win them over. I guess it would be a mixed blessing; awesome that people keep giving your work a try, not so awesome if they start reviews with something like, “I’ve never liked so-and-so’s work, and this one was no exception.”
What about you? How many chances does an author get to win you over before you decide they’re just not for you?
Weigh in with the Friday Poll (and feel free to discuss in the comments)!
This is a picture of Rebekah, on her way to Senior Ball as I type this. At her high school, Prom is Junior year and is a formal event while Senior Ball is a semi-formal event.
It seems a little backward to me, but whatever. We got to buy two kinds of dresses over the past two years. That part was fun.
Anyone who know Rebekah knows she is a true girl-girl (in short, the exact opposite of me). She’s always been this way, often changing 3-4 times when she was as young as two, wanting to wear different outfits for different “events”.
If we went to get ice cream, she wanted to change first. If we went to the park, she wanted to change first. If we went to her grandma’s, she wanted to change first!
Not much has changed. If there’s an opportunity to dress up, Rebekah will take it. And sometimes she’ll make an opportunity if she’s in the mood (one time she wore a fancy dress to the store, just because it had been awhile since she’d had occasion to dress up). So she lives for time like this when she actually has a reason.
What about you? Do you like to dress up? What are your favorite kinds of dresses to wear when the occassion calls for something other than pants?
This week’s poll was suggested by Tiffany, a reader who posed the question;
Would you rather write a novel you were really proud of that achieved no measure of commercial success or write a novel you knew was crappy but that made you a ton of money?
I think this is something all writers think about from time to time. Sometimes, the work we’re most proud of is a book that goes silently into the night, making nary a blip on publishing’s radar. Some of my very favorite books to read are ones that others have never heard of, books I’ve found in the bargain bin or stumbled across on some obscue shelf, only to read them and think, “This is GOOD.”
All of which is to say that a commercially successful book doesn’t always equal a GOOD one.
I know the answer to this question for myself, but I’m not going to tell until you guys have weighed in! So how about it? Which would you rather write?
Since we’re getting ready to host 30+ teenagers from Rebekah’s future college class (SUNY New Paltz Class of 2016! WOOT!), I thought it would be a good night to ask you guys about hanging out.
Namely, how do you like to do it? I’m a small crowd person, in general. I like hanging out in a more intimate group of people, sharing wine and great conversation. There are a few exceptions – concerts and film festivals to name two. But most of the time, I like to keep it low-key.
I have a confession to make; I’m terribly, awfully, horrifically anxious around unfamiliar people. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small group or a big one, whether I’m meeting one person for lunch or giving a speech in front of a room full of people. The experience is agonizing, not just during the event or even immediately before it, but for days and sometimes weeks leading up to it.
I’ve gotten better. Yoga and meditation have helped me overcome a lot of my high-strung tendencies, and they have given me tools for managing my anxiety, too.
Like BREATHE. That’s a good one. And remember that no matter WHAT happens during this event/speech/meeting/lunch, it will pass, as all things do.
But still. It’s hard. And the funny thing is, when I tell people that I suffer from social anxiety, that I feel shy and embarrassed and self-conscious in front of people, they almost always look at me incredulously and say some variation of, “You?! Psh! Riiiight.”
I credit my years in sales and marketing for the ability to look someone in the eye, to shake their hand and smile, uttering all the socially expected niceties when I really want to puke and run. I’ve learned to put on a good show, but I’m still learning to really, truly enjoy these moments and events instead of dread them, because really, when they’re OVER, I almost always find that I’ve enjoyed myself.
With all of this, I was intrigued to read this article in the New York Times book review on a book titled; QUIET, THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT WON’T STOP TALKING, written by a woman who considers herself to be an introvert of the highest order. I haven’t actually read the book yet, but now I’ve added it to my TBR list. It sounds like a book whose time has come, because I have this theory that more people are socially anxious than we realize. Like well-versed travelers in a foreign land, many of us have learned to do and say the right thing, but I’m always surprised at the number of people I speak to who admit feeling downright sick when forced to socialize with others.
Is it a product of our modern day society? Of the fact that we can and do keep our distance from our fellow man through a variety of electronic devices? Of that fact that we’re all SO DAMN BUSY that we don’t have time to socialize anymore? To visit our neighbors? To check on the elderly couple who lives next door or bring a cake to the new family on the block?
Are we losing our ability to truly connect with other human beings?
I don’t know, but I WANT to know. So for this week’s Friday Poll (yay! The Friday Poll is back!), I’m hoping you’ll share your thoughts on the matter. And feel free to comment, too!
Also, check back tomorrow for my first A Week in the Life post. As suggested by Jana, one of my favorite readers, I’ll be posting random pictures from my week with little or no explanation. Should be fun!
If you’re a regular follower, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering if it’s your imagination that you’ve seen this poll before.
I run this poll every six months or so because the market changes just that fast (and sometimes faster) and because it’s a matter of professional curiosity for many authors. The truth is, we’re all told not to write to the market, that we should write the story we want to write and trust that it will find an audience if it comes from the heart.
But you know what? It’s kind of bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes we write the story of our heart and it DOES find an editor and a publishing house and a readership. Just as often, it doesn’t Just as often (and really, maybe MORE often, because I don’t know too many writers who AREN’T writing from the heart anyway), we write a story from the heart and are told the moment has passed for a particular genre, the market is over-saturated, people have supernatural/paranormal/Dystopian/contemporary fatigue. Even for those of us who have a significant audience in a specific genre, it isn’t at all uncommon to be told editors don’t want to see XYZ genre right now.
Which kind of sucks. Because I want it to be about the reader. I want it to be about what YOU want. But publishing a business, and if publishing houses fear a trend is winding down, they’re going to hedge their bets by making a very hasty exit from said genre.
Then we have to face the very harsh reality that a book we loved, a book we slaved over and literally pulled from the depths of our soul, is going to remain on our hard drive, unread, forever.
I don’t know what the answer is. Certainly, it isn’t to chase every market trend. The publishing business moves so slow that by the time you write something, get notes back from your agent, revise, sub the damn thing, and see it on shelves, chances are that moment has passed anyway. I think the only thing we CAN do is to write from the heart and keep our fingers crossed, despite the obvious (and sometimes financially crippling) downside.
Which doesn’t do anything to alleviate the near-constant speculation. Right now, this very second, authors and agents and editors are trying to figure out what the next big thing will be. It’s almost universally acknowledged that paranormal/supernatural is on its way out (and in the words of some; dead). Ditto Dystopian. With the exception of a few big names, contemporary still seems to be spinning its wheels. If not those things, then what?
Tonight, again, I’m asking YOU, dear reader. What do YOU want to read? What would make your ears perk up with excitement? You can choose as many answers as apply. And trust me, you’ve got authors hanging on your every vote right now, so please weigh in with this week’s Friday Poll!
I don’t know about you, but for us, winter has so far left something to be desired. Alternately very cold and oddly spring-like, we’ve had a grand total of about an inch of snow.
But…. BUT! It looks like we might get a whopping 4-7 inches tonight into tomorrow morning. So we’ve got the woodstove blazing, chicken enchiladas in the oven, and a DVD (The Debt) on tap for the night.
Which brings me to the question for this week’s Friday Poll; What’s YOUR favorite way to spend a cold day/night/weekend? Weigh in with the Friday Poll!
As most of you know, I don’t watch TV. When I say that, I mean I don’t watch it, yanno, at its regularly scheduled time. And really, I don’t watch it much AT ALL.
But the kids and I do watch exactly one episode of SOMETHING every school night after I’ve finished my word count and they’ve finished their homework. Sometimes it’s a documentary like Ancient Aliens. Sometimes it’s Dr. Who, the X Files, or Stargate.
Even though it only ends up being 45 minutes or so four nights a week, I look forward to the downtime. My only complaint is that one episode a night doesn’t get us very far on anything! But that’s okay, I’m REALLY trying to keep us at that level because I think keeping TV to the very bare minimum has been a big part in raising super creative kids.
Our newest favorite is The Walking Dead, though now that we’ve finished season one we have to wait for season two to come on Netflix. It’s got a lot of production value for a TV show. Plus, I keep thinking how awesome it would be to be one of the actors and act like a ZOMBIE.
What about you? Which TV show would YOU like to guest spot on?
Halloween was the kickoff to what is always a crazy two months of back-to-back holidays. Now we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving, and after that, we’ll barely have time to catch our breath before Hannukah/Christmas followed by New Year’s.
Despite it’s business, I love this time of year, though I think it has more to do with the cozy atmosphere than anything else.
Last week, I saw this picture on Facebook of beautiful model Tara Lynn. It was accompanied by the following story;
A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”
The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:
“Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness. They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia. They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.
Mermaids do not exist.
But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish? They would have no sex life and could not bear children. Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad. And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?
Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.
At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.
We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies. We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated. Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?! ”
I thought this was a beautiful story about finding and accepting oneself as beautiful at any size. I don’t have any problem with thin, fit, slender women. I just think it’s important that we accept the idea that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Slender women have opportunities to feel beautiful and sexy every day. A photo like this one just gives everyone the opportunity to feel beautiful.
So tonight’s poll (on Saturday instead of Friday, because I’m crazy like that) is about body image. Not the way you see other people, but the way you see YOU.
Of course, you DO get what you pay for, and there are things that the Fire won’t have that the iPad does. But it’s impossible to deny the appeal of a $199 device that allows for reading ebooks, listening to music, watching movies and videos, surfing the internet, and participating in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. The device also has a touch screen and is in color, which allows for the reading of magazines, a big selling point for me because I hate seeing magazines pile up on my coffee table and hate thinking of all the tress that were cut down to print them.
This could be a real game-changer in ereaders, especially for young people, whom I think have seen ereaders as things for old people who read a lot. And in all fairness, much of this functionality can already be had in the Nook Color, but for some I haven’t seen teens rush to the Nook as of yet. I’m super curious to see if the Kindle Fire brings more young people into the ereader market. Teens will be able to read, listen to music and check their Facebook on the same device and at a price point that makes it a viable holiday gift.
Most of all, I’m curious of all to know what YOU guys thinks. So weigh in with the Friday poll, will you?!
And please note that there are two different polls for different age brackets. Choose the one that’s appropriate for you!