Guess What Came in the Mail…

Crooked Little House

Crooked Little House comes out on Tuesday!

I’ll be doing a giveaway on Facebook, and you have to be a fan of my author page to enter. Swing by and show me some “like”; giveaway details to follow once I climb down from this cloud.

It’s finally here. I’m finally a novelist.

Brave New Novel

novelpic

This is it.

My novel is DONE.

What you’re seeing here is my baby, all dressed up and ready to go. I’m lucky enough to have a good friend editing (and as an indie, helpful friends are EVERYTHING); this is the copy I’m giving to her tomorrow.

The formatting is arranged. The cover is designed. I feel like it’s a good, clean copy.

This is happening.

IT’S ALMOST HERE, YOU GUYS.

Life’s Better In the Zone

Yesterday I wrote.

That wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary — excepting unforseen catastrophes, I try to write something every day.

The difference with yesterday was that I tripled my typical output.

I’m working on a novel right now, and have a couple shorts bubbling away. (People said I should put one out for Halloween, being a horror writer and all, but neither is ready yet. I’d rather wait until I love them more.) Yesterday I sat down, set my timer, figured I’d get some words down on the novel then go about the rest of my day.

But what happened instead was that I fell into that mystical place: the Zone. Where the words seem to flow through you, whispered in your ear by some other storyteller. All you have to do is catch them before they wink out, and nail them down before they get away. When you’re there, you know: it felt like my hands were guided by someone, or Something other than myself, and when I read over what I’d written it seemed to have come from someone else altogether. At the same time, the voice is completely, one hundred percent me at my best, and I couldn’t be happier. I love the story, and everyone and everything in it. I know what’s happening and where it’s going.

I came away from the session with legs cramped and brain spinning. Pleasantly exhausted and wrung completely dry. It was running a marathon. It was winning a gameshow. It was years of practice at writing distilled into one perfect afternoon.

I can only hope Whatever that was comes to visit me again soon. We’ve got a lot of work to do, the two of us.

F-O-C-U-S Spells…Ah, Fuck It.

I’m in one hell of a slump.

I don’t know if it’s the general blue feeling I’ve been experiencing lately, or my propensity to take on WAY more than I can actually handle, but…I’m frozen. I feel like I can’t get anything done. I have a million projects on the go, and rather than focusing on one at a time and seeing it through to completion, I find myself dancing around sticking my fingers into all of them and finishing nothing.

I like to think I’m driven. I like to think I can master this whole discipline thing. But frankly, discipline isn’t all that much fun. It’s easier to waste time on the internet. It’s easier to wait until the perfect moment comes along. It’s easier to blame my lack of productivity on those absent douchebag Muses (who, by the way, are not getting the raise they requested).

But really? It’s me. Of course it is. I’m the one finding excuses. I’m the one wasting time on things that don’t matter. I feel scattered and overwhelmed right now and I’m having a hard time digging myself out of this hole. (Yes, I know I’m being whiny. And yes, I know I don’t have patience for whiners. But I’m not perfect, and it is what it is.)

I know, in my heart of hearts, that the only thing that will fix this is — you guessed it — focus. I need to pick the one thing that’s more important than all those other things and pummel it until it cracks and something wonderful falls out.

Now if I could only figure out what that thing is…

Moments in Writing: Know When to Give Up

I took on a writing commission months ago. The brief was to write a dozen children’s stories for someone’s niece and nephew, working in details of the kids’ lives to make a keepsake for Christmas. I was given a deposit and let loose.

I can’t do it.

It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve tried, and tried, and tried. But I just can’t wrap my mind around writing for children. C says it would be easier to fake it if I were a fantasy writer…“Kids like that kind of stuff.”

True, but I’m not elves-and-magic-beans. I’m murder-you-and-feed-you-to-pigs. I don’t have kids. I don’t know the first thing about age-appropriate stories. I didn’t even read kids’ books when I was one.

I think part of growing your artistic career is setting limits and knowing yourself. So as much as I’d love for those kids to get my stories under their tree, I’m going to have to refund that deposit.

I thought I would feel guilty. But instead I feel proud. Proud of myself for moving forward with my career the way I want, not the way other people expect. It feels good.

30 Excuses for Why I “Can’t” Write Today

I’m tired of making excuses to myself. So in a fit of pique I scribbled out a list of all the reasons I can think of not to write.

These are transcribed exactly how I wrote them, questionable grammar and all.

1. It’s hard.
2. I can’t make a routine because of my shifts @ work.
3. I’ll never make a living at it. (why bother?)
4. My friends are humoring me.
5. I’ll probably get sued.
6. No one reads horror.
7. I’ll never get rich writing e-books.
8. The internet is more fun.
9. I need uninterrupted time and quiet and a thunderstorm or perfect Fall sunlight and…
10. Who do I think I am, anyway?
11. My ideas are stupid and no one has told me.
12. I don’t like to give up other things to make the time.
13. The tax forms are confusing.
14. It’s all been done before.
15. I can’t describe exactly what I see in my head.
16. I’m afraid of cliches.
17. I don’t have a proper editor and am probably making so many mistakes.
18. My office is messy.
19. I want the lifestyle but I don’t want to put in the work — I want it just to happen.
20. My job gets in my way.
21. It’ll just get stolen anyway.
22. There are a million other people doing the same thing as me at the same time as me.
23. I don’t have an English degree.
24. I’m already behind on The Plan.
25. It’s a pain to lug my laptop around.
26. I could write more at work if there was a table in the locker room for me to sit at.
27. I’m not great at networking.
28. I can’t concentrate.
29. What if I actually write a novel then hate it?
30. I’m scared.

Honestly, there are some thoughts on this list that I’m not especially proud of. But I’m glad I wrote it out: the whole list was written in only a couple of minutes, and it felt good to get it out of my system. I figured I’d post it here as a confession of sorts. There must be other (new) authors out there feeling at least some of these things.

Now that I see it in front of me, I can see how ridiculous some of these thoughts are, and how the “obstacles” that seemed so big are really just me being lazy or cowardly or…

Feel free to make whatever comments you’d like on this one: I’m having an introspective Let’s Get Real kind of moment. Do you share any of these feelings? What are your go-to excuses?