Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mistakes are opportunities dressed up like Freddy Krueger

The read-through is done!

This may not look like lots of pages 
but just to let you know they were double-sided.

I can’t believe how long it took me to get through this though.  I’ve read my drafts before in one day but it took me six days of work, including a full Saturday and one Sunday morning, to get through everything because of all the notes I was making.

The good news? I don’t hate the thing.

The great news? I think I know how to make it better.

Still, despite the good and the great, the best part is that I feel REALLY EXCITED about getting back to work on revisions for the next draft.

None of the changes I’m making are to the story really – not at this point.  Sure there are a few aspects I’ve decided to tell differently but most of all I’m making structural changes and one other big change – which I’ll let you know about in another post.

What have I learned about my writing process after reading this draft? 

Mistakes are the best thing that can happen to you.


I had to do things wrong to learn how to make them right.

One of my favorite authors, Kristin Cashore, mentioned something about this recently on her blog (bullet point two).   

Mistakes aren’t things to forget.  They’re not things to be embarrassed about.  Mistakes are all you’ve got to grow from. 

They can be your greatest gifts if you let them. 

What’s the best mistake you ever made?  

p.s. Yes I'm so freaking grateful for my writing mistakes (maybe not right away) but this post isn't my new weekly gratitude post.  That one's coming so stay tuned!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thank you for the days I can waste because If I want to I can

So I may have lied in my last blog post but what you need to know is that I didn't mean to. It's just that, I may have been a little overambitious.  I read for 14 hours last Wednesday and I only got half way through reading my first draft (Bah!).

No, this isn't because I'm a slow reader (which I am) it's because I was making so many notes that it was just taking me a lot longer than expected to get through each page.  Also, life got in the way a bit the rest of the week, as it tends to do, which means it's Monday and I'm still not finished reading.  I will finish this week though. I promise!!!  And then I'll have more to say later.

What I have more to say on now, is two words:  Thank you.  Yes, thank you (and yes I'm a bit italic happy today as you can tell). But really and truly, thank you for reading this blog.  I know it's just the beginning and it's boring and I haven't yet turned to a completely regular blog schedule (though I will!) but my stats are better than 0 and that's pretty darn good.

The other thing I have to say about these two words today (you know, Thank and You) is that what they mean is really important to me.  Gratitude is so important to me in fact that without it I would probably be considering suicide (well not really because I'm scared of dying but you know what I mean).

Gratitude is really what gets us out of bed everyday, happy for the experiences we've had and eager for what's coming next.  If you're grateful for nothing then you may as well be dead.  (Hence the suicide mention).

Seriously though, EVERYONE can be grateful for something, whether it's the obvious things like your health, your breath, the ice cream you had last night for desert (or not so grateful if you're lactose intolerant), your family, or that really friendly gal at the cheese shop who chatted you up for no reason and reminded you that some people really are just nice.  If you can put one foot in front of the other then you have something to be grateful for.

What I'm saying here, albeit kind of randomly, is that I like to think about and talk about the things I'm grateful for and I like to hear what other people are grateful for too.  So I'm going to make this a regular blog thing.  One day a week.  You'll hear about one thing I'm grateful for.  It could have to do with writing. It could have to do with yummy food, or new curtains, or the love in my life, yoga, sunshine, rain, getting an awesome new hair cut, picking out a new sofa or picking my nose (cause let's just face it people, sometimes you gotta do it, you just gotta).

Hopefully, with all these thank yous I'll be blogging, you'll want to comment on what you're grateful for too.  You could have one thing you're grateful for that you'd like to share.  Or heck, if you've got more than one then by gosh darn golly, you just go ahead and share those too. (And if that last statement made you think I live in Texas now instead of LA, I don't.  That's just the way that sentence needed to come out and I'm not even quite sure if that's how a proper Texans would speak anyway).

Now, back to now.  What am I grateful for?  A song, by my new favourite band Foster the People.  The song is called Waste and the reason I'm grateful for it is because whenever I'm feeling like I'm not getting enough done, or I'm a bit unmotivated, this song reminds me that I have the power to waste the day.  Sure there's consequences, there always are, but that doesn't mean I don't have the choice.

OR....I have the power to take today and do with it what I need to so I can be the change I want to see in my world (and by the way that's me ripping off Ghandi, not the song).

So, in other words, I've got a lot of freedom and regardless of where you work or what your life looks like if you live in the West, you probably have a lot of freedom too.

Ain't that something to be grateful for?????

Now go on, what is it you feel like saying thanks for right now?

Monday, January 16, 2012

This is the edelweiss

Since we’re about half way through January I thought I better get this out before it’s too late.

You know that thing I said I'd do?  Yeah, well, I just wanted to let you know that even though it sounds like a big fat shining New Year’s resolution, it isn’t one.  Not really.

I know, I know.  You’re thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?  Her blog is called This is the year.  Her first blog entry is about how this year she’s made a pact to finish writing a trilogy.  And she published her first blog post on New Year's Day.  It's a resolution in neon lights!” 

Okay, so you're right.  But I didn’t plan it like that.

What I planned was to begin a blog when we moved to LA.  I knew making my writing journey somewhat public would bring another level of accountability to finishing my writing projects, and when we moved I knew I would be putting writing first.  Something about not having a full time job anymore and being so ridiculously far away from most people I know kind of sealed that deal.  Plus, aspiring authors/authors need to be on the Internet these days anyway.  Don't take my word for it, take his. 

But it wasn’t until I was getting ready to leave for India in November that I decided to call this blog This is the year.  I wanted to call it that not only because this is the year I would be putting writing first, but because I hope that every year, from now on, I’ll be blogging about writing (and hopefully a writing career!) as mine makes like edelweiss, blooming and growing, blooming and growing.  

Then, it wasn't until I got to India, and I was on that roof, that I thought if I'm going to be putting writing first, if I'm going to be dedicating so much time, then I better step up my game.

So in other words, what I'm really trying to say here is that this year, it’s not going to be the only one.  Because this blog isn't just about one year, one resolution.  It’s about evolution.  On Jan 17th, 2012, I’m just letting you know where in that evolution I am.

Next up is this. 

I’ll be reading it for the first time straight through tomorrow. 
I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes…

And finally, Happy Birthday Mom!  Love you!!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Laser printers are better than pistachio gelato

My family came to LA to visit me last week.
Those are my two sisters, Shayna and Kari, and my Dad.

I made them dinner.

At first my Dad and Shayna told me that only the two of them would be coming to visit and that my littlest sister, Kari, would be too busy with schoolwork to make the trip. But when I met my Dad and Shayna at their hotel (surprise!) Kari was there too!  Then us three gals were all together again. 

(Yes, much of what my family does revolves around food.  Much of what I do, too.  You'll learn this.  Soon).

They left on Saturday and by Monday I was feeling pretty lonely (and if it wasn't for my husband I'd be feeling VERY lonely).  Maybe that’s what I should expect to feel being home alone during the days after three weeks in India with one of my best friends, a week in Vancouver with part of my family and a week in LA with another part?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about being almost alone in LA.  I'm grateful for this new adventure with the love of my life (Tom) and this day-in-day-out sunshine.  I NEED this time.  I get distracted very easily and family is more important to me than pretty much anything.  So being away, as hard as it is, is probably what I need right now to, you know, do what I said I'd do

I didn’t hit the ground running on Monday either.  I'm not in a crazy writer’s frenzy (yet!) but really that's because before I do any new writing I need to read the draft I finished in December — and to do that, I need one of these:
Mine came yesterday.

I never realized how much I would need a laser printer until I tried to print my last draft on an inkjet and um, yeah, it SUCKED!

So I took Jackson Pierce's advice (see below).  As for the rest of the advice in this video (offered by 28 other YA authors). Yeah, I'm taking that too.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm staring at a blank canvas

Two weeks ago I was on this roof in India, 
making a pact with myself.

You see, I’ve been working on this book for five years — five years that went by like five breaths.  It’s the first book of a middle-grade trilogy and the working draft is pretty much done but I don’t want to fall behind.  I don’t want to take another five years to finish the second book and then another five finishing the third.

That's why I’ve promised to make this the year I complete working drafts of all three books and send the first book out to be read by agents and/or publishers.  (I figure it might be a little easier now that I’m starting 2012 unemployed, living in LA without my own car, 2183 miles away from my closest family and friends). 

So 2012 is a blank canvas I’m devoting to my death wish dream of becoming a writer who writes great books that people love to read. While I’m at it, I thought I might as well blog about it (and other things) too.

Happy New Year!