Interview at Alison Dotson’s Blog!

Alison Dotson, the president of OCD Twin Cities, interviewed me on her blog today!

Here’s the intro:

Have I mentioned how lucky I am to know so many wonderful people in the OCD community? It wasn’t that long ago that I’d never even met one other person with OCD–let alone someone who had an experience so similar to mine.

Fate stepped in when the International OCD Foundation asked both me andJackie Lea Sommers to blog about our personal experiences with OCD. In Jackie’s first post she mentioned that she grew up in a small town in Minnesota–hey, me too! So I wrote a comment after her post telling her how great it was and that I’d love to connect sometime.

Click here to read the rest!

Green Things I Love

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share a list of green things I love.

John Green | I adore this man and am so happy to be a Nerdfighter. I love listening to his AFC Wimbleton Wimbly Womblys videos to learn more about him, his views, his life, etc. John is doing important things in our world, and I deeply admire him.

Anne of Green Gables | Oh Anne. Oh Gilbert.

Minnesota in summer | It’s been so long …

This scarf | Click here.

Billy Graham Community Life Commons | A LEED-certified building on my beloved Northwestern campus.

The Green Lady in PerelandraSuch innocence.

Green Lake, Minnesota | The fictional town where Truest takes place.

Green lights | Literal and metaphorical …

How about you? 

Typographic Design Greeting Card Template

5 Ways You Can Help Me Sell My Book

1. Purchase the book. Pre-orders are absolutely the best type of sales; the next best is to buy it within the first week or two after its release (September 1st– add it to your calendar now!). You can pre-order it through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or a host of other online retailers.

2. Read it and review it. I’d be so, so grateful for some great reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.

3. Ask your local bookstore to carry the book.

4. Ask your local library to order it for its shelves.

5. Talk about it! With friends, family, teens you know, in person, on social media, etc. Word-of-mouth matters!

Truest 3d jpgThere are other ideas too (pinning my cover to Pinterest, tweeting your favorite lines, coming to launch parties and book signings, creating fan art [YES PLEASE]), but these five above are, in my opinion, the best and most important things you can do to help me become a successful author.

That said, I’m terribly grateful just to have the opportunity to write and be published. Thank you for anything you do– your kind words and encouragement, your excitement for me, your investment in my life– these all matter to me too. Deeply.

My ARC arrived in the mail!

Truest ARCLook at this beautiful thing.

It’s my book, all grown up and looking like a book.

Alas, it’s just an ARC (advance reader copy)– essentially, a paperback, uncorrected version of what will eventually be a hardcover thing of beauty without any errors (please, God!) and without that big red UNCORRECTED PROOF tag at the top of it.

But still. It’s my book.

I definitely cracked it open at work when I got it and read a couple scenes. They honestly FEEL different when they’re on book pages instead of Microsoft Word pages. You’re just going to have to trust me. Then, that night, I curled up in my bed and read some more of it. I wrote these things, I marveled.

No matter how ridiculous or self-indulgent it might be, you can’t help but marvel when you hold your ARC. Mine is the result of over three years of hard, hard work. It’s a dream that has become so true that I can literally touch it.

Uncompartmentalized Faith

I picture my faith as Who I Am, the core of my identity, the immovable part of my soul.

All other parts of my life– writing, friends and family, media, work, philanthropy, choices– are the parts of a beautiful and intricate mobile, of which my relationship with Jesus is the centerpiece.

cross

A blog reader told me, “I appreciate that your faith doesn’t happen in a vacuum and is not relegated to one part of your blog.”

It couldn’t be. My faith doesn’t fit in a compartment. It is the compartment.

For those of you who follow my blog because of OCD, writing, or otherwise– and who do not share my faith– thank you for never asking me to be only a part of who I am. I have the best blog readers, and I’m grateful.

More about my Christian faith at jackieleasommers.com/faith.

 

Image credit: Marcy Leigh

 

A Collaborative Poem about Truest

I wrote this with my friend Mary, who is a genius. She is going to change the world, and I’ll just say, “I knew that all along.”

Untitled
by Mary and Jackie

Friday.
There is rain falling on Green Lake, and how can you say
the words that hang between you
like a veil you cannot tear?

The swans are quiet now, a silence that digs and destroys,
and you marvel that he can believe the sun will ever rise.

Saturday.
There is rain falling on Green Lake, a liquid pit that
takes and takes and never gives.

Sunday.
There is rain falling on Green Lake, and this time, you see it:
the stark splendor of it all, and the echo of the swan’s lamentation,
which roots you to the earth like a promise.

swimming male mute swan 7882

Advice for New Writers

advice for new writers1. Write. The most important thing you can do as you start your journey as a writer is, in fact, to write. More specifically, write a lot. Most of it will probably be bad. That’s okay. Most writers have to expel a decent amount of junk onto the pages before they ever get to anything good. The more you write, the closer you’re getting to the real gems that are waiting.

2. Read. And be picky about what you read. Consuming massive amounts of poor literature is not going to be much help to you. Read the best of the best, the most brilliant pieces. At first, you might not know how to tell the good from the bad. In that case, start with award winners, ask people you trust for recommendations, delve into the classics that have stood the test of time. Eventually, you’ll be able to discern what is high quality yourself. Read these books. Read them again.

3. Quit worrying about publication. If you’re a new writer, dreaming about publication is only going to be a distraction. Besides, publication isn’t the point. Writing itself is the point. I see this all the time in new writers: they are so hungry to be published, when their hunger is misplaced: they really should be focusing on becoming the best writers they can be.

4. Solicit critical feedback. This is not the same as having your mom or dad or best friend read your work and tell you it’s amazing. It’s important to find people who understand what great literature looks like and have them pull your work to pieces. It will be very, very difficult (in fact, nearly impossible) for you to grow as a writer without this.

5. Keep going. Everyone wants to write a book, but only a small percentage of people do. Those are the people that keep going— the ones who struggle through writing poorly, sometimes for years; the ones who pour copious hours of their life into reading quality poetry and prose; the ones who let the journey of writing be the reward and who don’t get distracted from the goal of great writing by the goal of publication; the ones who ask what they could do better, graciously receive criticism, and revise with it in mind; the ones who do all these things day after day, month after month, year after year.

Best wishes!

Asking for Help

I battled with undiagnosed OCD for fifteen years before I finally sought help. Now, that just seems silly.

These days, when I encounter a problem, I open my mouth and ask for help. This isn’t weak. It’s smart.

I’m so over the ridiculous stigma attached to this. There is nothing shameful about identifying areas where I struggle and then seeking out solutions. I celebrate my enterprising, aggressive spirit and commitment to health.

This post is not to toot my own horn but to give my blog readers another way of framing the often humbling experience of asking for help. Doing so is a brave, intrepid, wise move– don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Vintage inscription made by old typewriter

A Portrait of Uncertainty, Before & After

SONY DSCUncertainty, Before ERP: intolerable agony. Even a sliver of uncertainty would collapse my entire self. It was torture, hell on earth. I didn’t think I could stand it for one more minute. And, in fact, because of that intense pressing need to erase the uncertainty, I’d usually do something to alleviate the ugly anxiety … but compulsions prevent you from realizing that you can live one more minute. And then another. And as the minutes stack up, you start to get used to the cold water. In fact, it stops feeling icy.

Uncertainty After ERP: uncomfortable still, but necessary. These days uncertainty feels like a built-in, expected part of life. It’s no one’s favorite thing to experience, but I experience it much the same way as the general population. It’s not an emergency; it’s just an inconvenience. And because I learned that I could survive– and even thrive– by embracing uncertainty, I actually love it more than most people.

Uncertainty isn’t the enemy. ERP can set you free.
Go to www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD-help for more details.

 

Image credit: Mark Turnauckas