Cold Milk

Is there anything better than a glass of cold milk?

Okay, probably. But right now it’s rocking my world.

I’ve been reading like a maniac. I just finished four books. Two reviews are up: Underwater (review) and In A World Just Right (review). The other two are forthcoming. Plus I started another book, Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios. It feels really good (and healthy!) to be reading a ton.

I’m working on my 2016 creative goalsI especially want to tackle what’s behind door #6 (a pruned TBR shelf). I think this upcoming weekend, I need to do another round of culling the shelf. Plus, of course, all the reading helps move books from my TBR shelf to my beautiful full-wall bookcase. Rock and roll.

To that end, I’m being super selective in my book purchases lately. As you know, I pre-ordered a handful right after Christmas; now that Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is available for pre-order and MELINA MARCHETTA’S NEW BOOK (Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil) is available too, I’ll place orders for those. My gosh, I don’t think she’s put out a book since Quintana in 2012, which honestly feels like forever ago. Even though this an adult mystery (instead of her usual YA contemp or YA fantasy), it doesn’t matter to me. I’d read her grocery lists.

Just finished my glass of milk. Dang, that was good.

I want to be a better blogger. Not sure yet what that will look like.

I’ve been PLOTTING. This might come as a shock since many of you know that I abhor plotting, but this has actually been sort of fun. I think it’s mostly because I already mostly knew what was going to happen and what needed to happen and got to hammer it out in a spreadsheet, of all things. Plus, I’ve been doing lots of brainstorming and research, and I’m excited about my ideas. Nothing like spending hours on Pinterest and getting to call it work!

Now to write. I’ve been avoiding my manuscript for over a week now. That is not good, nor is it like me. But we had this exhausting weekend of work, and afterward I just needed to rest, and before you know it, my rhythm is all off and I’m terrified to dive back in. It’s like, as long as I write five or six days a week, I’m the queen of double dutch.

double dutch

But once I stop for a couple days, I’ve bounced out of the ropes and cannot figure out how to jump back in. 

jump in

Does that analogy work for you?

I know I just need to do it, no matter how sloppy it is.

I’ve been sick. I’m desperately trying to save up PTO to take a writing retreat (see 2016 creative goals, door #4), but I just had to blow it all this week. Ugh. Starting over.

In case you missed it, my next novel is not coming out till summer 2018 now. I feel GREAT about it … until I go on Twitter. I really should not go on Twitter. It is a dark place for me. I wonder if I will always, always struggle with comparing myself to other writers.

That’s the scoop from my sick-couch! Pray I am better by tomorrow morning. I have to be.

 

A Humble, Hesitant Defense of Pantsers

I know I’ve been spewing on this blog since last night, but I have a hundred million emotions, and I haven’t been blogging, so in some ways, these hundred million emotions have been locked up inside me, and I need to get them OUT OUT OUT. I’m a mess, to be honest.

So, lately I’ve been a little (or more) stung when one of my favorite authors has really been slamming the whole “pantsers” process. For those unfamiliar with my terminology here, it’s a term you hear in the writing word: some are plotters (they plot and plan prior to writing a book) and some are “pantsers” (they write by the seat of their pants). I write my first drafts as a pantser. It’s the only way 1) I know how and 2) I can. I’ve tried to plot before, and then I lose all the energy around the project and can’t even start it.

Anyway, this writer I really admire has been really shredding the pantser process, saying that you can’t write a life-changing book that way. In addition, this other blog I follow and really respect said much the same thing. It’s hard not to feel attacked, even though obviously these posts aren’t aimed directly at me– but indirectly, they are!

I want to be indignant and upset and mad and frustrated (and I am … and have even spouted off on Twitter about it a little), but I also want to acknowledge that I’m new to this. Yes, I’ve been writing my whole life, but not professionally. My first book comes out in just over a week, and I’m working on a second one. I’m at the starting line. This would not be the first time that I’ve vocally disagreed with something that I later come to embrace. Which is why I’m being hesitant. I could see myself eating my words in ten years. Because I’m hasty and an amateur.

But GOSH, does it bother me to have people that I respect slam my writing process! It’s so very hard to have an author I admire essentially prescribe the right way to write. Yes, a pantser probably has a lot more rounds of revisions– but I’d hope that the final product masks that. Yet, this author says that a well-thought-out perfect sentence on the front end will always be better than a multiple-times-revised sentence. I just can’t win.

It probably shouldn’t bother me the way it does. But it’s hard to have a hero say, “You’re doing it wrong.”

I’m cranky and tremendously emotional, and I feel snubbed by the profession in more ways than one. Oh, and I forgot to take my OCD meds yesterday, which I’m sure doesn’t help things.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: I thought getting the book deal would be the hardest part of the publication process, but that’s not even close. The revisions were so much harder and the emotions are a BEAST. Sometimes I’m not sure I’ll ever figure out the writing life– or how to toughen up my skin enough to make it in this field I love. I never imagined that a week away from publishing my debut novel I would feel so sad and alone and scared and bedridden.

Sigh. And I need to revise novel #2 today. It’s okay. I chose this life, and I honestly do love it. I can’t imagine not being a writer. It is one of the sweetest joys I’ve ever been allowed– a reason I believe in God!– but oh, is it ever hard.

Thank you for listening. ❤

girl typing on a typewriter