Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category
This week, my agent Michelle Wolfson, accidentally went for a jog. LOL! Her littlest decided to scoot to school and Michelle had to run to keep up with her. This tweet followed…
I had to smile because I’m one of those nuts that *enjoys it* (Most of the time.) Like anything else, it can have it’s moments. *pant, gasp, fall over* But yeah, I do it voluntarily and usually with a smile on my face.
I’ve been running a lot since the weather’s gotten nice, but that’s not the only thing I’ve been doing. This week in particular, I’ve wanted to do nothing more than write. I’ve been hit by a tsunami of writingness. I love/hate when this happens. It’s great because I’m doing something I’m so into. Even if I’m not super productive by a word count standard (I am ME after all) I’m still making all kinds of break throughs and I AM getting new words, better words, on the page. And I don’t want to mess with the flow of the universe, because it’s smiling on me and raining creativity. But it’s bad because I don’t want to do any of the other important things in my life and honestly I’ve got tons, heaping tons on my to-do list. So how have I been handling it? Of course I’ve been writing–riding the wave. LOL!
You know my motto–BUY MORE CLEAN UNDERWEAR!!!!
But, being “in the zone” with my writing has gotten me thinking about Michelle’s examination about running. There are certain things in are lives that can be very challenging, but when we are riding their wave, they’re amazing. We are drawn to them like a thirsty desert dweller to an oasis. But the things that fulfill us are different for everyone. There are people out there that would rather do anything else than run and/or write. There are folks who would run a marathon before writing a sentence, of a tome before heading out around the block. There are also people who like to do crafts and cook for fun. Now those people are like a foreign species to me! You made cupcakes for fun? Hello! I EAT cupcakes for fun. And that helps explain why I run. Full circle. ROTFL!
So, tell me. Do you get hit with writing tsunamis? What activity do you love that other people might like to poke their eyes out before doing? Does it pay to ride the wave when it come your way? Or is it really just avoidance of less fun things?
Once upon a time, I was telling a friend how mad I was at another person. Just steamed. I relayed how, in light of the situation, I would no longer be sharing my magazines with said person. My friend gasped and said, “Wow! You must have been really pissed if you took away someone’s reading material.” And I had to laugh, because it was true. Even funnier, I have no idea if that person even gave a hoot, but it made me feel a whole lot better because I took away one of the things I value most in the world. Words.
But, if I flip that scenario, you’ll see that words are my gift. If you get a book from me–if I’m sharing my reading material–I’m telling you I really love you, whether you realize it or not. It’s my way of saying you matter to me.
So, today I’d like to share with you a program called BOOKS FOR BOSTON. A way for us word people to hug the hell out of Boston. My friend AC Gaughen, the author of SCARLET is a Boston girl and I’d like to share her words with you…
BOOKS FOR BOSTON
I hardly know where to begin. I wasn’t at the marathon, but friends were. Family. Loved ones. Everyone made it through unscathed.
The manhunt happened disturbingly close to me, but again, no one I know was hurt.
That doesn’t mean that my city has made it through unscathed. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a tremendous amount of work and healing to be done.
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what my place is in all of this. Should I donate money to the One Fund? Should I be contributing to charity auctions? Should I find a role for the non-profit I work with to play in all of this?
Those are all amazing answers, and I commend the people who want to help via those routes. But I remember being a senior in high school as the Twin Towers were hit, and I remember what it felt like to be old enough to understand and young enough to feel utterly lost, to feel all my security gone, to feel any semblance of faith in the world torn away from me.
The Boston Marathon is a family event, and the amount of small children that saw this and were impacted by this is unimaginable. By now most of us have heard about Martin Richards, an eight year old boy that died in the blasts. His family are deeply in need of support and healing, and I know the One Fund will make great strides in helping them.
But for his friends, his classmates, his community, I can only imagine what it feels like to explain this to a child. To have to talk to a child about what terror really means.
I think there’s something else I can do. And maybe it’s simplistic, and maybe it’s not, but it’s the one thing that felt like an honest, organic choice to me. And that’s books.
I can’t give the children of Boston their safety or their faith back. But I can give them a place to escape, and imagine, and dream again, because that’s what books always have been and always will be. They are a beautiful and sacred space of healing and love.
And I’m hoping you’ll help me.
I’m going to donate as many books as I can to the Boston Public Library and to Martin Richard’s school, Neighborhood House Charter School. Any books! Right now I plan to give middle grade books and younger to NHCS and YA and older to the Boston Public Library, so all books are welcome. All subjects are welcome.
If you’re an author, and would like to donate a copy of your book, please sign it and instead of your usual inscription, write a message of hope, courage, or resilience. Please don’t mention the attack, or the losses, or the scars Boston now bears.
If you’re not an author but would like to donate a book, I absolutely welcome the donation. Please do the same and write a message of hope, courage, or resilience inside the book.
Please email me at acgaughen @ gmail.com and I’ll give you my address for mailing.
Maybe we can help Boston heal in a really small way. I appreciate the help, and I would really appreciate it if you pass this along.
Much love xx
Yesterday I FINALLY had my house relatively clean, a decent amount of laundry done, all three boys in school and the hubby back at work. There was no need to run because I had dance class in the evening and even the weather cooperated by being unseasonably cold and damp. It felt like a writing day. It also came to my attention that my fridge was empty and Panera would be a good place for lunch LOL! Without a doubt, all the stars were in alignment for me to pull out my newest work-in-progress called CHASING ADAPTATION.
Now, don’t get me wrong–I haven’t been neglecting this new manuscript. It has been in the research and mulling over phase while I did things like wash and put away snow pants and clean cat litter. I’ve been reading, making notes and participating in other forms of mental gymnastics. Lots of good things. But one of my writing resolutions this year is to move more quickly into the drafting phase after I’m finished with a project. (I say “finished” loosely, since we all know a novel is never done until it’s on the shelves.) Any-who, yesterday was the day to pull out the almost 6,000 words of CHASING ADAPTATION that I’d written during this year’s NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. And trust me, there was a lot of dust on that baby–I hadn’t read it since November.
I am soooooo happy that I wrote those 6,000 words!!! At the time I was disappointed that I couldn’t do more, but with the TOUCHING THE SURFACE book launch, Thanksgiving and a dance recital, almost 6,000 words was my best. This is a great reminder that sometimes it’s better to focus on starting than on finishing. Worry about finishing after you start LOL! It was so much easier to begin writing again, having a platform in place to jump off of. This experience has also cemented my desire to try NaNoWriMo again next year. I may not finish, but the writing I did do, turned out to be very helpful. Also, the NaNo draft (to my surprise) ended up being a lot better than I remembered it. I fully anticipated having to trash a sizable chunk of what I’d thrown down on paper, but I don’t think I’m going to do that at this point. My original instincts may have been better than I thought they were. I believe I’m going to give this puppy a little room to grow and see what my subconscious mind has planned. Have I ever told you how much I enjoy the voices in my head? They are pretty cool company.
Anyway–for the record–I want to say something out loud. You know, before I get to that part in the manuscript where I suck and would rather cut my wrists open with a plastic butter knife than ever write again.
I LOVE WRITING!!!!
I’m so deliriously happy that I’m pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. Jumping into a new book right away feels brave and daring.
It also makes me feel good to know that I’m always growing and adapting. Recognizing my method while simultaneously learning to challenge myself.
Finding a new balance.
And I adore the potential and excitement that comes with a new idea.
The start of a book leaves me tingly as I filter my brain onto paper.
I can’t babble about this forever. I must finish writing this post so I can go back to Scrivener and write more words.
How long does it take you to start writing again after you finish a project? Can you juggle multiple projects? Are you able to “work” on a book in your head while you’re busy doing other things? What’s your view on starting and finishing? Does starting a book make you giddy?
I’ll be honest, I’m not really a researcher in the traditional sense of the word. I hear about writers attacking mountains of data for non-fiction and historical fiction–and quite frankly–I start to hyperventilate. That stuff freaks me out!
I’m sucky at tasks with a high attention to detail and prefer to flit around like a butterfly, but I’ve also come to realize that I do have a Kim version of research. Like most people, I start with an idea. Usually a question–an itch that must be scratched. I spend a lot of time, while I’m revising my current WIP, tossing the new nugget of an idea around in my mind. I examine it from every angle. Usually I find, that while I have a starting point, I don’t have enough stuff to write a complete story. In essence, I’m lacking the threads to weave a full blanket. I’ve only got enough to do a half of a sweater. This idea tossing sounds like pretty typical behavior for most writers, but this is where I get a little weird. When I get stuck trying to find the rest of those threads, I go divining for inspiration in the book store the way this guy uses a dowsing stick to find water.
The first thing I do is wander around a book store. (One of my favorite things to do in the whole world. *sigh*) I keep my mind open and I touch books. I literally walk around trailing my fingers over spines and grabbing random books that have covers that pull me in. Then I read the jackets and see if anything resonates. If my mind and my fingers get a little jumpy with curiosity, the way that dowsing stick does over water, I add another book onto my pile of “research.” I usually come home with an eclectic pile of books and after I read them, I some how I find my answers. I’m not really sure how it works. On my more logical days, I believe that reading simply stimulates the mind and if you read enough, you’ll stumble across enough questions and answers to fill a book. Other days, I’m pretty damn sure that I was born to be an author and when you’re doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing, the universe is happy and rewards you with a little magic. Or maybe it’s a little bit of both. LOL!
How do you like to research a new book?
This Sunday 4/14/13 I’ll be at the Red Hook READ LOCAL LITERARY FESTIVAL!!!! (Click the link for the full schedule)
Lots of great activities all weekend long–but I’ll be speaking and signing on Sunday afternoon with two other amazing authors…
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.: Hudson Valley YA Society
Panel featuring Maya Gold (Spellbinding), Jennifer Donnelly (Revolution) & Kimberly Sabatini (Touching the Surface)
Red Hook Public Library, 7444 S. Broadway
We would love to hang out with you.
Read Local Red Hook Literary Festival is presented in partnership between
the Red Hook Community Arts Network, Bard College Center for Civic Engagement, the Red Hook Public Library and Oblong Books and Music.
During the last school visit I attended, I was asked by a student what my favorite genre was.
Gahhhh!!!!! I couldn’t pick. My tastes are varied. The clock was ticking. Teen readers were looking at me like I was a nut. I wondered how I was going to answer the question???? And then it hit me. BAM!
Me: Light bulb moment
I don’t have a favorite genre. I don’t even have a favorite type of book. I have a favorite thingamajig. You know–a thingamajig–wait–you don’t know???? I’ll bet you’d know it if you saw it. It’s the kind of book that makes you do this…
My most recent thingamajiggy books are anything by Chris Cleave. Chris is an adult author from across the pond. And while I’m reading fabulous YA and MG books right now, his writing haunts me as a reader and a writer. So much so, he’s become one of my favorite authors and the adult author I’m most captivated by. What’s your favorite thingamajig?
Book by Chris Cleave:
There are so many amazing authors in the world. I read them. I study them. I admire them. I aspire. But over the years, I’ve learned that there are people, who are not authors, that move me in just as powerful ways.
Here are some of my inspirations that have nothing to do with writing.
I want to write the way Mia Michaels choreographs.
I want to write the way Adele sings.
I want to write the way the 1980 Men’s Olympic Hockey team worked together to win gold.
I want to write the way Malala Yousafzai lives her life–bravely.
I want to write the way Mahatma Gandhi inspired the world.
This is just a few of many. And I consider myself lucky to have such a long list of inspiration. What about you? I’d love to hear what make you want to write a better book…
Yesterday was my birthday and coincidentally the first day in March that all of my boys were in school at the same time. We have the pleasure of spring breaks that NEVER fall at the same time in our house. *head thunk* Yup–I’ll have a grand total of FOUR days in March that are kid free. And while I love my kids and really enjoy all the fun things we do while their home. And while I enjoy NOT getting up at the crack of dawn for the 12yo–me and 5:30 am have a hate/hate relationship. And even though I have managed to find ways to get a decent amount of writing work done around them–the truth is I also love my alone time.
So, back to the birthday. I had a zillion good wishes yesterday. Thank you everyone. And one of the things that many people said to me was…Do something special on your birthday! And because I was revising (I AM ALMOST DONE!!!!) Other people suggested…Don’t forget to take a break from revisions and do something special! Now I’ll be the first one to tell you, there are points in the writing process where I’ve seen way too much of whatever it is I am working on and a break from it would be a little slice of heaven. But yesterday, after nineteen days of having other people in my writing space, spending the day with just my manuscript was the special thing I got to do. And realizing it made me smile because I was reminded of what a gift I’ve been given–the knowledge to do what I love and to love what I do.
When do you love writing the most? What makes writing special for you?
I’m busy juggling boys and revisions, but I found an expert to give you advice on being a writer…
What’s your favorite genre to read outside of children’s literature? Favorite author? Favorite book? What are you reading that expands your book pallet?
Back in the revision fort!
Yesterday I spent most of my time working on my newly returned notes on THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY from my critique partners. Woo hoo! And here are some random thoughts that have popped into my head now that I’m delving back into the story…
* I love critique partners who not only tell me that I spelled something wrong or that I abused a semi-colon, but also give me a running commentary of what they’re thinking. It is so much fun and so helpful to see how their thought process unfolds as they interact with my words. This is true when you hear an OMG! I didn’t see that coming but it was awesome! It’s also just as valuable when I get an Ummmm I have no idea what’s going on here???? Both of these are helpful and needed.
*After a couple weeks with my MS on the back burner, I love it again. Phew! Honestly, by the time I’d passed it off to my friends, I was pretty sick of it and convinced, that while it was vastly better than it was before, it was still poo.
No, I don’t mean that kind of Pooh.
Writers, when you look at something for too long–it begins to look like poo. And then you have to learn to walk away from the poo, because when you’re knee deep in the poo, you can not get perspective. Don’t be afraid to pass the poo to a friend. That’s what friends are for (In the writing world or if you’re a mom with a new infant) And usually, what you get back (book or baby) is never quite as bad as what you thought you gave away. Your brain needed a break and now it’s working again.
*Speaking of the brain, it’s incredible how it will not see your mistakes no matter how many times you look at your own words. Your brain can do weird and wonderful things. To prove my point…
Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen’t mttaer, the olny thnig thta’s iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat ltteer of eevry word is in the crcreot ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.
It blows me away and sort of scares me how easy it was for me to read that.
*I still growl or moan when I’m made aware of a plot hole or an inconstancy, even if I know it’s absolutely true. I tackle it, but it comes with sound effects. *head thunk*
*I really dig writing metaphors. I need to make this a component in the conference proposal I’m working on. One of my favorite parts of the writing process.
*I can get so engrossed in the revisions that I forget to write my blog post until almost midnight. *yawn* But because I want to get back to working on it (with a fresh mind) I’d better stop having random thoughts and get my butt to bed.
Any words or wisdom or bits of insight from your revision fort?
And don’t forget, there is still a chance to win a signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE for your local or school library. Enter HERE!