Thursday, July 1, 2010

Updates and advice, from me to YOU. (Oh, and some self-made cover art)

I’m exhausted, and it was worth it. In November of 2009, I wrote a novel. That novel has evolved and become the manuscript that I’m working on now. If you’ve followed me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you will know that I’ve been major deadlining the past few days. That deadline was for a free proof copy of my NaNo novel, from CreateSpace, a division of Amazon. I successfully uploaded all of my files, including my own cover art, (which I will show below, hold your horses) BUT there’s a review window or something... I should have checked the website out earlier to go over their policy, but there’s been other stuff on my head recently. If I get the free proof copy, FANTASTIC. If I don’t, nothing will have changed.

At ten pm, I realized something vital- which is the advice I mentioned in the title. I love hearing writing advice, because I’m still so new at this whole thing, and knowing what works for you might  work for me, and vice versa. But I’m pretty confident in this one, and I hope you can use it too.

Stay connected.

I think this is important in many aspects of life, but especially when it comes to writing. There is definitely a time for breaks, but if your novel is important to you, the best thing for it is to breathe your style and soul into its’ words. The way you do this is to be passionate about what you’re writing, and I believe that the way to do THAT is to keep in touch with your novel. I might even be so bold as to say that you want to emotionally connect yourself so that the novel is something you want to finish for YOU. Involving yourself in the writing process is vital for anyone, and this is one of my biggest mistakes. There was a point where I was writing the novel I thought would sell, or what agents would enjoy. In that process, my words became just words, and not the story I so desperately wanted to tell. I don’t think that writing every day is the best plan for everyone; I try to get some writing done, but have a no-guilt policy if I don’t.

 But here’s the thing. When I connect myself to my work,  really care about what happens, and want to meet my characters in real life, I want to write. I want to get the story on paper, I want to get it right, and I do it because I love what I can accomplish. It’s hard not to be fixated on word counts and deadlines, but my novel was not as complete as I’d like, and I’m not speaking as any kind of perfectionist. As I was driving home from the coffee shop where I worked on March, I commented to my mom the one thing I hope you’ll take away from this post:

“I submitted the manuscript. Guess what I’m going to do when I get home?”
“Go to bed?” My mother asked.
“No. Keep writing.”

I came home and kept writing because I wanted to, and because I believe that with hard work, I’ll be able to finish the novel that I want. I want to write because I love it, and the power I have (literally!) at my fingertips. That is the key to success. Write what you love, write what you hate, but in the end, write you.

Housekeeping! Today is the LAST DAY to enter my iBeta contest, before I open the voting.. Tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW, and I’ll have the voting page up soon. My family was in town Sunday through today, so I was able to spend a nice amount of time with them getting sunburnt and swimming. I went to the local American Association of University Women (AAUW) book sale and came out with a complete steal. I bought:

Marley and Me, by John Grogan
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
Weekend in Paris, by Robyn Sisman

College/College related books
Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition Complete Course
American College English, by Warfel, Mathews and Bushman
Introductory Algebra 1, by Russell F. Jacobs
How to Solve Word Problems in Algebra A Solved Problem Approach, by Mildred Johnson
A History of English Literature by Moody and Lovett
Colleges That Change Lives, by Loren Pope
The Best Way to Save For College by Joseph Hurley

Writings on writing:
McCrimmon Writing with a Purpose, 6th edition
The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, paperback edition
Writing Down the Bones Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Get Ready, Get Set, Go! A Young Traveler’s guide to Europe by Stan Raiff
Seattle Discovered by Bob Peterson

Beverly Cleary, A Girl from Yamhill

Emily Post’s Etiquette, Eleventh edition

Total number of books, 21. Total cost, $3.00.

They’re not all super-modern novels, or even the most recent additions of anything. But the math hater in me figured math books couldn’t hurt, the English dork in me figures there’s something to learn from any book, and the college-bound rising senior in me is, well- obviously- looking into college. Speaking of college, I am going to be going on a road trip with a friend at the end of the month for nine days. We’ll be visiting a billion colleges all on the East Coast, starting at Georgetown, and heading up to a school in Vermont, called Champlain. If any of you are near a major Ivy League school (not necessarily for me- I'm looking at smaller schools, my friend is looking IL) I'd love to maybe try and meet up for coffee or something. It will be fun, but pretty intense. I’m looking forward to it.

Also, MAJOR SHOUTOUT to Gloria Tangerine (aka Abbey) because it's her BIRTHDAY TODAY! Fellow well-wishes encouraged. And so, as I promised- here is my proof copy cover art, and a picture of me writing with a special helper..



  1. Maybe posting the first comment is a big no-no, since I'm your mom, but I really liked what you said about writing just for yourself...something I need to remember for myself! When did you get to be so wise??? XOXOX

  2. I love the cover art! Brilliant! What software did you use?

    Sometimes, I dead on agree with writing, writing, writing just because I love it. Sometimes I can't anymore. Usually when I take a break and tell myself to NOT write, I can't think about anything else. Quite the reverse psychology!

    You got Writing Down the Bones! Pay close attention to the chapters on 'Blue Lipstick and a Cigarette Hanging out of Your Mouth' and 'The Samurai.' Seeeee if you notice anything. ;)

    And if you're in the greater Philadelphia area looking at schools, hit me up!

  3. Hey, Molly, an AMAZING steal on the books!!!! I wish I would have been there. ;)


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