Friday, March 30, 2018

When You Wish Progress was a Cheetah, Not a Snail

Timing is everything. Or so they say. The problem with timing is that it’s often out of our control and isn't usually concerned with our opinion on how quickly it should move. There are few times this is better illustrated than when you’re working toward a dream. Dreams are rarely instantaneous, just-add-water-and-viola sort of things. And if that dream involves the publishing world, buckle up and enjoy the ride. For most of us, it will be proceeding at a snail’s pace. I hope you brought some snacks. 



But the idea of timing, while frustrating at times, has also become a source of comfort for me when I feel stuck in the middle, between where I am and where I hope to be.

As a Christian, my personal belief is that timing is all about God knowing what’s best for future me better than I do. But whether you believe things happen as a result of divine orchestration, or fate, or serendipity, or pure chance, I would bet you’ve uttered the phrase “perfect timing” at least once in your life. I've been thinking about this a lot lately—how perfect timing doesn't usually feel perfect in the moment. More like everyone else is speeding past you while you're standing still and screaming at them to WAIT UP like an irate toddler. 




That's the other problem with timing: It usually takes being on the other side of something to appreciate the path you took to get there. When it feels like you've forever been in a season of waiting—just on the cusp of seeing dreams come to fruition—it's hard to stop and think of the good things that have happened in the wait. To be honest, I'd often rather whine about how I'm feeling than have someone remind me to take a different perspective (and if that's you too, and you already want to strangle me, I feel you, but just walk with me for a minute...)

If my agent had signed me for the first book I submitted to her (almost 5 years ago), I would have never entered Pitch Wars. I would have never formed the close-knit friendships that have sustained me through the ups and downs of the writing process. I would never have had the opportunity to mentor other writers and their beautiful stories. Not only that, but I was a fairly new author, it was my first children’s book, and I was still ignorant (and in many ways just naive) about so much of what it takes to write and publish great stories. I’d never experienced the self-imposed pressure and expectations that come with writing book #2 (or #3, or #4). I hadn’t yet questioned my dream, or wondered if it was all worth it. If I’d gotten everything I’d hoped and dreamed of in that moment five years ago, quite frankly, it probably would have wrecked me. 

In the moment, it felt like failure. Now, I look back with gratitude for how things have ultimately progressed. 

This doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I have plenty of days where I'd rather just wallow—in disappointment, in sadness, in jealousy. Days when my inner critic tells me I'm a big fat failure. On those days, I need someone else to nudge me in a different, more honest direction. To remind me that I have to trust the process—I have to believe that when the time is right, it will happen. And that someday, I’ll look back and say, “Thank goodness it worked out this way.” 

Recently, I was listening to Annie F. Downs'* podcast conversation with singer/songwriter Ellie Holcomb. Ellie was telling the story behind her album, Red Sea Road. As she was getting ready to release it, her dad was diagnosed with cancer, and in the midst of his diagnosis and treatment Ellie missed a deadline, which caused the record release to be delayed. It was an additional blow in the middle of an already difficult time. But when her record finally did release, she received so many messages from people who had listened to her album in the midst of their own personal struggle and heartache who told her, “Your song came at the perfect time.”

And therein lies the comfort. So much is out of our control, but if we have faith in the process and trust the timing, we can believe that we will be better for the wait. And we can believe that the wait isn’t just about us, but about that one kid, out there in the universe, who will pick up our book one day...at just the right time. 


*Annie F. Downs is one of my favorite humans on the planet. We're not, like, IRL friends or anything, but I wish we were. Go listen to her podcast: That Sounds Fun.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Writing: A Survival Guide for INFJs

Note: If you don't know your personality type, I highly suggest taking the 16Personalities test.

The day I discovered I'm an INFJ and read my first personality profile, it was like WHO ARE YOU AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SPYING ON MY LIFE? Suddenly, all my weirdness made sense. As I continued to learn about common strengths and weaknesses for my personality type, it was illuminating not just for my everyday life, but for my life as a writer.

They say INFJs make up the smallest percentage of all personality types—less than 1%. And from my very unofficial surveys it seems like writers ARE the 1%. It makes sense, since most INFJs are naturally creative. But while being an INFJ can make us feel unique, it also comes with a unique set of challenges, especially as writers. These struggles are something all writers may face (and on the flip side, not all INFJs may struggle with these), but if you find yourself having a particularly hard time in these areas (like me), here are some tips for surviving and thriving as an INFJ writer...

Struggle: We tend to be more sensitive to criticism and critique.



Why this can be a problem: If you're going to write a book, you're going to need critiques and you're going to face criticism.

What you can do: Realize that critique of your work is part of the process and business of being a writer. And it is NOT personal. When your critique partners read your latest manuscript and come back with suggestions, it's easy to get defensive. It's also easy to despair. Resist the urge to get sucked into either of those whirlpools. Find writing partners you trust and then remind yourself that they don't hate you or your book, no matter how many comments they make on your manuscript. In fact, they want to help you succeed. Critique is essential to growth and success as a writer—and FYI, none of us ever reach a point where we've "made it" and no longer need feedback. If it's not coming from your CPs, it's going to come from an agent or an editor. Learn to see this part of the writing life as a positive, not a negative.

Criticism can be a harder beast to face. My advice? Don't dwell on it. I know—easier said than done. But again, it's par for the course as a writer. Reading is subjective. What one reader thinks is amazing, another might hate. Think about all the books you've loved...and the ones you didn't. Yes, it might feel like a personal assault when someone dislikes our book, but in the end, it's just one person's opinion, and we don't have to let that opinion become part of our identity—as a person, or a writer.

Struggle: We can be extremely private.



Why this can be a problem: We try to go it alone.

What you can do: Find yourself a community of writers who know what you're going through. You don't have to tell them every detail of your life, but having friends who understand the ups and downs of the writing life—and who can offer encouragement and a safe space to feel all the feelings that come with it—is essential to staying emotionally healthy as a writer.

Struggle: We tend to be perfectionists.



Why this can be a problem: We can be tempted to quit in the first draft, or edit and revise for ages, convinced our words are never good enough.

What you can do: Learn that first drafts and perfection do NOT go together. Writing is messy and it takes time. Find trusted CPs and send them your work even when you know it's not perfect. In order for that manuscript to grow up into a book, it has to leave the nest. It will be okay, and so will you.

And remember, editing doesn't stop until that book is in print. Any agent you sign with is probably going to request a few changes, and once you have that glorious book deal, you'll be working with an editor who's going to request a whole lot more. Learn to let go and not obsess over every comma. Or should that be a semicolon? Maybe I should just rewrite the entire sentence so I don't have to figure out which one is right...(Don't pretend you haven't done this.)

Struggle: We hate feeling like we're not making progress, routine tasks are an annoyance, and interruptions push us over the edge.



Why this can be a problem: Cranky writer snaps at anyone and anything that causes delays in their writing goals or interrupts writing time. Despair sets in and we begin to question our life choices. Is this really worth it? Is it ever going to happen? I should just give up. 

What you can do: First, give yourself grace. Life happens. Sometimes you have a week where everything goes according to plan and you hit your daily word count goal with ease. Other weeks, the kids get sick, or appointments stack up, or bad news leaves you mentally and emotionally exhausted. You're lucky if you manage a paragraph. Realize that this is okay. It may be frustrating, but it's also out of your control.

Secondly, learn to prioritize. 99.9% of the writers I know (including myself) don't write full time. We're also students, employees, business owners, SAHMs trying to juggle writing and motherhood...all with tasks that *aren't* writing screaming for our attention. It's easy for writing to become that thing we do when we've managed to get everything else done. I don't know about you, but I have a strong tendency to get overwhelmed by the length of my to-do list, and I don't always prioritize that list very well. I want to check everything off the list as quickly as possible, but what I need to do is decide what HAS to be done today, and what can wait until tomorrow or the next day. If I have a graphic design job that's not due for two weeks, I don't have to finish it in the next eight hours, I can space it over the next few days. As much as I hate the stack of dirty dishes next to the sink, they'll still be there after a quick writing session. Figure out what part of your day is going to be the best time for writing (said time may shift from day to day), and when that time comes, write. For me, it's usually in the afternoon when the kids' homeschool work is done and they're free to watch cartoons or play video games. Sure I could be tempted to tackle that stack of dishes, but it's a lot easier to write during that window of relative peace and quiet. Later, when the husband is home and the kids are running wild through the house with their Nerf guns, and the dog is barking because the neighbors have dared to pull into their driveway—then I can do those dishes.

Struggle: We tend to neglect self care.



Why this can be a problem: Creative burnout is a real thing.

What you can do: This goes along with the last problem, in that it's easy to push yourself TOO hard to juggle life and responsibilities AND write your novel. That's why balance—and knowing when to take a break—is so important. 

Confession—when I'm deep in a project, writing or otherwise, I forget to eat. Yeah, you're not the first person to make that face at me. This is the point where I usually lose people. I have a couple of friends who totally feel me on this, but most folks hear that and are horrified. ("You forget to EAT? How is that even possible?") Turns out it's an INFJ quirk. I mean, I'm in the middle of a five hundred-word streak! Having to stop and make food is SO annoying. Do you know how long it takes to microwave that noodle bowl? Four minutes! I just...give me a second...if I don't write this down, I'll forget this brilliant line...it's okay, I had breakfast this morning...I think...how long have I had to pee this bad? 

Even on days where the words aren't flowing, it's easy to spend hours trying to squeeze something out of your brain and through your fingertips. When you're not actively writing, your mind is still swirling, trying to craft that perfect sentence or fill in that plot hole. Soon you're tired and cranky and your brain is mush. Every sentence sounds idiotic. Your anxiety is skyrocketing and you're convinced you're a sham—you'll never be a successful writer. Who were you kidding? Whut R werds? 

This is your hint that you need to take a break. Rest. Do something that inspires you creatively and/or relaxes your mind and body. Take a walk. Listen to music. Watch a film or read a book. I'm not a person who believes you have to write EVERY SINGLE DAY in order to be successful. In fact, I've found that I'm much more successful at meeting my goals if I include consistent breaks and moments of rest. Take time to recharge. Your manuscript will thank you. And when you do get back to writing? Take a muffin with you.


I'd love to hear from you! Did you connect with any of these struggles? What strategies have you implemented to help you overcome? 

This post is also appearing on To the Shelves - be sure to check out the other great writing tips available on the site!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Author Interview: Jenny Ferguson, Author of BORDER MARKERS (Plus Giveaway!)




Today I'm chatting with Jenny Ferguson, author of BORDER MARKERS. Jenny happens to be one of my Pitch Wars 2015 classmates (and a fellow 2016 Pitch Wars mentor!), so I have first-hand knowledge of what a lovely human being she is. I'm so excited to have her on the blog to tell us more about her debut novel! So, without further ado, here's what Jenny had to say about her book, the inspiration behind the story, and her opinion on metaphorical snacks.





First of all, what is BORDER MARKERS about?

I am not good at this question. How about I let you read the blurb, something a group of skilled people came up with!

After the accidental death of a high school-aged friend, the Lansing family has split along fault lines previously hidden under a patina of suburban banality. Every family's got secrets, but for the Lansings those secrets end up propelling them away from the border town of Lloydminster to foreign shores, prison, and beyond. 
Told via thirty-three flash fiction narratives, fractured like the psyches of its characters, Border Markers is a collection with keen edges and tough language. It's a slice of prairie noir that straddles the line between magic and gritty realism.

See, I feel better knowing you read that and I didn’t mess it up by trying to do something I’m terrible at. I’m a storyteller, not a story-summer-upper.

What inspired you to write this book?

Through one of those silly acts of fate, I ended up living in Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan, Canada, for two years in the middle of my high school career. A rough move, to say the least. It gets cold that far north in Canada—the kind of cold where you need to plug cars in so that they’ll start in the morning. Once, I drove half way across town with a 50 foot extension cord trailing behind me on the icy roads—but that’s another story.

The other act of fate that turned me into the woman who would write Border Markers was that my parents enrolled me in the local Catholic high school so that I could continue my French Immersion studies, and not the public high school, where I would have been a lot more comfortable. But after all, I’d been studying French since kindergarten: I probably shouldn’t quit just because we moved to what I considered the frigid, middle-of-nowhere.

In the end, I really ended up loving Lloydminster, the people and the places, despite the town’s many problems.

And now we’re going to time warp a few years: I’m back in Toronto, and I’m working as a clerk in a busy maternity ward, and I get an email that sucks the air out of the room.

A friend of mine has been attacked on the street.

My friend dies later that night.

For a long time, I’m wrecked. For a long time, I don’t know how to process. When I can, I know that the town of Lloydminster, this place I thought I didn’t belong to, was the right place to go back to in order to move forward.

Of course, Border Markers is fiction. But the emotion and the weight of life in the pages comes from the town, from its people—and yeah, I’m one of them even if I don’t live within those borders today.

Places imprint themselves on you, and you imprint yourself on those places, as it should be.

I love that—life's imprints. So beautiful. What imprint do you hope your book leaves on your readers?

Always, always, always I hope that my book—and any other books I publish—hit a reader in the feels. Literature, in my heart, is always about transmission of emotion and experience. And by experiencing these things, we change. This is something I believe: Books change people, and by changing people, they change the world.

Okay, re-reading that, I come across as someone who has lofty goals. But, hey, that’s not a bad thing, right?

Do you have any writing rituals when you're penning all the feels? Beverages, snacks, walking three laps around the room counter clockwise before you sit down at your desk?

I have to write alone. I guess you could say that I can be alone in a room full of people, but I need to feel isolated, and I need to feel empty.
That doesn’t mean I don’t snack. The empty feeling is more metaphorical. You know writers, we like metaphors. But not metaphorical snacks. That’s not cool.

The last three books you read:

Other than my Pitch Wars slush pile? Haha. Okay, then we need to wind back to my lovely vacation to Croatia/Montenegro this past June:

Erin Morgenstern’s THE NIGHT CIRCUS
Louis Carmain’s GUANO: A NOVEL (translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins)
Matthew Heiti’s THE CITY STILL BREATHING

Coke or Pepsi?

When I’m bad, coke with a squirt of lime, over ice. When I’m good: water with the same lime over the same ice. 



What's your best piece of advice for writers?

You have to love the process, even when you hate it. Because the process is writing. Publishing isn’t writing. It might be part of writing, but it’s not the whole thing. Oh and I’m going to add in a second, but related, thing: mental health breaks. Take them when you need them. Enjoy the time away from writing, from the process, so you can come back to it and still love it.


Jenny Ferguson lives in a log cabin (without an internet connection) and names her pets after (dead) American presidents. She is Métis, French-Canadian, a feminist, and an activist. BORDER MARKERS is her first novel.

Twitter: @jennyleeSD




Thank you so much, Jenny, for being on the blog today! Congratulations on your debut!

BORDER MARKERS is now available to order on Amazon. And starting today, you have a chance to win a copy! Enter Jenny's Goodreads Book Giveaway by clicking on the widget below! (Also, I've been told if you visit Jenny's website, there just might be another surprise giveaway.)



Goodreads Book Giveaway


Border Markers by Jenny Ferguson

Border Markers

by Jenny Ferguson


Giveaway ends October 06, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter Giveaway

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Letter to the Pitch Wars Hopefuls Who Didn't Get In

Dear Heartbroken Hopefuls,

As someone who didn't get into Pitch Wars (or land an agent) with my first book, I know the sting of rejection. I know how much it sucks to anticipate and hope and wait and then not have things work out the way you wanted them to.

I'm here to tell you, it's okay.

It's okay to feel really, really sad. It's okay to cry. It's okay to be jealous of those who got in. It's okay to be upset, to question everything, to wonder if being a writer is really worth it. To wonder if you want to keep going.

All of these feels are normal feels.

I love the scene in Gilmore Girls where Rory has broken up with Dean and is acting totally okay but Lorelei knows she is, in reality, not okay at all.


This is me telling you it's okay to wallow.


Let me say it one more time.

It's. Okay. To. Wallow.





Take a break. Stay off Twitter if you need to. Set aside your manuscript or WIP for a day or two and indulge in a Netflix binge.

And then come back.

My pastor said in a recent sermon "Bitter experiences in life aren't optional, but becoming bitter is." I know that's super heavy and serious after all those Gilmore Girl gifs, but it's true. Disappointments happen. If you're a writer they happen A LOT. But don't let it cause you to miss out on great things. Don't wallow for too long. Don't go into permanent hiding. Don't stop writing. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The opportunity to learn from the mentors, and your peers, doesn't end now that the Pitch Wars mentees have been chosen. We'll still be writing blog posts and answering your questions on Twitter and sharing encouragement and advice. The feed is still full of other writers looking for CPs and beta readers and just a friend to talk to who understands what they're going through. Embrace that community. Trust me when I say you'll not only want it, but NEED it as you continue to work toward your goals.

And of course, I'll tell you everything you've already heard from us mentors over the last week: Pitch Wars is not your only shot at an agent. It's not the only path to publication. Even those who did get in have no guarantee of either of those things. Keep writing, keep revising, take feedback into consideration, find good CPs, polish to best of your ability, and start querying. All this is great advice, and some of you have already put it into practice. But some of you want to punch me in the face right now because even though you know it's true, it doesn't make you feel better. If that's you, first let me extend you a virtual hug. The pizza guy is on speed dial. There's ice cream in the freezer. And I'll say it one more time.

It's okay to wallow.

We'll be here when you're ready to keep going. And we're already stocking up on confetti to celebrate with you when your time comes.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

In Which I Serve You a Smorgasbord of News

If you've been reading my posts for any amount of time, you know this blog is nothing if not sporadic. When you're a wife and mom and you're homeschooling your kids and driving them to ballet and soccer practice and writing another novel and still doing graphic design work on the side...personal blogging tends to get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. As much as I wish I had eight hours every day solely dedicated to writing (and reading!), that's not likely to happen any time soon. (Also, is it summer vacation yet?) So consider this a catch-up post and enjoy this smorgasbord of news and goings-on...

First up: Pitch Wars 2016!

On a scale of 1 to Kristen Bell Meeting a Sloth, I'm like...


...SO EXCITED to announce that I will be a middle grade mentor for this year's Pitch Wars! That's all I can say at the moment (you'll have to wait until the mentor blog hop in July to get my full wish list) but now is the perfect time to think about entering! As a Pitch Wars 2015 alumn, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you dream about signing with a literary agent and seeing your book published, Pitch Wars is a great opportunity to make sure your manuscript and query are at their best before you hit send. You can learn more and find the contest rules and dates to be aware of here on creator Brenda Drake's website.

Next: To the Shelves!

If you're interested in hearing (slightly more often) from me, I'll be contributing occasionally to the 2015 Pitch Wars Mentees' new blog, To the Shelves, where we'll be sharing encouragement, tips, and tricks with all you wonderful writers out there. (Turns out blog posts are much more likely to get written when there's a deadline attached!) You can read my pep talk, A World of Endless Insecurities, and check out some of the other posts up now--more to come soon!

Lastly: Books!

I've read some super great books recently and, rather than try to blog reviews for each individually, I thought I'd share a few quick thumbs up (ups? upses?):


Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban and Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre are two very different books that both address a theme that I think is so important, especially in the current climate: racial prejudice. In Paper Wishes we get a glimpse at what happened during WWII, after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, when thousands of Japanese-Americans were forced to leave their homes and live in prison camps. Ten-year-old Manami's story is told in beautiful, heartbreaking prose and is an important reminder of what happens when a country becomes controlled by fear. And in Last in a Long Line of Rebels we get an incredibly fun read, filled with humor and mystery, even while it tackles tough social issues. Tyre does a fantastic job of showing the importance of fighting injustice in all the right ways as twelve-year-old Lou works to save her family's Civil War era home and grapples with prejudices, both in her family's past and her community's present.



If you're looking for a fun summer read (for yourself or the kids), might I recommend this adorable book? Fenway and Hattie is by my agency sister, Victoria J. Coe, so I may be slightly biased, but I'm pretty sure it's impossible for anyone to read this book and not love it. Told from Fenway's perspective, we see life and its changes through the eyes of a spunky Jack Russel terrier as he navigates squirrels, the super-slippery Wicked Floor, and the suddenly strange behavior of his favorite short-human, Hattie. The fact that we adopted a dog just a few weeks before I read it made it even better.



I'm currently reading A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, and I'm only about 28 pages in, but let me tell you IT'S SO PRETTY. And I'm reading Because of Winn-Dixie to the kids for school (confession: it's my first time reading it, too) which is some of the most fun I've ever had reading aloud, probably because the voice is amazing and my southern accent is way better than any of my english accents (you should hear me reading Harry Potter to my son and trying to do Hagrid). Despite all of my recent reading, however, my TBR list is still ridiculous.

So...yup...that's about it folks.

Ending random, unfocused blog posts is so awkward.






Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Yes, I Let My Daughter Bring a Screen to the Dinner Table

Yes, you read that correctly. I let my daughter bring an electronic device to the dinner table. And you know what? I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. (Okay, I admit, it's slightly less scandalous when I clarify that said device is neither iPad nor iPod, but her Kindle.)


I've managed to turn both of my children into voracious readers, and while my 8 year-old son still prefers for Mom to read to him, my daughter is a super independent reader. When she finds a book she loves, she hates to put it down. So on the occasions when she comes to the dinner table with Kindle in hand, I let her. Why?

Because my parents let me.

As a kid, I took my books everywhere. I read in my room, on the couch, outside, in the car, and at the dining room table. Sure, there were nights where my mom would smile and tell me I needed to put it down - just for a few minutes - to participate in conversation and, you know, actually look at what I was eating (something which I sometimes tell my daughter as well). But, more often than not, I only put my books down to shower, sleep, or do schoolwork.

I don't know about you, but I miss the days when I could just sit around and read, and the nights when I could snuggle up with a book until 2am and sleep in until 11 the next morning. I still bring my books to the table (but only for the occasional lunch-time read) and I'm no stranger to midnight (because JUST ONE MORE PAGE), but it comes with a little more guilt now. After all, there's so much that needs to be done in a day that I practically have to schedule reading time.

I'll forever be thankful that I grew up in a house where reading was encouraged, and where I wasn't often told to put my book down or turn my light off and go to bed (perks of being homeschooled). It's a huge part of the reason I'm a writer today. My love of words started early and was nurtured by parents who saw it as a good thing. Too soon my daughter will be dealing with the highs and lows of middle school. She'll have more responsibilities and more commitments. There will be friends and phone calls and boys and all sorts of other distractions. And one day, she might be a mom herself, who has to cook the dinner and dish up plates and she won't have the luxury of ignoring the rest of her family while she reads. But hopefully, through it all, books will still be a constant in her life.

So now, while she can, I'll gladly let her indulge in excessive amounts of reading, even at the dinner table.

Besides, she's reading Harry Potter. How do I tell her to put that down?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How to Wait Well: Get Out Your Pom-Poms

Confession: I don't always wait well. When I was a kid and I had to wait for something, I would just make a paper calendar with elaborately doodled pages and mark off the days until the SUPER EXCITING THING arrived. But give me a wait without a specified end date, and waiting well quickly turns into waiting cranky. I don't think anyone has ever died from waiting, but dang it if it doesn't feel like a real possibility some days.

Ask a writer what it's like to write a book and you'll get all sorts of answers. It's fun...it's challenging...it's fulfilling...it's exciting. And it's all those things. It's an amazing experience in which we sit at our computers and populate the blank page with words, bringing to life the vibrant world inside our heads as our characters whisper their stories in our ears.

...

Yeah, mostly it's this:


But honestly, I think the hardest part of writing comes once the book is finished, because if there's one thing all writers can agree on, it's that pursuing a career in the book world involves a whole lot of w-a-i-t-i-n-g. In fact, if I were to make a pie chart to illustrate life after writing a book, it would look something like this:


(If my agent is reading this, I promise that "write next book" slice is a lot bigger than it looks.) 😉

And the waiting comes with every stage of the journey. First you wait for agents to reply to your queries, then you wait for them to read your manuscript. Then you countdown the hours until THE CALL, and the moment you can officially announce I HAVE AN AGENT! And once you've waited for your agent to finish reading your revisions, guess what?

YOU WAIT SOME MORE!

Because once you're on sub, then you're waiting on replies from editors and eventually, if you're lucky enough to get a publishing deal, there's more announcements to wait for and more edits to complete, the countdown to publication day, and by then, you've hopefully finished another book and get to start the entire process all over again.


So, how does one survive? How do we wait well and not end up a hot mess, clutching our manuscripts and begging PLEASE JUST LIKE THESE WORDS I WROTE while consuming an entire pint of triple chocolate cookie dough ice cream? "Write the next book" is the suggestion I hear most often (for good reason). And of course, there's always the distraction of that never ending pile of books waiting to be read. But I've found that one of the best (and most fun) survival techniques is cheering on my fellow authors.


A great way to stop focusing on your own wait is to support someone else in theirs. And let's face it. It's super easy to fall into the comparison trap in this business. No matter where we're at in our own journey, there will always be someone who reaches the next stage ahead of us. What better way to beat down the green-eyed monster of jealousy than by celebrating others' success? (Something I need to remember not just in writing, but in life.)

I'm fortunate enough to have a great group of writing friends, both locally and online (looking at you, Pitch Wars 2015 crew) and they've been incredible examples of what it means to wait well and root for one another. My time in the waiting trenches would be ten times harder if not for their camaraderie. The writing world is such an incredible community precisely because of the support we lend each other, so...

Obsessively checking your email? Send an encouraging note to a friend who's in the midst of a first draft. Are the aisles of Barnes and Noble silently mocking you with their rows of bestsellers? Offer to CP or beta read for a fellow writer who desperately wants to be on those shelves, too. Procrastinating on social media? Retweet that deal announcement, blog post, or book trailer. 

While you're waiting for your own time of celebration to arrive, LET THAT CONFETTI FLY.


And, hey, a little retail therapy never hurts, right?