Top 10 writing distractions

I’m 50 pages into my second novel and I’m really excited about it. Except… well, now I have to write another 250 pages. I can do this. I’m home from work and I have a nice hot cup of English Breakfast tea in my hands. I stare at the computer screen. Perhaps I’ll feel inspired to write if I just let myself…

1. Go on Twitter

Yeah! If I browse other people’s  tweets I’ll totally realize what I want to write about. Wait? It’s already been an hour? $&%#!!

2. Check email

Cause you know, maybe an agent who forgot about me has decided to write me back, declaring they loved my manuscript and can’t wait to call me. Or not. But hey! Look at all the people on gchat!

3. Check Facebook 

Because stalking people is fun, right? Except some are really annoying. Maybe they’d make great characters?! I totally need to continue spying on stranger’s pages for research purposes.

4. Check UsWeekly, People and Dlisted

Because I really need to know if Demi and Ashton are breaking up and have more reasons to dislike pretentious Gwyneth Paltrow.

5. Terrorize the cat









Just look at  how fat and cute and cuddly he is. How can I resist going over there to smother him with love?

6. Open the Refrigerator

Because snacking on pita chips and dipping into the hummus quartet from Trader Joe’s will spark my creative juices. I’ll start writing as soon as I’ve finished eating this carton of cottage cheese.

7. Go on BBC news

I need to be informed about what’s going on in the world. Yes, I’ll do that before I start writing. Okay… now I’m depressed.

8. Turn on the Television

Hello vacuous Kardashian sisters who I love to hate, creepy mothers of Toddlers in Tiaras and my favorite of all- the spray tanned beauties from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding!!! And then maybe I’ll watch Say Yes to The Dress…I am getting married after all!

9. Read

Because reading is what makes you a better writer, right? I need to finish this book before I can get back to writing my draft.

10. Blog

Oh…hello there! You caught me. But you see, I had to write this post as part of building my author platform. If I don’t blog then agents won’t like me. Yeah okay, writing the actual book is important too. I guess I’ll go get to work on that now. :)

Overcoming disappointment: when writing goals don’t go according to plan

Dear blogosphere,

I’m having a tough time writing this post because I don’t want to say the words aloud. After nine months querying The Trouble with Twenty-Two, I think it’s time to set my project aside.

I know– I’ve spent two and a half years writing and revising this novel, and I still believe my story is special and worthy of publication. But  though I’ve gotten close to landing an agent, it hasn’t happened yet.  I think I’ll be better off focusing my efforts on my second novel rather than continuing to query the first. I’m grateful for the partial and full requests I received, along with agent feedback which helped me improve my manuscript. I refuse to think of my novel as a wasted effort.

And I’m not calling it a ‘drawer novel’  either. One way or another, I believe it will eventually find a home. This could be through a small press, or maybe in the future I’ll want to explore the option of self publishing. But right now, that isn’t my goal. Traditional publication is still my main objective, no matter how difficult it will be to achieve.  I’ve had my fair share of tears with every setback on this journey, but I’ve got to keep trying.  One New York agent wrote me, “You are a lovely writer and this is a polished and accessible read and I don’t  doubt there is an audience for this book.”

I’m sure many of us writers have received similar praise, without an offer of representation. But that’s okay, it shows us we’ve taken a step in the right direction. Earlier drafts of my novel didn’t get personalized rejection letters. Through multiple revisions, I took a rough story and polished it into something I’m proud of.

Now it’s time to set that story aside, take everything I’ve learned and apply my knowledge to book number two. Some things I loved about my first novel made it a tough sell. I won’t have two narrators this time, or an international setting (which is sad, because I’m a complete europhile). But, I will have a strong character arc, a tight plot and a more commercial story line.

And I stumbled across this post by Shannon Messenger at just the right time. She talks about how to know when your project is “the one.” Shannon writes, ” So if the project you’re working on is the very first thing you’ve ever written–EVER? There’s a really good chance it’s not, “the one.” AND THAT IS NOT MEANT TO BE DISCOURAGING. No writing is ever wasted. You never know what you might do with it. ”

I feel like that’s where I am now. And as the wonderful Tahereh Mafi writes:

“you can’t be afraid of your own creative efforts. don’t fear failure. don’t be afraid of being the person who needed to write a ton of crappy manuscripts and had to burn through a few agents before landing a book deal. because i’m going to tell you a secret? regardless of how it might seem in and around the blogging world and twitterfeeds and facebook posts and the ever-lovely publishers marketplace, the majority of us (read: the vast, vast majority of us) did not sell the very first thing our eager fingers ever created. many of us had to write not 1, but 2, 3, 15 manuscripts before figuring out what worked. a debut novel just means it’s the first novel an author has ever published — not the first they’ve ever written.”

So with that quote, I’m going to suck it up and get to work on my second project. Because maybe this time it will be “the one”  after all.

Guest Post for Ladies Who Critique: Implementing a Critique Partner’s Suggested Changes

Hello Everyone!

I was off the grid without cell phone service or internet access for Labor Day Weekend. Now I’m sun-tanned, mosquito bitten, and ready to get back online! Please check out my guest post here for Laura Pepper Wu’s wonderful website, Ladies who Critique

My novel wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of my critique partner, Sally Hepworth. I’d also love to hear your stories of how your critique partners have helped shape your novel. Sometimes the most difficult changes are the ones that need to be made. A big Thank You to Laura for giving me the opportunity to guest post!