For Librarian Writers: How I Find and Maintain Creativity and Brain Space

“Wow, you’re a librarian, huh? Do you get to read a lot?” What an old, tired question. I can already hear the collective sigh from other librarians reading this, because the truth is, librarians don’t get a lot of opportunities to read at all. In fact, when I was reading a book on a new arrivals cart, a colleague snapped, “Are you reading?” I put the book back like it was a half-eaten cookie from a jar and said, “No…..?” If I’m being honest, I became a librarian because I wanted to… Read More

Writing is a solitary undertaking. True or False?

When I first started writing a certain number of years ago, I didn’t know any other writers. I was just eager to sit down and write, happy to finally be finding the time to be creative again after a hiatus due to jobs, marriage, kids – you know, life stuff. I was excited, alone, but not realizing it could be any different. Don’t get me wrong, I would have liked to have met other writers at that point, but the fact that I didn’t know any didn’t bother me. I was writing,… Read More

Too. Much.

Too Many Cooks Reading Steph Keyes’ blog post from a few weeks ago struck a chord that resounded deep within my writer’s soul; her post was about knowing when you are done revising and the confusion that can arise when you collect too much feedback. In her “quest” to improve her manuscript, as she says, I had cast my net so wide…that I’d somehow accumulated too many opinions and changed far more than I needed to. Don’t I know that feeling! I’ve done it with two manuscripts that are now sitting in a… Read More

Taking Away My Own Power

From age 14 to 15, I gained 45 pounds. I started what would become an almost two-decade long struggle with food and my body in middle school, around age 11. Most of the struggle in the beginning manifested in sporadic guilt and regret: In my mind, I berated myself for the so-called roll of fat over my Gap jeans that preventing me from tucking my shirt in (God, did I ever want to tuck my shirts in like the other girls did), and I practically committed mental suicide over the way my… Read More

Happy New Year! Time To Stop Disqualifying the Positive

Got number 1,250,000 rejection letter from an editor last week. The months before I received it, I told myself that, with all the past year’s therapy, I have a new perspective of rejection, not just the hollow self-talk of yesteryear in the form of Euphemisms About Rejection (It’s Their Loss or Not Meant to Be) but rather solid, rational, cognitive challenging that was truthful and real and authentic and that I actually believed. I told myself that when (IF) the rejection came and the automatic thought, “I’m a total f*$king loser/failure because… Read More

Why I Said “No” To NaNoWriMo This Year

  This time last November you would have found me chained to my laptop, sucking down bars of semi-sweet Baker’s chocolate, with about two hundred post-it notes stuck to my desk, my hair, my kids, the dog, and any available space within a five-foot radius. Not only did I sign-up to “win” NaNoWriMo–which really consists of receiving a video with a bunch of people in viking hats cheering–but I was determined to finish before Thanksgiving so it didn’t impact my holiday. On top of that, I decided to write for a new age… Read More

Persevere, Writer

So often we get caught up in the race, you know the one, agents, deals, publishers, editors, and we forget what is most important. This isn’t about finding an agent or impressing a reader or even seeing your work in print. It’s about writing the best story possible. What’s the most important aspect of our writing? Us. We are. You, dear writer. Our race is a marathon. Miles, months, continents long. It’s easy to lose ourselves—and our work—to the monotonous struggle of our feet pounding the pavement. Our journey becomes a push and… Read More

#DearLaura

#DearLaura, I worry about getting the YA voice right in my books, but I don’t have any teens in my life. Other than stalking them at the mall, how can I get a better feel for how real teens talk and act so my book feels authentic? Sincerely, Teenless in Toronto Dear Teenless, Assuming you already read widely and deeply in the YA genre and watch films of the same nature, my next suggestion would be to cultivate relationships with some real-life teens. Those can be in the virtual world, in the… Read More

Don’t Call Me Disingenuous

The phone call came late in the morning, or maybe early afternoon. I’m not sure anymore. Time has softened the sharp edges of my memory. I won’t go into detail or burden you with emotional baggage that isn’t yours to take. A few years back someone important to my life decided to end his. They say you’re never the same after something like that. They’re right. Days and months passed. The grief lost its weight but never disappeared. I couldn’t look in the mirror without thinking I’d failed. My morning commutes were… Read More

Let’s Talk About Sex (in YA)

“I’ll never write young adult fiction because you can’t have sex in it.” I was at a cocktail party when I heard this. The speaker was an academic enrolled the MFA program at the nearby university. I was invited because I’d befriended his wife and our kids went to the same school. But when he found out that I was also a writer, of young adult fiction, he made that statement. Perhaps you’ve been in a similar situation, where someone, oftentimes another writer, makes blanket statements about YA without really knowing what… Read More