Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ten Things in 2010

Ten Things I Realized in 2010

  1. A book deal doesn't really make you a writer. Writing makes you a writer.
  2. Everything's easier if you don't whine and just buckle down and do it.
  3. Don't be afraid to admit that you're wrong, even if what you're wrong about is 80% of your book and you have to then rewrite it.
  4. Give back whenever you can. Tithe, donate to charity, help others merely because others helped you. It's the right thing to do, and doing the right thing makes you happy. Or at least, it works that way for me.
  5. Be grateful for every experience. There is great joy in the mere act of writing a beautiful sentence, but also great joy in stepping away from your desk and going outside to play with the dog.
  6. The darkest times are often followed by the brightest. And you appreciate the joy more for it.
  7. Don't compare yourself to others. That way leads to the darkside.
  8. Let it be. There will be bad reviews, there will be negativity, there will be people who forget that you're a person. Let it be. Walk away. You can't change everyone; you can only be yourself.
  9. Story first. Don't worry about the "lesson" or the moral or the theme or what you had planned or where you thought the book would go or whether or not your genre sells. Tell a good story first.
  10. Just trust.

Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before 2010

  1. Marketing is very important. I am deeply, deeply aware of how awesome my publisher is and how much whatever success I have in the new year relies upon what the Razorbill marketing team has done. I am also deeply aware of some very awesome books that didn't have the marketing and publishing support, and how unfair that is.
  2. Marketing isn't that important. When I joined the Elevensies, my first thought was that they would be a tool to help me market my book, but I quickly realized that the camaraderie and friendships I found there were much more important.
  3. Writers are people. Shocking, I know. But I'll be the first to admit that some of my literary heroes seemed almost mythical to me--but then when I talked to them, I realized they were people like me. Likewise, I've started to get some treatment from others that makes it clear that they see me in an ivory tower (not reality), not on a couch in the living room by my stinky dog (reality).
  4. Keep working. I'll admit--I could have been more productive. Transitioning from having a day job to not made me get a bit lazy with writing and everything else. I can't help but wonder if I'd been stricter with myself, I might have finished Book 2 sooner and might have re-worked it differently.
  5. Invest in better carry-on luggage.
  6. Invest in a better coffee maker. I now own a Keurig, and life is better.
  7. It's okay to keep one aspect of online life private. This links back to the "marketing isn't that important" thing--I used to think I had to keep Facebook public, but privatizing it was a HUGE relief. It would also have made my life easier if I'd done it this way to start with.
  8. Play with the dog more.
  9. Be more selective when you say "no" and when you say "yes."

Ten Things I'm Grateful for in 2010
  1. A husband who is always supportive, whether he's telling me that my book is good the way it is...or isn't.
  2. A father who reads my blog. Hi Poppa!
  3. A mother who yells at me for cussing on my blog, even though it was only one word.
  4. Friends who are genuinely happy for me--Laura, Jennifer, Bessie, my writing buds...
  5. An agent (Merrilee!) and her assistant (Jennifer!) who I know have my back.
  6. An editor (Ben!) and his assistant (Gillian!) who I know help me make my book be what it was always trying to be.
  7. The behind-the-scenes guys. I never knew how much work went into making a book before, but there's book designers and copy editors and marketing and sales reps and so so so many awesome people who help make a story into a book.
  8. Indie book sellers, particularly my own indie, Fireside Books and Gifts. They're awesome.
  9. Bloggers. You guys are the best! The blogosphere is filled with awesome, supportive, friendly, cool people.
  10. Readers. All my life I wanted people to read my stories. And now...some do. That's...amazing.

Ten Things I'd Do Differently in 2010

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