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


Jay Hudson said...

I love it,Bev! would you allow me to post it to some of my friends?

Jay hudson

Kristen My Bookish Fairy Tale said...

Oh this was such a great post! I have some of the same problems as you have had this year. My new found love for my couch. My sluggishness to get my book done. I do worry to much about the after and now about the now. I need to focus more on just writing, not worrying about what will come next. Thank you so much for posting this Beth!!

Kristen H
My Bookish Fairy Tale

Emy Shin said...

Thank you for these lists. They're all very true and inspiring. :)

Lynne Kelly said...

What a fabulous list! Great reminders for everyone.

Here's to an awesome 2011!

Aleetha said...

I love your "Ten Things I Realized in 2010"
Thanks for sharing.

June G said...

Well said. A slight revision if you others even if they haven't helped you...that is the greater way.'ve started to get the celebrity treatment already huh? Thank goodness you're exhibiting wisdom...All the best to you. You sowed and now you shall reap :-)

Su said...

Those are great insights. Thank you!

Kelly H-Y said...

Fabulous post, fabulous lists!!

Stephanie Allen said...

I loved this post! Thanks for writing it =)

Lindsay, TheBookVlogger said...

This was really cool. Thanks for sharing it. It gave me a lot to think about.

As an aspiring novelist, I relate to line 1, column 1. Sometime in the last year or two I realized that it didn't matter if my books got published by a big company or not. What matters is that I wrote them-- the stories need to be told and they need an audience. So I need to do everything in my power to get them out there and read. I believe it's the acceptance of that, that makes me a writer.

Deva Fagan said...

That first list in particular is most excellent, especially 1, 2, & 5. Thank you for sharing, and Happy New Year!

Pisinat said...

This is a great post! Each day brings something new. So it's good to be open-minded :)
I like your post, because it's not easy to write a book (well, I guess so since I didn't write a book!), and it's important that people be aware of that :)
So... congratulations for your book, best wishes for 2011 :)

Julia said...

Great lists Beth!
I love that you have a stinky dog! I do, too. No amount of bathing makes her less stinky. But, she's the best dog ever!

Leslie @ This is the Refrain said...

I love that your Ten Things I'd Do Differently in 2010 list is blank :)

Happy new year, Beth. I'm so glad that you are a part of my blogging community. I'm dying to read Across the Universe and will be buying it the day it comes out :D

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great list of things to think about. Thanks.

Good luck with your exciting start to 2011. I know it'll be great.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Good, good stuffy, Beth. :) Happy New Year!

The Words Crafter said...

This. Is. A. Fantastic. Set. Of. Lists!!!

One of the things my mom taught me when I was very little was always give, even though we were terribly poor. She said you never know when you're going to be in need....and she was right.

I wish the the very best New Year possible!!!

Unknown said...

Fabulous post! Happy New Year to you!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Great post.... A great spin on the usual resolutions. Well done.

Good luck with your book in the coming year.


Unknown said...

I loved the post! I've found, since making writing the main focus rather than a day job, that concentration comes in waves. I'm working to turn " – your writing is strong and the concept interesting but that said I don’t think I’m the right agent for you" into the phone-call-type response.

Shannon Messenger said...

Okay, how did you get so smart? *learns from you* :)

Anita Saxena said...

These are great lists. Things we can all learn from. And I too need better carry on luggage. Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Good luggage and proper coffee pots are a lot more important than people think and it made me giggle and nod my head vigorously in agreement reading those on this post.