16

Deb Joanne’s Launch Week Continues with Deb Erika’s Question!

Isn't it awesome? Look at that smile!Let me just say, not only did I adore Deb Joanne’s debut, SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE, but it was a shared joy in our house. From the moment my two young daughters saw the cover and I explained it was the story of a young girl who could talk to ghosts, they were hooked! Each time I read a chapter, they wanted to know what happened next—almost as much as I did. (In a few years, I’ll even be able to explain to them my very favorite scene in the book. To avoid any spoilers, I will say only two words: foundation garments. Trust me, I was rolling.)

Since I was so quickly and thoroughly smitten with SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE (read my Goodreads review if you need further proof!), I asked Joanne this:

Joanne, one of the things I most loved–and admired–about SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE is how you crafted Lilah’s voice so authentically. As a writer, I struggle to write younger characters with anything close to believability, but Lilah’s dialog and self-reflection (and that of her peers) was always so spot-on. PLEASE share how you are able to write your young characters so well and so convincingly, and if you can offer any advice on finding voice for characters who are beyond our own age ranges.

And here is Joanne’s answer:

Thanks, Erika, for your very nice words about Lilah’s voice. I’ve heard a few times that I nailed the voice, which is such a huge compliment, especially to someone who doesn’t have kids and had to rely on her memory and ear when writing middle-graders! When I wrote Lilah, I employed what I call (in my head, mostly) my sweet, yet bossy-know-it-all voice. I really do call it that and keep it in the front of my mind when writing kids. I definitely remember 12 as being that age when I really did think I knew it all, but was at the same time still very unsure of everything and very easily embarrassed. I know those things seem so contradictory, but I think if you remember being that age, you will hopefully get what I’m saying. It’s also important to keep the sweet in there – Lilah thinks she knows a lot about the world and is happy to impart her knowledge, but she isn’t mean spirited at all—she just thinks maybe not everyone knows the things she knows.

Like here, when Lilah is addressing her mom at her wedding:

“And may I say once again, you are a breathtaking bride!” (These are the kinds of things you must say to the bride, whether or not she’s your mother.)

And at that age EVERYTHING SEEMS SO VERY IMPORTANT. And I’m not sure if that’s because so much of the world is exciting and almost every experience is new, or because the world of a tween is very small and directed inward (probably both), but I add a lot of (sometimes invisible) exclamation points to sentences and that helps remind me that I need to communicate that tone of how important everything is. It also helps that I’ve never really grown up and I actually talk a lot like Lilah does (admittedly, with some swears thrown in). I remember when we were shopping the ms, one editor actually said the voice sounded too young, and I was like, but I talk like that! Anyway, she must have been in the minority, since, like I said above, I’ve had a lot of great feedback on Lilah’s voice.

Thanks so much for such a great answer, Joanne!  And trust me—there’s a reason why so many ghosts flock to Lilah and refuse to leave. Once you dive into her world, you’ll want to hang out with her for as long as possible too!

Dear readers, do you think it’s hard to capture the voice of younger characters? Leave a comment and be entered to win a signed copy of SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE!

 

30

SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE Launch Week – Deb Joanne’s big, teary, thank you post.

It’s here. It’s really here. SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE releases tomorrow*.  I’m such a bundle of emotions about this, but I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about a couple of things that surprised me about this long journey.

But before I start, let’s discuss something really important: a giveaway. Everyone who comments on this post and the rest of the Debs’ posts this week (so through Friday) will be entered into a draw for a signed and annotated copy of SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE. That’s right—there are secrets and behind the scenes stuff written right on the book. Because I don’t have enough to do this week. See how much I love you, loyal Deb Friends?

Okay, now, to the post:

I started writing stories a long, long time ago, but it wasn’t until about 9 years ago that I really thought about getting published and began to work towards that goal.

I really had no idea how the whole publishing thing worked. But I knew I needed to start with a book. So I started writing. And eventually, I ended up with a book that I thought could be published. Yeah, you know the story, right? I queried and yadda, yadda, yadda that first book (and a lot of its friends) lives under the bed. But I kept going. And going. And going…

But there are two BIG things I didn’t know when I started out, and these are what I want to talk about today.

  1. I had no idea how hard this would be. Really. It never entered my mind when I first started out, that I would be faced with a lot of failure. This was due to part naiveté and part stupid arrogance, but there you go. I didn’t have a clue that it would take me this long. And that’s a good thing, because I never would have continued if I’d known it would take me almost a decade and many, many books written. I don’t want to say that where I am at now erases all the heartache and tears I’ve shed over this journey, but hell, I did it. And I feel pretty darn good for having survived it with a published book at the end. I failed and failed and failed and then I succeeded, and at the end of the race, all that counts is that I crossed the line.
  2. I never realized how many amazing, talented and wonderfully gracious people I would meet along the way. Honestly? This is what kept me going when I started to realize #1. And this is what I really want to talk about today on the eve of my book release. Sure, my book comes out tomorrow and it’s a dream come true and all, and I should probably ask you to go buy it**, but I really want to talk about how this entire experience has shaped me and introduced me to a community of amazing people.

There have been so many people who have helped me along the way, so many that I tried to name a bunch in my book acknowledgements, but it was too long and had to edit it down to only a few names (which hurt and was actually harder and more painful than writing the book). But I want to say here publicly that so many editors and agents—even the ones who didn’t work with me directly, but were on Twitter or blogging, graciously dispensing advice—have helped shape me and my book. And to all my writer friends: the ones I met online or through conferences or local networking – a hearty thank you to you as well. You are often my inspiration to keep going, and I love that we can lean on each other and know what it’s like in this crazy business.

(Yes, Mom, I realize you were a huge supporter, too, but you had your week already)

So although I celebrate my book release tomorrow, I also will be celebrating YOU and all the fine people around me that I never would have met if I’d given up 9 years ago.

Please raise your glass with me and let’s celebrate together.

And darn it all –someone pass more tissues!

 

 

*it actually released here in Canada last week, but for our intents and purposes and those of my publisher, TOMORROW is the big day.

**Please buy my book.

14

Deb Joanne Runs to the Sea

This week’s theme is Getting Away. Wow, how timely. My book releases in Canada tomorrow and next Tuesday in the U.S., so you can bet I really want to get away. This past year has been full of getting ready for this and I’m sure feeling that. I need a holiday.

And for me (and thankfully my husband) the best holiday is one spent at sea. That’s right: I’m a cruiser. You may already know this, since I talked about my last cruise a bit at Thanksgiving, but I’m never as happy as I am when I’m at sea.

So now, as I’m going a bit insane with book release(s) and launch stuff, I’m going to give you a peek into why the ocean is my happy place.

*sigh*

And here’s a photo montage (admittedly, with some weirdly random photos that my husband included, like the artwork and elevator maintenance – what the?)

So let’s hear about YOUR happy place! Where do YOU love to be when you’re getting away?

10

Deb Joanne Learns The Art of Deadpanning from the Master

“Is that dress new? Or was it repossessed?”

It’s Fathers week at the Ball and as I sit here, thinking about what to say, I’m kind of at a loss. Not because there’s nothing to say, but because some people are more difficult to write about. Writing a post about my mom was pretty easy. If you’ve spent any time here, you know what my mom is like: gregarious, funny, eager to help, soft-spoken (ha! –that last one was a joke).  But my dad is more of a mellow, sit back and observe the world and then say something really smart kind of guy. He’s got about the driest sense of humor out there and sometimes recycles jokes (like the chicken egg one – oy, Dad!) but they always make me laugh, even though I might roll my eyes a little, too. Sometimes Dad and I are the only ones laughing at our jokes and I always liked that we share the same appreciation for dry humor. It’s like we always had our own clubhouse of private jokes.

And nobody, I mean nobody, can deadpan the way my dad can.

Anyway, it wasn’t always jokes growing up. There was learning and reading, too. I grew up in a house full of books; from my mom’s romances to Dad’s cases of real estate books and non-fiction titles, to the big World Book volumes that lined shelves in our basement rec room. Those were my dad’s doing. He’s all about research and reads like crazy, even now (maybe even more now that he’s semi-retired). I remember spending many a Saturday morning on the couch with a huge encyclopedia in my lap, opened to whatever. I wanted to learn everything. And that appreciation for the world and the quest to know as much about it as possible about it, comes from him.

And so is the belief that I could do anything. He told me I could be a heart surgeon if I wanted (my earliest  career goal, before I realized I couldn’t really handle gore all that well) or a secretary or a lawyer or whatever I put my mind to. Maybe he saw my propensity for bullheaded determination back then, but he was right; I could achieve whatever I put my mind to. He never said how much work or how long it might take, but he was absolutely right nonetheless, and I guess I must have believed him. Because I prove when my book comes out in just days, that this thing I put my mind to and worked so hard for these past several years, has finally become a reality.

Thanks Dad. Love you.

J

18

Deb Joanne Takes You Down the Nostalgia Highway

This week’s theme is “If you liked my book, you might like…” which is kind of tricky, since my book isn’t out yet (although it will be, in just a few weeks. Wheee!!!). So I figured I’d take this theme and turn it around, to be, “If you liked these books, you might like SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE.”

Now, as you may know, SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE was originally written as a Young Adult book, but a wise editor said she thought the voice and humor would work better for a middle grade audience. I was surprised by the suggestion at first, but then eventually (long story short)  saw the light and thought I’d give it a go. But I said to that editor (in what was, I’m sure, a very panicked voice), “I’m lost when it comes to MG—I don’t have kids and I haven’t read any books for this age since I was in middle school. Do you have any suggestions?”

Without hesitation, she suggested the Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I’d never heard of these books, but went out and bought The Agony of Alice – the first book in the series that follows Alice McKinley from age 11 to the most recent books where she’s a teen (I believe the final book in the series, where she’s 18, comes out next year). This book showed me exactly the voice I really needed to channel—the very honest voice of an unsure but curious and prone to embarrassment 12 year old girl (which sounds a lot like me at that age). The Alice books are VERY honest and don’t sugar-coat tough topics, so ALL the stuff that young girls think about is in there. Now, I didn’t want to go whole hog with controversial topics, but 12 year olds worry about their bodies and boys and being embarrassed, so that’s what’s in SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE. Not only that, but the Alice books are funny. And that smart editor I was talking about? She said I was funny, so I figured I needed to really harness the funny and go for it.

She also mentioned the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary – more funny books from my childhood about regular kids growing up. Okay, I was starting to get what she was talking about. These books are perennial favs and I highly recommend them, but of course, you’ve probably already read them, along with everyone else on the planet.

Another book I read (actually, re-read, since it was one of my childhood favs) as I was preparing to rewrite my book was ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET and was reminded why I loved it so much. Blume captures the feelings of a pre-teen so well—the questions, the new and scary feelings, the changes, the worry that your boobs will never grow… so much is going on at this age and getting that voice pitch-perfect is a hallmark of Ms. Blume (who is on Twitter – did you know this? I get so geeked up when I see her tweets).  And it’s not just this book that captures the perfect tween voice, either. Pick up any of her middle grade books and you’re guaranteed to be taken back to those awkward years!

So there you go. If this list makes you smile and nod and feel nostalgic and think about books you want to read again or buy for your daughter or niece, then maybe you’ll like my book, too (and don’t forget—it’s still available for pre-order and will hit shelves in just a few weeks—you can pick them all up at the same time!).

Any of these among your favorite tween reads? Tell me about your childhood favorites.

17

Deb Joanne Says It’s What’s Inside That Counts

So it’s Deb’s choice this week, which means I can write about whatever I want! WHEE! SO MUCH FREEDOM!

Uh, just one problem with that. I have writing and soon-to-launch-my-first-book induced mush-brain. As in, no matter how long I sit, staring at a blank page, I can’t come up with an idea for a post. So, instead of wasting a whole day, I went to Twitter to ask people what I should write about. Seems crazy, right? Yeah, well, I’m kinda desperate here; I have a ton of things to do and just don’t have the time to waste on thinking up a good theme.

The first suggestion I got was sandwiches. Certainly an honorable theme—I mean, who doesn’t like sandwiches?

So here are my favorite sandwiches in order of preference.

  1. Tally Ho roast beef on a bun with double Swiss cheese and gravy. OMG – messy, delicious goodness (make sure if you go, to get a side of fries with gravy, too). Oh, and Tally Ho is the name of the restaurant—it’s not the name of the sandwich.
  2. Grilled cheese. Preferably from the Gorilla Cheese truck, but really, even a homemade with Kraft singles on white will do.
  3. Grilled chicken, roasted red peppers and goat cheese on a pita from The Bean Bar
  4. Bologna on white with butter and a touch of mustard (hello, childhood!)

Okay, I think that’s enough about sandwiches.

The second suggestion I got for a blog post topic was technology and how it relates to reading and writing. Well the writing part is kind of obvious, so let’s talk about reading.

I’m really torn here. I have a Kindle, which I bought a few years ago. I wanted an e-reader that I could put manuscripts on, so at the time, the Kindle was the best option. Now, I’m not going to get in any sort of debate here about Amazon, the company, but let me tell you, I love my Kindle. So much so, that it has a name: Kevin. Nope, I’m not even kidding.

This is Kevin.

I get the romance of reading a book, a real book. Believe me, as a writer, I so get the whole thing about how nothing is quite like a paper book. BUT, there are so many reasons why I love Kevin and what he allows me to do. Uh oh, I feel another list coming on:

  1. I can read big books in bed. I’m a bed reader. Well, I am now. I stopped reading in bed for a long time because I can’t manage big and/or hardcover books in bed.
  2. I can read manuscripts easily without the eyestrain of staring at a computer. This is a big deal because, quite frankly, I stare at a computer too much for my day job and my own writing. Also, taking manuscripts with me on a Kindle makes me a lot more portable and not tied to home when I have crit work to do (yes, I can make notes on Kevin).
  3. If I finish a book while I’m at the doctor’s office or somewhere that doesn’t sell books, I can buy one and be reading it in seconds. Seconds! As much as I love this feature, it’s a bit of a problem financially.
  4. I can carry all my books with me wherever I go. If I’m feeling like I want a comfort read, I have it, even if I’m at sea or on a plane.
  5. My physical bookshelf at home (which is still overflowing, trust me) is now reserved for REALLY special books—signed ones or ones I’ve been given. I don’t have to go and cull the non-special books every once in a while.

I could go on, but you get the idea. I really like the freedom Kevin allows me. But there is a flip side. See number 5 above. I do collect signed books, which means I’m buying some books twice: one to read and one to collect. My wallet’s not very happy about that. And I can’t easily share books on my Kindle, except with my mom (we share an account) so books I really love and want to share with friends get bought twice. Or, if it’s one that’s signed, I’ll buy a spare to lend out, just in case it doesn’t find its way home. That’s three copies.

But it comes down to what’s on the inside. What’s between the covers is the meat of the book, just like although bread is nice, it’s the filling of the sandwich that really matters (not a bad tie-in to my two topics, huh?).

And if you ask me if I prefer if people buy my book (out in less than a month—yikes!) in digital or hardcover, I’ll say this: I don’t care if you buy it in digital format, hardcover or borrow it from your friend, dog or library (just please don’t download it illegally) as long as you read it and enjoy it, I’m a happy author. Really.

Now. I’m off to go have a sandwich. Which I’ll eat while reading off Kevin. A sandwich in one hand and a book in the other—nothing finer, in my opinion.

Now you: I want to know if you’re an e-reader fan or do prefer the crisp pages of a real book? And while you’re at it, what’s YOUR favorite sandwich?

10

Deb Joanne Talks about the Writer’s Marriage

I’m talking marriages today. Not literal ones, but the kind of marriage a writer has with her agent. “Don’t be silly,” you might be thinking. “It’s a business relationship where the agent works for the writer; nothing like a marriage!” And you’d be right in some ways, (I’ve never shared a bed with an agent, nor taken him/her home for Rosh Hashannah dinner) but in others, well, just bear with me.

Trust me when I say you need to find a great match in an agent, because chances are, once you get on the publishing roller coaster, you’re going to need the support of a cheerleader/negotiator/hand-holder/shoulder to cry on. Even the most stoic and pragmatic of writers need an objective business partner who can not only negotiate on her behalf, but also reel her in when she’s put on her crazypants and can’t be objective and smart about important businessy stuff.

But before you can get married, you need to do some online dating when you’re looking for an agent. Online dating is scary for the same reason online grocery-shopping is scary—you want to squeeze the bread and knock the melons before you make your choices and commit. But there are some tools to help your online agent dating be as painless as possible. You first want to weed out all the scammers. You know, those slick guys who wine you and dine you and then find themselves in Greece and their wallet has been stolen and can you just loan them your life savings to get them home where they’ll pay you back with interest? Yeah, you don’t want to end up with one of those guys. So I suggest you stick to known and recommended resources like Querytracker.net – a great website where you can cross-reference all your information. You can also vet out scammers at Writer Beware.

So when you have a few suitors, how will you choose? Like a mate, you need ask questions and see if you’re going to be a good match. And, just like in the real dating world, if you’re honest with yourself and know upfront what you really want in your suitor, you’ll save yourself from choosing the wrong one. And like dating, you want to ask around to see how other people feel about their relationships with the agent (polygamy is okay here!) and are there any exes who may have some things to say. Don’t be afraid to do your due diligence. This is an important, potentially career-making or breaking thing—you want to do it right.

And then you need to talk to the agent to get a feel for them and how they work. Like spouses, every agent is different. Do you want one who will help you editorially or are you looking for more of a salesperson who will leave the nitty-gritty editing to you and your editor once you sell the book? Are you looking for a fling (where the agent signs you on one book) or a long-term relationship (are they signing you, the author with the hope of sticking it out through your career). Do they have editors in mind already? Are they chomping at the bit to get your book on submission? You want them to love your work this much—it’s sometimes a long haul and you do not want to get in deep and have your agent lose interest. Use your gut on this one—if something feels wrong, step back and figure out why. If it feels right, still take some time to mull it over. Important decisions are always best made with a little thought and distance.

Like good marriages, agent-author relationships can be very satisfying and filled with good times and mutual respect. There’s nothing quite like getting that call from someone you really admire when she has an offer on your book and SHE is as excited as you are. Sure, she’ll get paid from that sale, but maybe she’s an agent because she loves books and wants to see authors make more of them. It’s not inconceivable—you probably don’t write just for the money, do you? You want to find someone who is in it for the love and the money and who you can work with well with. Someone who will sit on the roller coaster beside you and hold your hand and scream and laugh along with you. And then, when you get off the ride, she’ll hold your hair while you chuck in the bushes. And THAT’s what makes for a great marriage.

13

Deb Joanne is Cleaning out the Clutter

This week’s theme is spring cleaning. Well, it’s definitely spring, but I’m not doing much cleaning.

Cleaning is about the last thing I ever want to do. The only time I really go at it with any sort of gusto is when I’m stuck in my writing and need some sort of mindless physical task to distract me (or when Mom’s coming over, but that’s more like a crazed necessity).  Luckily, the getting stuck thing doesn’t happen too often, although that means my house could almost always be cleaner.

Anyway, seeing as I’m not much of a domestic goddess, I don’t have any good cleaning tips for you all, other than buy a Dyson vacuum, especially if you have pets who shed*. So today I’m going to talk about the writer’s version of spring cleaning, something I’m in dire need of, as I approach my launch and things get really busy.

Because I’m not going to lie, I’ve got a lot of clutter upstairs. And I’m not talking old prom dresses and yearbooks. I’m talking all the stuff that goes along with being published, not to mention the regular stuff that goes along with, you know, being a human, like maintaining a body and a day job and a home (albeit a somewhat messy one). Now, I can’t quit my job and I still need food and water daily, so that boils the clutter I can get rid of down to book stuff. I can break this book stuff clutter down into two categories:

The worrying: There is a lot of stuff to worry about: Will my book ship on time? Will there be enough copies for the launch? Will anyone come to my launch? Will I fall down on my face at my launch? Will my launch be the only time anyone buys my books? Will people hate my book? Will the trades review my book**? Will the reviews, if I get them, be mean and horrible? Will there be a book 2? Will it suck? Will I ever write a good sentence again?

The stuff I need to do: Schedule and write blog posts—not just for here, but for the several different blogs that are hosting my impromptu blog tour, AND my own website and Facebook. Send out more review copies, which means packaging up stuff and making trips to the post office.  Finish compiling the guest list and send out launch party invites (off to the post office again). Buy signing pens and test them all out. Every last one. Order food. Order SWAG. Order other stuff I haven’t thought about yet. Figure out what I’m going to wear to my launch. Realize I have nothing to wear and go shopping for launch party outfit. Go back to the post office to send out finished books that I promised to bloggers and/or reviewers. Work out more because the stress eating means I no longer fit into the launch party outfit. Realize I forgot to invite that relative to the launch party. Back to the post office.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Sound a little manic? Yup, to me, too. And notice how none of that includes writing, that thing that got me here? Yeah, I did, too. I haven’t written in several weeks, and it’s kind of

concerning. So I definitely need to clean out some of the clutter. I can proactively plan ahead by getting lists and labels ready, so trips to the post office are minimized, and can delegate some launch party things to other people (are you paying attention, Mom?). And I need to stop worrying about things I can’t control (like reviews) and get back to what I love doing and what calms me and is my happy place. And that’s writing. Writing will be my virtual Dyson vacuum, clearing away the other stuff that makes my head cluttery and manic. And that sounds like the best kind of cleaning of all, although you probably still don’t want to eat off my floors.

Now you – what brain clutter could you use to get rid of?

 

*This blog post not sponsored by Dyson, they just make a damn fine product.

**Did you see my Kirkus review? It rocked-one less thing to worry about! And what a relief, because we all know Kirkus can be…er…tough.

18

For Deb Joanne, It’s Not (just) About The Kugel

My very favorite picture of me and my mom. Look at the mischief in her eyes.

This week’s theme is Mothers, and as I’m writing this, I should be cleaning my house and prepping food for my annual Mother’s Day BBQ—also known in these parts as The May Festival of Moms and Meat.

Unless this is your first Monday here at The Debutante Ball since last summer, you’ve met my mom, Marcia, down in the comments. She’s here pretty much every week, cheering me on.

And because she’s my head cheerleader (I should say co-head cheerleader, because my husband is a pretty excellent cheerleader, too, but his cheering is more of the quiet variety, albeit no less supportive) she’s not just here, commenting on my posts, but she’s out in the community, giving out my business cards and bookmarks and telling EVERYONE SHE KNOWS (and believe me, that’s a lot of people) and people she doesn’t know, about my book and my launch party. She’s the best publicist money didn’t buy and I really appreciate her efforts in getting the word out there*.

That Ms. Cook sure is tall.

But she’s not just a publicist, she’s a generous soul through and through; when I told her Eileen Cook (who neither of us have met in person before) would be in town, touring for Canada Book Week and  would be spending the week living out of a suitcase and off of fast food, she immediately jumped at the opportunity to open her home and welcome Eileen in. She wanted to cook for Eileen so she could have at least one home-cooked meal during her tour. THAT is what great Moms do. Moms open their homes and hearts to you AND your friends because what is important to you, is important to them. And hey, if everyone pigs out eats, even better. So please join me in raising a glass to Marcia Levy, baker of kugel, Joanne Levy Street Team co-captain, Mom extraordinaire and, now that we don’t live together, wonderful friend that I’m so honored to call Mom. Happy Mother’s Day and Birthday (both one day later)! And by the way, if my house wasn’t clean enough for you yesterday, I hope this post makes up for it, because it’s the reason I didn’t clean as much as I probably should have.

Love you, Mom. XOXO

J

 

*My dad is an excellent cheerleader, too, but his efforts are more subdued, like my husband’s, and hey we’re talking about Mothers, here. Dads get their turn in June.

14

Deb Joanne Fights Off Gorillas and other Temptations

I have very few vices. I quit smoking just over 12 years ago, and I rarely drink, so I’m pretty squeaky clean. Well, mostly. We already discussed comfort foods, and there are the times when the Gorilla Cheese truck gets so close that I am unable to resist a delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Oh and there’s Tally Ho—the roast beef on a bun place in my hometown that calls to me every time I drive by it.

So. Temptation. The notion of temptation implies something we should resist doing, but are strongly drawn to anyway. No one ever says, “I’m SO tempted to go to the gym and work out,” or “I’m SO tempted to drink that wheatgrass juice”*. Nope, at least, no one I know says those things. The people I know say things like, “I’m tempted to skip the gym and go to Tally Ho,” or, “Instead of mowing the lawn with my face, I’m tempted to stalk the Gorilla Cheese truck—that’s exercise, right?”

But to make this post about writing, I’m not going to talk (more) about my food temptations, but my writing one, and take a little look at its causes.

I’ll be honest here and admit that I am very often tempted to not write. In fact, I’m sure every writer, beyond the very first exciting sentence they ever wrote, has been tempted to not write at one time or another. Writing is hard work and I’m tempted all the time to just not do it.

Like when I sat down to write this post, I was tempted to NOT write it and instead, do a thousand other things, including stare at my shiny new bookmarks for a while.

Aren’t they pretty? Say it with me: “Ooohhhh, Ahhhhhh. Shiny.”

But why was I tempted not to write? If I’m honest with myself, it’s because I really had no idea what I was going to write about, (which should come as no surprise to you if you read last week’s post). So, in other words, I was stalling. But I still needed to get this post done, so I forced myself to put away the bookmarks and the internet and opened up my Word doc. And stared at the screen for a while. And then went back online and found some pictures to include. But in the end, I needed to ignore the temptation to stall and wander and just get the work done. Sometimes, I need to put more brain effort in and sometimes I need to just eliminate distractions (goodbye, Twitter!), but in the end, it’s just a matter of being strong and facing that temptation and not giving in until the work is done. My writing motto, ripped off from Nike is “Just Do It”, which applies as much to writing as it does to sports.  You can’t win against temptation unless you just do it. Butt In Chair. And I guess I usually win, because I have written a lot of books, and there hasn’t been a day spent writing that I haven’t been tempted to do something else. Like go get a grilled cheese.

Your turn: what tempts you away from your writing?

 

*Uh, have you ever had wheatgrass juice? That stuff tastes like lawn. Gross.