The Most Important Thing To Learn (in Writing and in Life)

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When I was younger, I was a big planner. This has both helped and hurt my writing career, and here’s why… Continue reading

On The Power Of Saying No

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Lesson of the week: say no.

You may think you’re doing the right thing by saying yes when people ask you to meet their new baby/catch up over happy hour/attend a writing critique session, but when you go three nights in a row not getting home until after ten and subsequently not getting enough sleep, it leads to grumpiness and tiredness and you not at your best self, which doesn’t do anybody any favors.

You can sleep when you’re dead, right? But yeah, you also kind of need to sleep while you’re still alive in order to make your waking hours bearable.

I have trouble saying no (à la Monica from Friends: “I just have this uncontrollable need to please people!”) But sleep and downtime are good for me, and things that are good for me are good for the people around me, which is a lesson I am slooooowly learning. But slowly learning something is better than not learning it all, so there’s that.

I’m not going to be sharing links on Fridays anymore, except the occasional really amazing one. I think instead I’ll use the best day of the work week to do what I do best, which is write and share thoughts and hopefully spark something inside of you that encourages you to write and share thoughts as well.

I will still be sharing these, however:

Reading: I finally finished (and reviewed) this, and just started The Rest of Us Just Live Here. As are all things Patrick Ness, it’s brilliant and funny and incisive and my only complaint so far is that there aren’t enough pages left. Although the premise (a story told from the POV of the inconsequential background people in a Chosen One story–think Harry Potter as told by an unnamed extra, but focusing on their own problems instead of the larger plot) is an idea I had years ago and didn’t have time to execute yet, so thanks for stealing my idea, Patrick!

Writing: Last weekend I followed a burst of inspiration and reopened my first-ever manuscript, aka the YA mystery, aka the Chateau story. You know how you’ll always remember your first love? This novel is kind of like that for me. It has so many problems, which I still have trouble fixing because I spent so much time on it I still don’t have enough objectivity, but I don’t think I’ll be able to rest until I finally fix them and make this a publishable novel. Time shall tell. Do you have a manuscript like this, that you just can’t let go? What are you doing about it?

Listening to: Alabama Shakes. Totally different from what I usually listen to, and totally amazing.

Watching: Bleh I need something new. Recommendations welcome.

Cooking: Pure deliciousness.

Amazing image found here

 

Friday Things

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Friday Finally” is trending on Twitter, and for once I am in total agreement with the masses. This week has been brutal–the kind of week that has me asking all these questions again. No answers yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know when I figure out the enigma that is life.

Here are three things that made me happy this week:

1. We don’t all start on third base.  Powerful and true.

2. Books to read when you need a laughI haven’t actually read any of these. Let me know if they’re good!

3. Life advice from a 95-year-oldThe ones that really resonated with me are “When in doubt, just take the next small step” and “It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else.”

Reading: I just finished this book–it was super cute and sweet, but was entirely lacking in tension. I enjoyed it while reading it, but page-turner it was not. 6/10. I just started this book, after loving Stiefvater’s other series, and I have to say, I’m disappointed so far. We’ll see if it gets better.

Watching: I finally got around to watching the movie adaptation of a book I loved. The movie for The Duff was … bad. They changed around the plot, the characters, the scenes–it wasn’t nearly as cute and sweet and REAL as the book was. I’m disappointed.

Listening To: The same thing as I was last week. I think I’ll be listening to it for the rest of fall.

Lovely image found here

Friday Things

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I’m a bit behind on the blogging due to a last-minute re-vacation to St. John (pictured above), where I devoured these novels. But I am back now, in full-on getting-ready-for-spring mode. In NYC the snow is melting and I am back to writing and attempting to move my life to where I want it to be, one day at a time.

Here are three things that improved my week:

1. I have a music discoverability problem in that I’m too lazy to discover new music so just listen to the same stuff over and over until I’m sick of it. I found this article on Medium and I’m going to start taking these suggestions to heart.

2. I started adding a dash of cinnamon to my coffee before it brews and it makes such a difference.

3. My “real” job (the one for which I get paid, unlike writing) is in the beauty industry. I never write about beauty because I am surrounded by it 40+ hours per week and that is enough, to be honest. However, people are always asking me for skincare advice. And honestly, the best one I can give you? Drink massive amounts of water. Especially in winter. Especially after a vacation of binge-drinking painkillers and rum punch. 10 glasses every day makes a remarkable difference in your skin. Trust me.

I’m also adding a reading/watching/ (and hopefully listening to, eventually, when I discover more music) section to these posts because I love those:

Watching: I’ve been called snobby, but isn’t that just another word for having discerning taste? So in the midst of complaining that I hadn’t seen a great movie in ages, I stumbled on this trio of films. I know I’m a few years (or decades) late, but if you’ve never seen them, they’re the anti-blockbuster: beautiful, poignant, largely plotless, and amazing.

Reading: I’ll Give You the Sun. If you read blogs about books, you’ve seen this title everywhere. It’s so worth the hype.

Friday Things

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Confession: I really love lifestyle blogs. Like this one and this one and this one. I’ve always wanted one, but I am so not that girl–the one with the perfect outfit and the perfect hair and the perfectly curated apartment. I will never make the time to learn how to give myself a perfectly braided bun or make DIY doormats or bake my own recipes from scratch (actually that last one is a dream for another life in which I don’t have to work a 9-5).

I wasn’t even sure I should start a blog, to be honest–so many people are already doing it, and doing it so well, that what do I have to offer?

Well for starters, I wrote a book. So I do know some things about that. I’m also a bibliophile and a travelphile (and, like Shakespeare, I make up words when needed). So I know how to write and read and travel. Hence my blog was born.

But I am also a person who has been living for over 3 (!) decades now, so I know some other things as well. I decided to start a Friday series to document the little things I’ve learned lately.

This week I’ve learned:

1. If you leave your phone on top of a pumpkin candle overnight (this one is amazing) it will smell like pumpkin the entire next day, which is delightful.

2. Don’t walk over a subway grate while wearing a skirt unless you want to show off your underwear. Not sure how I got away with 7 years in NYC without learning that one.

3. Putting fresh sage and a little honey in hot water is delicious (and healthy!) and will get you through the draggiest of all draggy afternoons at work. (Thank you to Inga my new German cubicle mate for that cup of deliciousness).

(Above photo found here, via Tumblr. For another life in which I live in a tiny cabin in the woods and bake and write all day long.)