December 30, 2011

How This Writer Has Grown

It's the end of the year and like everyone else I'm reflecting on all of the things that I've done to move forward on this path to becoming a published author...and all of the things that have tripped me up. I'm heading into year three, a relative writing newbie still, but I'm feeling less disconcerted and more grounded as a writer. When I began this year, I was querying my first novel. I was a bundle of nerves and as unsteady on my writer legs as a newborn colt. I gave my first agent pitch at a conference near my house with my eyes bulging out of my head and my mouth spewing out more words per minute than any sane person could digest. My novel was nowhere near marketable, well-written according to the agents kind enough to give me feedback, but too quiet. I had no idea how to work social media and only a cursory understanding of the whole publishing process. But I was hungry to learn and eager to do better. As the year rolled along a few key things happened to get me solidly on the right path.

December 5, 2011

Ideas Are Everywhere

Some people wonder where writers get their ideas. I can tell you that they come in a thousand tiny moments throughout any given day. Writers who are parents happen to be exceptionally blessed. I promise you at least half of my funniest scenes or most heartbreaking moments grow from little moments like these:

My nine year old daughter, Sam, said the funniest thing today.
First, she showed me this little guy:

Then she said: “We’re having a staring contest.”
 She waited a beat with that perfect comic’s timing of hers and then heaved out a sigh.
“He always wins.”

My five year old, Riley, not to be outdone, made me laugh in the car a little later on. We were stuck in traffic—on a bridge no less. She leaned forward and let me know that she had to potty…number two to be exact—trust me you need to know this to fully enjoy what comes next. I let her know that we were far from any exit and that she had to wait or go on the side of the bridge with a full audience. She proceeded to play and squirm and then she tapped my seat again. “Mommy, I have to go…now. It’s this bad.” She cupped her hands around her eyes to mimic giant google eyes, like these:

I could barely steer the car into the closest store. She ran in barefoot, hair flying, and butt cheeks pressed tight together.