Monday, May 21, 2012

CRAZY MAY CONFESSIONAL

May has always been a crazy month for me. It's my birthday, my daughter's birthday (plus other extended family members' birthdays), Mother's Day, and the end of the school year. Craziness.  Add a book release, two book signings, a surprise launch-party with an unexpected visit from my mom, and a speaking engagement with fifty lovely sixth graders, and what you've got is one tired author/wife/mommy who's sort of over herself.

Please don't think I'm complaining. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've smiled more smiles, thanked more people, and cried more happy tears this month than any other time of my life (including when I had my children, because let's face it - hundreds of people from all over the world weren't contacting me to congratulate me at that time, lol). But us introverts can only take so much celebration of our lives and accomplishments before we get embarrassed and want to turn the spotlight onto someone else, hence my reason for shying away from blogging this month, although I did start posts only to delete them. Well, now my birthday is over, the launch buzz has calmed down, and I'm planning my daughter's girly-girl 6th birthday party. Life is good. Except for one thing. One BIG missing element.

I haven't written in more than three months.

Crazy, right? Since I'm supposedly a "writer" and all?

I'm also a very emotional person, and I need to be sort of relaxed and stable in order to be creative. I had no idea that my life-long dream of being published would come with such insecurity. I worried about what extended family members and acquaintances would think of my book, and what general readers would think. I worried about whether I was generating enough buzz around my book, or too much buzz, which can be a total turnoff. I often felt like I was flying blind in unchartered territory. Unsure. Alone, despite my network of rockstar supporting friends.

You see, three months ago I handed over my sequel to the publisher, and it's been under consideration since. I was afraid to make any adjustments to that manuscript, even though I knew it needed work. I knew the folks at Harper were waiting for Sweet Evil to pub so they could see how it would do. In some ways I've been stuck in a weird limbo. I should have been revising or starting on book three, but instead I got a mental block of gargantuan epic horribleness for a variety of reasons.

I knew there would be bad reviews. I once heard there's a rule of thirds: 1/3 will love it, 1/3 will hate it, 1/3 will feel so-so. I'd promised myself I wouldn't read reviews, but it's hard to be active in the blogosphere and on Twitter without coming across them. There was that moment, that awful moment, where I unexpectedly came across an ARC review that took the wind right out of my sails (although the breeze was hit-or-miss at that point anyhow). I'm sure all authors have that review. The one where the reader finds something ugly that wasn't meant to be there--(I'm not talking about errors, although there are those as well, ugh)--I'm talking about some slithering element that was never in your heart when you wrote it, but the reader comes to that conclusion about your motives as a writer nonetheless. And it's heartbreaking. And you cannot respond. You cannot defend. You cannot tell them that your heart was filled with love when you wrote it, and that they're wrong, because of course they aren't wrong. (Let me clarify: she was incorrect in her assumption that I was sneakily trying to send a judgmental message, but not wrong to have written a review with her honest thoughts.) Readers take different things from stories, regardless of whether it was the author's intention or not. It's not wrong or right. That's the beauty of books.

So, after all is said and done, I have a choice. Let the gargantuan block continue to stunt my productivity, or move forward--past it all--through it all? The truth is, I miss Anna and Kai and all the gang. I've missed them like crazy and I love them. Not everybody gets them. Not everybody gets me.  But some do. Actually, a lot do. And it's pretty amazing.
There's something magical about writing that first book. Maybe it's the fact that it's your secret, or there's virtually no pressure, or that nobody's had a chance to say anything bad about it yet. Whatever the reason, the magic doesn't come as naturally for subsequent books after publication. You have to dig a little deeper to find that trickle of magic. You have to put up thick blinders to block out the magic-killing noise of reviews and demands.

When people in interviews ask me what advice I can give to aspiring writers, I always say the same thing. Write what's on your heart. Don't write what you think someone else wants or doesn't want.

Well, damn. I think it's about time to take my own advice.

So if I'm quiet in the online world now, it's no longer because I'm in hiding for one reason or another. It's because I'm writing. Halleluia.

Thank you all for your love and support.

Hugs,

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20 comments:

  1. I hope you had a wonderful birthday and your daughter's party went well. Mays are crazy for me too with my birthday & a bunch of other birthdays falling this month as well.

    I really, really hope Harper will publish book 2 since I loved Sweet Evil so much! For being such a small blog I thought I had a decent turn out for my giveaway of Sweet Evil (along with Everneath). I know how negative reviews/comments can eat away inside even if they are in the minority but I like I say when I get attacked for writing a negative review I doubt there is a single book out there that 100% of people agree on.

    I know myself and many others are out there cheering you on and I hope you are having some great writing mojo going on!

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    1. Thank you, Debbie! I'm so glad the giveaway went well! Everyone really has been so kind and thoughtful. I know I focused on the negative stuff here, but the positive definitely outweighs. :)

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  2. Awww! What a lovely blog post and what a busy month you have had! Fantastic to hear Sweet Evil is going well and I can't WAIT to hear how Harper get on with #2- so exciting! :)

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    1. Eek! We'll see what happens. I'll let everyone know, one way or the other.

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  3. I totally get that not writing limbo thing you went through. I went through it myself a few months ago. :P BUT YAAAAY!!! I'm glad you're writing again. And just so you know, you WILL be getting that second book published. I just know it :)

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  4. You've been through a lot! I went for several months without writing, too, if it makes you feel any better. Finishing this last book was nothing shy of a miracle (and a huge relief) for me. So I totally get where you're coming from.

    Now...GET BACK TO WRITING! ;) ♥

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    1. Ugh. I needed to hear this. Thanks, York.

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  5. I would have been shocked if you had been able to write anything this part month. I don't know how you were even able to sleep with everything going on!
    You are an amazing writer and an incredible person. I'm sure now that you are getting back in your zone...with a great computer to use...you will be writing great things in no time.
    Don't worry about reading any bad reviews. I'll read them & curse people out (in my head, of course). You just concentrate on the positive.

    Love you!

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    1. Positive, positive, positive...thanks, love.

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  6. Wendy, you *are* magic. You're one of those people that everyone wants to be around because you exude such positivity and motivation and well, magic. And it translates to your writing. You needed a break. And you will dig deep and find that magic again. Many times. I'm soooo excited to see what else you create--you've got something special and all of us that know you are lucky beyond words to call you a friend. :)

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    1. I guess I did need a break. Thanks, Morg. And how can I dare to be negative when I've got friends made of sunshine like you??? :)

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  7. What an amazing post. So honest. As a fellow introvert I hear you on the celebrating part.

    Can't wait for book #2 :)

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I'm loving all of your "In their shoes" posts. :)

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  8. Happy Birthday!!!! Amazing Creator of the wonderment that is Kai and Sweet Evil.

    I cannot imagine being in your shoes and I think that there is no way to NOt read any reviews. Of course, there will always be the ones that just don't get you or Anna and Kai andI'm pretty sure it hurts. But, you know what, the people like me who are head over heels and incredibly in love with you and Sweet Evil will just always be louder!

    Remember that Interview we did with Kai for my Blog? On this post there are 109 comments!!! 109! And the giveaway has 350 entries- all those people wanted to love and meet Kai and Sweet Evil.

    you will be ready to write again once you are ready! And I personally cannot wait for the next book - I can't!! I will count days until it's ready! There is also no way Harper is not publishing this sequel! I'm absolutely certain!

    You are made of awesome! Happy Birthday!

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    1. Danny, that interview was so fun - and the comments were hilarious! So glad it was a success. :)
      Thanks for your encouraging words!!

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  9. :-) I think I read the review you mentioned and I just wanted to say that I didn't get that from your book at all - and I'm pretty sensitive to that particular issue.

    I recently went several months without writing anything. But I've really stepped up my game the last few weeks - seeing Tahereh Mafi in Miami actually has a lot to do with that.

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    1. Wasn't Shatter Me AWESOME??? I'd love to meet her. It's cool how writers can inspire each other. :)

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  10. what a hectic month
    huggs from suriname

    ps i'm mad as hell , my pre order copy has not arrived yet/curse your suri post lol

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  11. Aw Wendy this post made me tear a little bit! May is a bit of a cray cray month, but you are a brilliant person and have pulled through! (OMG, Kai in the #YACrushTourney!) They say that once a book is in the open, it's not yours anymore. It's the reader's, because they take the text and interpret your words in whatever way they will. But the thing is - it is still your book! And even if it's a flop, I still think you should go on and continue the story. You've given life to some amazing characters, and without that I wouldn't be having awesome twitter fights. Write from your heart. Write what you want! ;)

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