Next question: Connection or money?

Wow, a lot of you chose option #2 in my Do You Have To Do This? poll. Veeery interesting.

What's also interesting is that those of you who chose option #2--success--also said you chose it because you want to reach as broad an audience as possible.

So I have one more question for you patient, lovely people. Would you rather be widely read and somehow never earn a dime for your writing? Or would you rather be wealthy and obscure?

Last question, I promise. Which would you choose? Connection or money?

So you have to do this...or do you?

I was very interested in the response to my post of Monday, in which I asked people why they did what they did. Most of the respondents--almost all writers--said pretty much the same thing. 

Because I have to. Because the stories come and I have to write them. Because it's part of my identity, who I am and I can't imagine not doing it.

While this is a completely valid reason (some would say the only valid reason) to write, I find myself wondering....How do you know if that's true? How do you know if you're doing it for purely internal reasons or not?

So now I have a question for all you wonderful writer types. A mythical creature comes to you and offer you two choices. You must pick one to be true for the rest of your life.

1. You will never lack for words. Writing will always be a joy, and plots and characters will always come when called. Writer's block will be an unpleasant myth, and everything you love about the act of writing will stay will you for the rest of your life.

BUT, no one will ever publish what you've written, and no one but your close friends and family will ever know your work.


2. You will achieve literary success. Anything you dream--NYT bestsellerdom, excellent literary reviews, awards--anything you want will be yours for the taking. You will make enough money to write full time, and never have to do anything else for the rest of your life.

BUT, writing will always be difficult. You will suffer writer's block and intense periods of dryness. Even at its best writing will be mechanical, like fixing a drainpipe. You will find satisfaction in your work, but never again know the delerious joy of creation.

Which would you choose?

Huxley recommends: Anna and the French Kiss





Huxley and I review Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

(This will eventually be a youtube video, but I'm still figuring out how that works. EDIT: I have conquer the Youtube!)

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think?

Back to the drawing board...

picture from

This week I had a lot of stuff fall through.

Without going into detail, let's just say that a few things I was working pretty hard on didn't pan out. Some of it was writing stuff, some of it was blogging stuff and some of it was just life stuff.

And when that happens, you start over. You reevaluate your plans, make adjustments and prepare to try again. And the question that always comes up at this point (for me) is this:

Why am I doing this?

If the answer is results-based, I'm in trouble. I'm doing it because I want people to like me or because I want to be seen as successful and popular or becuase I want to win the Newbery Medal and get an apartment in Seattle and own a Newfoundland.

(Hey, I don't judge your dreams!)

Admit it, you want one...

Dreams are awesome, I'm not saying they're not. But results are like wild animals. You can feed them and sit for hours watching them and do everything you can to get them to eat out of your hand. But you cannot make them come to you. The minute you try, they dissapear. And if I'm doing something so I can get results, I'm not going to be doing it for very long.

So if you find yourself asking that question, pay attention to the answer. Are you doing this because it makes you happy, or because you want to be popular? Are you doing it because you think it's worth doing, or because you want to make a million dollars?

If you really want to get something done, you'll find an answer to that question that the world can't touch.  As for me, well...

I do it because I'm crazy.

How about you? Why do you do the things you do?

Photo Essay: Saturday at work

This was how today felt.

And this is how I feel.

And this is where I want to be.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would YOU want to be?

I just had my first Skype chat!

Yes, I know. I'm very behind the times.

But I have Skype now. And I know how to use it.

So if anyone wants to talk to me.... *hint hint*

What do YOU think of Skype?

Monday randomness (and a theory about Edward Cullen's past).

Sometimes my brain follows the most hilarious rabbit trails. For example, today I left a comment on the Midnight Meditations blog about how Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair and Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind would be perfect for each other. Which led to...

... an involved train of thought about Scarlett O'Hara and how dumb it was that she was fixated on that whiny, angsty Ashely Wilkes. Which led to...

... a HUGE revelation.


You can stop laughing now.

Really, it's okay. You can stop.


I know this sounds crazy, but consider the evidence.

1. They both despise themselves.

I'm such a terrible, depressed person.

Oh, the pain, the pain....

2. They both have a thing for brunettes.

 I'm spoiled and have too much personality for my own good.

 I'm angsty and disaffected and have... never mind.

 3. They both have excellent reasons not to get involved.

 I can't be with you, Scarlett. I'm married and you scare me. 

 I can't be with you, Bella. I'm a vampire and you smell like dessert.

SEE?  I think the photos speak for themselves. 

What do you think?

How to be a writer...

...according to Jay Lake. (Award-winning author of 10 novels and over 250 short stories)

"Write more. Listen to critique and feedback. If you’re inclined to work in short fiction, do so to build your writing resume. If novels are where your heart lies, write one. Then write another. Then revise the first. Then write the third. Then revise the second. Keep moving, keep working."

Read the whole post here. It's worth it.

What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?

2010 book recap, part 2

For those of you who are curious, here's how this year's book numbers ended up. 

2010 book count:

Total number of books I read in 2010: 181
Number of new books I read: 129
Number of books I read twice in 2010: 7

And here they are broken down by genre...

...and by age.

Conclusions: My reading habits have changed since last year. I read WAY more young adult stuff in 2010, but far fewer mysteries. (Oddly enough, my fantasy count stayed the same.) I also read more new books this year, and new books were a much higher percentage of the total.

It's tempting to say that the changes are because I'm taking my writing more seriously. I'd like to claim that I'm reading more YA and new books for research purposes, but the increase is more likely due to the fact that the people I hang out with online love YA and recommend awesome books with amazing frequency.

So how about you? Have your reading habits changed this year? And if so, why?

My weekend in pictures...

So first this happened:

Then this happened:

And then THIS happened:

So basically the last few days have been a tug-of-war between my need to rest my wrist and my need to play with my new toys. 

(Incidentally, Scrivener is AMAZING. Does anyone else have it?)

2010 book recap, part 1.

 These are all the new books I read in 2010. Aren't they shiny?

(move the mouse over each thumbnail if you want the full titles.)

New Books of 2010

The Navel of the World
Lips Touch: Three Times
School of Fear
The Dirt Eaters
The Escape From Home
Lord Kirkle's Money
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd
Peter and the Starcatchers
Murder at the Vicarage
4:50 From Paddington
The Looking Glass Wars
Raise The Titanic!
How to Say Goodbye in Robot
Valhalla Rising
Trojan Odyssey
Peter and the Shadow Thieves
Chronicles of Avonlea
The Ruins of Gorlan
The Burning Bridge

Miriam's favorite books »

Did you read anything new and wonderful in 2010?

Sorry, I take it back...

Um, my post is having issues. Be back soon.

Reasons 2011 will rock, part 2

So on Monday I posted about my New Year's Resolution. But there are other equally awesome reasons why I'm looking forward to 2011.

Reason #2: Taking a Class

That's right, I'm going to be taking a class this year. Just one, because of my work schedule, but I'm excited about it. I'm taking Introduction to Anthropology 101, which should fit nicely into my people obsession.

However, this is the first time I'll have gone back to college since 2002, so I'm a bit nervous. I keep telling myself that it's just reading and writing. And I can do that in my sleep, right?


I'm not scared. Not at all.

Reason #3: Revising my 2010 Books

I wrote two books in 2010. Both of them have male protagonists and currently both of them are in the horrible first draft stage. My goal is to get both of them rewritten enough to send to beta readers before summer hits.

This is especially awesome because my husband is my first reader and he's been begging me to write him something from a male POV. I'm looking forward to seeing what he thinks.

Reason #4: My Very Shiny New Book Idea

This most likely won't be in the works until summer, but I've been plotting and planning and it's coming together nicely. I can't really tell you what it's about, except there's a space station. And an advanced version of the witness protection program. And a robotic dog with excellent social skills.
Did I mention it's IN SPACE?

(Oh, speaking of space, Beth Revis's fabulous book Across the Universe releases next week! You should all read the first chapter here. And then order it. I want YA sci-fi to be the next big thing so that  my Shiny Idea will be cooler.)

How about you? What are you looking forward to this year?

Reasons 2011 will rock, part 1

I'm back! I have vacation brain and I'm still waddling from all the ginger cookies I ate last week, but I am back.

Oof! So. Many. Cookies.

I feel like 2011 is going to be an awesome year for a lot of different reasons.  But for today, I just want to tell you about reason number one...

Reason #1: My New Year's Resolution

I only made one resolution this year, and I kind of stumbled onto it. I really wanted to write on the first day of the New Year but I was struggling because everything I'd done the week before had turned out to be crap.

I HATE that. That feeling you get when you work for hours to try to fix something in a story and you read it the next day and realize you made it worse. Yeah. Not my favorite thing.

I was terrified of it happening again. I got ready to go write, and then dithered at my computer for about two hours, getting more and more nervous and angsty.

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.