Quite contrary

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REMINDER: PA booksigning tomorrow featuring 4 YA authors!

Friday evening at 7pm, I’ll be visiting a fabulous independent bookstore on the Philadelphia Main Line (where I went to college and where This Side of Salvation is set). Here are the deets:

April 18: 3 J’s and a K Talk YA (panel, games, giveaways, Q and A, and booksigning)
Time: 7-9pm
Place: Children’s Book World, Haverford, PA
Along with:

This is my FINAL planned appearance for 2014*. As much as I enjoy book events, I’ve decided to cut back on them to spend more time and energy on the two most important things in my life: my writing and my family (not necessarily in that order).

Last year my travel schedule was brutal, despite the fact that I didn’t even have a book out in 2013. I said yes to every opportunity, met lots of wonderful readers and publishing people, and completely failed to gain traction on any new novels. (Let’s face it: I don’t do well with disruptions to my routine.)

I love meeting readers in person, but my hope is that you guys would rather I stay home writing new books for you! Thanks for understanding.

*Except for the literacy signing at the RWA National Conference (July 23, San Antonio)

Filed under book signing ya lit

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I’m keenly aware of the Principle of Priority, which states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what is important first. What is important is the work.
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield (a good quote for those of us who have a bit of taxes to finish today while still making wordcount)

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Anonymous asked: Have you ever seen a cat give birth? Or any other animal?

laurendestefano:

Trick questions. Cats don’t get born. Cats are a wish your heart makes.

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Anonymous asked: Hi! Just curious: What are your thoughts on teens who want to get their novels published, and have done their research and an extensive amount of editing? Thank you!

theallycarter:

jenniferlynnbarnes:

I wrote my first published novel when I was nineteen. It was the seventh novel I’d written. Of those seven, four were written while I was still in high school (or the summer right after I’d graduated). I know what it is like to be a teenager seriously pursuing publication!

Much of my advice for teens pursuing publication is similar to my advice for people of any age pursuing publication: keep writing and revising and getting better with each book; know that many writers do not sell their first book and that this is largely a persistence game; do what you can to defend the joy you take in writing; be professional and act professionally.

As for advice I have especially for teens—advice I might give Teenage Jen, if I could go back in time and talk to her—I would say:

Be extra kind to yourself, Teenage Jen, even though being kind to yourself isn’t necessarily something that being a teenager has prepared you to do. Writing and pursuing publication is not like anything else you’ve done. It is not like getting an A in school, or studying for an exam, or working to make first string on your sports team. It is not like any of those things AT ALL.

Acceptance and rejection are not solely about what you did “right” or “wrong.” And even once you sell your first book, Teenage Jen, even once you’re living your dream, it will often be hard. Because you will be *living* it, and the reality *is* hard, and selling a book is not the end of a journey, but the beginning. Be prepared, Teenage Jen, to essentially be running  your own small business, because as a professional author, that is what you will be doing. There are so many things, Teenage Jen, that go along with being a published author, other than just the writing, and if you were to decide you were not ready for that yet, that would be okay. It would not make your writing mean any less. 

Do not wish away the moments you have now, Teenage Jen. The nights when you are writing, the way it makes you feel, the joy you find in telling a story, how excited you get just to get a hand-written note on the bottom of a rejection letter. Enjoy being exactly where you are, Teenage Jen, because you will eventually come to the conclusion that NONE of this is about reaching some end-point or achieving some specific thing. There is no end-point! There is only the journey. 

I have so much respect for teens pursuing publication. It is wonderful to work toward a dream! But I think it’s especially important for teen writers not to put too much pressure on themselves, and especially not to give themselves arbitrary deadlines. “I want to be published by the time I’m 16!” “I want to be published before I graduate college!” “I want to be the youngest person to X!” 

Because honestly, guys, IT DOES NOT MATTER. You don’t get a prize for publishing young. If you are in this career for the long haul, if it is your dream to be an author, then it really doesn’t matter how old you are when you sell your first book. Because, if all goes well, there will eventually be a second book and a third. And you may find yourself reinventing your career many times over, and by and large, PEOPLE WILL NOT CARE how old you were when you published your first book. It will, in all likelihood, be pretty much irrelevant to your career as a whole. It is much more important for your first book to be the book best suited to launching your career than it is for it to be a book that you wrote when you were however-many years old.

The last piece of advice I have for teen writers is related to something that I am very grateful that Teenage Jen did (and that Teenage Jen largely has her parents to thank for, so THANKS, MOM AND DAD), and that is this: if you are pursuing publication as a teenager, that means that you will be entering an adult professional world at a young age. There can be tons of obligations that come along with that, and I am so grateful, looking back, that I made an active effort to not let writing (or publishing) stop me from having the experiences my same-age peers were having while I was starting my career.

I had a rule in college that I couldn’t write until everyone else had gone to bed. I didn’t *always* follow it, but the reason for the rule was that I did not want to miss out on other things—experiences that I could only have at that stage in my life—because I was shut in my room writing. I had to make an active effort to say yes when people asked me to do things, to get involved in activities, to explore majors, to DO THINGS that had nothing to do with writing. As an adult, there are many times when I have made sacrifices to write. I am very, very grateful that I didn’t let myself make those same kinds of sacrifices when I was in high school and college.

I get SO MANY questions about, not just publishing, but publishing young.

This is the best advice I can hope to give on the subject: read Jen’s post.


For those with short attention spans, Jen’s last paragraph is the most important, IMO.

When young people ask me for one piece of writing advice, my answer is this:

LIVE.

Or as Jen says, DO THINGS.

Because she’s right: us older folks sacrifice a lot for the sake of our creative work. If at an early age you do nothing but write, you will miss out on life.

And then what will you write about?

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terraelan:

Out in paperback this week, reviewers say CRIMINAL is “searing,” “gripping,” “hard-hitting,” and “…a book for any teens who might consider themselves lost and desperate for love and belonging.”

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rachelfershleiser:

She plastered a poster with her own face floating above the words, “Stop Telling Women to Smile” on a vacant storefront here, across from a federal courthouse. Then Ms. Fazlalizadeh and her helpers brushed on two dozen more posters she had created. Images of young faces stared back with wary, defiant and no-nonsense gazes above statements such as “My Outfit Is Not an Invitation,” or “Women Do Not Owe You Their Time or Conversation.” 

(via Tatyana Fazlalizadeh Takes Her Public Art Project to Georgia - NYTimes.com)

I am such a huge fan of this artist/project.

rachelfershleiser:

She plastered a poster with her own face floating above the words, “Stop Telling Women to Smile” on a vacant storefront here, across from a federal courthouse. Then Ms. Fazlalizadeh and her helpers brushed on two dozen more posters she had created. Images of young faces stared back with wary, defiant and no-nonsense gazes above statements such as “My Outfit Is Not an Invitation,” or “Women Do Not Owe You Their Time or Conversation.”

(via Tatyana Fazlalizadeh Takes Her Public Art Project to Georgia - NYTimes.com)

I am such a huge fan of this artist/project.