January 28, 2015

Writing Club Wednesday: Books That Inspire

It took me three years to stockpile enough books to seriously damage my Walmart bookshelves. That cheap-o particle board was no match for the collection of awesomeness I had crammed on there. And about a month later I had a brand new, significantly sturdier set. Built by my super crafty husband. 

Finally, my books had room to breathe!

Then about halfway through the process of reorganizing everything, I realized some of them weren’t making it up there. I had plucked certain ones out of boxes and put them in a separate stack on the carpet.

By the time I was done, the pile had grown to about nine or ten books and I just couldn’t find the right place for them. These were… special. I needed a better place for them. So I lugged the stack back upstairs and made a mini collection on the shelf by my computer, and that’s where they’ve lived for the last year.

They're the ones I read when I’m neck deep in revisions and convinced everything in the world is terrible. Or when I open a new word document and worry that I’m wasting my time. The ones that remind me why I love to write and inspire me to get off my butt and dive back in.

They’re a kick in the pants, that I need on a semi-regular basis.

Every time I read THE SCORPIO RACES I’m reminded how powerful a truly awesome setting mashed up with stunning writing can be. I’ll be singing the praises of Maggie Stiefvater for the rest of my life, but this book has a special top shelf spot. It doesn't matter matter how hopeless I feel, a few chapters of water horses and November cakes is all it takes to bring back my inspiration, no matter where it ran off to.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve retreated to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE when things in my life just go crazy. I’ve read it so many times I can flip it open to a random page and immediately know what’s going on. It’s the macaroni and cheese of books, my friends. It never gets old. 

Need a reason to pick it up? I'll give you three. Mr. Freaking. Darcy.

Need I say more? 

For those days when I’ve stubbed my toe on the same damn chair eight times, spilled tea on three different shirts, and listened to countless screaming fits from my toddler, it’s IF I STAY that brings be back to reality. Following Mia through her tragedy again and again, as she tries to accept what's happened to her, is a surefire way to reset my day.

When I’m writing really heartbreaking scenes, I second guess myself like nobody’s business. Re-reading NOT A DROP TO DRINK reminds me that not everything has to end with rainbows and teddy bears, and sometimes the tragic parts can mean the most later on. Mindy McGinnis has a knack for tackling the tough stuff. She doesn’t shy away from difficult deaths or endings that aren’t so much happy as they are resolved, and I really admire that. 

There are countless books I LOVED TO DEATH that still find themselves in the “favorites” section of my fancy new shelves, a whole floor away from my office. The inspiration shelf is for the books that haunt me. Make me stop in the middle of a scene and say “Holy crap, that’s good.” Fantastic to the core writing that can never be read enough times.

Those books doesn’t just impress me, they teach me something. They make me question my own storytelling abilities and INSPIRE me to get better. 

Plus, getting lost in Mr. Darcy daydreams feels a lot more productive than falling down the rabbit hole of Youtube singing audition videos.

Just saying.


Do you have any books you always keep close by? What ones inspire you, and when do you need them the most?

Happy Wednesday!

January 26, 2015

Monday Pep Rally: Happy Places, Happy Spaces!

Since we've all gotten so used to getting our thoughts down in 140 characters - and it's fun to keep the conversation flowing - we've take the Pep Rally to twitter! Every Monday, we host a twitter chat and we'd love you to join in. Just keep an eye out for the #MisfitPepRally hashtag!

Good morning, Misfiteers & happy Monday! It's a grey winter day and I need a little extra pep (can we pretend this post isn't hours late?). When I need a mental boost, I think of my happy place - a quiet, windswept in Oregon. I go to my happy place and let the memories wash over me. On a Monday that's already on the wrong foot, it's a good reset.

So today I want you to share your happy places - preferably in pictures! Share your book nooks and vacation spots and tree forts. Wherever it is that you retreat to in your mind when you need a break from the grind. Share with the class so we can all take a deep breath and start this week right! Head over to twitter or the comments section and show me your happy place!

Cape Lookout, Oregon

January 22, 2015

Band Geek Thursday: Susan Adrian's TUNNEL VISION Soundtrack

Today on Band Geek Thursday, we have our first 2015 debut! And one especially exciting for me because Susan Adrian's book TUNNEL VISION and my book are buddies and one-week-apart release twins! I love her soundtrack and her explanation for how these songs fit into the book. Take it away, Susan!
Thank you so much for having me, YA Misfits! I love Band Geek Thursdays, and am so excited to talk about the soundtrack for TUNNEL VISION.
I know, we normally call them "playlists"! But early on in the writing of TUNNEL VISION, a fast-paced YA thriller, I realized that it was so visual I wanted it to have a soundtrack, like a TV show or a movie. Each chapter (42 chapters!) has a song associated with it that's printed at the top of the chapter. As soon as I started that, I began listening to them as I wrote, and while I brainstormed (and while I mowed the lawn). With each chapter I'd add a new song and start again, in order. I must've listened to the first few songs hundreds of times. They relate to the chapter in different ways. Sometimes the title was so apt I had to take it, but usually it was the theme, or the mood I thought fit. My rule was that it had to come from the character, though, what Jake himself would choose. So even though I don't personally game, there's a piece from Call of Duty: Black Ops that was perfect. There are genres in there I don't even listen to, usually. I won't talk about what each song meant (because 42!), but here are 12 songs that are particularly resonant for me:
1. People Following Me by Phunk Junkeez. I love this song. I rock out to this song every time. To me it just sets the tone perfectly: Jake is paranoid, but there really are people following him.
3. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody by Fergie, Q-Tip, and Goon Rock. This was a late replacement, actually, but as soon as I heard it I knew it had to go in for Chapter 3. In which a party may actually kill someone.
7. Home by Marc Broussard. This song makes me teary when I play it, because it makes me feel Jake coming home to his family. I tried to play it for my husband once, but he just didn't get it. It has to go with the chapter.
9. Sister by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. Jake's sister Myka is so very important to him, and this song captures that.
12. Tunneling Through by Tweak Bird. HELLO, TITLE. I could not believe it when I ran across this song! It describes tunneling, Jake's special power. Well, in my mind anyway.
13. Little Truth by The Delta Routine. And yet if I needed a theme song for a lot of the book, it would be this one. All he wants is a LITTLE truth. Somewhere.
18. Gone by Black Lab. Cry. Every. Time. This song encapsulates the mood for me of maybe the most difficult chapter in the book.
22. Lies by Billy Talent. There are about 3 songs about lies in the soundtrack, and I love each one. I like to yell-sing them. The Violent Femmes one is awesome too.
32. Revenge by Sean Murray, from Call of Duty. This is instrumental, but it really hits the "soundtrack" feel. I can hear it playing through the (ahem) revenge of the chapter.
33. Feeling Good by Nina Simone. A little respite for Jake, a moment of happiness. And a huge call-out to Chuck, the show that inspired me in the beginning.
39. Dad by Goldfinger. Can't give spoilers, but yeah. This one.
42. The End. by Jason Reeves. Because it is. And yet the words in the song talk about how it also isn't.
If you'd like to listen to the whole playlist, it's available on Spotify here:
You can find out more about TUNNEL VISION, me, and where you can find me on the Tunnel Tour here: http://www.susanadrian.net/

Susan Adrian is a 4th-generation Californian who somehow stumbled into living in Montana. She danced in a ballet company and worked in the fields of exotic pet-sitting, clothes-schlepping, and bookstore management. She’s settled in, mostly, as a scientific editor. When she’s not with her family, she keeps busy researching spy stuff, traveling, and writing more books.
Twitter: @susan_adrian
Website: http://www.susanadrian.net/

January 14, 2015

Writing Club Wednesday: Guest Post by Kelley Lynn

Today we welcome Kelley Lynn, uthor of ROAD TO SOMEWHERE and ONE WISH AWAY (Bloomsbury Spark) and the newly released FRACTION OF STONE, first in the FRACTION SERIES, to the Misfits blog. I've had the distinct pleasure of reading ROAD TO SOMEWHERE and ONE WISH AWAY and simply adored both! Plus, she's an awesome person and has some fabulous insights for us! Welcome, Kelley!

It takes a village, but remember, you’re the mayor. 

It’s funny. One of the main reasons I started writing (other than the voices in my head who wanted me to tell their story) was because I had this misconceived notion that writing was a solitary endeavor. And sure we put words to paper by ourselves (unless we’re writing a collaboration, but that’s a whole other post) but being an author is not something we can do by ourselves. Not if we want our work to be the best it can be. Hence they saying ‘it takes a village’.

We need to learn the rules for writing (so we can later break them) and to do this we read blogs, books, take classes, talk to other authors, etc. Our work needs to be read and critiqued by others. We (possibly) need agents to submit our manuscripts to editors and then we need those editors to work their magic so the book hits the shelves (or ereaders) in the best possible form.

Summary: It takes a lot of people, with specific expertise, to create a great book.

Now that we’ve established that (which I’m sure many of you understood, unless you were a bit clueless like me) I’d like to talk about our guts. That part of us that churns when something is just not right. That’s where you, the mayor of this village, come in.

Because even though it takes a village to get the book to the finish line, you, as the brain child, must be completely ecstatic and proud when it gets there.

This is a concept I didn’t really grasp until this year. That I’m the boss (even though I totally and completely recognize I need everyone in the village to help me succeed). Basically, I was just saying ‘yes’ to whatever the experts had in mind, even if my gut wasn’t completely on board.

In order to be the best mayor we can be, we need to recognize the strengths of all of those assisting us and thoroughly listen to everything they have to say. Just because we don’t like a suggestion, doesn’t mean it’s not good. We must take time to go through our critiques (whether from beta readers/agents/editors). Don’t react on a whim. Alter what we agree with and feel free to question what we don’t understand. If after we’ve given the constructive criticism time to sink in, we still have that churning feeling in our gut that says a specific suggestion doesn’t feel right that is okay.

We talk to our consulting experts and dive deeper into our concerns, work hard to see their point of view. We come to a place we can both agree on. Ultimately, we have to be happy with what we put out there. Our name is on it.

So whether it’s an opinion on whether to self or traditionally publish or a suggestion to change the feel/plot/character arc, etc in our manuscript, or anything in between, we don’t have to do any of it.

But to be the best author we can be we do have to take it all into consideration.

Because we wouldn’t be the mayor of anything, if we didn’t have villagers.

Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author.

Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands.

Kelley's enjoyed working with Bloomsbury Spark (ROAD TO SOMEWHERE and ONE WISH AWAY) and Tulip Romance (NO TIME FOR LOVE, Nov. 2015). As well as publishing work on her own.

Feel free to hang out with Kelley at her Facebook Page or see what she's tweeting about. (@KelleyLynn1) She loves to get feedback on her work through authorkelleylynn@gmail.com.

January 12, 2015

Monday Pep Rally: Books That Resonate

Happy Monday Misfiteers!

I'm one of those people who reads in binges. So when I read a book it's usually followed by another and then another until I've exhausted that binge. But sometimes there are those books that make me stop and contemplate things--life, my own writing, other books I've read in comparison. These are the books that make me excited and inspired to go back to my WIP even if I probably won't ever be as good... Here are a few books that have resonated with me recently.

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - I can't tell you how much this book affected me. It took me six different starts to finally get into it but it was SO worth it. Unforgettable. I devoured it!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson - I've only recently discovered Matson's books but I can tell you she's an insta-buy. I've devoured all of her books now. Her characterization is amazing and this story stayed with me long after I turned off my kindle.

This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - There was something about this book and this series. I admit to loving this book more than the first. I swear this series just gets better each one. What a crazy ride this one was. 

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer - This is one of my favorite series' of all time and CRESS is my favorite so far. I love these characters, I love Meyer's writing, everything. I am eagerly awaiting WINTER!

So there are a few of mine, what about you? Which books have resonated with you recently? Join us on the #MisfitPepRally hashtag on twitter and tell us!

Have a great week and happy reading everyone!!

January 9, 2015

Casual Friday: Five 2015 YAs to Get on Your TBR, Stat

Happy Friday, Misfiteers! Normally I get a little freaked out by the start of a new year, but this one holds so much exciting promise for YA that I can't even be bothered. In case you're not already aware, the Misfits ourselves have six YAs coming out in 2015, which is afreakingmazing, and obviously you should read all of them. But here are five other 2015 YAs I've already read and loved that should jump onto your TBR ASAP, listed in order of pub date.

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Apr. 7)

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Guys, this is pretty much the most happy-making book you will ever read. On top of being a fantastic love story, it's also sweet, hilarious, and has a great message about challenging the concept of a "default," which, frankly, could not be more current or on point. 

Play On by Michelle Smith (Apr. 14) 

 In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma's flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius; she's also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there's something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek -- he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the fa├žade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.

It is a really, really tricky thing to combine a light, fun sports romance with a topic as dark as severe depression, but that's why I think Play On goes beyond good and into the territory of "necessary." Because frankly, that's how it is - things can be light and fun and then bam, depression can hit without reason and without warning, and that's so wonderfully depicted here in a way I really haven't seen done before. 

99 Days by Katie Cotugno (Apr. 21)

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

I already reviewed this one on Goodreads at some length, so you can just check that out instead of me babbling again about how much I love this book, and Cotugno's work in general.

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller (June 2)

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

I love psychological thrillers, and I love the strong, always-learning, always-growing, sex-positive characters Trish Doller creates, so this book was absolutely everything I wanted it to be, including a total pageturner. 

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (June 16) 

Happiness shouldn't be this hard

The Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto -- miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor or how his friends aren't always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it's not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn't mind Aaron's obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn't mind talking about Aaron's past. But Aaron's newfound happiness isn't welcome on his block. Since he's can't stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Adam Silvera's extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

So, I just read this book, and it's pretty much my newest obsession. For one thing, that last paragraph of the blurb is spot on - it's an extremely unique confrontation of all of those things, and in particular, I feel like "class" gets pretty shafted on the diversity spectrum. This book does an excellent job with that, and that alone would make it a must-read for me. But in truth, it handles all those things really well, and the book is a great read, so if it isn't on your TBR already, make sure it is now!

Have you read any of these? What's on your 2015 TBR? 


January 7, 2015

When Your Muse Quits (or the proper care & feeding of one's inspiration)

My greatest fear as a writer has come to pass: I've run out of inspiration. My muse has up and quit - and I don't blame her one bit.
The page should be blank...not my brain
Sure, I could blame the season. My productivity tanks each and every December, thanks to my anniversary and my husband's birthday in addition to the usual holiday excitement. I could blame my productivity in the previous 18 months, when I wrote three Oceanside High books without pause. I could blame my kids or the two rounds of the stomach flu that hit our home.

Or I could go another way and pick up any one of the half dozen or so discarded manuscripts littering my hard drive. I could push forward on the rewrite that took up most of the fall, only to lose steam on the second pass. Or the revised MS I've been working on since I turned Oceanside #3 into my editor. 

But the truth runs deeper than that. When I sit down to write, I just don't have anything left to say. I still love writing. I still love stories. I still love creating worlds and characters to inhabit them. But I am fresh out of inspiration.

This is as sophisticated as my storytelling gets right now
The worst part is that I know it's my fault. You see, muses are fickle creatures. If you're careless, they'll up and quit on you.

I've badly neglected my muse. Amid parenting, a huge project at my day job and the usual business of life, I haven't made time to nurture my mind. I've plunked away at writing, I suppose, but it's been rote. It's been purely mechanical. Because I'm not feeding into my creativity. 

It shouldn't come as a surprise that spending my few precious hours on the internet, scrolling through social media and reading news stories  hasn't built me up. The constant steam of negativity feeds my self-doubt and the time-suck leaves me feeling like a failure before my first word.

So what to do? I'm still figuring that out. Here's what I've got so far:

1.) Break

Right now, I'm not even trying to write. Other than a few notes on my phone, I haven't properly written in over two weeks. I deliberately left my laptop at home while we flew across the country for the holidays. I know that in my current state, pushing myself to write would do more harm than good. That isn't always the case, but I've tried pushing for the last few months and it's made things worse.

2.) Unplug

I took a step back from social media at the end of November. I deleted the twitter and Facebook apps from my phone, only accessing them from my browser. It's been good. According to the internet, I'm doing everything in life wrong - including how I clean my kitchen sink. I just don't need that in my life when I'm already feeling lost. So I still check in on friends, but I'm not scrolling, reading every post that crosses my path.

Might have some reading to do
3.) Read

Seriously, duh. Why do I forget this? I LOVE to read. Reading is probably the main reason I write - I want to make my own stories like the ones I love. But it somehow feels...frivolous? Selfish? I'm not entirely sure, but I do know I'm mostly reading HAND, HAND, FINGERS, THUMB these days and it's not good for my brain. Or my creativity. I read though 3 or 4 books over the holidays, but I'm still working at making it habit again.

4.) Listen

Music is another duh for me. Music is such a part of me, but I get in ruts, listening to old favorites instead of exploring and eventually, I stop listening. I've been making an effort to listen to new bands, to music outside my usual taste, to anything that is unfamiliar and thus brain stimulating. Thanks to a couple gifts, I'll be expanding my horizons even further.

5.) Remember

Admittedly, I haven't done this yet, but I will. Soon. I know there are things I've written that I love. That make me feel like I have something to say and can say it well. I know there are times I've sat back and thought "Wow. Did that really come from me?" Rereading something I wrote, that I love, is a huge motivator. It helps me remember all this is worth it.

It's all about the right company
6.) Socialize

As a proud hermit, this is very hard for me, but I'm trying. There is so much inspiration out there in the world, but I can't find it hiding in my room or conversing with only preschoolers. Leaving my house and observing the world around me, while sometimes overwhelming and painful, can kickstart my brain again.

7.) CPs

When in doubt, rally a few good writer friends around you. People who can remind you that you don't suck and that you do have ideas left and words to express them and the mind to pull it all together into something worth the blood, sweat and tears required to make a story. Sometimes, someone else believing in me is just what I need when I can't believe in myself.

I'm a work in progress. I suspect my muse will be angry for a while still. But I'll continue to nurture it until an idea strikes and that itchy feeling happens in the back of my brain and I can't not write any more.

Until then, any more ideas for me? How do you placate your muse when it decides to quit on you?

January 2, 2015

Casual Friday: Writing Challenges for the New Year

Happy New Year, everyone! (A day late but the year is still relatively new. :) )

If you haven't yet, it's not too late to make resolutions for the year. I actually made mine several days ago but I'd like to share it with all of you now as a way of solidifying my commitment (and to invite you to join me if this is something you're interested in as well).

This year, I'm finally making the commitment to try writing every day--even if it's just a paragraph or two at a time. Although I get lots of writing done in a year, I have a tendency to write in huge chunks in sporadic times (I even wrote a novel in a week this one time....it was pretty insane), which means that really, for most of the year, I'm not getting much writing done and thus not really improving as much as I could as a writer. It's my hope to spread it out a little more and thus also get in the habit of writing more regularly in 2015.

I'll admit it here and now. This isn't the first time I'm making this resolution. But this year, I'm doing two things differently than the other times.

1.) Instead of getting myself overwhelmed by committing to "write every day in the year," I'm dividing the year into twelve much more manageable chunks by making the commitment to "write every day of this month" for the next twelve months, instead.

2.) I'm joining the monthly 500-word-per-day Writing Challenges over at WritingChallenge.Org. Part of the Writing Challenge includes having to log your word counts in a Participant Log every day so you can share your actual progress with other people as the month goes along (kind of like the Cabins during NaNoWriMo but less rushed, since the goal is to just get 500 words down every day, not finish a whole novel in a month--although you could certainly write more if you can). They also have monthly hashtags on Twitter (ie: this month's is #JanWritingChallenge) so you can share your word count with other participants, encourage each other, and etc. It's my first time doing something like this but I'm excited to try it in this new year.

How about you guys? Are you making any changes to your writing this year? Any other writing-related new year resolutions? Do share in the comments below!

December 24, 2014

Writing Club Wednesday: Motivation Exploration

Hello and Happy Wednesday (and happy holidays!)

I hope you are all well during this festive time of year!

The holidays are what gave me the idea for my first Writing Club Wednesday post on motivation and exploring ways that may or may not be new to you for the new year.
Sometimes, especially around the holidays, busy times of the year or when we're feeling sick/down/overwhelmed it's tough to get motivated and get going with writing (or with life in general) so I want to share with you some ways to get motivated that might be a change in your routine and just might work

1. Start your day with sunshine - Exposure to bright natural light is a great way to wake up your brain. As writers we sometimes tend to go from one dimly lit room to another, to work by the light of a screen. So try letting some light in!

2. Keep the thing that inspired you to write in the first place in your workspace - Maybe it's a quote that lit the fire of passion to write. Maybe it's a dream cast of your characters printed out and taped to your work area (I found mine on Pinterest, it works) or maybe it's a goal simply jotted on a post it, stuck to your computer. Keep the reason for why you're doing what you do around you and you'll want to reach that goal.

3. Get an accountability partner - Connect with a friend that has similar goals to yours and hold each other accountable. Make a plan for check in times, whether it's on a daily or weekly basis. Set clear and detailed goals and hold each other accountable for meeting these goals. (Also, extra points for sending motivational memes that are hilarious)

4. Try a different avenue of creative outlet - Having the confidence to get out of your comfort zone and everything you're familiar with will reenergize you to return. It just might also inspire a new scene or character or even entire outlines for a story. Try seeing the world through a camera lens, or sketching scenery with colored pencils. Who cares if you're not a pro at it, just try something new.

5. Write a page of your future biography - It might feel silly but it might also be fun! Bring the accomplishments you're currently dreaming of to life. Write them out as if you've already done them and read them aloud to yourself. It will be like music to your ears (or like a NYT Bestseller award to your book) and then get back to work and make it happen!

Let me know if you're going to try some of these, or if you've tried any of these already and whether or not they worked for you. Also, if you've discovered a motivation tip that really gets you going, share it with us in the comments!

One last thing before I leave you to your holiday goodness. I made a quick list of writing advice books that you might want to pick up for a new year and new found motivation!

On Writing - Stephen King (This one gets recommended A LOT. There's a reason for that)

Query - CJ Redwine

The Emotion Thesaurus - Angela Ackerman (Not really writing advice but this book is a must for writers)

December 19, 2014

Casual Friday: Internet Gems

Happy Friday, Everyone!

So today is the day where our posts are all casual-like,

And I thought it might be nice to have some Misfits share their favorite blog posts - whether it was one of their own, or something that inspired them, or something they felt deserved more recognition (in this same vein, DL Hammons is hosting the Deja Vu blogfest today, and you can check out the entries here).

In the spirit of the holidays, and because she apparently knows my weakness, Misfit Cait passed along this post in which she shares the recipe for triple death by chocolate brownies. I KNOW, RIGHT?

I've gone back this post by a few times. In it, Kimberley Derting shares rejections she received on the Body Finder before it got picked up by Harper Collins. It's always encouraging to know that an author whose work you enjoy faced the same doors slamming in her face as you have. A little reminder that no one is exempt.  

Having trouble outlining? Misfit Jenny passed along THIS POST from the Better Novel Project showing how deconstructing bestsellers can help you organize your own plotting. She also shared a post from her own blog with Ten Self-Editing Tips for Writers.

Need more insight on the writing and publishing process? Misfit Maggie recommends the Not For Robots blog by Laini Taylor.

Last but not least, when you're getting whiplash from the constant highs and lows of your publishing journey, and you've worked your butt off and have no idea if it's all worth it and feel like no one knows what you're going through, you NEED to check out this post from Misfit Dahlia titled It's Not Just You.

What are some of your favorite internet gems? Feel free to share!

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