Guest Post – Steph, author of “Hunters”

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Writing on Coffee Breaks

 

Yes, you heard me right. Not writing with coffee breaks, as in stopping your work for a minute to get a delicious cup of coffee to fuel your muse. I’m talking about writing while you’re supposedly on coffee breaks from doing something else. Like working.

 

The best advice I’ve received about writing a book is to just sit down and start typing. The thing is, what if you don’t have the time to do that? Take me for example. I work from 9 am (sometimes 8-8:30 am) to 8 pm (sometimes 9, 10, 11 pm, 12 am). Most of the times, I work on my lunch break just so I can actually leave at 8 and get home where, for a full 3 hours, I try to have a life. The weekends are usually reserved to sleeping, housework and, again, trying to have a life.

 

And then there’s writing… my love. Which for the past year has taken a big back seat. An important part of writing is getting into the zone. That’s very hard to do when you have to think about other things all the time. And it hurts.

 

This post is not meant to be a pity party, but empowerment. You know how other people get cigarette or coffee breaks? I take short writing breaks when I feel like it. True, it’s hard to write an entire scene or to do your best since your muse is probably hibernating, but it’s a start. I’ve decided to cut away some of my work time and just write.

 

Have I succeeded? Well, not yet. I’ve just realized I need this change unless I want my writing career snuffed in the bud, so I’m taking it slow. So far, I’m editing. I plan on a chapter per day. Sure, I don’t make it most of the times. But the thing about balancing a career, a family and writing is to never give up and at least try.

 

So here are a few tips when you have been reduced to writing on coffee breaks:

* Never forget why you started writing in the first place.

* Don’t see writing as work – it’s a treat meant to energize you.

* If you really don’t feel like writing, don’t. Whatever you do, you shouldn’t become resentful toward your characters or your work.

* Plan your scene while you have a bit of free time – procrastination, real coffee break, traveling – it makes writing it down much easier.

* Pat yourself on the back each time you manage to meet your writing goal for the day – you did a good job and deserve your reward.
So for all you workaholics out there – there is hope and there is no excuse. Get to writing!

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Guest Blog: Stephanie Faris, “30 Days of No Gossip”

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Today, I’m welcoming Stephanie Faris, author of the middle grade novel 30 Days of No Gossip. Her book comes out this Tuesday, and today she’s sharing her 20-year journey to this point. We’re also giving away an autographed copy of her book, so be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!

Around the Publishing World in 7,300 Days

by Stephanie Faris

Thanks for having me, Jamie. I’m so excited to be here!

They say there’s no such thing as an overnight success. I’m inclined to agree.

When I wrote my first novel, there was no Facebook, no email, and the world had never heard of something called a “blog.” There was just me and a very bad, pre-Windows 95 computer.

Yes, that was a long, long time ago!

There was another major difference between the world today and the world of 1993. Young adult fiction, at that time, was a completely different thing than it is today. I wrote my first YA book in the style of the YA books I’d grown up reading. Books like Sweet Valley High and those teen romances that featured cheesy teen models on the cover–that was what teens read in the 80s.

I wrote that first book, then began researching. My research revealed that the young adult market was, to put it nicely, dead. I actually found that in a book. (We didn’t have Google in 1993!) So I moved on to romantic comedy and spent a few years trying to get published in category romance. Silhouette and Harlequin were publishing romantic comedy in the 90s. That changed, too.

I took a brief respite from writing novels in the 00s and, when I came back, romantic comedy had died a swift death. Chick lit murdered it. I tried writing the romantic comedies I’d written before the 00s, only to have it immediately dismissed as chick lit. Nobody wanted a comedic, clunky heroine anymore. But I quickly found the best news of all.

Young adult was selling!

Thank you Stephenie Meyer. And J.K. Rowling. And everyone who brought it back to life. Only, I had another important lesson to learn. I learned it as I set to work creating cutesy YA stories similar to the ones I’d read growing up. I sent those books out, only to be told my voice was too young for YA.

What? Too young? But…this was the same style Francine Pascal and Carolyn Keene used for their teen books. All of those teen love stories I read as a tween had that style, as well. If YA was now edgy and dark, what were tweens reading?

This discovery lead me to middle grade. I fell in love. The books had the same fun as the ones I’d read as a tween, only they actually featured girls on the cusp of adolescence.

What did I learn from my 20-year journey? Many things. But, most importantly: the publishing world will change. If you’re lucky, as I was, someday those changes will lead you to your perfect niche.

30 Days of No Gossip by Stephanie Faris