Work and Glamor (Not) and an “Expert” Realization

- 0 comments - Reading, writing

Whew! In the last eleven days, I’ve come back to work with a vengeance, writing the first three and a half chapters of my new MG book, which is making me really happy. It feels SO good to be writing steadily again! Admittedly, taking those four weeks of writing-vacation this summer was, yes, undoubtedly sensible after the last year…but I am SO glad to be back to work now!

Also, in a really fun side of authoring that I haven’t experienced before, I’m getting ready to go to London next week for several publishing meetings in a row, which I am ridiculously excited about. I feel so glamorous! (I know, I know. All of my London friends are rolling their eyes at that. But still! I’m actually going to wear lipstick and everything, probably! ;) And I’ll get to talk to real, live adults about books instead of talking to 6- and 2-year-olds about bugs!)

Luckily, everything at home is keeping me well-grounded, from Maya-dog’s horrifying infestation of Frontline-resistant fleas (augggh) to our discovery that our two-year-old must NOT be allowed to look at books in the car…not to mention our six-year-old’s various entomological fascinations. (I’m sure David Attenborough’s parents had to deal with plenty of that kind of thing, too!) When you’re dealing with a two-year-old’s violent and messy carsickness or you’re down on your hands and knees in the dirt trying to help your older son find slugs and woodlice (and trying not to let yourself look grossed-out by the slugs’ texture), it’s very hard to get a swelled head, to say the least.

I did have an interesting realization the other day, though. It was a day when I’d had a really hard time getting my writing done, for various reasons. Once I did finally do the writing, I thought: Hey, maybe I could do a blog post about some of the things I find useful for getting the writing done on hard days, because that could be fun and possibly useful, too…but then I immediately thought, Nope. No way! I’m not an expert. What do I know? I can’t stand up and give anyone advice!

And honestly, I have zero interest in setting myself up as an authority to speak from on high about almost anything. But…

There have been several moments in the past when I’ve had similar thoughts, always with the same conclusion. But this time, finally, I then thought: Actually, why can I not talk in public about what works for me with writing? Why don’t my opinions count?

I used to think I couldn’t talk authoritatively about writing because I’d only made one book sale (albeit of three books at a time, but still). Then I sold a fourth book, but still, that was all. Now I’ve got more exciting stuff happening with other books that I’ve written – and I’ve had over thirty short stories published in various magazines and anthologies – and if you count my freelance work (written under a pen name, which I don’t own), then that adds nine more published books to my list of work…but still, I never, ever feel like I could possibly set myself up as someone who actually knows what she’s doing.

And of course I still have an awful lot to learn. I definitely don’t know everything about writing or publishing, to say the (laughable) least! But…it finally occurred to me the other day to ask myself: WHEN, exactly, will I decide that my opinions count for something? Because the goalposts keep on moving back in my own head.

Anyway! Don’t worry – I don’t plan to turn this blog into a writing-advice blog. I’m not interested in that, and I doubt you guys are, either. This blog is a place for personal hanging out, and for keeping in touch with my friends and with my wonderful readers. It’s going to stay mostly focused on the chocolate I’m eating and the books I’m reading. (And this week I’ve been reading an ebook of Cindy Pon’s Serpentine and a paper ARC of Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger, so I’ve been in reading bliss!)

But it was an odd moment to realize that in my head, there was really NO publishing milestone that could ever be big enough to make me act like my opinion, on writing or on publishing, really counted. And I thought I’d share that moment with you guys in case I’m not the only one who ever falls into that pattern of thought.

Now: it’s time to get back to hunting down some good thick tights, in case it’s cold on the day of my London trip; trying to find the sewing kit, which we haven’t taken out for years; facing down the terrifying pile of unwashed dishes; and also desperately figuring out if there’s anything I could make for dinner tonight that would only take ten minutes…oh, yes, the glamor is unmistakable around here.

But at least I’ll wear lipstick for the London trip. So that’ll cover everything, right? ;)


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