Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's about jumping - again and again and again

It's time to begin a new book.

And as I was thinking about this last night, I thought back to this past year.

In January, I quit my job. In that first month of my new career as full-time writer, I had a couple of different proposals rejected by my editor at the time, plus I received the last of the rejections on an entire YA novel I had spent a year writing. It was a dark time.

In February and March, I wrote THE DAY BEFORE. I didn't show anyone pages. I didn't talk about it with anyone. I just wrote it. I followed my heart, and I wrote. Risky? Yes. Necessary? Yes. I had to go back to the basics. I had to go back to why I do this work in the first place. I had to write for me, myself and I and get lost in a story. We went to the beach the end of March, and I made hearts in the sand, like my main characters. I felt good about the book. The darkness had disappeared.

The book went on to sell to Pulse, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

When I finished that up, I decided to try and tackle a major revision. Many of the rejections I had received on the YA I'd written the previous year said the subject matter seemed more middle grade to them. So I thought - I can write it as a MG. It will be a complete and total rewrite, but I can do it.

Well, 9 chapters into it, I was miserable. I didn't know what I was doing, where I was going, why I was writing about these characters and why I should care. I was sitting at my desk one day, feeling very uninspired, when I opened my idea journal.

I turned to a page I had written six months prior. There wasn't a lot on the page. But as I sat there, I thought, I want to write THIS book. And the "what ifs" started dancing around in my brain. I opened up a new document, started writing, and as I heard Laini Taylor say once, it was like I'd been released from jail.

I finished it fairly quickly (it's only 24,000 words or so), even though it's unlike anything I've ever written. There was something almost magical about the writing of this particular book. I feel like it was a gift, in a way. I can't describe it, but the result, a middle-grade novel called IMPOSSIBLY SMALL, is one I'm very, very proud of. And it's now going out into the world to see if it can find a home!!

In the meantime, there was other MG stuff happening. I wrote chapters and a proposal for a sequel to IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES. But my publisher didn't want a sequel. How about a companion, they suggested? So I had to come up with a plot and chapters for that, and then I decided to write the whole thing to make sure we were on the same page.

It sold. I just finished revisions. Waiting on a title, and then I'll share more about this particular book.

So yes, that's three books written this year. Plus proposals and rewrites that never became anything. In summary - a lot of writing. What am I, crazy? Maybe a little bit, but mostly, I'm a full-time writer and when I can spend 5-6 hours a day writing (some days more), that's what happens. Pages get written!

And so why am I going to start in on a fourth?

Because it's what I do. Because I have an idea that scares me and excites me and I want to see where it takes me. Every time, every SINGLE time, I'm about to start in on a new book, it's like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, about to jump off. Will I land on my feet? Will I fall and break every bone in my body? Will a bird swoop down and catch me and take me for a ride I never imagined? Will a net appear, as it has, again and again and again?

I never know until I jump. And I'm feeling like I'm ready to jump again. Here I go...


  1. Thanks for this, Lisa. And congratulations on your sales.

  2. Hi Lisa,
    This post really spoke to me since I jumped off the cliff to write full-time a while back. I don't know where it will take me but I'm really loving all the twists and turns and challenges along the journey. Thanks, this is just what I needed to hear today:-)

  3. Very inspirational, Lisa! Thanks for this!

  4. Thanks for sharing your journey. Those dark times could not have been easy, but your story of following your heart, your gut, is very inspiring. May there be many more such stories.

  5. hey lisa - can you email me I need to ask you something :) it relates to our convo in LA.

  6. How utterly fantastic! And I love the quote--so inspiring (especially when the ideas swarm).

    Looking forward to the Cupcake sequel! Good luck on your newest project. Hurray for the WIP!

  7. I loved this post! And I needed to read this now as a reminder of what I'm going through myself.

    And congratulations on all your sales!!!

  8. Thank you for sharing this piece of your journey with us. And congratulations on what sounds like a very productive year, and on your book sales!