Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fear and Gratitude

I wrote my first three young adult novels while I worked 32 hours/week in Human Resources. I'd get up early in the mornings to write, and I spent many weekends writing as well.

A number of things led me to a place in January, 2010 where I was now going to give the full-time writing thing a go.

I was SO scared. I didn't know if I would fly or fall.

Maybe deep down, that's why I ended up writing a book that's ultimately about fear. About moving forward even when you're terrified. About finding people who understand and can tell you, when you need to hear it most, It's going to be okay. I began writing The Day Before in February, my first book as a full-time writer.

There are a lot of things in this business that can cause a writer to feel fear. In fact, I think it's safe to say, there's something at every turn.

You have an idea, and what if it's not as good on paper as in your head? Fear.

You finish your manuscript, and now it's time to find beta readers. Fear.

You finish your revisions, and now it's time to write the query letter. Fear.

You finish writing the query letter, and now it's time to send it out. Lots of fear!

You get requests to read the manuscript. More fear.

You sell the book, and realize people are going to actually read it. Fear.

Galleys are printed and sent to reviewers. Fear.

Release day comes. *gulp*

I heard a definition recently that I want to share. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but actually forward motion in the presence of fear."

Still, I know, some days, it's hard to be courageous. And so, this week, here's what I'm doing. I'm focusing on gratitude.

If you had asked me five years ago if I'd have four YA novels and two MG novels on the shelves by 2011, I'd have thought you were totally and completely insane. And yet, thanks to my agent, Sara Crowe and my publishers, Simon Pulse and Aladdin, that's exactly what has happened. I'm SO grateful to them.

I'm thankful for my family, who has supported me in this writing thing from day one, and for the many wonderful friends I've made along the way.

I'm thankful that I'm still here, writing full-time, doing what I *love*.

Each time a book is released, I have to figure out what to do with the fears that start to surface about reviews, sales, etc. If I've learned anything since my first novel, it's that when the book hits the shelves, or the e-reader as the case may be, it's no longer mine. If I'm going to stay sane, I *have* to let it go and give it away. Pass it on to who it belongs to now.


And that brings me to more gratitude. Oh how I'm grateful for my loyal and faithful readers, who buy my books and tell their friends about them.

Thank you, dear readers. Really and truly, THANK YOU! Those are the words I'll play on repeat in the coming days, if the fears start to surface. I'm pretty sure it's impossible to be afraid when you're feeling grateful. And I do have so much to be grateful for!!!

As for my book, I'd just like to say - welcome to the world Amber and Cade. I know it's kind of scary, but I have a feeling you're going to be just fine.


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I'm right in the midst of that fear, but you've inspired me to try to keep focusing on the gratitude. Huge congrats on the new book!

  2. Congrats on the big day. Ordered my copy. Have loads of fun and cupcakes and enjoy the big city, Lisa. The trailer is gorgeous and so are you!

  3. Congrats and thanks for the advice!! We all need cheerleaders in this life, helping us press on.

  4. It's been fun watching you...and you've soared off into space! LOVE your books, Lisa! Congrats on all of the success.

  5. Congratulations again, Lisa! You are an inspiration.

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  7. gha thats right! I just looked at the calendar and realized that the book comes out today!!!

    omgosh I so want to read it so so so badly it reminds me of me at least from the summery it does but I won't get my hands on a copy till later (like when FOREVER by Maggie stivoter comes out and yes I know I'm spelling her last name wrong sorry)


  8. What a beautiful trailer!

    This was a fabulous post, there's a lot to fear but sometimes you just have to go with it and just do the best you can. And I can't imagine you ever writing a book that isn't amazing.

  9. I'm hearing such wonderful things about your new book! Looking forward to picking up a copy. You are such a lovely role model for me. xo

  10. Go get 'em, Lisa. Congrats on the new book. Looking forward to reading it!

  11. I'm not an author, just a teacher devouring books this summer. Through Twitter or a blog, I stumbled upon your site. Next thing I know, I have a copy of "The Day Before" on hold at my local library. Read it in one sitting and LOVED it! I didn't realize that you wrote in verse, but I fell in love with the brevity and choice of words. Amber and Cade share an amazing story -- thank you for letting that fear push you! What you do is amazing and I'm hooked. I'm looking forward to reading your other books as well. :)

  12. I love that quote! And the reminder to be grateful.

    And congrats on the book!

  13. A beautiful post to welcome a beautiful book into the world. Sorry to be a little late to the celebration, but HUGE CONGRATS!

    Off to buy my copy now!

  14. How beautiful this post was!

    I really want to read it.
    Congratulations, success and keep writing amazing books for us to read, please!