Monday, September 24, 2012

Thinking about motivation and inspiration

It's pretty easy to start a novel. It's a whole other thing entirely to finish one. So where does the motivation come from to finish it, to see that which you started through to the end? 

Sometimes teens write to me and ask me how to keep going with a novel. The doubts start to creep in, and it doesn't take much to make someone stop and wonder, wait, why am I doing this again? I'm never sure what to say, other than, all writers have these doubts. It's normal. The middle is hard. The initial excitement is gone and now, it's just a whole lot of work. Really, it becomes a question of, how badly do you want it? 

I think motivation is something that comes from within. There's nothing anyone can say to make you finish the book. You have to have a desire to sit down and write every day, and you have to be able to push the negative self-talk away.

When I'm writing a book, most of the time, there is enough motivation from inside of me to finish it. I love that feeling of accomplishment. I WANT to finish it. All I know is that I don't have trouble (usually) finding the motivation to finish a book, once I have a solid idea with a solid beginning.

Now that I'm published, I'm also motivated by having editors who want to see other things from me. And I'm motivated by wanting my career to grow.

It seems to me inspiration is more about the act of creating, and it can be found outside of ourselves, unlike motivation. When I'm in need of some inspiration, I look for nuggets of experiences that speak to my heart; that move me in such a way that I, in turn, want to work hard to move others with my words. It might be a pretty sunrise, or a walk on the beach. It might be a movie that brings me to tears, or a song I can't get enough of.

It's important to realize when we need inspiration. Because maybe we can find the motivation inside to finish and slog through the writing and get a book written, even if it takes a year or two to do it. But it's the inspiration, the flutters of the heart we find in life, that makes the book something worth sharing with others.

Basically, it takes both motivation and inspiration to finish a novel. And it's often necessary to get out into the world and away from the computer to find some inspiration. We shouldn't feel bad about doing that - our books will be better for it.

Wishing you lots of motivation AND inspiration this week!

Monday, September 17, 2012

From my mail

I have probably said it before, but I don't think it's something that can be said too much.

I LOVE MY READERS!! They make me over-the-moon happy!

Thank you, wonderful readers, for reading my books, telling your friends and writing me sweet notes to share what my books mean to you. As long as you keep reading, I will keep writing!

"Right now I am in the middle of reading Sprinkles and Secrets. I love it as much as the first. I think you should keep writing kids fiction books about baking or any other kids fiction books. Also, I loved the idea of S'mores cupcakes and it made me hungry reading the recipe. Since it sounded delicious, I decided to make them myself for the family. They turned out really good! I made them the day before my grandparents came over for diner, and all 15 were gone in two days!" ~Victoria, age 11 (photo courtesy of Victoria - don't they look good?)

"I absolutely love It's Raining Cupcakes. It is my favorite book ever. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your books. Every time I read them, I get filled with such a happy feeling." ~Julia, age 10

"I can't wait until your next book is published. You write the BEST books ever. I have a dog named Belle who would probably chew on a leather jacket like Sophie said!! I love reading good books." ~Mackenzie, age 11

"I am in the sixth grade. I love books and sheep. I was once looking through the Nook store and saw It's Raining Cupcakes and Sprinkles and Secrets. At once I decided I would read them. I enjoyed both books and I was wondering if you were going to write another book about Isabel and Sophie." ~Hala

"I have a BIG pile of unread books and my dad said no more til they're done. Well flu shots are coming and he wants me to get the shot so I asked if I got the shot if I could have a book, and guess what? HE SAID YES! So this weekend I ordered The Day Before. It came yesterday and I loved it." ~Ashlee

"The Day Before was the best book I've ever read. Words can't describe how much I love it. I really admired admired how both Amber and Cade were so different from others, but so much like each other." ~Kaitlan

"I really love your books. I have read three of them and hope to read all of them. I just wanted to tell you that you are a great author and my favorite. And because I started to read your books even though I didn't read a lot before now I just can't stop." ~Mariah

"I hated reading until I got a book at my school book fair! That book was called I Heart You, You Haunt Me. Ever since then your books are the only books I like to read. I wonder if you know of other authors who write in the same format?" ~Olivia, age 12

Yes, I gave Olivia suggestions on other books to read. I often do that even when I'm not asked, because I love sharing books I've read and loved!
Happy reading everybody!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sprinkles and Secrets out in PAPERBACK

Yay, today is the day!

For only $6.99, the paperback of Sprinkles and Secrets can be yours!! That's like less than a price of a large pizza. Well, most of the time. It's less than the price of a movie ticket and a small popcorn! And you can keep it and read it over and over again, as many times as you want. What a deal, right?

The cool thing is that even though Frosting and Friendship wasn't quite finished when the paperback needed to go to print to be ready in time, the first chapter was finished, So, the first chapter of Frosting and Friendship is in the back of the paperback version, and will give you a good idea of what the new book is about.

You definitely get to find out who the main character is, see how she's quite different from Sophie and Isabel, and  at the same time, see Sophie and Isabel in that first chapter too. 

If you've read it, I hope you'll tell your friends about it. Thank you!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Can a sense of fashion be learned?

Hey, thanks to everyone who entered the contest for the ARC of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES and a signed paperback of SPRINKLES AND SECRETS. The winner has been notified, and she has replied, and I'll be sending her the books in the next day or two. I wish I had lots of copies to send to everyone!

So this morning, I was thinking about fashion, and I wrote this little post over on tumblr, and thought I'd post it here as well.

The last time I flew, to LA, there was this beautiful young woman a couple of rows ahead of me. Every time I looked up from my book, I couldn’t help but look at her. She read a fashion magazine the entire 2-hour flight. When she got up to go to the bathroom, I saw that she wasn’t only beautiful, she was really put together. Like, she knew how to dress, and I thought about how envious I am of that ability.
Since I was in middle school, I’ve struggled with “style.” Some people know exactly what they like and know how to put clothes together in a way that works. I’m not one of those people. 
I think part of is that because I’m short and stocky, not a lot looks good on me. The beautiful young woman was tall and thin with legs that went on for a mile. She had leggings and heels on, and a strange knit shirt that was half a cape or something. But on her, it totally worked. 
On me, the whole outfit would have been a disaster.
Anyway, today I’ve been thinking about clothes and fashion, as we are close to heading into a new season, and how so many people love fall and the clothes that go along with it. For me it’s like, well, time to go back to wearing jeans and hoodies. As a writer, most of the time, it works and I’m fine with it. But those times when I have to venture out, to do appearances or school visits or just go out with friends, I wish I had a better sense of style. I wish I could walk into a store and not get stressed out trying to figure out what to buy. 
I really try to be appreciative of all that I have and to not live being envious of what other people have or whatever. But a fashion sense? Some days, I reallywish I had one, and I have to admit, I often envy other people who clearly have one.
I wonder if a sense of fashion can be learned, and if so, how? And if it can, is it worth all of the time it would take? What do you think?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Happy September!!

I can't believe September 1st is here!! Fall is just around the corner, and that means snuggling up with a cup of tea or apple cider and a great book, right?

In 11 days, the paperback of SPRINKLES AND SECRETS will be available, with a special SNEAK PEEK of FROSTING AND FRIENDSHIP in the back.

And in 31 days, on October 2nd, a fantastic middle grade novel I've read, called KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger will be available.

And in exactly four months, my next YA novel, FALLING FOR YOU will be available. But, four months is still a ways away, so I'll do a giveaway for that later.

 For now, to say happy September, I'm giving away an ARC of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES as well as a signed paperback of SPRINKLES AND SECRETS. Log in to the widget below and it will help walk you through the things you can do to earn entries for this giveaway. Both books are great fun for people ages 8 to 88. Sorry, open to US residents only.

Thanks for entering and good luck!!

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