Thursday, August 29, 2013


When the heat is on, it’s outside my window. I live in the desert—magnificent sunsets and stunning skies that’ll make you believe in miracles.
But heat is not something I think about when I think about my writing.
My best writing comes in the quiet times, the whispers, the gentle nods of the wind. 
 It comes unexpectedly when I’m not looking or asking for anything other than the truth.   

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When the writing is hot....


There are days when my writing is “hot”.  And by that I mean when the words just flow onto the paper exactly the way I want them too, and where my ideas seem to dramatically improve on their journey from my head to the keyboard or the pen.  These are the days that make me believe in the muse, because it seems almost like something outside myself is making the writing much richer and more entertaining than it could ever be otherwise. 

Sadly, these days are the very rarest of days.  And they happen at the strangest of times.  The first chapter of Remarkable came pouring out one day when I was sleep-deprived and supposed to be working on something else.  Nearly every other word in the book was changed approximately 432,432,642,554 times, but the first chapter stayed pretty much exactly the same as the day it was written. 

Mostly my writing is cold to lukewarm.  The words only get where they need to be after a lot of revision, second-guessing, false starts, and working through boring bits to try to make them less so.  But those hot days, those are the best.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

HOT, HOT, HOT…(HOLLY SCHINDLER)



Missouri can be unbearable in the summer.  Especially last summer—seems like most of the season was a hundred-plus…all I have to do to remember the excruciating heat is to look at this short video, shot a year ago last July, of the scorched conditions in my own backyard:



A project can be hot, too—kind of frenzied, written in a furious, inspired rush.  Or (as happens most of the time with me), a project can start a bit quietly, then gain heat as I get to know my protagonist.  Usually on about the third or fourth rewrite, I find myself really tearing through a project passionately.

I turned the final copyedits in for THE JUNCTION this summer.  After I hit “send,” I found myself missing Auggie, my protagonist, like I’ve never missed another.  I first drafted Auggie’s story in ’05, though, and it’s hard to let go of someone you’ve spent so much time with and come to love so much.

I’m now about two weeks into the hard-core revisions of another MG, and the more I write, the clearer this new character and this new voice becomes.  Just yesterday, I began to type so fast, I swore I had smoke rolling off the keyboard.

That’s the key, I think, to turning the heat up on your own project—you can’t expect it just to come all on its own, like a gift.  You have to make it come…

“Inspiration is for amateurs.  The rest of us just show up and get to work.” –artist Chuck Close, on never having “painter’s block.”
 

Friday, August 23, 2013

"Art is the Perfect Imperfection" by Dia Calhoun. August Theme

In an article titled Music in Your Ears (January 28, 2013 The New Yorker), Adam Gopnick writes about the combination of neuroscience and acoustical technology. When I read this:

"scientists have found that “people like music played with a bit of, but not too much, expressiveness . . . the two expressive dimensions whose force in music Levitin had measured . . . were defections from precision. Vibrato is a way of not quite landing directly on the note: rubato is not quite keeping perfectly to the beat. Expressiveness is error . . . "

Sparks flew!  I immediately began connecting this concept to literature. Then a few sentences on, I leaped out of my chair after reading:

“. . . Levitin could show” (measure scientifically) “that what really moves us in music is the vital sign of a human hand, in all its unsteady and broken grace. (Too much imperfection and it sounds like a madman playing: too little, and it sounds like a robot.) . . . The art is the perfected imperfection.” (italics mine)

This is exactly what makes good writing. But I also leaped from my chair because the idea was so beautifully expressed. A good idea can ignite your brain and imagination, and nothing makes me feel more alive than that.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cold, Cold, Cold by Laurie Calkhoven


I know this month’s theme is hot, hot, hot, but that’s not how I’ve been feeling.  I’m not talking about the temperature. I’m talking about my writing.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I celebrated my tenth anniversary as a full-time writer. I’m incredibly grateful that I get to earn a living doing what I love. And even better, I get to do it at home in my pajamas.  Making a living as a writer requires that I write “other people’s books.” I ghostwrite, act as a book doctor, and contribute to middle grade series for American Girl and other publishers.

Since finishing my Boys of Wartime series with Michael at the Invasion of France in 2011, I haven’t been able to make time for a novel of “mine.” I’m not complaining. I’ve learned something from each and every project I’ve worked one, and I’ve written books (fantasy, mystery, choose-your-own-ending) that I wouldn’t have written otherwise. I’ve had moments of inspiration and writerly joy, but it’s been a long time since I wrote something that bubbled up from inside—a story that insisted I put it down on paper.

For the past few weeks I’ve had a break from freelance work—time to work on something of mine—and I’m a total blank. I have ideas. A few beginnings. Some character meditations. But nothing’s pulling at me, saying write me.  I was feeling apathetic and more than a little afraid that in trying on all those other voices, other people’s voices, that I’ve lost my own somehow.

What is it that I really want to write right now? I can’t answer the question. I think I’ve been ignoring the creative spirit (or muse, or whatever you want to call it) for so long that she’s grown quiet.
So I’m taking a break. After 54 books in 10 years, I’ve decided I deserve one. I’m working on filling the well. I’m reading, going to movies and museum exhibits, and I even (gasp) signed up for an art class. And I’m meditating every day, inviting the creative spirit in. My intention to be ready to start writing again on September 1st.

I’ve forgotten myself.  I’ve let my connection to my muse drop. But she hasn’t forgotten me.  I know she’ll come back.  If I’m quiet long enough, and listen hard enough, she’ll start speaking to me again.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BETWEEN WRITERS:A CONVERSATION ON PROCESS AND CRAFT WITH KIMBERLY NEWTON FUSCO

I’m excited to be launching a new feature on our blog: Between Writers: Conversations on Process and Craft with Middle-Grade Authors.  As a fiction professor in an MFA program, I usually get my fill of writing talk, but this year I’m on sabbatical so I’ve decided to catch-up with some authors to compare notes on how we write and why.  I’m especially delighted to chat with Kimberly Newton Fusco, the author of three critically acclaimed novels: TENDING TO GRACE, THE WONDER OF CHARLIE ANNE and BEHOLDING BEE.   

Congratulations on the release of your third novel Beholding Bee in both the US and UK.   Could you tell us a little bit about the book? 

Beholding Bee is the story of an 11-year old orphan who grows up sleeping in the back of a hauling truck at a WWII-era carnival.  Rather than become a freak show attraction because of the prominent birthmark, or “diamond,” on her cheek, she runs off and finds a new home with two old women who, surprisingly, only she and her dog, Peabody, can see.

I know each book presents its own rewards and challenges, could you talk a little bit about the challenges you faced in writing Beholding Bee? 

There were two major challenges in writing Bee.  The first was not to let the birthmark overtake Bee’s character. Even though the mark is an enormous burden for her, she is much more than the birthmark.  Bee is a real girl who must find a voice and a place for herself in the world.  In the first draft, many of the scenes dealt with Bee and her birthmark and the ways she was bullied, etc.  As my editor suggested, “I needed to let Bee’s urgency about the birthmark stand, while writing scenes that explored her character on deeper levels.  To do that I had to write a story about a girl who builds a family around her that can appreciate and sustain her as she faces the world on her own two feet.” One major change was Bee learned how to run very fast.  She set goals and achieved them, and of course the strength that came from that is very empowering.

The second challenge was the “aunts.” Bee doesn’t realize at first that only she and her dog can see them, and it is a slow dawning for Bee to come to terms with who they are and what this means for  her life.  What Bee wants most in this world is the security of a real home, and this is threatened when she realizes she is living with women who nobody else can see.  It was delicate work and I had to set it up so that Bee realized it through other people’s reactions, for example, when people didn’t get out of way when one of the aunts limps along the sidewalk.  In the end, as my editor says, “the invisible aunts are the ones who help Bee find her own sense of visibility, of presence, of mattering.” The book essentially answers a question I had as a child:  What would happen if my great-grandmother, whom I loved dearly, could come back and help me.  This was important to me and I wanted to get it right!

Were these issues you discovered on your own or did they come by way of your editor or other early readers?

My editor, Michelle Frey at Knopf, pointed out these issues.  During the editing process on all three of my novels, Michelle has worked hard to protect what I am trying to accomplish, and at the same time she has asked for more depth – scenes to deepen my characters and their relationships to one another.  She does this by pointing out something that needs work, but never tells me how to accomplish this.  I have appreciated this and also the way she consistently protects the “voice” of my protagonist.  My agent says she is a true writer’s editor.

How much do you rely on early readers?  When do they enter your process? 

My husband is my first reader, so when the first draft is done (usually five or six drafts in itself) I give it to him.  Then I pass it on to my agent and editor.  When the revision is finished, I ask one or more of my four children to read.  Then, I ask my parents, and anyone else who might be helpful, depending on the story, such as a teacher, or a woman who runs an historical one-room school museum.  Finally, it goes back to my editor.

 I rely on early readers to help me find places that don’t make sense, where the pace is too slow, where historical facts are wrong, where things are confusing or boring.  I also rely on them to tell me something is good, because I tend to be very hard on myself.

At what point do you feel a manuscript is ready for submission? 

I never feel a manuscript is ready.  I am reading and tweaking up to the point the manuscript is book ready and goes to print!   I am quite a perfectionist when it comes to my writing.

What are you working on now? 

I have another novel under contract with Knopf and I am working on that now. 

Can you reveal anything about the book or do you prefer to keep you projects “private”?  

I read a lot of poetry for inspiration and I write poetry to improve my prose. I find that writing a poem is a wonderful way to delve deeply into my character’s emotions. The first page of BEHOLDING BEE began as a poem. Most of the chapters in my first novel, TENDING TO GRACE, began as poems and then I rewrote them into prose. That’s one of the reasons the chapters are so short. One example comes from the first page. I could have written that my main character, Cornelia, had a really rotten life. But when I wrote a poem about what it feels like to have a hard life, this is what came out: “I want to jump out of the car as it rushes along and wrap myself in a row of sheets hanging so low their feet tap the grass. I want to hide because my life, if it were a clothesline, would be the one with a sweater dangling by one sleeve, a blanket dragging in the mud, and a sock, unpaired and alone, tumbling to the road with the wind at its heel.”

So what can I tell you about my process for the new book?  I am doing what I have always done:  I am writing a lot of poetry to find that all-important voice, and I am loving it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fan Mail (August "Hot" Topics) by Kristin Levine

When I was a child, a young reader myself, I often thought about writing a fan letter to one of the writers I admired.  I never did it though.  Not because it would have been too hard to find an address, (I knew I could write to the publisher and at least hope the letter would get through), but because I didn't want to bother Mr. or Mrs. Important Writer.  What did I have to say to them, except I loved your book, and that seemed so trite and boring.

How wrong I was.

Getting fan mail is one of the most wonderful perks of being a writer.  The emails or letters always seem to come when I'm having a bad day, when the writing isn't going well, or I'm struggling with something in my personal life—kids, family, finances.  It doesn't matter what the letter says, it's the "hey, you touched me enough to make me take the time to write to you," that makes it so amazing.

So today I just wanted to say thank you to all the readers who find a minute to say, "I liked your book," whether via email or handwritten on a sheet of notebook paper.  You make me feel "hot" and important and sometimes even cheer me up. 

I'd also like to try to remember to write a few of those fan letters myself when I read something I like.  It's only a few clicks to find a website and email, and who knows, I may just make another writer's day.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hot, for Once (August theme) by Claudia Mills


I usually don’t write about hot topics, however “hotness” is defined. I tend to write books that have a somewhat old-fashioned sensibility, about small, timeless problems that children have faced for generations and will continue to face for generations to come. But for the first time ever in my career, I did just publish a book on a topic that is “hot,” or is at least about a “hot button” issue.


Zero Tolerance is my exploration of zero tolerance discipline policies in public schools, where students face harsh mandatory penalties for certain infractions, no excuses, no exceptions. Sierra is a “perfect” girl who errs on the side of self-righteous goody-goodyness until the day she brings the wrong lunch to school by mistake, her mother’s lunch that contains a knife for cutting her mother’s apple. Sierra turns in the knife instantly, but now she is facing mandatory expulsion under her school’s zero tolerance policies regarding drugs and weapons.

When I first sent the idea to my editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, she cautioned against the risk of writing a “problem novel”:  a book overly focused on dutifully introducing young readers to some kind of social problem, a book that serves more as propaganda than as literature.

To head off her worries, I did three things.

First, I was interested first and foremost in how my protagonist would change and grow as a result of her encounter with the zero tolerance policies, as her fundamental assumptions are unseated and her guiding expectations overturned. How does a good girl change when she’s treated like a bad girl? Do the lines between “good” and “bad” begin to blur?

Second, I chose to focus on the ethically complex elements of Sierra’s story rather than the ethically obvious one. The ethically obvious point to make is: zero tolerance policies are unfair and unjust. The ethically interesting question is: how do we respond to unfairness and unjustness without becoming unfair and unjust ourselves? Sierra’s attorney father is determined to destroy her principal at all costs. How is Sierra going to respond to her draconian punishment? How should she respond?

Finally I tried to connect with the universal emotional core that lay beneath the trendy, ripped-from-the-nightly-news topic. At the core of Sierra’s story is an experience that all children will have at some point in their lives: the experience of being treated unfairly, and even more poignantly, the experience of being treated unfairly by someone you loved and trusted.

Now that the reviews are coming in, I’m finding that it’s fun to have written about a hot topic. Librarians and teachers are eager to share their own zero tolerance war stories with me. The book is being recommended for discussion groups because of its controversial subject matter – though also, I hope, because of how I handled that controversial subject matter. I may try to find another hot topic to write about one of these days – or rather, hope that another hot topic finds me. For in the end, writers can do justice to a hot topic only if they themselves connect with the enduring issues that remain even after the topic’s current hotness has cooled down.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer is Hot, Except when it's Not (August Theme - Sarah Dooley)

The blog theme for August is "hot," which makes me smile, because it isn't. Here in western West Virginia, we've had a lovely, cool, breezy week. It doesn't feel like August in the least. The air tastes like fall and makes the horses spook at their shadows. For days, I've craved all things pumpkin spice.

But August is supposed to be hot. Just like fall should be cool, and spring should be warm, and winter should be cold and snowy. And that's what we teach when we teach our kids about the seasons: There are four, and you can tell them by the weather.

There have been plenty of times, though, when I've asked kids during calendar time to tell me about the seasons, and they've handed me a giant cardboard snowflake to stick in the pocket marked "Winter," even while the bright December sun shone down on sixty-five-degree weather outside the window.

What amazes me -- and worries me -- is how quickly kids learn to discern the intent of our questions. Do we want them to tell us what the weather is really like in winter? We must not, or we would offer giant cardboard question marks and a whole lot more than just four choices. So they surmise that we must be asking for rote answers. The word winter is supposed to be paired with the giant cardboard snowflake, and that is what they give us.

It makes me want to ask kids better questions.

It also makes me careful of how I handle things in my novels. For example, most of my characters live in small, secluded towns. And as we all know, small towns are full of gossipy ladies and everybody knows everybody else's business and nobody ever locks their doors. That's what everybody knows about small towns, and so that's what I catch myself writing. And when I read over it, I feel like I got it right, because it's familiar. Yeah, I know that town. Yeah, that's what small towns are like ...

... in books.

Many of the small towns I've lived in don't fit the pattern. People keep to themselves, so you don't know everybody. The true town gossip is never who you think. You don't dare leave your door unlocked. Yet I catch myself writing stereotypes instead of writing what I know. I write giant snowflakes next to winter, even when the window beside my writing desk tells a story that is altogether different.

So my vow for this cool, breezy August Saturday is this: Today, wrapped in my sweater and sipping hot coffee, I will look past all cardboard cut-outs. I will stick the snowflake in the wrong pocket. I will write what's out the window.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pick Yourself Up and Keep Going By Ann Haywood Leal

I knew it wasn't a good sign when it was already hot at seven o'clock in the morning.  The air held a sticky thickness that made you feel as if you might need to clear a path through it to move.

But I wasn't going back home.  I had been training for months for this marathon and the running shoes were staying on.

The heat didn't even seem to be fazing my friend, Kristi.  She had been training all summer at lunch time in the stifling heat of Washington D.C., making Connecticut seem like a walk-in cooler to her.

I'm a slow runner on a good day, but as we trudged through the never-ending miles, I saw strong runners slowing down and dropping out of the race.

If we just take this slow, we'll be fine, I told Kristi.  Sometimes when you say something out loud, it makes it true and real.

We approached 13.1 miles and turned into the entrance for the state park.  It was the halfway point and I was still hanging in there with my steady snail strides.

As we exited the park, I should have followed Kristi's lead and dumped a cool cup of water over my head.  But I didn't want to get wet.  That had to have been one of the first signs that I wasn't thinking clearly, because my clothes were already soaked clear through with sweat.

We trudged up a hill, approaching mile sixteen and passing the women's prison, at which point I should have been appreciating my freedom to run and do as I pleased.  But all I could think about was if there was air conditioning inside.

Halfway up that hill, I knew I had to walk.  I knew that wasn't a good idea when I still had over ten miles to go.  So I picked it up again -- or at least I tried to.  My legs went to rubber and I went down.  That's when my memory gets choppy.  I remember only small bursts of sensory details after that.

The gravelly dirt next to me...

The blue uniform of a police officer...

The wooden bench inside the fire station...

The freezing air conditioning of the ambulance...

The whine of the siren...

The lights on the ceiling of the hospital...

The drip of the I.V. bag ...

You have heat exhaustion, the doctor said.  What were you doing out there? It's over 90 degrees.

Obviously, things turned out okay for me.  As soon as they pumped a couple bags of I.V. fluid into me, I was back to myself.  I lived to blog about it.

I think it's that internal stubbornness that writers have that made me power through the heat.  We work in solitary confinement most days, relying on our own thoughts and self-talk to get us through the tough times in our stories.  Now I try to learn from that time in the dirt by the women's prison.  I try to remember to slow down and dump a cup of cool water over my head--or maybe just sip it ...
... Then pick myself up and keep going...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hot Topics (August Theme) by Bob Krech

One of my favorite parts of teaching first grade was teaching reading. What an amazing experience it is to teach someone to read. One of the strategies I used was known as the Key Vocabulary Approach. This was a method popularized by Sylvia Ashton-Warner, a New Zealand educator who wrote the book, Teacher in the late 60's.

In this method, each day you ask your students a word they would like to learn. You write the word on a large piece of card stock, saying each letter aloud as you write them, finally saying the word aloud. You then pass the card to the student who traces each letter, saying them aloud, and then pronounces the word. The student takes the card, copies it three times and draws a picture of the word. They keep the word in their key word box adding it to their collections. Each day the teacher reviews the words with the student. This is only part of the total process of teaching reading, but it was a great way to get kids excited about reading because they were engaging with words they really wanted to learn.

It was a wonderful way to also get insight into what was "hot" among the first grade crowd. It was also often very challenging because I ended up having to learn to spell incredibly long dinosaur names as well as all the characters in The Masters of the Universe (He-Man, Skeletor, etc.) When I worked with older grades where students were already reading I asked them to create lists of topics they wanted to read or write about. These lists were also packed with "hot" topics.

It was interesting how in these lists and key word collections which included Skeletor, Brontosaurus, Batman, skateboard, and many other "timely" words, there were also many words like: love, friend, Mom, Dad, tattle-tale, steal, divorce, peace, war, kiss, bully and bathroom.

There are some topics that are hot for a while, and there are others, well, they're always going to be hot.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

“Middleview” Interview with Debut Author Karen Harrington


Posted by Tamera Wissinger

Today, Karen Harrington is joining Smack Dab In The Middle Blog for a guest “middleview” interview. Karen’s debut middle grade novel SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, releases in just a few days, on 8/20/13! Congratulations, Karen!

Here is Karen’s Biography:

Karen Harrington is the author of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, a middle grade novel about a young girl who writes letters to her hero, To Kill a Mockingbird's Atticus Finch, for help understanding her mentally ill mother, her first real crush and life in her small Texas town. It is set to release from Little Brown Books for Young Readers on August 20.



Here is the description of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY:

You’ve never met anyone like twelve-year-old Sarah Nelson. While her friends obsess over Harry Potter, she spends her time writing letters to Atticus Finch. She collects trouble words in her diary. Her best friend is a plant. And she’s never known her mother, who left when Sarah was two. Since then, Sarah and her dad have moved from one small Texas town to another, and not one has felt like home. Everything changes when Sarah launches an investigation into her family’s Big Secret. She makes unexpected new friends and has her first real crush, and instead of a “typical boring Sarah Nelson summer,” this one might just turn out to be extraordinary.

Here are the links to Karen online:

You can find out more about Karen and SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY by visiting her website www.karenharringtonbooks.com or following her on Twitter @KA_Harrington or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KarenHarringtonAuthor You can order SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY from your local independent bookseller, through Indiebound or wherever books are sold. http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316210584

Now it’s time to hear from our guest.

Smack Dab Middleview with SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY author Karen Harrington:

1. What does Sarah Nelson, your main character want?

Sarah is desperate to know if she has the same genetics and traits as her mother, Jane, who committed a nationally infamous crime and has lived in a mental institution since Sarah was two. Sarah also wants to make sure her classmates don’t find out that she is “that” girl and her mother is “that” woman.

2. What is in Sarah’s way?

No one will talk to Sarah about her mother. Sarah’s dad is a troubled alcoholic whose idea of talking is discussing the grocery list. He holds all the answers, but won’t talk about her mother, her life or her incarceration in a mental institution. This is one of the reasons Sarah turns to her notebook and writes letters to Atticus Finch, whom she perceives is full of wisdom and guidance. 

3. Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you wrote? How did the story evolve?

Yes, I did know this was my story from the beginning. In my first novel for adults, JANEOLOGY, the story of Sarah’s mother, her crimes, her past are explored. A reader of that novel wrote to me and said she’d wondered what happened to Jane’s daughter, Sarah. As it turned out, I began to wonder about Sarah, too. I wrote the first draft of this story for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) just to sate my own curiosity. But once I began to hear Sarah’s voice come through, I really loved her and rooted for her. So SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY was really born out of a curiosity about how a young girl might grow up in the shadow of an infamous, mentally ill mother. How would she cope with all the challenges associated with coming of age, while at the same time, worrying about inheriting mental illness?

4. Was SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY always for middle grade readers or not? If so, why did you choose middle grade? If not, what had to change for it to be considered a middle grade novel?

No, it didn’t begin as a middle grade novel. In fact, because of the subject matter, I was surprised to learn that it would fall into this category.  But once my agent sold it as a middle grade novel, I was delighted. Very little of the guts had to change in the editing process aside from the curse word here and there or the description of a French Kiss. (I believe I had to remove the word “tongue.”) Also, in the original version, I had a first and last chapter that featured Sarah as an adult, standing in front of her old house, recalling her childhood and worrying about whether to accept the marriage proposal of a man who wants children. My agent advised me to cut those framing chapters and suggested that in between them, I had a fine middle grade novel. I’m so glad I took that advice!

5. What is the best part of writing for middle grade readers?

I’m the mom of a middle grade reader and I get to witness how excited a young reader gets about a character she loves and relates too.  I love hearing my daughter’s thoughts and “why” questions about books and characters. (HOLES by Louis Sachar is one of those!) It pleases me to no end to think about writing for eager readers like her who are just beginning to step off the playground and discover their own inner gifts, talents and strengths.

6. Is there any downside?

I don’t think so. The field of middle grade writing and topics is only limited by one’s imagination. The writer Gary Schmidt once said that there’s a real need for kids’ books to reveal all different kinds of lives and situations and show examples of how to grow up or how to meet those challenges. I agree. The characters in Mark Twain’s works, the March sisters from LITTLE WOMEN and Scout and Jem Finch all taught me about growing up when I was a young reader. I can’t get enough of contemporary children’s fiction that continues this tradition.

7. Is there one MG-rated question you wish you could answer about writing, your book, or the author's life, but have never been asked? Here's your chance to Q &A yourself.

I suppose I’d like to use this space to offer words of encouragement.  In my life, I meet a lot of people who say they’d like to write a book, but that it seems too daunting or they don’t know where to start. Just start! Sit down with a new spiral notebook and a pen and write. Consider joining National Novel Writing Month this year and feed off the support of other aspiring writers. Accept that the process will involve hard work, but that it’s worth it.  Somehow I think our culture is starting to perceive “hard work” as something to be avoided. It’s not. Hard work brings out the best in an individual and it often produces meaningful art and literature. When you work hard during the day, you sleep better at night. Plus, I think everyone has a book inside them waiting to get out. 

Thank you for joining us for a Middleview at Smack Dab Blog, Karen. Again, congratulations on the release of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY! We’ll look for it on bookshelves soon!