Just start writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to be good. It doesn’t matter what’s popular in the market. It doesn’t matter if someone somewhere will write a review later and call it stilted or say that you, the author, smell like goat farts. It doesn’t matter if it’ll get you an agent. The future of your writing is not your concern. The future is never a writer’s concern. Just start writing.
When I was very little, I had self esteem. I had ample self esteem. I had it in droves. I had so much I could roll around in it and throw it from a parade float while blowing kisses. I was super lucky to have parents who rarely got too mad at me, and who told me nice things about myself, and were pretty much okay with the weird things I said.
Enter the rest of the world.
It’s funny, really. As an adult who is a writer, I hear a lot of comments about how romantic it must be, or how exciting. Many people ask me how I got into it, or how they can get into it, or that they want to get into it but have yet to attempt it for various reasons. I get a lot of “I’ve always wanted to do that.” But when I was twelve, I was just that weird girl with the Lisa Frank notebooks who didn’t care about boys/was probably a lesbian/wasn’t into sports/was fat/was weird/had bad bangs/used words like loquacious and asked the teacher if I could go down the hall to xerox my favorite pages of the assigned reading to keep for myself. None of these stigmas truly bothered me. Those were all mere symptoms of a much greater affliction, which was this: I could not relate to other people. And at the age of twelve is when I really felt the pull of my two options: lose the stigmas, or lose myself.
Maybe “options” isn’t a fair word. At the end of the day I liked my lisa frank manuscripts. I liked the people I had invented, clumsy and prone to misspellings as they were. And if pressed to choose, yes, I cared more for them, and more for those xeroxed pages, than I cared for my classmates.
It is not easy to be THAT kid. Or at least, it wasn’t easy in the 90s and early 2000s, and if you need a taste for what those decades were like, I’d encourage you to watch She’s All That and note the emphasis on being pretty rather than artsy, popular rather than smart. It was one or the other, not both. The moment the girl with the glasses ditches her easel and slips into a tight dress, she becomes a valid person of worth.
I never had my glasses-ditching, tight-dress moment. I never came down the stairs and wowed my prom date. Hell I never even went to prom.
And all those years while I was holed up somewhere writing and reading and writing some more, I never saw myself as a person of value. I assumed I was defective, incapable of being what other people were, or at the least striving to be like them. Because not only was I a recluse, I was a recluse who didn’t even want to be anything else.
Looking back now, I was in my early 20s when I finally felt that I was worth anything at all. I had signed a three book deal with a major publisher. Screw those assholes who called me weird or fat, who dropped to whispers when I walked by, who stuck thumbtacks on my seat (and yes this really happened). I had finally found my foothold and was going to pull myself up.
Here’s the thing though: I was wrong about that whole person of worth thing. The moment I got my book deal is NOT the moment I achieved worth. I have always had worth. When I had bad bangs, when I was xeroxing stories that all my classmates hated having to read, when I was staying home from prom. Our worth is not determined by what we accomplish, but rather the people we are. If I had ditched my notebooks and picked on some other unwitting nerdy kid or lost 10 pounds or joined more clubs, sure, I might have had some easier formative years, but I would have been miserable. I would have been lying to myself, killing time that would be better spent perfecting my own interests and finding my voice as a writer. And believe me, I had to write a LOT of crap, a LOT of crap, before I learned to spin a sentence anyone in their right mind would be willing to publish.
And being in publishing has not magically solved my self esteem issues, either. No matter what you want to do in life, no matter how hard you work, there will always be someone who can do the same job but has better hair, or earns more money. There is no profession that is supremely free of stress or hardship. There is no profession that can make you love yourself. It has to start with you. It has to start with being true to yourself.
Whatever you want to do in life, pursue it (unless you want to murder people—don’t do that). And if pursuing what you love means that you don’t get asked to prom, or that you don’t see a whole lot of sunlight, so be it. There will be people who give you hell for it. Pay them no mind. You can see what those people can’t: you are honing a skill, and someday you’ll find your own foothold, and people will say to you, “I’ve always wanted to do that.”
anniesscreams asked: do the names come easily to you when writing characters?
Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Morgan and Lex were originally the names for a pair of siblings in an unpublished story I wrote several years ago. Even though Internment Chronicles is a totally different world, the relationship and sibling dynamic between the two sets of characters is very similar and I consider the Internment Chronicles Morgan and Lex to be reincarnations.
Meanwhile names like Linden and Pen were more of a challenge. When writing the first draft for Wither, I must have changed Linden’s name a dozen times before settling on Linden. For the first 100 or so pages of Perfect Ruin, Pen was known as Margaret, which felt both correct and incorrect at the same time. As the story went on, I realized that she was too independent a person to accept the name given to her at birth, and that she preferred a nickname.
Pregnant Mom Drives Minivan With 3 Kids Into Ocean at Daytona Beach -
I’m glad someone finally said this. There have been more news stories, and a 911 call released by the pregnant mom’s sister. The sister claimed that this woman was possibly psychotic and going on about demons in her house. With a pregnant mother with three small children, it is highly probable that she was suffering from a form of PPD or some sort of psychosis that has eaten away at her psyche over the months or perhaps even years. Mental illness can hit a person who has otherwise been of sound mind until this happens, and a lot of sufferers stay silent about it. Yes, what this woman did was horrible, but there’s a strong chance that she was NOT in her right mind. Unfortunately most instances like this end with everyone dead, so let’s be grateful that in this instance everyone is alive, and hopefully the mother can get the help she needs and there will be some answers.It was a terrifying scene at Daytona Beach in Florida on Tuesday afternoon. A pregnant mother drove her minivan with her three children inside into the ocean.
My facebook friends keeps sharing this news story with comments about how the mother should be shot and killed and I’m just sitting here thinking or maybe we should stop pretending that mental illness is such a joke.
Just a note that I will not publish any asks that contain major spoilers, such as character deaths or series endings. If you’d like to ask, I will answer privately, but can’t do so if they’re asked anonymously. So if you haven’t received an answer, this may be why. ;)
kolorgasm asked: If ever the Apocalypse happen, I mean the real Apocalypse where the God of the Sky shows the world who's the man, what are the books you're going to bring with you for the meantime or would you even bring one? And if the floor of your house is falling down and the cats are stuck, who are you going to save first? And if you realized that there is no more salvation for everyone, what would be the last thing you would do that you haven't done before?
You just asked a lot of questions, and the answer to all of them is that I would eat cheddar and sour cream chips.
Guys, I finished Sever today…
Author Lauren DeStefano’s beautiful Facebook post from today, January 11, 2014. (x)