Tuesday, July 17, 2012

summer inspiration. summer-spration?

Listening To: Deep Were His Wounds by Welcome Wagon
Quoted: "Decide you want it more than you're afraid of it." - Bill Cosby

Hey sweet people! I'm not sure if you've noticed, but it's been rather quiet here on the blog lately. Blogging might be patchy this summer as I work through some writing projects and take some some time to party with the family-tastic. I'm going to TRY to write shorter blog posts so we can keep the conversation moving even when I'm too frazzled to write longer, more coherent posts.

As if my posts are ever coherent ... ha!


 ... about Q&A Tuesday ...

I'm so sure you've been wringing your hands about Q&A Tuesday, worried that I'd forgotten it (slight sarcasm there...). If it's cool by you, I might wait to start that ... er... segment? until later this fall. Don't let me forget! We'll talk about what makes a beard awesome (...?) and ponder the best Disney princess. We'll discuss the merits of tattoos. We'll chatter about my favorite books ever. And about prayer. And writing. And publishing. (But please know that there are so many more legit folks who write about writing and publishing ... and those legit sources probably won't compare publishing to a dystopian version of The Oregon Trail game ... which I usually do ...).

However. My favorite Q&A Tuesday question so far is this: 

Is your niece Erin the most awesome person you've ever met? I'll be watching for the answer on your blog.

I won't tell you who sent this question. But I will tell you that her name starts with E and ends with Rin.

Erin = Totally Awesome
And my answer is YES YES YES! Erin, my niece, is incredible. I can't wait to hang out with her at the end of the summer. We have lots of festivities planned, including riding the carousel in the park that always comes [---] that close to making me puke. She's amused by this. Because she's sweet like that.

Seriously though, we'll chat-it-up about more of the questions this fall. If you think of a question that'd be fun to discuss, email it to me or holler down in the comments. Kapeesh?


As I mentioned, this blog has been silent for a couple of weeks because I've been spending more time with my friends and Le Fam.

Also, I've been working on a few writing projects that are WRINGING ME OUT.

Sometimes they wring me out in a good way and sometimes I get a little melodramatic and discouraged.

I know many of you are writers as well. I'm sure you don't get all drama-fied about your writing. Perhaps you don't like to homestead on Discouragement Mountain, like I obviously do from time to time. BUT!

If you, like me, have been discouraged lately over anything writing-related, I have a few links you're gonna love so hard. Even if you aren't into writing, you'll find some encouragement. Consider them virtual high-fives:

1.) If you are a writer, or if you want to be a writer, or you're a frustrated writer:

You must listen to Neil Gaiman's commencement speech. This is fairly long, so go get a snack before you push play. But I promise he will inspire the daylights out of you.

2.) And because I haven't linked it in a week or two, here's J.K. Rowling's speech to the Harvard grads. Which I've watched approximately 10,000 times. (My favorite quote: "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.")

3.) If you have been writing for a while but you worry that: 

a.) you'll never finish writing Draft the First
b.) you'll never finish a draft that doesn't stink
c.) agents will never stop rejecting your work
d.) publishers will never stop rejecting your work 
e.) you will never have enough readers/platform savvy/followers/reviews besides the one-star Amazon review simply states: "This book is the literary equivalent of POO." 

Then you need to read Myra McEntire's UtopYA keynote address.

Actually, scratch that, you don't need to read it. You must read it. For every girl who ever dreamed of being the princess who broke up the bar fight at the Star Wars Catina, Myra's post will make your heart sing.

I went to one of Myra McEntire's book signings last year (and I meant to blog about it ... and didn't) and within, like, .0005 seconds I knew she was a kindred spirit. (I don't even know if .0005 seconds is a legit time increment ... I hate math.) I didn't tell her she was a kindred spirit, of course. Because I thought that might sound nutty. But I totally thought it. She was so kind and encouraging.

I sometimes (almost always wrongly) assume authors who are crazy-accomplished are gonna be a little bit hoity-toity. Like, super posh and unapproachable. But I was delighted to find Myra was totally authentic. She had a sassy drawl (she's a Tennessee girl!), a spunky attitude, and a scuffy pair of Converse. She was also hilarious in a deadpan-sarcastic way that endeared her to me immediately. And she was so candid about her writing journey.

I remember this quote in particular: "I'm not a writer, I'm a re-writer." I was so encouraged by that. I (maybe mostly wrongly) assume every writer but me had the ability to crank out a perfect first draft and then dwell in The Land Writerly Bliss; a haven overflowing with S'Mores and sequel ideas.

So when I hear that other writers have to work very hard, sometimes for a very long time to wrangle their stories into the right kind of wonderful ... my heart starts to pound in a good way.

Thank you, Myra McEntire!

Here's a random picture of a deer to break up the text.
And finally, for inspiration, I leave you this quote: 

Woke up this morning thinking "Smurfs - it's what's for dinner." So glad I can't remember what I dreamed last night. #TeamGargamel

That's not exactly a quote. That was one of my first tweets. But Twitter is kind of an echo chamber, isn't it? Or maybe I'm just not as funny as I think I am. Or maybe my tweets are just dumb. (Or maybe I'm the only person who reads my tweets ... ) (Honestly... I'm still not sure how Twitter works.) But I still wanted to share it on here because I'm still convinced it was funny.


Here's an actual quote I discovered recently, from the ever-wonderful, funny and eloquent Mr. Bill Cosby:

"Decide you want it more than you're afraid of it." - Bill Cosby

It applies to writing and publishing but it applies to so much other stuff too, doesn't it? It applies to the best stuff, I think. You write and you re-write. You try and you try again. You fall hard and you stand back up. That's a miracle-day, when you decide not to let your fear hold you back anymore.

If blogging is patchy this summer, we'll pick up steam again in the Fall. I'll try to write shorter though. Because I haven't even asked you what you thought about Spiderman (Andrew + Emma = ADORABLE, right?). Or who you're voting for on Food Network Star. Or if you are ecstatic about Project Runway. Or what you read at the beach. So much stuff! :) I hope you're having the sweetest summer! Let me know what's up with you down in the comments. 


  1. YES! I was wondering when you were going to post again (I did actually think to myself today, and yesterday, and the day before that, I thought "Self, when is Natalie going to write another post, I miss her so terribly much." I thought that, I did.)
    I've been writing something too, something that is wringing me out. I haven't been blogging a lot.
    I've been reading everything under the sun, from re-reading my old favorites to reading some new stuff that came out this summer. I hope to maybe get to the Chronicles of Narnia sometime this summer/early fall.

  2. Thank you Natalie, I really needed that!

    You are amazing :)

  3. I have missed your posts so much, Natalie! :) I've checked back over here every so often to make sure you hadn't posted anything new because sometimes my Blogger dashboard acts strange. I have to leave in a bit, but I'm going to come back and check out those links later.

    My summer has mostly consisted of babysitting, reading, and crafting. :) I'm not crazy about hot weather, so I'm very much looking forward to the fall!


  4. Funny I should read your post this morning, because just a couple hours earlier I was having a convo with Jesus about my writing; how I just need to do it and stop tiptoeing around it; if I'm going to wake the sleeping giant I might as well wake the beast with clanging cymbals and not a tiny bell, right? This was good inspiration for me! One of the things I'm looking forward to btw is my husband getting a job so we can get cable and I can watch Project Runway again--love that show!

  5. I don't really have time right now, but I will most for sure check out those links. Oh yes, "rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." I love that quote too. Happy Wednesday!

  6. I really want to hear about your writing projects!!! You are most definitely not alone in your writing angst. I am the same way. Believe you me. I have a new project in the works so I decided to cut down to 2 posts a week instead of 3 (though of course I wrecked it already have 3 scheduled for this week but at least one is a guest post.) All this to say, it's your blog, you decide the whens and hows of posting. Your loyal readers will wait.

  7. That Bill Cosby quote is exactly what needed right now. I have been thinking a lot about what I'm going to do in two years when I'm done with university and it scares me a bit. I'm excited for what is ahead, but the unknown has always made me a bit fearful of what could go wrong. This quote is definitely an encouragement.

    Also, on a completely different note... I saw Spider-man with my brother today. This was the second time I have seen it in less than two weeks time. It is fantastic. But I mean, who can't love Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield?

  8. Poignant post! The quote: "I'm not a writer. I'm a re-writer" is a creed I've lived by these last 10 years as a professional writer. I still have (many) moments when I feel like my stuff sucks. Then I rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite.
    Oh, and when are we going to get together? :)

  9. Been reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp while working as a camp counselor till yesterday and it has been an incredible summer. Trying to blog about it but it's kind of jumbled cause I'm still trying to process it all. Also started reading "Same Sun Here" (thanks for recommending it) and it is like the perfect book for me on so many levels. Glad you posted again and I was able to read it. I've missed your blog. :)

  10. Oh my dear goodness! This is going to come across as incredibly creeper-like and stalker-ish, but I have loved you since you wrote for Brio (and now Susie!) and you're one of the best writers I know! I didn't know you were rep'ed by the fearsome Suzie T. Wozers! Small world. I love your blog and I love this post and Biscuit is even cuter than I imagined him in my brain! Well, how's that for rambling? You should totes put your blog link in the column bio for the Susie sisses; we'd love it!