Delights & Scribbles

I am very happy to report that the new issue of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy is online. There is a terrific interview with Professor Joan Kaywell, her teenage son Stephen, and me, too, that gives some background into TWISTED and into my writing process. (Joan is the brilliance behind LETTERS OF HOPE, which should be in every middle and high school English classroom.) I would love to see more teenagers brought into the reviewing of adolescent books. What do you think?

I wrote all weekend, ignoring the whimpering of my rather fertile garden and shunning all thoughts of watching football. I’ve had a couple of serendipitous moments in this new book which were absolutely magical. I know I whine a lot about the workload, but I have to admit: I really, really love writing.

BH and I have been talking about how social networking has ramped up between the release of TWISTED 18 months ago and the upcoming release of CHAINS. I love how easy it has become to communicate with readers. In the last two weeks, I’ve had more than two dozen notes – via my various blog places and website – from readers who had a strong and positive response to one of my novels. Last week, a teacher who saw my posting on Facebook about the tentative tour dates contacted me and we were able to add an appearance in her area for teachers and grad students. This morning, I had a lovely note from a father of a reader in Mumbai, India, also on Facebook. More and more people are reading this journal (which is echoed on MySpace), and are giving me wonderful feedback on my work. There was a terrific comment from a teacher using SPEAK yesterday (scroll down to the bottom of the comment list).

I think I’ve managed the art of not letting the online stuff take over. I have stopped feeling guilty about not answering each and every blog comment (though I do read them all). My strongly worded email policy has cut waaaaaay back on the number of homework help requests I’ve been getting. My forested corner of the blogosphere has become like the corner diner for me, filled with buddies and the smell of coffee.

How are you balancing your blogging and social networking with your writing?

9 Replies to “Delights & Scribbles”

  1. My biggest success isn’t balancing blogging/social networking and writing, but thanks to you, I HAVE balanced my volunteering and writing. JUST SAY NO, you said at Rutgers. So I (mostly) did.

    I’ve still got to work on the Facebook issue. Darn that WordTwist.

  2. Thanks for the interview and the plug

    Hi Laurie,

    I received my first letter from a teen reader who said that DEAR AUTHOR “saved her life” and is what she reads when she gets depressed. You authors are the best, and I’m so happy to be alive during a time when YA literature is at its peak.

    Joan Kaywell

  3. You had to ask. Balance is always tricky. But deadlines help me focus and I’m finding the social networking very supportive as I enter the tribulations of the agent-search and submission process.

    Your corner of the community is such a wonderful resource for your readers, your fellow writers (pre-published and otherwise), and teachers. Corner diners are among my favorite places and your corner of the netosphere does feel like them.

    Glad you had a great writing weekend!

  4. For the time being I consider my blogging to be my writing (I wish I was writing more…but that stems from the fact that I don’t want all my writing to be public now, in the hopes of writing some publishable pieces). It’s a matter of managing my real job with the writing that’s the problem.

    Also, I read the ARC of Chains a couple of weeks ago and thought it was amazing. It made me think of the entry you posted contrasting the American and UK covers, on which I commented. After reading the book I still feel that the UK cover is a little to cutesy for the subject matter and the book.

  5. Thank you for all those links–I loved the interview. I was a little surprised to see your admission that you actually hated Bethany, because I wound up feeling really sorry for her. Sure, she’s shallow and selfish, but she also comes from a family about as messed up as Tylers, and I thought there was a hint at the end of “Twisted” that she might be ready to grow up a little.

    I have a friend who bears a distressing resemblance to Tyler’s father in “Twisted.” He has many fine qualities, but insight into himself isn’t one of them, and the ability to see other points of view isn’t another. Like Tyler’s father, he was phsyically abused as a child and pretty much thinks that as long as he doesn’t do that to his own kids (and he doesn’t), nothing else matters. It hurts me to see how he treats his kids, especially his son, but there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. It’s hard. Maybe I’ll give his son “Twisted” for a birthday present in a few years.

    –Willowgreen, mother of two preteens and fan of YA literature

  6. Balance

    I think that limiting blogging/social networking to 1/2 hour to 1 hour a day helps. (As does making sure I always have a pad of paper for writing on the subway!)

    I still take to heart your speech at the Poughkeepsie SCBWI, where you encouraged us to make room for art. I was at a gallery a few weeks ago and the manager asked my friend and I if we were painters. We said “no” and he explained that usually only painters examine the works in the way we were — looking at different angles to try and figure out how the artist did his work, etc. We told him we were writers and he said, “Ah, that explains it.” Made me very happy. 🙂

  7. Hi,
    I was just wondering if you’d be so kind to answer two of my quick questions:
    1. When is Melinda’s birthday? I’m guessing it’s in the summer since it wasn’t mentioned throughout the school year.
    2. On average, how many words is one of your YA novels? And how do typed pages translate into printed ones that you see in books?
    Thank you so much if you find the time to answer.
    By the way, that interview with you was great. I loved Yoda’s family too and I think the title Bull would have worked, but Twisted is more catchy. Thanks again and good luck with the writing.

  8. The only reason I blog and facebook is because I use it to procrastinate. So it’s not something I “balance”, it’s something that I use to escape from “work.”

    When I have no “work” to do, my internet life is dramatically diminished.


  9. I’m pretty bad about balancing actually.
    I catch myself doing a little too much online socializing and have to back off and go on the occasional “blacation” (blog vacation) just to get back on track with putting writing first.

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