Saturday, February 20, 2010

Distractions are my friend. That's what I'll keep telling myself.

Okay. So I've been neglecting this blog again and I 'm going to tell myself that it's because I've been in my revisions cave. Funny how my revisions cave looks EXACTLY like my living room. And who put these cats here? Jeez.

But you know, it's hard to stay in the revisions cave. Sometimes really shiny things come up. Today I spent a good amount of time working on the playlist for the main character in MYSELF BEHIND MYSELF (formerly called HISTORY) so that I could revise when I was done. But what did I do when I was done? I IMed my friend James to tell him what I was doing and then when he said he wanted to see my awesome playlist (it is awesome) I told him I would put it up on And when I finished putting that one up, I put all my project playlists up. And uploaded art. Fun!

Oh yes, it is super fun to procrastinate by making pretend cover art for your books. I shared some for previous projects in a past blog post, but here is my mock cover for 1999. Look! It's so colorful and cute! I used free stock art from sites like and

I also counted all the swear words in MYSELF BEHIND MYSELF. Why? Because I can. Scrivener -- a writing program that, incidentally, changed my life -- has a text statistics option that lets you count how many times you use certain words. MYSELF BEHIND MYSELF drops 28 F bombs in it's third draft. There are 31 variations of shit and 7 instances of taking Jesus' name in vain, including 3 where Christ is included. I am sad to say, right this second, there are no douches. I will work on that.

This option also allowed me to tell my mother, upon sending her the first draft for 1999, that this book has much more swearing than my previous manuscript and that I didn't want to hear about how offensive it is. She claims she can handle it. But you'll be happy to know it has 3 creative uses of douche/douchebag. My characters, apparently, have potty mouths. Unlike ANYONE I know...

I've been watching Olympic hockey games and telling myself that I can totally watch and revise at the same time but OH NO WE ARE SLAUGHTERING RUSSIA GO TEAM USA. Right. Women's hockey rules, and instead of actually getting any work done, I'm generating ideas for new books while screaming at the television. Also, this week my buddy Kyle explained curling to me in such a comprehensive manner that I mostly understand it and can now watch the sport with interest. Crap.

And of course there's one of the best excuses in the world: my cat is sitting on my manuscript. I know, this is right up there with "my dog ate my homework." But, you know, sometimes the truth is the truth. I mean, look. Turkleton is a very needy cat. He spends a lot of time vying for my attention, always in contention with this strange laptop machine that I'm always staring at and clicking on. When he can actually, physically PWN his rival, he's going to do it. (Telemachus, for those of you wondering, doesn't care if I'm writing, as long as I give him his own pen to chew on. Much easier to deal with.) Let's also take the time to note that, in his spare time, Turkleton also likes to sit on my phone, my keys, books I have open and am trying to read, and my arms while I'm trying to type.

Naturally there's also this classic distraction, the internet. Between micro-blogging on Twitter and this long and rambling post I'm writing right now, the web is a fun distraction that sucks up a lot of time. Of course, it is useful procrastination, right? Twitter is a great resource for meeting and chatting with other authors and industry professionals. And this insight into the glamorous life of being a yet-unpublished-YA-author is sure to, uh, help someone else along, right? And sometimes I even research things like chupacabras and 1990s pop culture items that have escaped my memory.

Hey, at least I haven't turned on my TV yet today. And it's not like YOU'RE writing right this second, are you? That's what I thought.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, distractions.... I am among the most distractible of the non-diagnosed-ADD-distractible writers.
    I have to sit in our spare room at a desk with a Pandora station playing with just-mundane-enough music so that I can stay focused. It's a problem.
    I did create a playlist-- for the soundtrack of when my book gets made into a movie. I haven't gone so far as to create a mock-up cover, but I have googled pictures that would be the avatar of my main character if she were on Twitter. That's pretty bad, right? But since we're talking about it, which are cuter?
    Exhibit A:
    or Exhibit B:
    Feel free to weigh in. Because choosing the avatar of my main character if she were on Twitter is essential to moving forward in my writing process. Obviously.
    My writing friend Marta even has blogs with all her main characters linked up to each other. I think for her, it's an incredible exercise in vivid characterization. For me, it would be a distraction.