On Becoming a Writer Parent

Earlier this week, Austin Kleon wrote a post on one of my selfish worries, how being a parent will intersect with my being a writer.

In his post, “The Pram in the Hall”, he brings up his own point of view, along with the point of view of many other writers, that you don’t have to be a bad parent in order to be a good writer, or that focusing on your parenting necessarily takes away your ability to write.Read More »

What’s Cluttering My Desk? Fairy Tales and Doodles

A look at my desk when I’m in the middle of things (especially when I’m not preparing for other humans to come and visit and see my mess) is a good way to get a sense of what I’m working on, and potentially my emotional state.


With the overall look of it, I seem to be in a pretty good place! I have some notebook stacks, and I still haven’t found a home for the new pack of multi-colored Sharpies I bought, but the only coffee mug in view is the one I’m currently drinking out of, and there is a minimum of crumpled up used tissues.

Desk booksI have a couple other books that are just out of the frame in the first photo, but these are the ones I’ve been flipping through while sitting in my chair. Show Your Work! is another Austin Kleon book that I find helpful, with advice on how to share the things I do and connect with people online. I actually read this one before Steal Like an Artist, but that was from the library, so this one is still waiting for me to completely deface it with those brand new Sharpies.

I’ve also been flipping through my copy of The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I’m working on another story idea, and I’ve been borrowing some elements from fairy tales. How do I help myself with that? By reading more fairy tales. (Really, I should always read more fairy tales…)

Notebooks and DoodlesThis pile of notebooks represents Becky, which is currently getting critiqued, and my new middle grade fantasy, which I’m calling The Witch’s Woods for right now. I don’t want to say too much about the plot or the characters, but I’ve been gathering the pieces of it for a couple of months, and now I believe I finally have the clumpy, pudding-like consistency of an actual plot, so I’ve begun writing it. I’m excited for this one — I hope I don’t hate it in a week.

I’ve also got out my notebook where I’ve been drawing and doodling while I try to come up with ideas or wait for my slow computer to load webcomics, and I’m remembering that satisfying feeling of when a drawing comes out sort of right. I’m going to keep at it, and who knows, maybe I’ll start posting a weekly doodle.

And of course, over everything, Sadness watches.

That’s my work space, and (sort of) what I’m working on! How does your desk look right now? Does it become an awful mess when you’re in the midst of a project, or do you manage to keep everything organized and neat?

Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year

This post is a part of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted on The Broke and the Bookish.

I have been quite the slacker with my blogging, but let’s try to get back in the swing of things with a nice little Christmas list. Some of these are books I’m sure I’m getting from someone or other, but others are likely not.

20701976Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo. I don’t always want to own art books, but this is such a wonderful and weirdly faceted show, I’m really excited to see early drawings and how the writers even manage to come up with things.

Nine Stories. I failed at reading Seymour, an Introduction, but I love Franny and Zooey and The Catcher in the Rye too much to not try more Salinger.

Alloy of Law. I’ve read a Brandon Sanderson blog post that he will be continuing the Mistborn universe with the characters introduced in this book, so I should get on it and read this one (though I’m still rather heartbroken over The Hero of Ages).

Elantris. Same thing, more Sanderson.

Hyperbole and a Half. I skimmed part of this when it passed through the library, why haven’t I read this yet? Why? It seems brilliant.

22078240Saga Deluxe Edition. I’ve already read everything in here, but I want to read it again. And what’s that, a hardcover collecting the first three volumes is out? Yes.

Cinder. I feel I need some new SciFi/Fantasy YA, and some of my friends and coworkers have rated this book highly.

I Shall Wear Midnight. I still haven’t gotten to reading this one, though I said I would. I just can’t imagine a world without more Tiffany Aching to look forward to.

The Maze Runner. Another popular, well-received YA I haven’t gotten to yet.

Show Your Work. I’ve read this from the library, and I bought Austin Kleon’s other creative advice book, Steal Like an Artist. But I want to own this book, so I can remind myself of some things, and also scribble all over it.

Of course, Barnes and Noble gift cards are always welcome.

Any books you want to see under your Christmas tree?


New-to-Me Authors in 2014

This post is part of Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish. Thanks to my yearly challenge on Goodreads, it’s easy to look up what books I’ve read this year, and I’m a little surprised at how many new authors that I love I’ve encountered this year.

Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve become completely enamored of her Raven Boys series: great characters, spooky story, and some amazing lines that I secretly (not so secretly) want to steal for my own writing.

Brandon Sanderson. Thanks to Mistborn, I’m now back into reading thick mass market-bound fantasy novels.

Austin Kleon. This graphic artist/writer nabbed me with his advice book, Show Your Work, and later with Steal Like an Artist (I worked backwards). His books inspired me and got me jazzed up to write. Actually, maybe I should go back and read those books again…

Brian Vaughan. (And, by association, Fiona Staples.) Saga. I love Saga. It is one of the most original and consistently interesting graphic novels I’ve ever read, and I’ve already been suggesting it to people even though I only just figured it out myself a couple months ago.

Tanith Lee. I finally read Wolf Tower, and put Tanith Lee on the list of authors I really should have been reading in high school. Seriously, what was I reading in high school?

Have you found any new authors this year?

Weekly Finds 10/18/14: Reading & Drawing

Austin Kleon, author of my two new favorite books on creating, wrote a list/manifesto about reading on his blog. I love the whole list, but some I really appreciate are: “I will not finish books I don’t like.”; “I will copy down favorite passages in my own hand, to know what writing the words feels like.”; “I will make liberal use of the phrase “It wasn’t for me.””  He also talks about using a pencil, and massacring a book, an act I’m still trying to come to terms with myself.

Lovely latte from a trip with friends.

I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll keep mentioning it until weeks after I’m home again, but we’re going to Disney World in a few days. There are plenty of things I’m excited about, but one thing I’ve never done, but keep hearing about as I read more Disney blogs and “must do” lists, is the Animation Academy, where an animator leads you through how to draw a Disney character. How did I now know about this? Why was I never told before? Anyway, I’m doing this, maybe more than once depending on how our final days in the parks go.

I figured out how to get library ebooks on my Nook Glowlight! So basically I’m going to use the heck out of this thing. I love it much more than I ever thought I would.

So, what’s got you excited this week?