Re Solutions

As 2013 winds down, it’s natural to look ahead to the year to come.  The unknown is always exciting and full of promise.  2014 might be the best year EVER.  Right now, we have no way of knowing and that’s what makes a new year so magical.

New Years is our chance to give birth to our new selves—our better selves—the people we want to be.  The ones who eat healthy and exercise and have infinite patience and volunteer and never raise our voices and are always kind to animals and children and make the world a better place.

New Years is when we reinvent ourselves with a handy little list we call RESOLUTIONS which is actually the word SOLUTIONS preceded by the prefix RE.  You know the significance of this?

Me neither.

But I think it could be important.  Rather than concentrating so much on the SOLUTIONS, I wonder if maybe we shouldn’t focus on the RE?   So, in honor of the coming year,  I invite you to join me and RE our way to a great 2014.

Re Solutions for 2014

RE Cast:  In the world of theater, you’re cast in a role.  But that happens in real life, too.  Sometimes, we’re given roles we don’t really want.  If you don’t like the role you’ve been playing, now is the time to Re Cast yourself.  Stop doing all the things you feel you have to, or only do because it’s expected.  Do the things that you want to do and that matter to you.  Play the role of a lifetime:  Yourself!

RE Vision:  Look ahead to 2014.  See it?  Well, I don’t.  I don’t know what a year looks like but instead try and see yourself.  Doesn’t matter what you’re doing—writing maybe?  I’m sitting on my couch with my laptop where it belongs (on my lap) and (Here’s the important part:) I’m smiling.  Go ahead—try that.  Picture yourself smiling.  Did you know that when you smile the physical action sends a message to your brain and tells it that you’re happy?  Yes, really.  At least, that’s what my gym instructor told me.  So smile. See yourself smile.  Already it’s a better year, isn’t it?

RE Read: This is a writer’s blog, so don’t be too surprised but this is exactly what it sounds like.  Go back to your favorite books and RE Read.  Stories are food for the soul—they’re just so satisfying, aren’t they?  Reading old books I love always makes me happy.  It reminds me of who I am, of what matters, of what has meaning to me. Sometimes, it just allows me to fall in love again and isn’t that a nice way to start a new year?

RE Define:  New Year’s Resolutions are often about success.  They’re about meeting goals and accomplishing things we set out as important.  But what are those things and why are they important?  Often times, the two things are very different.  Here’s an example.

GOAL:  Increase my running mileage in the coming year.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT:  Because my friends go on runs 3 mornings a week and I really love when I can go along. We talk and laugh and I come home with a clear head and more energy than if I’d slept in.  But I have hamstring issues (and knee issues…don’t get me started) and I never stretch or do the things I should do so I can’t run as far as they do and I miss out on a lot of runs.

What does this have to do with RE Define?  Well, instead of thinking I need to increase my mileage—which sounds like NO fun—I’m going to concentrate on spending more time with my friends.  And that does sound like fun. In the end, I suppose I’ll have to stretch more and use that darn foam roller.  But I digress.  Figure out what matters and define your goals in that way.

RE Joyce:  This only works if you know someone named Joyce who is an inspiration to you.  

So those are just a few that will get me started–and hopefully you, too.  As the new year arrives, think RE.  

RE, I might add, is a PREFIX.  Think about it.  Pre Fix.
:-)

Wishing you and your family and the world in general, a year of good, and a year of doing good. 

xo,

Amy

Forgive Me, in Advance

I turned in copyedits yesterday for my next book, and I don’t want there to be any mistakes.

But there are.

When you write 70,000 words, things slip by you.  Words end up misspelled to read like another word.  Red nail polish somehow becomes pink in the next scene. A class schedule shifts from chapter 1 to chapter 60.  These are the trees you miss for the forest.

What else am I missing?

I want this book to be perfect.

To NaNo or Not to NaNo, that is the Question!

When October rolls around, most people are thinking about fall break and cooler weather and Halloween and am I really going to dress up this year?

Me, I’m thinking about NaNo.

For those of you unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November when people come together online and pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  http://nanowrimo.org/  It’s an amazing way to motivate yourself, to forget about perfection and concentrate on telling a story.

It’s also completely insane.  I know, I’ve done it the last few years.

But here’s the REALLY INSANE PART:

If I do it again this year, I’ll be writing the same story I wrote during NaNo last year.

How can that be?

How can I have written 7 drafts (yes, SEVEN) of a novel over the course of 10 months and only just discovered that I goofed and must rewrite—completely—from the beginning?

The literal answer (for those who want to avoid the same mistake) is that I was trying to structure a story with two POVs.  I somehow ended up making the story about one person, but I gave all the stakes to the other person.

OOPS.

There’s also a figurative, more philosophical answer:  Writing is a journey and no matter how far down the path you go, there are new lessons to be learned (and new mistakes to be made.)

So, back to the original dilemma:  Do I NaNo or not?  I know what I should say.

Heck yeah, I want to do NaNo!

I should face this challenge head on and take 30 days to write a killer new draft and overcome this setback and then I should climb a set of stairs somewhere and pump my fists in time to the Rocky music.

(I’m feeling very dramatic about all this, if you haven’t figured that out.)

Unfortunately, I just don’t want to.  I’m tired.  I’m mad at myself. I’m frustrated.  I’m broken-hearted over the lost time. I just want to watch old episodes of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and not think about anything.  I want to sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself and enjoy it. 

Ever feel like this before? (Because it sucks.)

And, in fact, this is what I’ve been doing for the past couple weeks until the other day when I was watching one of these episodes of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and Coach Taylor, the coolest high school football coach ever, tells these two guys,

“You get one chance in life.  You can either take it,

or you spend the rest of your life regretting it.”

Really?  Did he have to go there? 

Now I feel like Coach Taylor is talking to me.  I feel like this is a chance and I should take it.  (Next time I’m going to watch reruns of something WITHOUT a message.)

So, I’m looking at the calendar. It’s October.  And I can’t wait for my kids to be home for fall break and I think this year I will dress up for Halloween and yes, I think I will NaNo. I’m still not sure I want to, but I think I need to.  Because the hardest part of any difficult job is to START.  I have a story to tell and I think it might be a really great story and the only way I’ll know is if I get it down on paper.

So that’s where I am and what I’m thinking.  What about you?  Is there a story living inside of you?  Is NaNo the trigger you need to get started?  Or is there something else that will motivate you?

If so, I highly recommend Friday Night Lights.

 

An Author’s Journal on Writing a New Book: Week 42

42 weeks.  

That’s how long it’s been since I began writing a new YA, and blogging about the process.

If you’re just joining me now, I started this blog as a way of sharing the journey with other writers. And it is a journey—a process.  For me, books don’t just spill out like a dream come to life.  (I wish!) Struggling and pitfalls are part of the deal.  Which is why I share a writerly lesson/wisdom each week in the hope that I can spare you from falling into the same traps I seem to keep stumbling into.

NEWS! GLORIOUS NEWS!

I’m so excited to announce my new book deal:

 A MATTER OF HEART

will be published Spring, 2015

by Random House/Delacorte.

Here’s the write up in Publishers Weekly:

Krista Vitola at Delacorte has bought a contemporary YA novel by Amy Dominy, called A Matter of Heart. In the book, 16-year-old Abby is on track to win the state swim championships and qualify for the Olympic trials, when the diagnosis of a deadly heart condition forces Abby to discover who she is without the one thing that has defined her entire life. Publication is planned for spring 2015; Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency brokered the deal.

An Author’s Journal & Lessons Learned

Join me each Friday as I continue to journal about the process of writing a new book. During November and NaNoWriMo I wrote the first draft. I spent Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. and April revising. In May it went to critique partners and then my agent. Each week I share writing tips and the process I go through on the way (hopefully!) to making a sale. 

Week 34 Recap

“Is this normal?”

Weekly Writing Journal & Lessons Learned

Join me each Friday as I continue to journal about the process of writing a new book. During November and NaNoWriMo I wrote the first draft. I spent Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. and April revising. In May it went to critique partners and then my agent. Each week I share writing tips and the process I go through on the way (hopefully!) to making a sale.  

Weekly Journal as One Author (Attempts) to Sell A New Book

Join me each Friday as I continue to journal about the process of writing a new book. During November and NaNoWriMo I wrote the first draft. I spent Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. and April revising. In May it went to critique partners and then my agent. Each week I share writing tips and the process I go through on the way (hopefully!) to making a sale.  

Week 32 Recap

Still Waiting

It’s been two weeks since I sent my completed manuscript to my agent.  As I wait to hear back, I’m trying to relax, but the truth is I’m pretty lousy at doing nothing.  But as I writer I can do nothing and still be busy:

Weekly Journal as One Author (Attempts) to Sell A New Book

Join me each Friday as I continue to journal about the process of writing a new book. During November and NaNoWriMo I wrote the first draft. I spent Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. and April revising. In May it went to critique partners and then my agent. Each week I share writing tips and the process I go through on the way (hopefully!) to making a sale.  

Summer Reading for Tweens

As the temperature here in Phoenix hit 100 degrees last week, it hit me that summer is nearly here.  And with summer comes Summer Reading Lists. If you’re a librarian, teacher or lead a reading group, then I hope you’ll consider including my newest release, on your list for 5th – 8th graders.  

AUDITION & SUBTRACTION is about 14-year-old Tatum who does everything with Lori—including a yearly clarinet/flute duet for honor band auditions. But when a new boy transfers to their middle school and band, everything  changes!  

And to make your job a little easier, I thought I’d give you a few reasons why: