Romance is Dead: Rise of the (Ne0) Neo-Romantics

I have an embarrassing confession: Before teaching Frankenstein, I had only read the book once… Three days before starting the unit.

We’ve all read the Romantics. I’m not talking about that Danielle Steele mush your mom had completely pulverized and dog-eared on her nightstand, but the heavy heart-hitters of the nineteenth century to whom we can attribute the popularity of albatrosses. We might not remember the Romantics because we barely kept our consciousness during those hour-long torture sessions, but we remember that we were supposed to go over them. And we did. Supposedly.

I remember the image of a bird hanging around a sad man’s neck. That’s about it.

What I didn’t realize, until I started teaching them, is that they sound oddly familiar. When teaching the students the “monster in the mirror” theme of Frankenstein, I suddenly began this strange introspection of my own and made a startling discovery:

I am a modern Romantic. A Neo-Romantic, of sorts.

*Post Update — 3/25* I have recently discovered that the true Neo-Romantics are actually Finnish and European artists of the 1920’s. So I guess this would make this the Neo-Neo-Romantics. NeNeRo.

If you are digging into the furthest recesses of your mind to try and remember what in the holy harrows of hell qualifies a person as a Romantic, here are the five incredibly generalized and over-simplified ways in which I have begun to categorize myself as a Romantic. Do you see yourself in any of these qualities too? If so, tell me. I’d love to have some Neo-Ro friends to write ghost stories with.

  1. I find beauty in the supernatural – Jacqueleen Example: When planning our Vegas honeymoon, I told my husband that we will detour to Area 51, or the whole deal is off.
  2. I believe full-heartedly in the power of the individual – JE: Every damn person is of indescribable and beautiful value. I love each and every one of you fools out there. Every. damn. one. Even if you support Trump.IMG_2213
  3. I want to immerse myself in nature – JE: Funny, coming from a city girl, but like Frankenstein, who drove himself bonkers while immersed in urbania and then when shit got way too close to the fan, headed for the mountains, I find myself constantly moving towards the sky. The stars or the ocean bring me the densest peace. You can’t spell my version of “city girl” without the sea.
  4. I fear technology – JE: All this autonomous car lunacy scares the bejeezus out of me every time the husband brings it up. You know what, no one better come crying to me when the machines becoming motherfucking aware because I’m definitely going to be the person who told you so.
  5. I am subject to spontaneous expression – JE: Because slanderous expletives are poetry too.
  6. Above all: Imagination – JE: This little power source could fuel the world, as far as I’m concerned. To live a life of massive and endless imagination is my personal mission statement. I am walking the world while lost in my own head.

I admit. I didn’t realize I was a Romantic until I flung myself into power-learning the poetry and novels of the movement before having to spit back my new knowledge to the youth. But I think in my newfound bliss-lecturing, some of those crazy kids may have found small pings of joy in poetry about guilty sailors wearing water fowl too.

As a (Neo) Neo-Romantic, I promise to lead my life in a way that inspires rebellion against the dullness of everyday. I will cherish nature, challenge the individual, and fall victim to my imagination daily. And to this, I will always be true.

And if you find yourself a (Neo) Neo-Romantic too, then to you, my friend, I raise my tea-stained and chipped coffee mug filled with cheap shiraz, and with abundant joy in fellowship say, “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!”

 

 

 

 

8 Steps to Acknowledge yet Casually Avoid your Writer’s Block

Hey up there! I’m still stuck in my  WWI Russian trench-sized rut, but I can see you moving around, wondering how I got down here.

I’ve been walking around this rut for eight years. My head used to be the rushing, riotous noise of water in the flush of a powerful toilet, but now it’s more like a trickle around the bowl, and I’m suddenly worried about job security and fiber. I feel impressively hung over when I get less than 6 hours of sleep. I haven’t sat in an empty college library at 4am since early 2007. Thats when the best stuff came bouncing out of my fumbling fingers and I scoffed in the face of responsibility with my 20 oz mug filled with four shots of espresso and cold black leftover coffee from the cafeteria.

What do I do to fix an eight year writer’s block? Where does one go from here?

Like any normal person, I could start a blog. Or re-start it, in my case. The only problem is that my writer’s block is agitated by the fact that I don’t have anything really interesting to blog about. I’m way too average.

The most traumatized I’d ever been was when, as a chubby 8 year-old deprived of ever having Hawaiian Punch by my withholding, sugar-hating mother, I secretly OD’d on that cocktail juice like a backstreet junkie. When her back was turned, I guzzled the stuff, double-fisting Dixie cups with abandon. After a full hour of shielding my fix from her view, I gave myself away by projectile vomiting red juice and Halloween candy all over my neighbor’s white carpet. My poor, mortified mother held her hand over my spewing mouth to try and catch it, but only succeeded in making me choke on my own puke as she dragged my chunk drenched kid-body to the bathroom. But that’s not scarring. I still love artificially flavored high fructose corn syrup and avoid white carpets like most Americans.

I don’t have any medical conditions besides an irritatingly persistent case of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and adult acne. Oh, and I have one skinny kidney.

My family is crazy, but mostly functional. I am acceptably normal to the point where my husband was nice enough to look the other way when agreeing to marry me despite those weirdos.

Emotionally, I fluctuate like Trump’s platinum comb-over in a strong breeze.

Socially, I’m as graceful as a Zamboni trying to make love to a lightbulb.

I do have a really bad problem where I detest everything I currently have and lust constantly for everything that is impossible for me to acquire (like a head tattoo or a re-do of the incident on April 3, 2011*).

So I’m going to keep writing and hope that I can provide something helpful or necessary to someone, somewhere, at some point in time.

8 STEPSOh, so I guess in my title I said something about 8 Steps to Acknowledging yet Casually Avoiding your Writer’s Block. These have always worked out great for me:

Step 1: Read something incredible by an author you’d never heard of before – Spend the proceeding 13 hours at your writing desk wishing you were that author.

Step 2: Touch things – Touch lots of things, like staplers and cucumbers, but only gently enough to remind you that these things will never write anything good either. At least you’re trying.

IMG_4240

Grey hair? That bitch doesn’t live here anymore.

Step 3: Find your grey hairs. Dye those assholes. Delay the aging process to give yourself more time.

Step 4: Go to Starbucks and quietly judge everyone who is on Facebook and not working as hard as you and your coconut milk latte. That’s right: at 28, you suddenly acquired a sensitivity to lactose and nuts.

Step 5, 6 and 7: Go to the store and buy $5, $6, or $7 bottles of pinot noir. Drink only the cheapest bottle and save the others for the next time you get inspired by Hemingway or Alexi Sherman. Once drunk, remember vaguely that being drunk with your computer inspires you to make bad decisions on GrubHub, not write.

Step 8: Start blogging again when steps 1-7 fail.

 

 

 

*Don’t ask.

 

 

 

 

Dumbing it Down: Stupify the World in Exchange for Clicks

My husband and I love spending our evenings on the couch with our laptops locked firmly in our laps as we write and read various articles and blogs. A few nights ago, he groaned out, “Aw crap, I’m writing at an 8th grade level.”

“It’s ok, sweetheart,” I consoled softly, “We can easily improve that.”

He looked up from his keyboard, “No, that’s bad. I’m trying to get it down to a 4th grade level.”

wtfHe told me that he had recently read an article by James Altucher called, “The One Score that Can Improve Your Writing with a Single Click“. In this article, Altucher explained that this click-enticing phenomenon is called the Flesch-Kincaid Score and it determines the overall readability of an article based on certain structure points of a writer’s diction and syntax. The score appears as a number that coincides with a grade level that indicates what kind of age group would understand the article’s writing.

He elucidated throughout the article that this score is not even primarily used for sales writing (which is primarily what my husband does), but also for best-selling, award winning books that have hit the shelves and titillated readers for centuries.

I was intrigued.

In his article, Altucher took 30 of the most popular posts on Linkedin and tested them in the F-K Scale. His results were startling. The average article was written at an 8th grade reading level with some of the most popular and publicized work being 6th grade or below. *gasp*

For the sake of the audience, I get it. The lower the level, the wider the net.

This made me think about the writing I teach my students. I work tirelessly to prepare my 9th graders for a complex, academic world that I promised would be full of challenge, rigor, and analysis. Am I wrong? Is the world far less difficult than what I make it out to be? Those kids in my room who are still reading at 7th and 8th grade levels, should I just let them pass if nothing out there is going to require them to read above that anyway?

Altucher mentioned several best-selling authors using the same technique in every one of his or her novels. This got me immediately riled because I always felt that I was bettering myself by practicing my reading and keeping my mind sharp. But am I really doing my brain any favors if most of the writers I love are on the same level as Superfudge?

From the perspective of a high school teacher, I thus respond with the question, “Why do we even bother?”

I bother because I love teaching my students the complexity of language. Maybe there is no reason to teach them to read at higher levels except for the messy and salacious love of it.

This post was written at an 8th grade reading level. Even though I intrinsically disagree with the practice of lowering the bar, I see its merit in the way that Altucher described it in his article. But an English teacher can only debase her writing so far… Middle School is where I draw the line.

To check the F-K Score of your posts, try out this nifty tool from read-able.com.

What do you think? Is it beneficial for writers to keep lowering the bar or is this undeniably a veritable atrocity?

What’s in a Pen Name?

I am working on this awesome manuscript. It all came to me in the most fantastic dream one night and I’ve been beating my chipped fingernails into it daily. The chapters are growing long and thick, the characters are intertwining like sinewy roots, and the dramatic twists keep getting more complicated by the page. It’s like this whole thing was predestined and already written, hoovering somewhere between my head and my page. I’m not tooting my own horn. I’m actually just as stunned as everyone else that all of this is coming out.

But only recently have I come across the problem with my new fiction.

As I write them, my words come out a little more lascivious than I am used to.

I mean, I’m not the most wholesome loaf of bread in the store, but I am not the one who is found writing detailed, explicit, touch by touch accounts of my characters’ sexual exploits. This novel has taken a much sultrier direction than my initial plotting ever considered. I don’t write sex. I write that sex happened, but I never write what happened in sex.

When I went back to try and delete some of the words, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. As much as I shy away from them, I love each and every one of those dirty words just where they are. They belong there and it’s not up to me to evict them.

But I don’t want my name to be associated in this way. I let those words flick their cigarette butts all over my page when my name is the blaring neon sign on the front of this joint.

So now I’m stuck with this dilemma:

A. Force myself to start cutting out the really graphic stuff.

or

B. Get a pen name and sweep it all under that.

My name, Jacqueleen Hale, is about floaty, spacey, experimentally weird stuff. I don’t do sex words. While I have read plenty, I just don’t do them. The brand I create for Jacqueleen Hale is an important one, and it doesn’t have anything to do with detailed sex in space.

An author’s name is her brand. If you think about my hero, J.K. Rowling, her brand has both glorified and sequestered her. When we hear Rowling’s name, we instantly think of that magical, whimsical world of Harry Potter and we think thoughts of purity and joy as a single unicorn tear slips down our cheek.

In 2012, Rowling came out with The Casual Vacancy. 98.99% of all people reading The Casual Vacancy were there for the sole purpose of finding references to the Wizarding World hidden between the lines.

It took the first 105 pages to figure out that those people were set up for disaster as not a single aspect of the book relayed anything magical. In fact, the young, masturbating teenage boy packed enough punch to make me close the book, wait for three months, and tentatively start again, constantly telling myself that it wasn’t Harry. Harry Potter doesn’t do those things to his wonderfully heroic body. Harry Potter fights evil and eats chocolate frogs with his best friends.

Rowling’s book was met with scathing reviews, many from disappointed Potter fans crying about the absence of spells, potions, centaurs, and Hogwarts. Her brand is so embedded in the Wizarding World, she had to create a second pen name to step away and start her adult, non-magical mystery novels on a clean slate.

Robert Galbraith met excellent reviews and great success in his mystery novels. The first, The Cuckoo’s Calling was met with applause. It wasn’t much later that it was revealed that Galbraith was actually Rowling in disguise.

What Rowling did was perfect. The brand she set up for Galbraith spoke of humor, darkness, and intrigue. No one associated wand-waving with this author and therefore, everyone stared happily at the pages without expectation.

From looking at her use of branding, I’ve decided to go Rowling’s route and create an entirely separate identity to publish the work that I’d rather not attribute to my working name. Jacqueleen Hale is quirky and perceptive while So-and-so can be libidinous and gaudy.

I have yet to decide on the actual name, but I wouldn’t tell you… even if I already knew.

Do you use a pen name? Do you think that J.K. Rowling did right by herself by associating her work with an entirely new name?

When Technology Fails

I am a moron.

Look at me, writing, writing, writing, writing, finger cramping, and writing until my brain feels like a warm glass of Orange Crush.

But in all this writing do I ever ‘Save as draft’?

Of course not. I’m too busy between my writing and my finger cramping to even think of saving. I don’t have three seconds to move my cursor over to the Draft button to spare myself a conniption.

And my friends, this has not been the first time this has happened. Just last month, I logged into Scrivener and found that 15,000 words of my manuscript had magically disappeared.

15,000.

whygod

My husband shook his head while I freaked out and asked why I never backed up my work. It took me 10 long days and nights to get those 15,000 words and in all that time, I had saved multiple times. After every night of work in fact. But all it took was one unexplained shut down for my computer to revert all files to the most recent back up.

As great as all this technology is supposed to be, isn’t it supposed to make our lives easier? Aren’t I supposed to trust that the words I give it today will be there in the morning when I come back? Even though I’ve tentatively tip-toed through my writing since then, backing up, saving, and backing up again just in case, I still somehow managed to lose the draft of my recent blog post.

WHY GOD, WHY?

Has this every happened to anyone else or am I the only idiot out here?

Are there any losses more epic than my 15,000?

Reading Challenge 2015

If you haven’t heard, Goodreads.com is a lot like Narnia.

On the surface, it’s boring and unassuming. Why the hell would anyone waste her precious few spare moments on social media for reading? Isn’t there a better IG account to follow? Don’t these people have Huffington headlines to skim?

On the inside, however…

Somewhere in this mess of humanity, there are people, lots and lots of people, who bliss-tweak on this fantastical microcosm of literacy. And like Narnia, it’s a magical place where time, real-world struggles, and propriety just don’t really exist anymore. The only real rule is to keep your spoiler alerts up at all time.

It’s through Goodreads.com that I’ve become a reader again.

They offer you the reading challenge. You decide how many books you’d like to swallow this year and suddenly, you’re filled with the Super Saiyan power to do so. It gets tallied to your challenge total and by the end of the year, you can smile down at the wake of titles left in your ruin, or close the browser and sulk, promising that next year… next year will be the year.

I try to stick to something reasonable and attainable. 25 books. Or you can be like my sister in law who tries for the staggeringly difficult 100 books in a year that contains an entire 54 weeks.

Last year I got to 20 books, finishing off with Love, Stargirl, a simple, sweet follow up to a terrific YA book written by Jerry Spinelli.

To be my friend so we can support each other through our Year of Ewe (more to follow on this), you can click below.

BE MY FRIEND

I’m ready, fully loaded, and stockpiled with a huge load of freshly purchased books from the discount table at Barnes and Nobel. My $50 Christmas gift card has gone bone dry and I’m ready, ready and thrilled to keep going on my current book, So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman, and my audiobook for running, The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld.

Bring it, Goodreads. I’m pumped.

What is your goal for 2015? Is there anything in particular you’re really tearing at the pages to read?

Severus and the Diagnosis of Diabetes

Severus Snape is 9 years old, covered in long black fur, and sprouting white hairs all over his muzzle.IMG_0338

My Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix is a little old dog with the spring in his bow-legged step of a much younger pup.

Today, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I found out that he has Diabetes.

“Well, I’m 90% sure,” said his vet on the phone this morning.

And I feel horrible. I feel fathomless-hole-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach awful because my sweet, uncomplaining companion never told me that his body felt different. He never told me that his tummy hurt, or his bladder wasn’t cooperating with his brain. He never told me that his arthritic joints felt worse than normal and he never told me if things start looking differently.

Instead, he barked for joy when I came home. He waddled over slowly when I sat on the floor and leaned his tiny body against my leg, hoping to feel my offhand affection while I worked on other things that didn’t mean anything to him. He waited by his water dish every afternoon because he was always so thirsty lately.

From blog: Life With Beagle

From blog: Life With Beagle

His symptoms only became noticeable when they made my floor sticky.

They were constant yet unremarkable in how they slowly appeared. I can’t even remember when he first started having them.

1. He began drinking water all the damn time.

Severus has had allergies since we arrived in Honolulu. There’s something about the grass here that makes his paws itch and brown mucus shoot out of his nose. He would sometimes, if the vog was especially bad, drink a lot of water. I assumed this was due to his scratchy throat. So I’d fill his bowl and move on, dismissing it as more allergies and making sure to keep on top of his allergy pill regimen.

2. He began wetting the bed… and the floor…. and the carpet.

Because of the allergies, I assumed his “bed wetting” was a symptom of that. When my husband and I woke up in the morning, we noticed a wet spot on his brown pillow that he sleeps on. At first, I thought this was him “sweating”.

It wasn’t until I saw that he was “sweating” on the floors and leaving a sticky trail behind him that I figured this might be a bigger problem. Besides spending all my money on Swiffer refills and trips to the building’s washing machines, I didn’t notice that anything else could be wrong.

Later, I found out that dogs don’t have a single sweat gland in their bodies. It wasn’t sweat, it was urine. He was wetting himself in his sleep.

He smelled terrible, his long, black fur was always matted, sticky, and clumping together under his belly. I’d give him a shower a day. This was red flag #1.

But he never peed in the house purposefully. He always waited to let out long, racehorse streams of pee as soon as he got to the nearest patch of grass.

3. He would freak out about dinner sporadically.

If there’s one constant with Severus Snape, it’s that he can tell time better than any human I’ve ever met.

When any clock in the house strikes 5:30, he’s losing his shit about dinner. It’s dinner time goddamit, and the entire building is going to hear about it until something is done.

In recent days, Ben and I would be working intensely, lost in our own agendas when Severus would come charging out of the kitchen, raising all sorts of hell. Unaware that it was already dinner time, we’d mechanically get up and start preparing his meal only to look at the little green numbers on the oven’s clock and realize it’s 4:19. It seemed like he was getting more and more vocal about being fed and would follow us, nay, hound us constantly if he thought any of our endeavors included food. Normally, he’s a very hungry dog, but this wasn’t like him. This was like he was extra starving all the time and we had gone months without feeding him.

Studies show that the three major symptoms to look for if you think your dog might be diabetic are:

1. Increased drinking

2. Frequent urination

3. Increased appetite

The signs were all there, but I didn’t know that they were leading to anything. I thought they were quirks of the dog I had raised since he was no bigger than the length of my hand.

While researching online, I found out that November is actually Diabetes Awareness Month. Which makes everything happening strangely coincidental. We are all now glaringly aware that our dog has diabetes. We are aware that this could mean serious problems for his future.

For the next while, I want to document the symptoms and progress of Severus Snape so that in the future, if anyone is unaware, they can learn. They can find someone who is so saddened by the news of her own dog’s health that she would like to reach across the expanse of little lights and numbers and wires and hold them.

No, Severus is not a human, but he is my child and I care very deeply for him. He relies on me to protect him and love him and help him grow. I would do just as much for him as I would human children when they come around to us one day.

And I know there are people out there going “omg its a dog”, but I would like  to leave you people with this.

mother

I’m Covered. Are You?

I was so excited about this happening, I don’t know how I managed to wait this long to blog about it.

IMG_0575I got a cover for my Nanowrimo2014 project, Urban Draft. 

This wonderful piece of work was not made by me as I have no visually artistic talents, so I reached out to a fantastic person at Fiverr.com to make one for me.

Instead of going out to lunch with the other English teachers one day, I stayed behind. I saved those $10 for my cover. I needed my cover.

What does a cover do for me?

  • Makes me feel like the story isn’t so much in my head all the time
  • Makes me see the overall mood
  • Makes me believe that there is an end, and I know what it looks like
  • Makes me desire this physical thing in my hands

My cover gives me tingly feelings in special places.

Do you, my friends, have covers for your Nano projects? Do covers mean anything to you?

Agatha, you bitch: My Doubt and My Panic Assuaged by Kami Garcia

My grandmother is now buried in the stony wall of her crypt. We sang sad songs, we welcomed the little nuns, and we went back three days later and our arms were filled with sweet breads and little mementos of my grandma. We made an early celebration of Dia de los Muertos since I’d be leaving the next day and we all wanted a reason to come back and touch the limestone.

In that entire week, I didn’t write a single word.

And now, I am in full panic.

Freaking out.

I am literally freaking out.

I feel like I’m trying to swim out of a pool filled with flesh eating bacteria.

Below is a list of all the things that are currently making me seize with anxiety:

  • Really awesome, Halloween costume I haven’t started but have been thinking about all month (Lenore from Poe’s “The Raven”
  • Friends in town this weekend
  • Husband leaving for Japan on Friday
  • Students all behind schedule
  • Halloween event to plan for local elementary school kids
  • Four days of back-work to grade while I was out of town
  • Dog ran out of allergy medicine
  • Gained 6 lbs while home with the family, stress eating

I have to stop.

You have to stop.

You have to read this that’s down below.

It’s author Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures) caressing us into placation. This Nano Pep Talk really went to my belly and made all the tense vibrations settle. I’m feeling better already.

After reading this, I found my excuses lying naked in front of me. There’s no reason they should stop my progress. My grandma’s death was sad, but I cannot let it turn to Agatha. My friends coming out of town are great, but I cannot let them make Agatha fat with my time. My costume can wait until next year to be super elaborate and freaking awesome. Agatha will not win that one.

Are you, dear readers, still on track? Do you have any wrenches in your gears? Sticks in your mud? Agathas sitting on your back? I’ve laid out mine. What are yours?

***

In October, you were busy plotting your novel, or—if you’re like me—pinning motivational quotes on your Pinterest boards. Now it’s almost November, and the plot that seemed perfect a month ago reminds you of Harry Potter or Star Wars, and those motivational quotes aren’t as motivating as you thought.

It’s the 11th hour, and Doubt is paying you a visit. Giving Doubt a name is helpful. I call my unwelcome friend Ozzy because he sounds suspiciously like Ozzy Osbourne from one of my favorite bands, Black Sabbath. Whatever you call him, Doubt’s endgame is always the same: to keep you from writing. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t write this book, right? Here are a few of the things Doubt whispers in your ear:

  • You’re too busy. You have a job, or kids, or a spouse, or a pet, or a pint of chocolate ice cream waiting for you. How can you possibly find time to write? So what if Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 on a typewriter during his lunch breaks?
  • Your idea sucks. Now that you’ve read over your idea a few times, it’s clear that your idea is worthless—and there is no way to fix it. Real authors come up with ideas that are completely formed from inception, and they never outline or rework an idea, or call a friend sobbing because they think their plot isn’t salvageable.
  • Your muse is MIA. Everyone knows that when real writers sit down in front of their computers, the words just pour out. Real writers have muses who whisper ideas to them in their dreams and solve their writing problems. There are, of course, a limited number of these muses—and to date, they’ve all been assigned to other writers who are not you.
  • You aren’t qualified to be a writer. You don’t have an MFA in Creative Writing; maybe you don’t even have a degree, which everyone knows is a requirement for successful writers. Harper Lee, Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens, Jack Kerouac, and William Faulkner are the only exceptions to the rule. Or maybe you have an MFA, but now that it’s time to start writing, you don’t know how you earned that degree in the first place.

Here’s the truth, from me to you:

  • Most writers are “too busy” to write. We have spouses, or children, or dogs, or cats, or gremlins we’re responsible for. Some writers even have another full-time job that (gasp) has nothing to do with writing. Yet, they still write. Instead of finding the time to write, you make the time to write.
  • As far as having a plot that sucks, welcome to the first draft of every idea I’ve ever had. If you don’t believe me, ask one of my writer friends; most of them have endured at least one of my sobbing phone calls, during which I insist that my book is broken beyond repair.
  • And the muse? I have no idea who has one, but if anyone does, I’d like to know so I can stage a kidnapping.
  • While it’s wonderful to have an MFA, you don’t need one to be a writer. At the end of the day, the only thing you need to be a writer is an idea and a pen. Your job is to write the best song, poem, story, or book you can.

Here’s the million-dollar question: how are you going to write this book if you’re afraid to start writing? Give your friend Doubt a name, and then block his calls.

I’m not a fast writer. I type with three fingers, and there’s a video on YouTube to prove it. The way I finish my novels is one word at a time. Don’t focus on 50,000 words or 30 days. Just write one word at a time, and focus on hitting your word-count goal one day at a time.

So start writing your novel. I’m waiting to read it, and I’m rooting for you.

XO Kami

Kami Garcia is the co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series, and the author of Unbreakable and Unmarked.

Link to this or read more author pep talks.