distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

I Survived

Not to worry, though this blog has been a little quiet, I did survive my first radio interview and also my first Barnes & Noble reading and signing—and throw a blizzard in there to keep it real. If you’re curious, here’s an update (with photos!) on how the reading went.

I’m still recovering (at heart I am a very shy person who doesn’t like people to look at her… sort of impossible to avoid when you’re standing before a group of people reading stuff out loud).

But now that it’s over and I don’t have a big event to be anxious about anymore, I’m running a solid distraction with freelance work. Finished one big project today only to dive into another, and another. It’s good for my head—though not so good for my stiff neck.

In the midst of all this, I’ve also been finding the voice of my new novel. I’ll talk more about that shortly, maybe this week or next. The most important thing for me when writing a novel is to find the voice. Without the voice, no novel.

And I’m getting ready for a writers colony… now about a month away. It felt very real when I bought my Amtrak ticket… I’ll soon be making a post about writers colonies, and a few inspiring writers are giving me some thoughts on their own experiences and some great advice for how to best use my time there. (If you’ve been to a colony and would like to be included and offer up some wise advice, email me at nova [at] novaren.com.) One thing I know for certain right now: I must not forget to pack a flashlight.

That goes for writing the new novel, too. Seeing as I’m not so articulate today, here’s a blog post by Susan Adrian that’s really resonating with me, it’s called “Darkness.” Just beautiful.

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10 responses to “I Survived”

  1. Of course you’ll be needing a flashlight for the ghost-hunt(s)!

    Obviously I have nothing to contribute (yet) re artists’ colonies, but I’m excited to read everyone else’s advice!

    • The post will be up soon (next week… still gathering replies). And I haven’t forgotten about our upcoming ghost-hunts… shivering already! Can’t wait to meet you in person.

  2. Nova! Congratulations on the book and the reading and signing! I’m so happy for you. It’s nice to see someone who has worked so hard publish a book. Here’s to your continued success! (raising glass) And you’re right, Susan’s post is beautiful. cheers, m

  3. Hey Nova,

    Got your note from PW. I’m happy to talk about writer’s colonies, here or privately. Sounds like you’ve been to MacDowell, yeah? I’ve been there, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Norman Mailer Colony during their inaugural summer, last year. All very different experiences, all great in their own ways. MacDowell was my first, so it will always have a special place in my heart. Atlantic Center and Norman Mailer (I was there for a week-long workshop, not the month-long fellowship) are different, in that you work with a master artist (for me, Honor Moore and Veronica Windholz, respectively), whereas at MacDowell, you’re on your own for endless vistas of time. I like both. And I definitely get more work done at writer’s colonies than I’m able to in the real world, which is as much a function of feeling like I need to live up to the faith that the selection committee placed in me as it is a function of having all that time.

    I’ve never been to Yaddo, but I was at the NY Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore a couple of years ago, and I can tell you that Saratoga Springs is really great. Are you there in July? If so, there are amazing readings at Skidmore throughout the month.

    I’ve already forgotten what you asked in your email and now I have to dash. Damn it, I’m blathery even in comments sections. I’ll check your email again and try to answer your questions.

    • Shanna, as you know since we’ve continued our conversation about colonies over email, I think you are HYSTERICAL and your advice is so appreciated and helpful! Thank you so much!

      I’ll be at Yaddo next month, so April… April is my favorite month to go to writers colonies. Well, that’s the month I went to my first colony five years ago, and I’m trying to replicate the magic. I hope Saratoga Springs isn’t too cold in April! 🙂

    • Thanks, Catherine! I’ll be putting the post up next week… hearing other people’s experiences is certainly helping me get excited to go.

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