New Blog Series: Turning Points (+ Opening Giveaway!)

It’s a new year, and time for a new blog series here on distraction no. 99.

The theme of the new blog series is a meaty* one: Turning Points

I asked various authors this question: What was your turning point as a writer? And, I have to say, from the posts that have been sent in to me so far, I am humbled, thrilled, surprised, and most of all inspired by the great response that came from the asking of this question.

There are some truly incredible posts coming up—all about writing struggles, writing breakthroughs, the low points, the high points, the shocking points that changed everything… and much more. I can’t wait for you to read them.

Now, where did the theme of “turning points” first surface in my head? Sort of accidentally, when, in March 2011 before Imaginary Girls was published, I blogged a story about how I gave up writing adult fiction and began writing YA.

I said things like:

Not so many years ago, I had a turning point in my writing career. An “Aha!” moment. Something made me remember it yesterday and I wanted to share it here—to show how you might think you’re going one way down a certain path you’ve carved for yourself, but in fact there’s another path carved for you. There it is, waiting, glimmering in the near distance. It was your true path all along.


…I remember very clearly looking up, straight into the sun shining through the office window, lighting up my new glossy wooden desk and the bright white proof pages, thinking, I didn’t know a YA novel could be like this! Thinking, What if—and this would be the first moment I’d consciously think this—what if I wrote a YA novel, too?

I’d only meant to tell my blog readers how I ended up writing YA, but that post seemed to resonate with a lot of people—and was featured on the WordPress “fully pressed” page, so more people than my usual audience here saw it and began flooding the piece with comments on their own turning points. Which I thought was pretty amazing.

[Click here to read the full post on my turning point as a writer.] 

So this got me thinking that many of us have these stories. Setting out to write and publish our books isn’t such an easy, well-lit path, is it? Not everyone knows exactly what they’re doing when they begin, and things very rarely—if ever—go as planned. In my case, things fall apart and stitch themselves back together in better, more brilliant ways than I’d originally intended. And once one turning point has been maneuvered, another comes around when it’s least expected. (I may be in the midst of one now, but I’ll need some distance to know for sure.)

The Turning Points blog series will be an ongoing feature on this blog, with about three posts a week, for as long as I have authors’ stories to share. There will be quite a few giveaways included with these posts, so keep an eye out for ways to win books, generously donated by their authors. [Keep checking back on the giveaways page to see all open giveaways on this site.]

The series is starting this week—on Wednesday, January 11 with a wonderful, inspiring guest blog by one of my favorite YA authors. Those of you who’ve been longtime readers of this blog may remember me posting about how much I love this author’s books. Who could it be? And what turning point might this author be revealing to us?

I think you’ll really want to come back on Wednesday to find out.

* I felt so weird typing that word, as a vegetarian. 

If you’d like to keep up with the Turning Points blog series, please add distraction no. 99’s feed to your RSS reader, or scroll down to the bottom of this site, on the left, and you will see a button to subscribe to this blog by email, so you’ll be notified whenever a new post goes up.


I want to say this:

Hey, you. Yes, YOU. If you are an author—published or on your way to being published; YA or adult or children’s or nonfiction or comics or screenplays or poems; or even a person who worked toward becoming a writer and has since gone on to become something else—and this theme of Turning Points deeply resonates with you, I’d love to include your guest blog in this series. Just email me.

A note about the artwork: All the Turning Points blog series illustrations, like the one at the top of this post, will be by Robert Roxby. You can contact him directly for more information about his design work and illustrations (and check out both the “What Scares You?” and the “What Inspires You” blog series to see more of his amazing illustrations!). 

The giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering!






See you back here Wednesday for the start of the series—with guest blogs, and more giveaways, and stories of perseverance, reinvention, and inspiration.

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