distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Between Turning Points

Hi there. I admit I’ve been off-screen, where you can’t see, having a rough week or two. I’m not going to go into it.

My revision is due at the end of next month. Also, next month is my birthday (I am not a fan of my birthday). I may not want to talk to anyone at all for the entirety of February!

But here are some good things:

My revision for 17 & Gone may not be done yet, and I may have an enormous amount of work to do by February 29, but I’m very into the book. Very, very, very into it. So there’s that.

I also found a photograph that goes with the book in my mind—no, authors can’t choose their own covers, but in my imagination this is it. I love this photo so much that I’m arranging to buy a print from the photographer, who happens to live in my hometown of Woodstock, New York, and is a high school friend of my sister’s.

And next month one of my Favorite Books of 2012 comes out… The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour. I’m interviewing the author and I’ll be giving away a copy of her gorgeous, thrilling, sexy new novel. Believe me, you want to read this book.

And I got good news this week, at a moment when I really needed it. And it made me think of how colony news always comes at just the moment I need that one thing to push me forward (like that time I found out about Yaddo after I’d just been moved to a cubicle at work and how that felt like a door had been opened).

Thank you, Millay Colony acceptance, for coming at the moment you did.

(Yes, I think I will be living with other artists and writers in that barn!)

I accepted the residency, and I’ll be there in the fall, even though I have no idea what my future holds for me in terms of upcoming book contracts, or day jobs, or anything really.

And yeah, this is going to be an interesting year. Because I’ll have two four-week-long writing retreats in 2012… I leave for Djerassi in just six weeks:

And while there I might be writing something you don’t know about yet. And I might be finding out that the Turning Point I thought I had a few years ago was only the first one. Because life takes you on many turns, doesn’t it?

Everything these other writers have said has resonated with me in one way or another: Gayle Forman telling me not to be bitter. Sean Ferrell telling me to stop making excuses. Eileen Cook on how you can’t know until you try. Christopher Barzak reminding me how much I used to love writing short stories. Saundra Mitchell telling me it is okay to walk away if I want to walk away. Eric Luper on not writing what I think the industry wants me to write. Gretchen McNeil on how everything happens for a reason. Julia DeVillers on taking the chance to write something uncomfortable because it just might be the right thing. I know these Turning Points guest blogs aren’t written only for my benefit… but some days it sure feels like they are.

12 responses to “Between Turning Points”

  1. I blame it on January. I’m with you on the rough week. We should do a writing date in NYC sometime where we type away and occasionally look up to say “I can’t read that from here but from the sound of the keyboard taps I could tell that last sentence was sheer poetry.”

  2. How cool that you are going to Yaddo. I am consumed with envy, but in a healthy supportive way not a scary bitter kind of direction. I predict good things for you this year and should you ever want to talk (or bitch or complain) give me a call.

    • Eileen, you are sweet! Thank you so much. 🙂

      That link to the post about getting into Yaddo is old, actually. I went to Yaddo in 2010 (and I started writing the very first pages of 17 & GONE, the novel I have coming out in 2013, while I was a resident there!). Yaddo was absolute magic.

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